Royal Canin vs Science Diet: Dog Food Comparison

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In this article, we will weigh up two popular dog food brands – Royal Canin vs Hill’s Science Diet.

royal canin vs science diet comparison

Your favorite fur buddy deserves the best nutrition to stay healthy, strong, and playful.

There are many dog food companies out there and you may wonder which one is most suitable for your pooch.

In this article, we decided to compare one of the top dog food brands with similar stories yet different products.

A Glance at the Winner: Hill’s Science Diet

Our team discovered that Hill’s Science Diet uses slightly better products, meat, veggies, and fruits, added vitamins and minerals and their formulas aid dogs with health problems to stay healthy and that’s why we lean towards this brand.

Hill's Science Diet Dogs
The Winner
Real meat and meat meals
Crude protein content 20-25% on average
Less omega-3 fatty acids
No breed-specific diets available
Better value for money
A lot of positive reviews
royal canin dogs
Runner Up
Protein from meat by-products
Wide variety of flavors
Crude protein content 22-28% on average
More omega-3 fatty acids
Good for picky eaters
Higher average price

Anyway, what works for one dog might not work for your munchkin, so stay tuned to find out more about Royal Canin vs Science Diet and their recipes.

Comparing Brand Histories: Royal Canin vs Science Diet

These two brands have been on the market for more than 50 years and they share similar values and a great reputation among pet parents.

Continue reading to learn more about their stories.

About Hill’s Science Diet

The brand’s history began when a blind man named Morris Frank asked Dr. Mark Morris to help his dog Buddy who had kidney disease.

Dr. Morris made the new formula with his wife’s help and later licensed Hill to produce the pet recipes.

In fact, Hill’s Pet Nutrition started back in the 1940s and the Prescription Diet k/d was the first vet food for canine disease management.

Hill’s Pet features 4 brands: Prescription Diet, Science Diet, Healthy Advantage, and Bioactive Recipe.

Moreover, Hill’s Science Diet was launched by Mark Morris Jr. and the primary focus of this brand is to prevent health issues and take care of pets’ wellness.

This brand was bought by Colgate-Palmolive Co. in 1976 and its mission remained to help dogs and cats get specially developed formulas that not only help solve problems but also promote health.

The company is dedicated to research, scientific discoveries that can be applied to nutrition, and helping pets find forever homes.

About Royal Canin

It all started in the 1960s when a French vet named Jean Cathary noticed that food plays an important role in pets’ health.

Ever since the Royal Canin brand has invested a lot of time and effort in scientific research to help improve dogs’ and cats’ food, thus enhancing their health and well-being.

The company was launched in the USA with four importers and since 2001 it has been part of Mars Inc.

Royal Canin has continuously worked on creating holistic recipes tailored to different dog breeds and needs to meet their needs and support their health.

This brand is popular among pet parents since they use scientific knowledge and quality ingredients to make unique, nutritional food. 

Product Range Comparison

Let’s dive into the variety of products these two brands offer and let’s find out more about their formulas that can be suitable for your canine.

Royal Canin

This brand offers more than 70 dry and wet formulas to provide nutritious meals for our beloved dogs.

There are 3 brands within the company: 

  • Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition, 
  • Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition, and 
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet.

You can find recipes according to your dog’s age, breed, and specific needs.

There are formulas for weight management, difficult appetite, skin and coat sensitivity, digestive sensitivity, pregnant dogs, and oral hygiene among Royal Canin’s list of special recipes.

Another important feature is the breed type food that this brand offers so that you can find recipes specially crafted for Rottweilers, miniature Schnauzers, Dalmatians, Chihuahuas, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Shih Tzus, etc.

Furthermore, Royal Canin includes grain-inclusive and grain-free formulas, chicken-free, and limited-ingredient recipes made with hydrolyzed protein for pups with food sensitivities.

The wet and dry food is rich in flavor from meat like poultry, pork, fish, rabbit, and fruits and veggies.

Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Pet Nutrition features 4 brands:

  • Prescription Diet,
  • Science Diet,
  • Healthy Advantage, and
  • Bioactive Recipe.

The Science Diet brand features a wider range of products, and more than 80 recipes for 15 health conditions, including heart care, thyroid care, joint care, urinary care, kidney care, dental health, skin and coat health, weight management, etc.

There are wet and dry formulas and you can choose by your dog’s life stage and breed.

Also, you can select if your dog lives indoors, and is pregnant or nursing.

Moreover, Hill’s Science Diet offers one grain-free recipe for dogs who need to avoid grains, and also formulas that are made without corn, wheat, or soy for pooches that are sensitive to these ingredients.

This brand uses meat like poultry, lamb, fish, beef, turkey, salmon, fruits, and veggies to make appetizing food for our fur babies.

Food Ingredients Hill’s Science Diet vs Royal Canin

Hill’s Science DietRoyal Canin
Chicken, chicken meal, lamb meal, salmon, turkey, beef, pork by-products, pork liverChicken by-product meal, rabbit meal, pork meal, chicken, pork by-products, chicken liver, pork liver
Cracked pearled barley, brown rice, whole grain oats, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, egg product, corn gluten meal, corn, ground pecan shells, flaxseed, pea fiber, green peas, yellow peas, barley, whey, soybean mill run, powdered celluloseBrewers rice, brown rice, corn, wheat, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten, potato, powdered cellulose, hydrolyzed soy protein, pea fiber, rice hulls, egg product
Dried beet pulp, dried citrus pulp, carrots, apples, broccoli, cranberries, pumpkin, green beans, potatoes, spinachDried plain beet pulp, rosemary extract, marigold extract, hydrolyzed yeast, dried chicory root, dried tomato pomace, green tea extract
Soybean oil, coconut oil, chicken fatFish oil, chicken fat, vegetable oil, coconut oil, gla safflower oil
Vitamins, mineralsVitamins, minerals
Controversial ingredients: tomato pomace, iodized saltControversial ingredients: salt, by-products, tomato pomace

Our team discovered that both brands use quality ingredients, vitamins, minerals, and oils to provide dogs with protein, fiber, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants to promote health and wellness.

Both Hill’s and Royal Canin use scientific knowledge to assist dogs with health issues by using an innovative approach to food and combining ingredients that help canines live more healthily.

However, the two brands use some controversial ingredients that are not favorite among dog parents.

Nevertheless, Hill’s Science Diet uses fewer of those, almost every recipe contains real meat and meat meals, more fruits and veggies, and there are plenty of formulas without soy, corn, and wheat.

In this round, we side with Hill’s Science Diet.

Meat Content

animal protein sources

Let’s see how the formulas provide our furry friends with the meat that they need to thrive.

In Hill’s recipe, there is chicken and chicken meal to provide quality meat high in amino acids necessary for muscle building, strong bones, and overall health.

In comparison, Royal Canin’s formula contains chicken by-product meal among the first ingredients.

Although real meat is always a better choice, meat meals are rich in protein and have less water content than fresh meat.  

By-products are safe according to the Pet Nutrition Alliance, but many pet parents avoid buying dog food that has them in it.

So, we have to give Hill’s formula an edge here for using real chicken and a chicken meal that support lean muscles and a fit body and give your pal nutrients to stay healthy and strong.

Winner: Science Diet

Nutritional Value Comparison

This section will discuss the most important parts of a dog’s diet: protein, fiber, and fat contents.

We decided to compare some of the two brands’ most popular recipes: Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Medium Adult Dry Dog Food versus Hill’s Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Dry Recipe.

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Medium Adult Dry Dog Food
Key Takeaways
Designed to promote healthy gut flora
Contains dietary fibers and easily digestible proteins
Features vitamins and minerals
Rich in omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat
Check On Chewy

Royal Canin’s formula is for medium size breeds 1-7 years old and Hill’s recipe is for adult dogs 1-6 years old.

If your dog is younger or older you can choose a different formula from their product lines that is suitable for your canine’s age.

Let’s break down the ingredients of these two formulas and find out more about their nutritional value.

Every dog is different so make sure to check with your vet about your canine’s unique dietary needs.

Protein Content

Our furry buddies thrive on protein and it’s essential for their health and well-being. 

Good sources of protein for dogs include meat (beef, chicken, turkey, lamb,), eggs, and fish.

Animal-based protein sources, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, provide all of the essential amino acids that dogs need in their diet.

Plant-based protein sources, such as soy, peas, lentils, and beans, can also provide a good source of protein for dogs, however, plant-based protein sources may not provide all of the essential amino acids that dogs need in their diet.

Furthermore, we took a closer look at these brands’ guaranteed analysis and we noticed that their recipes have similar protein contents.

Guaranteed AnalysisRoyal CaninScience Diet
Crude Protein23%20%
Crude Fat12%11.5%
Caloric Value340 kcal/cup363 kcal/8-oz cup

Royal Canin’s formula has 23% while Hill’s has 20% crude protein.

The numbers are similar, but we need to dig deeper and find out where this nutrient comes from. 

Our research indicates that Royal Canin uses ingredients like chicken by-product meal, oat groats, wheat, and corn gluten meal to provide dogs with protein and energy.

Hill’s science includes chicken, chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, soybean meal, and corn gluten meal as ingredients rich in protein, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Dry Dog Food
Key Takeaways
Chicken is the first ingredient
Supports a healthy immune system
Helps maintain lean muscles
Both grain-inclusive and grain-free recipes
Check On Chewy

As you can see, both brands use animal-based and plant-based protein sources, but Hill’s recipe has more animal-based or complete protein, and also it provides more whole grains that have multiple benefits for your canine.

In this round, the winner is Hill’s Science formula for giving dogs natural, premium quality protein to build muscles and stay strong, and active.

Winner: Science Diet

Fiber Content

Fiber helps promote digestive health and can also aid in weight management. 

Some good sources of fiber for dogs include vegetables like sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, and carrots, fruits like apples, bananas, and blueberries, and whole grains such as brown rice, oats, and barley.

Hill’s kibble has slightly more fiber than Royal Canin’s, 4% vs 3.2%.

Since we need to pay attention to what fiber sources are there, let’s take a look at the two recipes.

Royal Canin has oat groats to provide canines with good fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Also, this kibble is made with dried beet pulp, corn gluten meal, wheat, and brewers rice to give your pal fiber, nutrients, and energy to stay active.

On the other hand, Hill’s kibble is made with cracked pearled barley which is a great source of fiber, nutrients, and B vitamins, plus it’s easily digestible.

In addition, Hill’s formula has whole grains like whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, and whole grain sorghum which are better than regular grains because they are higher in fiber, nutrients, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium that boost your dog’s health.

The recipe is also enriched with flaxseed, dried beet pulp, apples, green peas, cranberries, and carrots rich not only in fiber but in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Both formulas use quality ingredients and the fiber percentage is similar, however, Hill’s kibble has more nutritious benefits for your fur baby.

Hence, it’s the winner in this round, too.

Bear in mind that some dogs need a grain-free diet to avoid skin and stomach issues, so consult your vet for the best advice regarding your pup’s food.

Winner: Science Diet

Fat Content

fat sources

Dietary fats are an important source of energy for dogs and play a vital role in maintaining their overall health. 

Dogs get energy from fats, so they are essential for active dogs, working, or sporting dogs, as well as those who need to gain weight.

Moreover, fats help to maintain healthy skin and coat, preventing dryness, itching, and flaking. 

Guaranteed AnalysisRoyal CaninScience Diet
Crude Fat12%11.5%
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.39%0.5% max
Omega-6 Fatty Acids2.5% min

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are particularly important for maintaining a healthy coat and skin.

Fats are also important for proper brain development in puppies, and they help to maintain cognitive function in adult dogs.

Both brands meet the AAFCO minimum recommended amount for fat, 5.5%, for adult maintenance.

In fact, Royal Canin’s kibble has 12% fat, whereas Hill’s formula just a bit less, 11.5%.

The two brands use chicken fat and Royal Canin has fish oil and vegetable oil in addition, enriching the formula with healthy omega fatty acids.

Hill’s recipe has flaxseed and soybean oil also high in omega fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients.

Dogs can have moderate amounts of soybean oil and they can benefit from it.

Furthermore, Royal Canin’s formula has 0.39% omega-3 fatty acids, EPA 0.13%, and DHA 0.05% while Hill’s has 2.5% omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and improve joint, skin, and coat health.

Omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for growth, reproduction, immune function, skin, and coat health.

Both brands make sure your dog gets plenty of these nutrients that are beneficial for dogs and that’s why we have a tie in this round.

Note that overweight dogs need a diet lower in fat and if your dog has soy or any other food intolerance it’s best to consult your vet before making a decision.

Winner: Tie


Flavor can be as important as every other factor when it comes to our dogs, because if they don’t like it, they can’t benefit from it, and that leaves us searching for new food hoping they will eat it.

Even though both brands use mainly poultry, beef, and pork they make proven recipes that dogs like and are happy to eat up.

They include grain-free formulas for our buddies with sensitivities and they make sure dogs with health issues can enjoy delightful food as well.

When our dogs tried Royal Canin’s formulas we noticed that they liked the taste and were looking forward to their meals.

Hill’s offers a more extensive range of products and we have found that there are suitable recipes even for fussy eaters.

So, we have a tie in this category too.

The two brands offer tastes and flavors that canines like, and it’s up to you to choose the best formula for your four-legged buddy.

Winner: Tie



This is another important component to consider when choosing food for our pals.

We all want first-rate products for our furry buddies and we often wonder if the food we purchase is the best value we can get.

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Medium Adult Dry Dog FoodHill’s Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Dry Dog Food
Bag size30-lb35-lb

Our research shows that Hill’s formulas are cheaper than Royal Canin’s and that you get great value for money based on the ingredients, vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants included in their recipes.

However, Royal Canin offers precisely crafted recipes with digestible proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and prebiotics that support the immune system, digestive, skin, and coat health.

So, this brand can be a terrific option and good value for money for many dogs too.

Winner: Hill’s Science Diet 

Product Safety and Recalls

Product recalls happen in the food industry and the best you can do is to stay informed about any current pet food recalls the FDA has issued.

Both Hill’s and Royal Canin had products being recalled and the reasons include: vitamin D toxicity, potential Salmonella contamination, and packages containing melamine.

Nevertheless, they have strict quality control rules and they keep improving the product safety standard.

Customer Reviews

In this category, we took Chewy’s customer reviews as our base.

The Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Medium Adult Dry Dog Food 30 lb bag has 4.5 stars and more than 240 reviews.

Positive reviews say that even picky eaters like the food, it improves stomach issues, and dogs love the taste.

Some negative reviews claim that they aren’t satisfied with the kibble size and they would prefer smaller nuggets.

Furthermore, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley Dry Dog Food 35 lb bag has the same rating, 4.5 stars but more than 500 reviews.

Customers are satisfied with the food’s quality, balanced nutrition, and improved skin condition. Here’s one review:

“When I got my dog, he was just a puppy and the breeder had him on a different brand. He was itching and scratching when I got him home and tried the Science Diet and he loved it and his itching stopped. I also get him the large breed now that he’s an adult, but my daughter is here with her 2 dogs and we have a foster dog, and they are smaller than my 90# brute, so I’ve been getting this bag too, as it has smaller bites for the smaller dogs. They all love it.”

Read more Hill’s Science reviews.

On the other hand, some complain that the kibble is too hard to chew.

In this category, we can’t declare a winner, what works for some dogs might not work for other dogs, so it’s a tie.

Looking for dog food comparable to Royal Canin Urinary SO? Check out our article on Royal Canin Urinary SO Dog Food Alternatives.

Overall Winner

Picking the right food for your canine can be tricky, but through our practical knowledge, these two brands can be an excellent solution for many dogs out there with or without health issues.

We feel that Hill’s Science diet offers good quality ingredients, recipes that start with real meat, whole grains, added vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids, and no by-products in their signature lines and that’s why we lean toward this brand as the overall winner.

Nonetheless, Royal Canin has a great reputation among pet parents, offers similar quality, helps dogs with sensitivities, and has higher protein content which can be beneficial for dogs.

This article can be helpful and informative, but we advise you to consult your vet for any change to your dog’s diet.

Do you want to read similar articles? Check out our Dog Food Comparison page!

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Cliff is the co-founder and chief editor at He and his Yorkie Boza are always together - even at work. Cliff is a passionate dog lover and has 15+ years of experience in dog training. His mission is to provide the best dog feeding tips that help dogs live longer and happier.

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