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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2011
I received Hill's Science Diet Ideal Balance Dog Food to try as a BzzAgent. I'm feeding this to my terrier as he tends to show the results to changes in his diet quicker than my Corgi or Belgian Sheepdog. I've been a dog mom for more than 20 years, including participating in dog sports such as sled dog running, agility and dog shows. Proper nutrition is vital to dogs' health and ability to participate in things they love to do. While I currently don't do these activities with my dogs, I still am very picky about what they eat.

When I received my BzzKit, a 4lb bag of Hill's Science Diet, Ideal Balance Dog Food, I checked the ingredients. The first listed is chicken (good!) followed by brown rice and whole grain wheat (not as good as a meat ingredient, but better than it being corn). Next is cracked pearl barley, soybean meal and chicken meal. I have to admit I paused at the soybean meal. In my experience, soy has not been a positive addition to dog food. I find that foods that contain it result in looser stools of greater volume, and the dog's overall condition is not as high as one fed a food without soy. It's an inexpensive ingredient that is associated with "filler" in the dog community. I was curious to see how my terrier would handle and fare on this food. 3 stars for only one meat ingredient in the first 5 ingredients, and for the inclusion of soy.

Rex, my terrier, became immediately interested when I opened the bag. He was VERY anxious to see what was in there, so the smell must have been very enticing. He's not a picky eater, so I anticipated he'd like the Ideal Balance, but didn't anticipate how eager he was to get it! I slowly, over the course of days, switched him to Ideal Balance from his previous food (to reduce stomach upset from a diet change), and found he ate the Ideal Balance nuggets first before cleaning his bowl. It may be because it was new and novel, but it may have been because he liked it better. He's a dog...he couldn't tell me. He seems to like it so much that I can even use Ideal Balance as a training treat. 5 Stars for taste.

Rex has been eating Ideal Balance for a couple of weeks now. It's not long enough for a complete picture of its impact on his condition, but long enough to get an idea of how it's going for him.

His coat is very nice. It was nice before, and I haven't seen any change in the coat condition. The Ideal Balance diet is at least maintaining his coat in good condition. We need more time to see the food's long term impact in Rex's coat. 4 stars for coat maintenance.

Rex has a tendency to gain weight. We really have to watch how much he eats. And Ideal Balance helps him pack it on! This means I can feed him less, which means I'm buying less food in the long run. But I really have to watch his weight. And it means that he is getting a lot out of the food. The crude protein is 21.5% and crude fat is 12.5%. The protein is not high, but the fat content is maybe a little higher than I'd seek for him. I might choose a weight control version of Ideal Balance if this becomes his regular diet (and if one exists). 5 stars for body weight maintenance.

Now the down and dirty part of the review...stools. A dog's stool can tell you a lot about how he is tolerating his diet. Rex's stools on Ideal Balance are firm, maybe a little larger than they were on his previous food, and do not smell any more objectionable than normal. This tells me he is digesting the food normally, as well as close to optimally. They could be a little smaller, but not so much that if I wasn't looking for a change that I'd have necessarily noticed it. 5 stars for stool quality.

Overall, I give Hill's Science Diet Ideal Balance Dog Food 4 stars. If there were a 2nd meat source and/or soy wasn't present, I could in good faith give it 5 stars, based on Rex's condition on the diet. If you do try it, be sure to monitor your dog's weight, and adjust how much you feed accordingly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2012
Our dog was getting hot spots on the food I was feeding her plus she didn't love it so on a whim I picked up a bag of Ideal Balance to try something different. She absolutely loves it (very important) and within 2 weeks the licking and scratching is nonexistent. It has a lot of antioxidants, a nice vitamin profile, fiber sources of fruits, vegetables and beet pulp to keep a healthy digestive tract. I'm so glad we found this food and I recommend it highly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2011
I received Hill's Science Diet Ideal Balance Dog Food to try as a BzzAgent.
My small Pomeranian has allergies to a lot of things including wheat so he was itchy on this food, however, the lab I have did GREAT on this food.
She loved the taste, ate it very well, and I noted an improvement in her skin and coat. She also has itchy problems for a lot of the year but improved with the use of this food.
I also noted that my girl seemed to need less of this than most other brands of dog food out there. This means I'm buying less food in the long run which makes the food comparable in price to less healthy alternatives.
The only complaints I have is the use of the wheat ingredient plus the soy. I really would like to see this product use another protein source that is more within the natural diet of a canine.
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on October 4, 2013
I wanted to stop giving my dog lower-grade dog food and switch to a more natural and healthy option. I haven't seen any changes in my two-year-old golden retriever's constant scratching/itching/self-biting, but it makes me feel better to know that this food is good for her! She doesn't seem too excited in the food itself, so I have to mix this with chicken in order for her to eat it. Overall, good dog food, but I'll keep experimenting within the Science Diet options until I find the best one for her.
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on August 6, 2013
My dog has allergies. Did not help. Had to put him back on steroid. He has allergies to grass and whatever is else is blooming in spring.
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on June 17, 2013
My pit bull LOVES this food. The taste they love, mostly meat and they know it! Don't hesitate to get it.
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on April 5, 2013
Our dogs love this food and we like the fact its REAL FOOD. It does not have a lot of grains and fillers
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on January 2, 2013
excellent product for your pet well worth the cost and cheapest prices found here on amazon.com my dogs have been on this for quite some time and they are healthy and fit as can be
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on December 19, 2012
This is a great food for my dogs. They enjoy eating it (more so than with any other food we have used). I feel confident in its ingredients and mix of nutrients. My dogs appear healthy and shed less as a result. I would recommend this food to anyone!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
I received a sample bag as a BzzAgent. I should first say that both of my dogs LOVED this food. They gobbled it up and didn't have any problems with digestion or itching, etc. I was happy to see that the first ingredient was real chicken. You can also compare your current dog food with Ideal Balance on this handy chart located here: [..] I am excited that the first ingredient is real chicken but I wish this product did not also contain chicken meal.
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