Consumer Complaints and Reviews
Sorry this is long, but the story has unfolded over the last 7+ months: My cats with inflammatory bowel disease had been doing very well on Hills prescription z/d canned food for over a year, when without any warning, Hills changed the formula of the food. Suddenly, the cans just said "improved formula" on them... With no forewarning that anything was about to change. I realized something was amiss when I opened the first can of a new case of this "improved formula" and a) it smelled horrible and b) the texture was weird, gloppy. I checked the date on the can to make sure it was not spoiled, and then realized it was an "improved formula". Fortunately, I still had several cans of the original formula available and I promptly opened up one of those cans and tried to transition my cats over a 7 day period to the "improved formula".
Unfortunately, the transition never worked out... Both cats began to have very loose stools and one cat began vomiting shortly after any attempt to eat. By the end of the transition period, both cats would sit at the food dish and cry for food, eat a few bites and walk away... Both still had very explosive loose stools tinged with blood and one cat was now also vomiting multiple times daily. After a few days of this, I called my vet who wanted to see the cat that had begun vomiting multiple times daily, right away. He received fluids, a b12 injection and an ultrasound. The doctor recommended that I discontinue feeding both cats this "improved formula" (which she was unaware of as well) immediately. My cats never ate another bite of the Hills "improved formula" prescription z/d, and have been thriving with zero incidents in the 7 months since I have transitioned them to a different diet.
After this incident, I posted a review on the Hills website. You must register to write a review, and Hills screens the reviews before they allow them to be posted, so they know exactly what is being posted. The first review I tried to post was not allowed for some reason, so I submitted a new review which was approved. Once the review was approved I received an email saying my review had been approved with a link to my review... I hit the link, and there it was. I noticed at that time that Hills was receiving numerous negative reviews for this "improved formula"... Many similar to mine above. Fast forward a few weeks, I went back to the Hills website out of curiosity to see if anything had changed, maybe they were changing the formula back. I was hoping for some good news in the reviews, thinking maybe I could switch my cats back to the diet because they really did so well on the original formula...
Anyway, I was stunned to find when I went back to the Hills website that they had removed my review along with at least a dozen other negative reviews. I was dumbfounded. What a questionable business practice, trying to deceive the public by removing numerous reviews that they had allowed to be posted, because the reviews clearly indicated that their customers disliked the "improved formula" by a wide margin. And finally, after I had taken my very sick cat to the vet to get him stabilized and we stopped feeding him the Hills prescription z/d canned food, I made a call to Hills to let them know what happened to my cat. They took a detailed report, and asked if I still had cans from the case, which I did, and I provided them with lot numbers, etc.
They asked detailed questions about the cats symptoms and asked if I thought my cats symptoms were related to the food... I told them, yes. They also asked if they could contact my vet, and I gave them permission, yet the last time I spoke with my vet said she has not been contacted by Hills. And finally, Hills offered me some coupons for my trouble. Really? My next stop is the FDA.
I have a pet sitting, dog walking business and I am constantly horrified at the number of people who feed "Science Diet" because their vets have told them this is a healthy diet for their cats/dogs. It doesn't take much to tell that the fillers and content in their products are NOT healthy and although cats and dogs can live on the food (like some people can live a lifetime on junk food) it undermines their general health and shortens their lifespan. The fact that vets get a kickback from Hills and Purina (a whole other story) is unconscionable. Vets traditionally know little about pet nutrition and it takes research to develop a knowledge of what is healthy or not. Corn is not. Carrageenan is not. Wheat is not. Chicken by-product meal, Brewers rice, and neither are preservatives.
I have a mixed tabby that is 4.5 years old. I've had him since he was a kitten and in his 4.5 years of life, he has never had a problem with allergies, foods, etc. In fact, he has never turned down any food and was a bit overweight the last time I went to my vet, so I was recommended to put him on the Hills Metabolic Diet in chicken flavor.
In 8 weeks, he developed severe urinary problems and was almost blocked when I took him back to the vet. He has never had a problem with urinary crystals and now he may need to be on special food the rest of his life because of this terrible experience. He has had no other change in health (he didn't even lose weight!) or environment. The only variable that changed was this food. I understand each cat may react differently to foods, but this was an incredibly dangerous situation and had I not been in tune with his behavior, it could have cost my cat his life. Pet owners, if you put your kitty on this food please be careful and watch them diligently!
I think it is good for our cats, but it is very $$$ and I can almost "never" get coupons for it, and I have to go to the vet or tractor sup to get it or go out of town over an hour drive to a PetSmart, or get online. "Again it would be nice to get coupons from time to time."
On 10-28-16 I contacted Customer Service at Hills Science Diet about the dry cat food that my cat has been on for a number of years. He has Irritable Bowel Disease and was put on the i/d Formula (dry and moist food). It had made a big difference in his bowel movements. He was not going as often and it made his stool firm instead of diarrhea. Several days prior to Oct 28 he was having diarrhea several times a day. I happened to notice, in small print, on the new bag of dry i/d "Improved Formula and New Kibble"... which is why I called Customer Service.
I was told that they had added a prebiotic to the formula and changed the kibble shape (these two things were all that was done). The shape and size of the kibble looked the same as the old. I was asked quite a few questions about my cat including breed, age, weight, reaction to food, etc. She said that when a customer calls in with a complaint about a new formula they document it and give it to the main office for review. She told me to see if I could get another bag of the "old" formula food and mix that with the new formula in order for him to adjust to it. I was able to get another bag of the "old" formula from my Vet but it made no difference. He continued to have severe diarrhea and was losing weight.
On 1-22-17 I decided to send an email to Hills Science Diet just to make a written complaint. I gave them the same info as above. I also told them that just because other pet food companies were either now adding a prebiotic or already had one in their food didn't mean that they had to follow. Their prescription foods are just that... a prescription. What I don't think they actually realize is that sometimes our pet's lives depend on this food! And by changing a PRESCRIPTION FOOD can mean the difference between life and death.
I did receive an email back from Hills on 1-23-17. It's labeled from Hills Corporate Consumer Affairs. They said: "Thank you for taking the time to send us your additional email. To maintain our leadership in nutritional health care for companion animals, we periodically make changes to product formulas to incorporate additional health or product design benefits. We are disappointed that the product did not meet your expectations. Comments from our consumers are one of the most important sources we have for measuring the quality and acceptance of our products and the services we provide. We appreciate that you took the time to contact us and share your feedback. We will be sharing your comments with our Quality Department. If we can be of assistance in the future, please let us know."
I then looked online for complaints about the new formula change. I was pretty shocked at how many I found. Normally I don't put much faith in reviews because I don't know if they are true or not. But this time I found that there were so many having the same types of problems as my kitty with the new formula. Unfortunately, I am STILL trying to find a food that will stop the diarrhea, weight loss and now vomiting. I have tried a few different types and brands with no luck. 1-29-17 he had to be hospitalized because he was vomiting blood, was dehydrated and had severe diarrhea.
I am extremely upset, worried and furious. I'm furious that a prescription food that worked so well was changed. I doubt that a medication could have an ingredient changed in it without first having trials done to be sure that there would be no problems. Why should a prescription food be treated differently?? Since my cat has been on a probiotic for at least two years now I would not have thought that a prebiotic added to the dry food would have made that much of a difference. It has though. My once healthy (being on the old formula i/d food) 15.5 pound Maine Coon cat is now 9.6 pounds and has severe diarrhea and vomiting.
I doubt that Hills Science Diet will even see this complaint and I certainly do not expect them to make a change in their formula, even though they can see how many other pets are suffering from this change. I feel like the only reason they changed their formula was to keep up with all of the other companies. They are a big enough company that it probably doesn't matter to them if a few hundred or thousand pets get sick, have to stop using their product or pass away. It certainly seems evident in the "form" email that they sent me.
Just in case someone from Hills does actually see this complaint, shame on you! I purchased your product because my cat depended on it. I'm sure that I am not the only consumer that had to make cuts elsewhere in the budget to be able to afford purchasing a food that I knew would keep my pet healthy. I am someone that considers my cat to be a part of my family. Paying for his hospitalization took everything that we had, which would NOT have happened if you did not change the formula. Watching my cat suffer because you decided to change a PRESCRIPTION is unbearable.
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My vet recommends the Hill's cat food. My 6 cats just love it. The kibbles are sized small enough for all ages. The cats do not eat as much as the lower priced foods making Hill's Science Diet a great deal for the money.
My cats are on the Hills Prescription k/d chicken flavored dry food. All 3 love it, but won't touch the seafood flavor. It's really expensive, $25 for a 3 lb bag. Also, they've been out of it for a month or so.
Both my cats have enjoyed the food. They always eat plenty of it but do not gorge and self on it. They have healthy coats and bowel movement. I have been very pleased with the result keeping the cost of the product in mind.
My vet recommended it. I have been feeding my cats this brand for 12+ years. I have been able to move to a different formula as my cats have aged and their needs changed. Their special formulas tend to be expensive so I do feel like they inflate the price. It is harder to find the specific formula I buy so I have turned to buying it online which is saving me money in the long run as I don't go to PetSmart as often and spend extra money. The company seems to rebrand/repackage quite a bit which can be confusing at times.
Science Hill brand has various foods for various issues your darling cat(s) may have and that's what I like and my 3 cats love about it. It is a 100% quality product for sure. I just wish the price were a little less and also that they made a 32/34 or 36/pack set. Overall, it's an A+ product.
Hills changed their formula for their z/d canned cat food a couple months ago and our cats will not eat it. We have a special needs kitty that requires this special formula so our other two cats eat it as well. They LOVED the old formula and I've wiped out the shelves that still carried it. They will not touch the new formula and I had to return many cans to Pet Smart. Now I'm out and I don't know what to do!
After eating T/D Science Diet one of my male cats became very ill. I noticed he wasn't behaving like himself but he had just been to the vet for a regular visit in the past few days. I started feeding him T/D Science Diet. I thought he was stressed from the vet visit that was just a routine checkup. Approximately seven to ten days later he was vomiting, no bowel movements, abnormal vocalizations, dehydrated, and lethargic. I rushed him to an emergency vet hospital to find that he was constipated to point of obstruction/impaction.
They performed an enema which did not work, gave him fluids, and he was brought to his vet during the day for another enema which did not work again. The next day he was in surgery for a procedure to get rid of the impaction and stayed with the vet hospital for a day and night... Thank God they were able to help him. He could have died. Apparently if cats don't eat for a few days their livers can start to fail. I have paid approximately $4000.00 to help my cat regain his health just from veterinary care from this incident. I am very upset over this.
Two of my other cats started vomiting today. OMG!!! are you kidding. I had Hills mixed with their regular dry cat food to try break them in slowly. Not realizing it was the food until I started reading different reviews. All of Hills' Science Diet has been thrown out. I have saved the bags because I am going to try and get my money back. So far the two cats today seem ok. I am going to take them to the vet if they show any other signs of being sick. Hills brands themselves as doing what is best for our feline friends. Your ingredients are not so... Check them out. What is making them so sick? Hills should be held accountable.
I don't usually take the time out of my packed day so that I can post online, but I am frustrated with all of this "Hill's bashing"! We have MULTIPLE cats (and I have a BS in Human Nutrition) and will ONLY feed Hill's products to our cats. While I do not discount people's pain when they have sick animals, I do want to post a voice of reason. Don't trust all of these terrible posts as valid/legit - they are mostly/probably competitors who want to damage this company (P.S. Happens in Washington all the time! Big PR agencies are hired to "hurt the opposition"). Our rescues have longer fur, are healthy (one is a senior) and have been eating Hill's Ideal Balance and also Prescription Diets for YEARS! They are the GOLD STANDARD - and others do not even come close to the high quality of Hill's foods. Ask your Vet what THEY feed their animals - and then decide for yourself!
I noticed recently the consistency of the food changed dramatically and can even vary case to case. Then I noticed the "improved formula" on the label. All of which explains the reaction of my 11 year old cat who has been on the original for 9 years. What a relief at that time to finally find a food she could digest without chronic diarrhea and vomiting. This change in formula has put us back at the starting gate. I'm sure there are others feeling the same effects. I purchase my food from Chewy.com and will be sending them a similar complaint.
Our sweet Simba was diagnosed with urinary crystals 2 years ago. I had read a lot about cat diets and was not on board with the idea of a medicated food, but after his 2nd bout with the crystals we had to follow the vet's advice and give the Hill's prescription food a try. It did seem to help with the crystals, but after a year now, he suddenly slowed his eating of it. He was on the dry food. He had over the past months had more and more frequent episodes of vomiting. Sometimes hairballs, but other times not.
A week ago I started a new bag of C/d cat food. He wouldn't eat it at all. He again was vomiting horribly for over a day. He began to drink a lot of water and pee a lot. I took him to the vet. She gave him a shot for his nausea but it seemed to make him much worse. The next night we were in the Animal referral center (only place open 24 hours a day)... he could barely walk, had twitching, it was awful. His blood work showed all sorts of issues. Why the vet didn't test these things the day before I don't know.
To my horror we had to make the decision to put him down. The vet felt he only had a 20% chance to make it. I miss him so. But I requested a copy of the blood work results. I was looking at them and a lot points to kidney failure. I researched that and found that the symptoms for that are also similar in diabetes... YIKES! Well, the one thing that stood out was the reading for his glucose. For a cat that hadn't had food in 4 days, it was high at 254... normal was 74 to 159.
Now I have to wonder if the C/d food caused all this. Did the new food make him acutely diabetic and the vets missed that? It is too late to bring him back, but I do want to warn others. This food might not be such a good idea if you want your cat to have a full happy life. Our Simba was only 5 years old. To create a food that fixes one health issue but creates others is a recipe for disaster. Obviously there is a lot of $ behind why the foods are sold by veterinary offices. I feel cheated of a beautiful furry friend whose life was cut short. I would not recommend this food to anyone for their cats.
So I'm going to vent here. I tried to send an email but the webpage "isn't working". I am SO very tired by animal food companies messing with the food. NEW AND IMPROVED my foot! I USED to have three cats. Now I have two. My oldest was diagnosed with IBD 5 years ago. I never could get him on to any food that would stop his vomiting. I finally had to let him go last week. Now my other two cats. One was put on to Science Diet Z/D canned and dry because she's starting to have an issue with several foods (don't ask, but understand I literally have tried EVERY food out there... Don't believe me? Then ask and I'll send you the list.) On the Z/D she has now cleaned her entire belly from mid waist to between her legs of any and all fur. It is red with scabs. And she's terribly bloated.
I noticed that between the last flat of canned food and this new one, that the label had changed. "Improved Taste". Nope. I opened a new can with the new label. The food went from being a solid gelatinous food (like jello) to a very liquid pudding. DISGUSTING. What is it with you food people??? ** leave the food alone. I'm exhausted. I'm drained physically, mentally and FINANCIALLY from dealing with sick cats.
Hill's Science Diet cat food causes obesity and diabetes. If you don't believe me, read the rest of the reviews! I've had issues with Hill's Science Diet Cat food in the past. I had another cat that I adored die from diabetes and he was fed Science Diet. I thought at the time that it was just something that happened. 12 years later I'm here again but with 3 cats. They eat it and either throw it up and don't seem to not be able to get enough. My cats are fed at certain times and get wet food as well. This is worse than the cheap cat food. I've switched to a better brand that hopefully can reverse what Hill's Cat Food has done to them. This is poison. Please spend more or even get cheap brands. Your pet will pay dearly if you don't. Poison. Complete poison. I'm so mad I can't see straight. You need fed this crap.
I have used Science Diet Original for over 15 years including when I ran a cat shelter. It was expensive yes but the health of the animals was worth it. It was the only thing I would buy my cats and it kept them healthy. I'm not sure what happened. You switched bags and decreased the amount in the bag and apparently changed the formula. I would have lived though unhappy with the new bag and decreased amount but the new formula is making my cats sick. My cats would only eat some when starving and throw up when they do. Their fur is rough and unhealthy. I have had to switch to another cat food for them to be okay. There is no point in spending the kind of money that your product costs anymore though I have done so in good faith for many years to the betterment of my pets. Why did you try to fix something that wasn't broken?
I recently bought the Original formula, I noticed my cats stopped eating a lot of it. I got a different bag, the one for cats 1-6. HATED THAT ONE SO MUCH that they only ate enough to survive. Switched back to Original (the whole time I thought I was getting the wrong bag) No! I got the correct one.. they hate this stuff. Both cats hate this newer formula. I also noticed that the bag got smaller by 3 pounds and the new seal close strip does not work well, it keeps coming open and the price is really expensive and it feels like I am getting ripped off!! We were LOYAL SD eaters for 7 years, I am no longer going to purchase Science Diet. Why did you ruin the food? You lost another 2 cat family purchase!
My six year old cat developed a urinary blockage and it was suggested to use Hills CD. I used the wet food and then tried the dry CD for cats. My cat started losing weight/vomiting and was generally tired. He developed diabetes. His blood sugar was 555. Normal for cats is 104-240 I think. I just happened to look at the ingredients on the CD dry food and it had 35% carbs!!! My research began and found out cats should NOT be eating carbs as they are strictly carnivores. Long story short, I feed him a pure meat diet from a cat food you cannot find in the box stores. No more diabetes! It's been 5 months now and I still check his sugar once a month. No problems at all. His blood sugar is normal! He had tremendous energy and his coat is soooo silky. I blame Hill's Science Diet for this. What a racket!
My vet told me 3 cats were overweight (2 were 15 and one is 16 years old) and they put them on this Hills metabolic feline food. They were only on the food for about a year and now one is diabetic and the other has an inflamed pancreas and has to take steroid medication for it. It has now cost me well over $3000 for all the procedures for the 2. Today they are not overweight, but the other one who didn't get affected by the food still is overweight. I do not think it is coincidental that 2 out of the 3 cats are now sick with similar illnesses. They are now off the food for about 8 months and are getting better, slowly. Their food is Go Fit and Free and a permanent diet of home grown barley grass for the enzymes, but they are still sick. Can someone please tell them to do more research on this prescription diet? I am hoping they will survive this. :(
I have been using the Hills Science Diet Cat t/d cat food for ten years now, but in the past two years I have noticed a strong odor that smells like cow manure or some other form of waste when opening the bag. In the meantime, I began to look for other foods to feed my cats. My one cat would only eat the t/d so I continued to purchase, as the odor has not always been consistent until this last year and most recently in September 2015. The odor was so bad that I threw the food away. I contacted my vet to report the food and so they became aware of this issue if any animals became ill. I also contacted Hills but my complaint was not addressed. They only sent a form email back to me. In addition, I reported my experience to the FDA. And I encourage other people to do so as well. It would be awful if any cats became ill or fatally ill after ingesting this food. Thankfully, my cats are well and no longer eat this food.
I always use Hills Science Diet dry food and my cats love it except for the low fat variety! I had to give up using their canned food because there was no variety, sometimes it was so runny it was like liquid and the price is exorbitant. I changed to fancy feast.
Hills has the best dry food for hairball control. However, our cat gets tired of it periodically and we have to augment it with something else. All in all, it's a good brand.
I used Hill's Science diet both canned and dry food for the last 30 years and have not had a problem. They make excellent cat food. The problem now is the cost. I can no longer afford their prices so I have now switched to the Costco Kirkland brand for their dry food and Friskies canned food... just so much cheaper. So far so good. The cats seem to be doing OK.
I feed Hill's Science Diet Indoor cat and have had no issues. My kitten also ate this brand kitten food. Love it! I am a very loyal Science Diet fan. I have researched pet nutrition and feel that Hill's is a good, reliable company that cares about pets and provides a product that you can really trust.
Hills Prescription Metabolism Diet for Cats. I started feeding both my cats this product hoping they would shed a few pounds. For the first two month, I did see some weight coming off. However, my male cat started struggling with his bowel movements. There would only be one or two pieces, and they looked like cement. I talked to my vet, and he gave me some laxative type home remedies (canned pumpkin, wet food), I ran up to the grocery store and purchased a smaller bag of Iams for weight management. I hope this and the wet food will help his system get back to normal.
This is a well made product with few, if any, recalls. It is healthy for my cats, they like it and have never had an adverse reaction to the product.
My cat of 2 years old recently got crystals in his urine and had to get unblocked, so the vet told me to only feed him the Feline CD food to help prevent this from happening again. Anyway, my cat would vomit violently after even eating a few bites of the dry food. Then I tried the wet food, same thing. This went on for a few days and I finally switched him back to his old Blue Buffalo and like magic, he stopped vomiting. I've ordered the prescription formula dry food from another company and will see what happens, but in this case it was clearly the food! Either Hills Science is toxic garbage, or he's allergic to something in it, but my story sounds very similar to what others are writing here! I will NEVER use Science Diet again.
Our 2-year old cat has been on Science Diet since a kitten. 2 weeks ago he started with diarrhea and became very sluggish (he is very active). We notice he was not eating out of his feeder and would meow more for his "Treat" which is half spoon of wet food. We purchased Blue and placed a bowl of the Science next to it. He went straight to the Blue. Whatever change was made in the Science did not agree with his system and he knows it.
Dr. Ken Tudor Pet Food Contributing Editor
A recognized expert and leader in pet nutrition, Dr. Ken Tudor has written over 200 articles on the subject. He also has a featured weekly blog on petMD, is published in major veterinary journals and is a frequent internet media guest expert. He is the founder of Hearthstone Homemade, a recipe and supplement program for pet parents wishing to feed nutritious homemade dog food.
about Dr. Ken Tudor→
The Hills family of pet foods always makes the list when discussing premium options, in large part due to their unique formulas and prescription options.
- Prescription food available: Hills makes prescription formulas to address health issues such as skin conditions, kidney disease and many other problems.
- Wet or dry formulas: Since both types of food have their advantages, Hills offers both.
- Jumbo can sizes: Wet food gets expensive, so Hills offers a jumbo can that is more cost-effective.
- Special formulas for non-prescription problems: Hills formulas address a variety of dietary needs, including kitten development and weight control.
- Created by vets: All Hills’ products are formulated by veterinarians to ensure the best and healthiest recipes are available for cats of all ages and breeds.
- Best for Active kittens, picky cats, inactive cats and cats with medical problems.
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