The Daily Growl recently paid a visit to Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s headquarters in Topeka, Kansas. Hill’s was started in 1939 when veterinarian Dr. Mark L. Morris Sr. had the visionary idea that one could use diet to control disease in animals. A young blind man named Morris Frank asked Dr. Morris if anything could be done to save his beloved guide dog, Buddy, who was suffering from kidney failure. Dr. Morris placed Buddy on a pet food he had specially formulated to help dogs with kidney disease. Buddy responded wonderfully to his new diet and lived to continue working with Morris Frank for many more years.
The result of Dr. Morris’ effort was the nutritional formula that would become the first Hill’s Prescription Diet product, Canine k/d, the first pet food in the world that was designed to therapeutically manage dogs with kidney disease. His success encouraged Dr. Morris to study the beneficial effects of dietary management of other dog and cat diseases. His innovative work led to the creation of the entire science of clinical nutrition and also started Hill’s Prescription Diet brand pet food, a line that now includes more than 80 Prescription Diet brand and more than 90 Science Diet brand pet foods. These products help nutritionally manage pets with a variety of disease conditions from urinary stones and food allergies to heart disease and cancer.
Using extensive, cutting-edge clinical research, Hill’s scientific team continuously develops new and improved pet foods. On my tour, I was able to meet several of Hill’s more than 150 veterinarians, nutritionists, and food scientists. I could tell immediately that each of them genuinely and passionately believes in the company’s mission, to give pets the absolute best nutrition with the highest quality pet food available.
I have launched pet food brands in the past, so I know pretty well what goes into it. But what I saw and learned at Hill’s exceeded all my expectations. They only use ingredients that meet the highest standards for quality and safety. They vigorously track their products by batch and ingredients. Their food suppliers must meet stringent audit requirements and when the ingredients arrive at a Hill’s facility, they are each analyzed in a chemistry lab for purity and nutrient content. Throughout the entire manufacturing process, quality checks are performed to ensure consistency. The company puts safety first at every step. For example, at the global canning facility in Topeka, more than five million quality checks are performed each year.
They also perform extensive taste tests on each of their products and change the formulas accordingly. I mean, what good is a healthy pet food if your pet won’t eat it? They only use non-invasive, humane research methods and conduct many of their tastes tests in the pet’s own home. And they never participate in studies that jeopardize the health of dogs or cats.
Their high ethical standards extend to their commitment to caring for pets that are homeless and living in animal shelters. Since 2002, The Hill’s Shelter Nutrition Partnership, the largest company-sponsored shelter support program in the industry, has donated more than $180 million worth of Science Diet brand foods to more than 1,000 shelters nationwide. Animals sometimes come to a shelter in an unhealthy state– emaciated or in poor overall health. By feeding these special pets Science Diet pet food, they are able to regain good health and vitality which makes them more likely to be adopted by a loving family.
So if you think of Hill’s products as just another brand on the shelf, think again. I came away from the tour with a completely different view of the company, their corporate culture and their products. They seem truly devoted to creating healthy, happy pets through continuous nutritional research and innovation. And if that weren’t enough, they back their products up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee: high quality ingredients, exceptional nutrition and great taste… or your money back! It’s not surprising that veterinarians all over the world recommend and feed their own pets Hill’s products more than any other brand of pet food.
I can’t recommend this excellent company highly enough.