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Author Jessica White
Jessica White Writer
Updated on May 23rd, 2024
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Royal Canin vs. Hill’s Science 2024: Best Brand?

Choosing between pet food brands like Royal Canin and Hill's Science Diet can be tough. Each offers unique benefits tailored to specific pet needs. Both brands are well-regarded for their scientific approach to pet nutrition, but nuances in their offerings make each unique.

I've taken the time to research both brands extensively, examining everything from ingredient quality and product range to cost-effectiveness and more. This comprehensive analysis aims to provide you with clear, well-rounded insights into what each brand has to offer, helping you make an informed decision on which might be the better choice for your pets.

Ultimately, my research indicates that Royal Canin edges out as the winner. Keep reading to discover why Royal Canin took the top spot and how Hill's Science Diet might still be the preferable choice for some pet owners, depending on specific circumstances and needs.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

It’s a tie

🍗 Ingredient Quality:

Royal Canin

🍴 Recipes

Hill’s Science

📦Packaging and Eco-Friendliness

Royal Canin

⏰ Meal Prep

It’s a tie

👍 Ordering and Delivery:

Royal Canin

👑 Overall Winner:

Royal Canin

Ingredient Quality

Winner: Royal Canin

Royal Canin emerges as the winner in the ingredient quality section. This is largely due to its scientifically formulated recipes developed by veterinarians since its founding in 1968. Royal Canin focuses on tailored nutrition that meets specific health needs, using a mix of meat meals and by-products that are declared suitable for human consumption. 

Screenshot of Royal Canin's page detailing supplier selection and traceable ingredients

While not claiming its ingredients to be human-grade, Royal Canin meets the nutritional standards set by the AAFCO and avoids artificial flavors, although some diets may include common allergens like corn and wheat. 

The brand's manufacturing processes use both dry and wet formulation methods. This ensures a consistent and quality product that caters to various dietary requirements, from kidney health to muscle maintenance.

Image of 2 Royal Canin products in dry and wet textures

In comparison, Hill's also maintains a strong commitment to high-quality ingredients that meet AAFCO guidelines and focuses on the health benefits of its foods, which include essential nutrients. 

Like Royal Canin, Hill's uses by-products in some of its formulas and offers recipes free from common allergens for pets with sensitivities. Hill's foods vary in protein content to cater to different health needs and life stages and are developed by a team of veterinarians and pet nutritionists who ensure each product meets specific dietary requirements.

Screenshot of Hill's allergen friendly cat meals

Both companies have faced recalls. Notably, Hill’s underwent a significant recall in 2019 due to toxic levels of Vitamin D, which had severe consequences. This incident underscores the critical nature of maintaining high standards and continuous monitoring in pet food production.

Meals and Customization

Winner: Hill’s Science on Chewy

Hill's narrowly takes the win in this round. This is due to its extensive variety of meal types and specialized dietary options. Offering wet, dry, stews, and pouches, Hill’s caters to a broader array of additional needs, including grain-free diets and meals free from corn, wheat, or soy.

Both Hill’s and Royal Canin provide a vast selection of meals tailored to various breeds, sizes, and ages of pets. Hill’s features over 90 options for dogs, as well as more than 70 prescription products and over 80 products for cats. 

 Screenshot of Hill's products with filters for health category and additional needs

Hill’s offers 2 brands of products. Hill’s Science Diet targets pets in various life stages, from puppies and kittens to adults and seniors, and is tailored to meet the nutritional requirements appropriate for their age, size, and sensitivity. 

Hill's Prescription Diet, on the other hand, is specifically developed to address specific medical conditions or therapeutic needs in pets. These diets support pets with health issues such as renal disease, urinary tract conditions, mobility problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and obesity management, among others. 

Similarly, Royal Canin offers specialized products that address breed-specific and age-specific needs, with 110 dog products focusing on issues such as weight management and joint support and over 50 cat items designed for concerns like urinary support and hairballs.  Screenshot of Royal Canin's dog pet food range

Royal Canin's veterinary diet range includes more than 75 meals and treats for dogs and over 40 for cats. These products support diagnosed medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney support, and dental hygiene. They are only available by prescription.

Both companies have a questionnaire to help you find the best food formulation for your pet, but they differ slightly in their approach. Royal Canin provides a Pet Food Finder tool and includes filters for food texture, age, breed, specific needs, and more, aiding in the personalized selection process. 

Hill's, however, offers a more in-depth questionnaire that covers a broader range of specific health needs and issues, supplemented by filters for product type, life stage, health category, and innovative food technologies aimed at supporting the pet’s gut microbiome. 

Ordering and Delivery

Winner: Royal Canin

Royal Canin takes the lead in the ordering and delivery section. This is due to its convenient direct ordering system on its website. Customers can easily create an account to order online, choose from a wide array of products, and find nearby retail locations using the website's store locator feature. 

Popup from Royal Canin's store with options for where to buy its products online and a searchable map

For added convenience, Royal Canin offers a subscription option where customers can save 5% on their orders, which can be scheduled for delivery every 1 to 12 weeks. Orders are shipped via FedEx, and subscription orders can be adjusted, paused, or skipped directly in your account 2 days before your next scheduled shipment. 

In contrast, Hill's ordering process varies depending on the product line. Prescription diets from Hill’s are only available through veterinarians or with a prescription at online retailers. Hill's Science Diet products are accessible through various online retailers, like Chewy, as well as selected pet stores.

Screenshot of Chewy's website with the search results for Hill's Science Diet

Both companies require veterinary approval for their prescription and veterinary diet products, reflecting the specialized nature of these foods intended for pets with specific health needs. This system ensures that all pets receive a diet that is not only nutritionally beneficial but also appropriate for any health conditions they may have, under the guidance of a professional.


Winner: Royal Canin

Royal Canin is the winner of the unboxing comparison. This is due to its effective combination of practical and eco-conscious packaging. Deliveries typically arrive in sturdy boxes, ensuring the products are secure and undamaged upon arrival.

Royal Canin's packaging includes detailed storage instructions, ensuring optimal freshness and safety. Dry foods are recommended to be stored in their original bags, which are often resealable to maintain freshness. 

If the bag is not resealable, the use of an airtight container is suggested to preserve the food's quality over time. Wet foods, once opened, should be covered and refrigerated, with recommendations to use within 48 hours to ensure freshness.  Image of Royal Canin's canned cat food next to an open pouch of dry pet food

Royal Canin also provides a unique eco-friendly aspect to its packaging through a partnership with TerraCycle, allowing pet owners to send in their non-recyclable pet food bags for free recycling, thus contributing to environmental sustainability.

In comparison, Hill’s also provides clear labeling and adequate storage instructions, with dry foods recommended to be stored off the floor in a cool, dry environment and canned foods to be kept at a moderate temperature and refrigerated once opened. 

However, Hill’s recyclability options are more limited, focusing mainly on cans and cardboard, with plans to expand recyclable packaging in the future. This gives Royal Canin an edge with its more immediate and comprehensive recycling solutions and detailed guidance on maintaining food quality after opening.

Meal Prep

Winner: It’s a tie

In the meal prep comparison between Royal Canin and Hill's, it’s a tie. Both brands provide comprehensive guidelines to ensure proper nutrition tailored to specific pet needs, though they approach meal preparation slightly differently.

Royal Canin’s pet foods do not come pre-portioned, giving pet owners the flexibility to adjust meal sizes according to their pet’s specific dietary needs. Each package comes with detailed feeding guidelines based on the pet’s age, size, and weight. 

Image of feeding guideline charts from Royal Canin and Hill's

These guidelines are designed to help pet owners determine the correct daily food amount, which is recommended to be divided into at least 2 or 3 meals throughout the day. The preparation process is straightforward; using a measuring cup or scale can ensure that pets receive the precise amount needed for their health.

Similarly, Hill's products come with a feeding guide on each package, which serves as a starting point for portioning meals. However, it's recommended that you adjust the portions based on your veterinarian's advice, especially if your pet has specific health needs. 


Winner: It’s a tie

In this round of pricing comparisons, it's a tie between Royal Canin and Hill’s. Both offer competitive pricing structures and incentives that make a direct comparison challenging.

Royal Canin provides free shipping with no minimum purchase required. To give you some idea of prices, a 10 lb bag of Shih Tzu food is priced at $61.99, while a 30 lb bag of food for a Rottweiler costs $109.99. You can also use our special discount code: Save 15% on your first auto-ship purchase. Enter SAVE15 at checkout.

Additionally, you can save 5% on all products by setting up a Royal Canin subscription. Prices may vary when purchasing from other online retailers or local stores, so it's advisable to shop around for the best deals. Royal Canin also offers a 100% palatability guarantee with options for a replacement or refund if your pet does not take to the food.

 Screenshot of Royal Canin's account homepage

Hill’s offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back on its products. This guarantee applies to purchases from authorized retailers, where the unused portion can be returned for a full refund or replacement if not satisfactory. 

To give you an idea of prices for Hill’s on Chewy, a 15.5 lb bag of Small and Mini dry dog food costs $57.99 and a 33 lb bag of Large Adult Breed dry food costs $81.99. Our discount code is also available for extra savings: Save 35% On Your First Order

Although Hill’s is slightly more affordable overall, it's still best to shop around for current prices and extra deals.

Royal Canin vs. Hill’s Science Diet – Quick Overview

Royal Canin

Hill’s Science on Chewy

Best for

Breed, size, and health-specific dog and cat food

Dog and cat food for different needs

Starting price

$4.00/lb for dry food


Shipping cost


Free over $49 on Chewy


Autoship every 1-12 weeks

Set autoship frequency


200+ choices

200+ choices

Meal storage

Keep wet food refrigerated and use within 1-2 days

Keep dry foods cool and wet food in the fridge for up to 5 days

Are meals pre-portioned?



Ingredient quality

Human-grade meats used, locally sourced

Meets AAFCO guidelines


Artificial colors and preservatives

Some recipes free from wheat, corn, soy

Customizable based on:

Weight, breed, health, food texture, size, age, activity level

Weight, age, health, allergies, activity level


Yes, in 2006 (excess vitamin D) and 2007 (melamine)

Yes, in 2014, 2015, and 2019 (excess vitamin D) 

Money back guarantee?

Yes, palatability guarantee

Yes if unused portion returned 

Current deal

Save 15% on your first auto-ship purchase. Enter SAVE15 at checkout.

Save 35% On Your First Order

And The Winner Is: Royal Canin

Royal Canin stands out as the winner of this comparison. It offers a wide array of breed-specific and health-specific diets, making it the top choice for pets with particular dietary needs. This allows every pet, from a tiny Chihuahua to a towering Great Dane, to receive a diet tailored to their specific health requirements, from joint health to heart health.

Its detailed feeding guidelines help you ensure your pets receive the right amount of food, tailored to their size, age, and health needs, helping prevent issues like obesity or malnutrition.

The convenience of purchasing Royal Canin is another significant advantage. You can directly order from its website, with options for subscriptions, so you never run out of food. Its commitment to sustainability is evident in its partnership with TerraCycle, which allows for the recycling of pet food bags, appealing to eco-conscious consumers.

However, Hill’s remains a strong choice for many customers. Its offerings, particularly in the Prescription Diet line, are highly regarded for effectively addressing specific health issues through clinically proven diets. 

If you’re looking for even more convenience and personalization in your pet's diet, explore our list of the top healthy dog meal delivery services. These offer meals that are customized to meet the specific nutritional needs of your pet, based on factors like breed, age, activity level, and health conditions. 


Is Royal Canin better than Hill’s?

It depends on your pet's specific needs. Royal Canin generally offers more specialized diets tailored to particular breeds, sizes, and health conditions, which can be particularly beneficial for pets with unique dietary requirements. However, Hill's Science Diet is also highly regarded, especially for its clinically proven benefits in addressing health issues through diet.

Are Hill’s and Royal Canin the same company?

No, Hill's and Royal Canin are not the same company. Royal Canin was founded in France in 1968 and is now part of the Mars, Inc. portfolio. Hill's Pet Nutrition started under the guidance of Dr. Mark L. Morris Sr., a veterinarian, and is a subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive.

Is Royal Canin better than other dog food?

Royal Canin is considered one of the top brands in the pet food industry, especially for its precise and scientifically formulated recipes that cater to specific dietary needs. However, whether it is the "best" can vary based on individual pet needs, preferences, and how well a particular formula manages specific health conditions.

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We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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