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Authority Dog Food vs. Hill’s Science Diet: Our 2023 Comparison

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland


Choosing the right dog food for your pup can be overwhelming, given the multitude of options. If you’ve narrowed your choices down to Authority Dog Food and Hill’s Science Diet but aren’t sure which one is best, we’re here to do a bit of comparing and contrasting.

Authority Dog Food is a PetSmart brand of pet food that is primarily sold through its stores and website, but a few of the products can also be found on Amazon. Hill’s Science Diet has been around for a long time and is known for assisting pets with medical issues and is widely available through multiple sources.

Here, we look at both brands in detail and compare everything from the manufacturing process to the customer service and how these brands stack up nutritionally. This way, you can make an informed purchase and pick out the best food for your pet.

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A Quick Comparison

Brand name Authority Dog Food Hill’s Science Diet
Established 1995 1968
Headquarters Phoenix, Arizona Topeka, Kansas
Product lines
  • Everyday Health
  • Solutions
  • Targeting Solutions
  • Prescription Diet
  • Healthy Advantage
  • Science Diet
Parent company PetSmart Colgate-Palmolive Company

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Brief History

Authority Dog Food

PetSmart was founded in 1986 and is one of the top pet store chains in North America. PetSmart currently has about 1,500 stores across Canada and the U.S. It sells everything from toys, beds, and grooming supplies. It also carries various pet foods and in 1995, developed its own brand, Authority, in collaboration with nutritionists and veterinarians. It offers dry and wet food for dogs of all life stages and sizes, along with specialized food for dogs with sensitive skin and tummies. Cat food and treats are also available.

Its food and treats are veterinarian recommended and feature recipes with no added colors, preservatives, or flavors and with real meat as the main ingredient.

boston terrier eating dog food
Image Credit: Jaja Fekiacova, Shutterstock

Hill’s Science Diet

The concept of Hill’s Science Diet all started in the 1930s, when Morris Frank’s seeing-eye dog was diagnosed with kidney failure. He consulted with Dr. Mark Morris, Sr., who thought that the illness was due to poor diet and created a new pet food in his kitchen, which was the predecessor to today’s Hills Prescription Diet k/d for dogs with renal failure.

In 1948, Dr. Morris partnered with Burton Hill, who owned a packing company and eventually turned into Hill’s Pet Nutrition, starting with the k/d formula. In 1968, Hill’s Science Diet was made available to veterinarians and other professionals working with pets.

Hill’s has since expanded to more than 300 pet food products for dogs and cats and is designed for many medical conditions, life stages, and breed sizes.

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Authority Dog Food

PetSmart has its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, and Authority Dog Food is manufactured in the U.S. It isn’t clear exactly where the food is manufactured, but Simmons Foods does produce Authority for PetSmart.

Simmons Foods is a large processing company that manufactures everything from KFC to Rachel Ray’s Nutrish dog food line. Several manufacturing locations can be found across North America.

Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s main research center is located in Topeka, Kansas. It also has manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Topeka, Kansas; Bowling Green, Kentucky; Emporia, Kansas; and Richmond, Indiana.

Hill’s products are supplied in more than 80 countries and have additional major warehousing and manufacturing locations in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

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Authority Dog Food Product Line

Authority Pet Food has three main product lines.

Authority Everyday Health

Authority Tender Blends Dry Dog Food (Chicken & Rice)

Authority Everyday Health has the most available products, including canned and dry food, some of which are grain free but are geared for overall general health.

Authority Solutions

Authority Sensitive Stomach + Skin Dry Dog Food

Authority Solutions is the second-largest product line that targets issues that some dogs might have. This includes food for dogs with sensitive stomachs and skin and for weight control and urinary tract care, to name a few conditions.

Authority Targeted Solutions

Authority Skin, Coat & Digestive Health Fish & Potato Formula

Authority Targeted Solutions is a small line that currently offers treats for dogs and has skin, coat, and digestive health dry and wet food.

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Hill’s Science Diet Product Line

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has many products, which isn’t surprising, given how long it’s been around and how popular the food is. Still, it all comes down to three main product lines.

Hill’s Prescription Diet

Hill's Prescription Diet Heart Care dog food

Hill’s Prescription Diet is a line of dog food with various formulas that address a specific medical condition. These include:

  • Skin care
  • Digestive care
  • Dental care
  • Weight management
  • Urinary care
  • Kidney care

The food is clinically tested and developed by veterinarians and Ph.D. nutritionists, and you can only purchase it with a prescription from your own vet.

Hill’s Healthy Advantage

Hill's Healthy Advantage Dry Dog Food

Healthy Advantage has been formulated to provide five essential health benefits for your dog and is only available through your veterinarian.

It includes food for:

  • Puppies
  • Large breed puppies
  • Adult dogs
  • Adult small dogs
  • Adult oral health

Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Chicken Meal, Barley & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science Diet is the largest line of pet products, designed to meet the needs of dogs of all life stages and address certain health conditions. It’s readily available online and in most pet stores.

Science Diet can be for dogs with weight issues or that need digestive or joint support, for example. It’s meant to support the health and general wellness of pets.

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With respect to pricing, Authority Dog Food is cheaper than Hill’s Science Diet. That said, both foods are similar in that they have a variety of recipes that are designed for the general health of pets and that have been formulated by veterinarians and nutritionists.

Authority Dog Food

Authority Dog Food prices are straight across the board. There aren’t any budget or premium products that enable you to pay less to help with the budget or pay more for high-quality food. In general, though, the price of Authority is affordable, so it can work with most budgets.

Hill’s Science Diet

Science Diet is more expensive than Authority and many other brands. Still, it’s important to note that Hill’s has been in the dog food game for a long time, and like Authority, the prices are about the same for all Science Diet dog food. There aren’t budget or high-premium choices, which you wouldn’t necessarily want in dog food specific to individual dogs, anyway. For example, you don’t want to feed small breed food to your large breed dog just because it’s a bit cheaper.

Wet and dry pet food. Cat or dog pate on old table. Top view
Image Credit: Jiri Hera, Shutterstock


Hill’s Science Diet sells its products through authorized online and brick-and-mortar pet stores, and it has a specific guarantee. Authority sells primarily through PetSmart, so returns depend on where you purchased the food.

Authority Dog Food

The PetSmart return policy has specific rules. If you bought it online, you can return the product to a PetSmart store in its original packaging, but you’ll only receive a reimbursement for the purchase price, not the shipping and handling. You can also pack the food and return it by mail, but you’ll need to pay for the shipping.

If you purchased the food via a PetSmart store, you just need to return it to the store in the original packaging. You’ll need your receipt and return it within 60 days of purchase. You can receive a refund or do an exchange.

Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and it expects any vendor to uphold that by refunding your purchase fully. If the retailer doesn’t meet your expectations, you can contact Hill’s directly for a refund or replacement. However, this won’t be the case if the food was purchased from an unauthorized seller.

If you’re dealing only with Hill’s for returning the food, it will ask you to ship back the unused food, but you’ll be responsible for the shipping charges.

caucasian shepherd puppy dog eating food from a metal bowl
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

Customer Service

Both PetSmart and Hill’s have multiple ways for you to get in touch when necessary. Each company is responsive to its customers’ needs, so here’s how the customer service works.

Authority Dog Food

Since Authority is a PetSmart product, you’ll need to deal with PetSmart with any questions or concerns. You can call a store directly if it’s a question about what it carries or regarding refund issues. Otherwise, you can call the main number and speak to a representative from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST, 7 days a week.

You can also use an online form to fill in your name, email, and phone number with any comments or questions that you may have.

Hill’s Science Diet

Hill’s Pet Nutrition provides a few options for contact. Like PetSmart, you can send a message through its website, but you can also send a letter through snail mail.

You can call the toll-free number from anywhere in North America from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday. You also have access to a chat with a live agent through its website.

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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Large Breed Chicken & Barley vs. Authority Everyday Health Large Breed Adult Chicken

Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed is made for large breed dogs between the ages of 1 and 5 years and weighing 55 to 110 pounds or giant breeds ages 1 to 4 and weighing more than 110 pounds. It contains high-quality protein and natural sources of chondroitin and glucosamine for joint health and omega-6 and vitamin E to maintain skin and coat health.

Authority Everyday Health Large Breed is meant for large-breed adult dogs. It contains similar ingredients, including glucosamine and chondroitin for joints and omega-3 and -6 for coat and skin health.

Our Verdict: The edge goes to Hill’s dog food primarily because the kibble size is larger than Authority’s, which is more suitable for large dogs.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Chicken & Barley vs. Authority Everyday Health Adult Chicken

Hill’s Science Diet Adult is food designed for dogs aged 1 to 6 years and contains high-quality protein to help support dogs in their prime. It has natural fibers to aid healthy digestion and omega-6 and vitamin E for a healthy coat.

Authority Everyday Health Adult is for dogs 1 to 7 years old and includes omega-3 and -6 fatty acids in addition to vitamin E, zinc, and selenium for the immune system. Prebiotics and natural fiber help digestion health, and the kibble helps reduce tartar and plaque.

Our Verdict: We give this one to Authority, which has deboned chicken as the main ingredient and chicken meal as the second ingredient. This means the food contains more chicken than Hill’s does.

two short hair chihuahua dogs sitting in front of two wooden dog houses with dog food bowls
Image Credit: Phuttharak, Shutterstock

Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin vs. Authority Sensitive Stomach & Skin All Life Stages

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin is designed to aid dogs with sensitive stomachs and keep their skin and coats healthy. It includes beet pulp as a prebiotic fiber and highly digestible foods that are easy on the stomach. The usual vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids contribute to a healthy coat and skin.

Authority Sensitive Stomach & Skin All Life Stages uses deboned salmon as the main ingredient in order to avoid a few of the more common proteins that cause stomach issues. It has prebiotic fiber for digestion support and includes omega fatty acids for the skin and coat.

Our Verdict: This goes to Authority, mainly because Hill’s has chicken listed as the first two ingredients, and some dogs with sensitive stomachs tend to react badly to chicken.


Overall Brand Reputation


Edge: We give the edge to Authority here, but only by a fine line. Both product lines use nutritionists and veterinarians to develop the recipes, so they both contain excellent ingredients. But we like that Authority uses deboned whole meat as its main ingredient, which gives its food the edge.


Edge: This goes to Authority, which is overall less expensive than Hill’s. That said, its prices have increased quite dramatically in the past few years.


Edge: The one goes to Hill’s Science Diet because more dogs seem to prefer eating it. Authority changed its formula not too long ago, which has led to many dogs rejecting the food.


Edge: Hill’s Science Diet gets the win on this. Authority does have a wide variety of dog food, but Hill’s has far more selection.

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It’s challenging to pick an overall winner when both brands are equally excellent. Both offer different dog foods aimed at dogs of different ages, sizes, and health issues. Also, they are both strongly recommended by veterinarians.

If you can’t afford to pay much for dog food or if your dog has any issues with chicken, you should try Authority. If your dog is a picky eater, they might prefer Hill’s Science Diet. Hill’s also has many more options, so you can find just the right recipe that your dog will love. Hill’s is designed to help dogs with medical issues, making this your best option if your dog has any health problems.

You can find Hill’s almost anywhere, and Authority is primarily found in PetSmart stores.

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