Iams ProActive Health canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Iams ProActive Health product line includes 11 canned dog foods.
Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Iams with Beef and Rice
- Iams with Lamb and Rice
- Iams with Chicken in Gravy
- Iams with Chicken and Rice
- Iams with Turkey and Rice Pate
- Iams Puppy with Chicken and Rice
- Iams with Chicken and Beef in Gravy
- Iams with Beef and Vegetables in Gravy
- Iams Grilled Medley with Chicken and Beef
- Iams with Chicken and Vegetables in Gravy
- Iams Puppy with Chicken and Beef in Gravy
Iams with Beef and Vegetables in Gravy was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Iams with Beef and Vegetables in Gravy
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water, chicken, meat by-products, chicken by-products, beef, corn starch, carrots, guar gum, flaxseed meal, potatoes, peas, salt, dried egg product, potassium chloride, natural flavor, sodium tripolyphosphate, calcium carbonate, added color, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), biotin, inositol, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), vegetable oil, fructooligosaccharides
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||17%||31%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||38%||35%||27%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient includes meat by-products, an item made from slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime striated muscle cuts have been removed.
With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, this item can include almost any other part of the animal.1
What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. So, the meat itself can come from any combination of cattle, pigs, sheep or goats — which can make identifying specific food allergies impossible.
Although most meat by-products can be nutritious, we do not consider such vaguely described (generic) ingredients to be as high in quality as those derived from a named animal source.
The fourth ingredient includes chicken by-products, or slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (real meat).
Although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
However, be sure to notice the use of the word “with” in the name of this dog food — “with beef”. This seemingly trivial detail can reveal much about the actual beef content of this product.
As a matter of fact, all eleven of these canned dog foods appear to follow one of the FDA’s four important naming rules — the “With Rule”.
Also known as the Three Percent Rule, this little-known technicality can provide a powerful clue as to the true meat content of any dog food.
Whenever you see the word “with” used in a dog food’s name, you know you’re dealing with an ingredient totaling not less than (and probably close to) three percent of the product’s total weight.
In other words, there’s not much beef here.
The sixth ingredient is corn starch, a starchy powder extracted from the endosperm found at the heart of a kernel of corn. Corn starch is most likely used here to thicken the broth into a gravy.
Corn starch isn’t a true red flag item. Yet we’ve highlighted here for those wishing to avoid corn-based ingredients.
The seventh ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.
The ninth ingredient is flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With five notable exceptions…
First, peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
Next, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
In addition, vegetable oil is a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).
Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.
Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener4 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Iams ProActive Health Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Iams ProActive Health looks like a below-average canned dog food.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 43% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 27% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed meal and peas, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a notable amount of meat.
Iams ProActive Health is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of chicken and meat by-products as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Those looking for a comparable kibble may wish to visit our review of Iams ProActive Health Adult dry dog food.
Iams Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Iams and Eukanuba Dog and Cat Food Recall (8/14/2013)
- Iams Withdraws Shakeables Brand Dog Treats (3/21/2013)
- Iams Recalls Puppy Food (12/6/2011)
- Eukanuba and Iams Dog Food Recall (8/1/2010)
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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Notes and Updates
01/27/2017 Last Update