Iams ProActive Health canned dog food gets the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Iams ProActive Health product line includes 11 canned dog foods, nine claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and two for growth (puppies).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Iams Adult Chunks with Chicken
- Iams Adult Chunks with Chicken and Beef
- Iams Puppy Chunks with Chicken and Beef
- Iams Adult Chunks with Beef and Vegetables
- Iams Adult Ground Dinner with Beef and Rice
- Iams Adult Ground Dinner with Lamb and Rice
- Iams Adult Ground Dinner with Turkey and Rice
- Iams Adult Chunks with Chicken and Vegetables
- Iams Adult Ground Dinner with Chicken and Rice
- Iams Puppy Ground Dinner with Chicken and Rice
- Iams Adult Ground Mixed Grill with Chicken and Beef
Iams Adult Chunks with Beef and Vegetables in Gravy canned dog food was chosen to represent the others in the line for this review.
Iams ProActive Health Adult Chunks with Beef
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water sufficient for processing, chicken, meat by-products, chicken by-products, beef, corn starch, oats, barley, carrots, dried beet pulp, guar gum, salt, dried egg product, flax meal, peas, natural flavor, potatoes, dicalcium phosphate, sodium tripolyphosphate, potassium chloride, caramel, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), inositol, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, carrageenan, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), fructooligosaccharides
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||28%||20%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||34%||51%||15%|
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 item is meat by-products, slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime cuts have been removed.
With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, this stuff can include heads, ovaries or developing fetuses.1
What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. It doesn’t even specify the source animal. So, this meat can come from almost anywhere, even diseased or dying livestock.
Although meat by-products can be high in protein, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.
The fourth ingredient mentions chicken by-products, yet more slaughterhouse waste.
With the sole exception of feathers, this material can include such unsavory delicacies as heads, feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything (that is) but skeletal muscle (real meat).
The fifth ingredient is beef. Like the chicken mentioned above, beef is considered a quality source of protein.
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 item 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 mentions whole oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index (like rice), barley can help support stable blood sugar levels in dogs.
The ninth ingredient mentions carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The next 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.
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 have much of an effect on the overall rating of this product.
With three notable exceptions…
First, we note the minerals 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.
Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener3 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
And lastly, caramel is a coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to a finished kibble.
Even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added coloring in a 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 kibble is?
Iams ProAcitve Health Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Iams ProActive Health appears to be 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 27%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 22% for the overall product line.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet food containing a notable amount of meat.
Iams ProActive Health is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of meat and chicken by-products as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Those looking for a comparable kibble may wish to visit our review of Iams ProActive Health Adult dry dog food.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
01/28/2010 Original review
09/03/2010 Review updated
06/05/2012 Last Update