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 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 was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Iams Adult Chunks with Beef and Vegetables
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 when present 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 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 any slaughtered mammal.
Although meat by-products can be high in protein, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.
The fourth ingredient includes chicken by-products, yet more slaughterhouse waste.
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 is 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 kibble 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 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 41% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 31% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-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 various 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.
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
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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Notes and Updates
01/28/2010 Original review
09/03/2010 Review updated
06/05/2012 Review updated
02/15/2014 Last Update