Iams Premium Protection (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Iams Premium Protection Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Iams Premium Protection product line includes four dry 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 Premium Protection Adult
  • Iams Premium Protection Senior Plus
  • Iams Premium Protection Mature Adult
  • Iams Premium Protection Puppy (3.5 stars)

Iams Premium Protection Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Iams Premium Protection Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal (natural source of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine), corn meal, ground whole grain sorghum, ground whole grain barley, fish meal (source of fish oil), chicken, dried beet pulp, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), chicken flavor, dried egg product, potassium chloride, brewers dried yeast, salt, sodium hexametaphosphate, fructooligosaccharides, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), calcium carbonate, flax meal, choline chloride, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), vitamin E supplement, dried chicken cartilage (natural source of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine), dl-methionine, vitamins (ascorbic acid, vitamin A acetate, calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), inositol, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), beta-carotene, l-carnitine, marigold, citric acid, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis27%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%13%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%29%44%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from 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).

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

The second ingredient is cornmeal, a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The third ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth item is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.

But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.

We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

The sixth ingredient is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The seventh ingredient is 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 eighth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

After the chicken flavor, we find dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

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, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

In addition, fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

Next, flax meal is 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.

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 Premium Protection Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Iams Premium Protection Dog Food looks like a below average dry product.

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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 12% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the brewers yeast and flax meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Iams Premium Protection Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken and chicken by-product meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

01/31/2010 Original review
09/05/2010 Review updated
03/04/2012 Review updated
09/09/2013 Review updated
09/09/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Wikipedia definition
  • Christine Smith

    I just got a GSD. He’s just over 9 weeks now. The kennel I got him from suggested Blue. After 4 days he had bad diarreha, a fever and was dehydrated. He was put on meds and a UI vet food. I tried to slowly get him back on the Blue but he got the runs again. Tossed that bag out! I have always fed my dogs and cats Iams so I went back to that. He’s doing great, no runs and no meds. I’m sticking with Iams. :)

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Craig –

    If you read the above review and the other review for Iams products you’ll see that it’s a fairly low quality food. I would suggest picking out an appropriate 4 or 5 star food for your pup. The important consideration that needs to be made when picking a food for a large or giant breed puppy is appropriate calcium levels as excess calcium consumption has been linked to developmental orthopedic disease and large and giant breed puppies. There’s a thread in the forum area dedicated to the discussion of large and giant breed puppy nutrition and there you’ll also find links to several articles as well as a list of appropriate 4 and 5 star foods. http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/large-and-giant-breed-puppy-nutrition/

  • Craig Lancaster

    Is Iams dog food good for great dane puppies

  • http://www.facebook.com/Zeppelins.Mama Shalonda Mitchell

    Anyone know why Iams Premium PRotection is being discontinued????

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Coaster77,

    Our categories are at least partially based upon based upon statistical “averages”. When I first reviewed this product back in January 2010, we only had under 100 products in our database.

    But when we recently updated this review, our averages included over 2,000 recipes and 6 times as many product lines.

    So, the 31% protein figure for this product line was now 3% higher than the earlier average, we felt compelled to adjust it to our next higher rating.

    Hope this helps.

  • Coaster77

    Question – What changed in the Iams formula that caused the rating to go from 2 star not recommended to 3 star and recommended?

  • Dorable

    Speaking of Iams, I came across this website recently when I was researching premium pet foods.  Thought you might all like to know about it.  Its pretty shocking what they do to companion animals, I had no idea. Please feel free to share it around, the more people that know about this, the better.  http://www.iamscruelty.com/

  • Cherie

    Mike,
    Iams has a new Premium Protection out it is Senior Plus for dogs 11 and older

  • Shawna

    Bella ~~ manufacturers (both human and pet) use “flavor enhancers” to make poor quality foods taste good.  Doesn’t mean the food is healthful though. 

    Additionally, if you have children would you let them decide what foods they thought was best and wait for the doctors checkup to determine if the food was doing them good (diseases like cancer and kidney disease can take years to manifest and show up as symptoms)?  I guarantee you they will pick poor quality flavor enhanced junk food over more healthful fruits and vegetables in most every case..  Many, if not most, dogs will too.

  • melissa

    Marci-

    Why would any one bother to convince you to switch? Your dog’s health should not be more paramount to us than it is you.-They are your dogs and if you are happy with the results, so be it- I have fed Iams in the past, and never again. Dogs seemed to do okay on it, but I was not happy feeding by products

  • melissa

    Bob K-

    She has 10 dogs-I can understand the theory of stocking up-when I find a food I am rotating with, or about to, on a good sale, I buy a boat load too-it only makes sense-Unfortuently it did not work for her dogs and sounds like it was w/out transition

    Gina-I had the urination issue with a food as well, with a few of the dog(not all) would suddenly just get up and pee on the floor. Argh. Switching off did the trick(and a full chem profile and UA to appease my neurotic self that nothing was wrong)

  • Dazzlinlilly

    and with that being said what are you feeding your dogs now

  • Bella

    I just bought this food today for my puppy, a 7 month old Chihuahua, who will not eat any of the Blues, Wellness, and Royal Canin foods. Literally, he either runs from them or pushes them away. So although you’re not supposed to switch dog foods right away I had too because I had to see if he would try to eat something. Well, to my surprise, he starting eating this 3rd star food pretty quickly, whereas, like I said he would not touch the others. So I would say, let the dogs taste buds and vet checks determine what the best foods are for dogs, not humans who don’t and won’t eat this food anyway.

  • Carol McArthur Rumrill

    I saw an ad for the IAMS Premium and checked it on their website – by-products and corn turned me off. I have been feeding Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul for some time and my two cocker spaniels are doing well. I get 35 lbs for $39.99 – free shipping on Amazon. I had been feeding Wellness but felt for the money they weren’t doing that great.
    However, each dog is different – and now pocket books dictate to many people what they can feed.

  • Bob K

    Marci S – Which food from IAMS are you feeding your dog? There are several different formulas with different nutritional profiles. Some are better than others.You ask why switch? – Here might be a few reasons to switch to another brand.
    1.) Less Cost
    2.) Better nutrition for your dog
    3.) Availability of the better IAMS formulas
    4.) You finally realize you have been paying a premium for a big name dog food that provides marginal nutritional value for what you pay and you aren’t going to take it any more and feel ripped off.

  • lynda

    We feed one of ours Iams Lamb & Rice and I was looking at this food, also as it seems to have a better vitamin profile. The calories are a lot less, though and I would wind up feeding about 2/3 cup more food per day.

  • Marci S

    I have to say that I have had several dogs and have only fed the Iams brand. My friend keeps telling me to switch to another food but why? My last 2 dogs lived to 18 years old and my cats have all hit 17 to 18 on the same brand. They never have any digestive issues, have a great coat , teeth are good and they are happy and healthy! I have 2 dogs currently and they both are 11. My current cat is 18 and going strong! Really….convince me to switch, I think not!

  • Bob K

    Lynn – It is a 3 star food that you are paying a premium for. If you ask kids if they like Dairy Queen, Culvers and McDonalds, they will call it 5 stars too. There is nothing special about this food and it is certainly better than many dog foods out there especially those sold in large retail grocery stores. If its working for you I would stick with it too.

  • Lynn

    I have switched my GSD puppy over to this product and have seen nothing but great results. Everyone comments on her soft beautiful shiny coat, she has lots of energy and she just looks bright and healthy. However, I do slip in a cod liver oil capsule daily and real chicken and real vegetables every now and then. In fact, I rarely just give her the plain hard crunchy food alone. As she gets older, I will also be giving her glucosomine and chondritin daily because I know the horrors of arthritis in Shepherds. So far, I am happy with the food. I like the fact that it has little bite size kibbles and she gobbles them up. She can’t eat it up fast enough, so I asked her what she would rate it and she said 5 stars.

  • Bob K

    Gina – What do you mean when you say, “We gave some leeway due to a food change,” ? You don’t just change dog foods. You slowly transition a dog to a new food up to 2 weeks. What did you feed the dogs before? What made yoou go out and stock up?

  • gina lind

    We recently purchased this dog food after finding a fantastic sale and since we have 10 dogs we ran all over town buying up all the bags we could. Boy, was that a mistake. Within 24 hours of feeding them we had 10 previously housetrained dogs peeing and pooping in the house beyond control. We gave some leeway due to a food change, which would explain the poops. But when we had to refill water dishes 2 or 3 times a day because the dogs couldn’t get enough water, we knew something was wrong. All I can say is, WAY TOO MUCH added salt! We stopped feeding this food and literally overnight the drinking went back to normal and we haven’t had one potty accident yet. Never again, Iams! This food barely deserves one star.

  • Mike P

    My Grandpa is approaching 80 years old and smokes 3 packs of camels and drinks a fifth of JD a day. Like your dog Amber, Gramps is lucky too. Gramps is awesome

  • AmberIsAwesome

    My mutt is approaching 10 and she’s had nothing but Iams her entire life other than some Pedigree episodes due to financial issues.
    Last check up 6 months ago I was told she had the heart and the teeth of a 3 yr old.
    \
    Take that to the bank

  • Melissa

    Tyler-

    If this product works for your dog and Mandi’s, great. I am a firm believer that if a dog has had issues with food, and an owner finds one that works, then stick with it. Whether 5 star or not does not matter if you are cleaning up feces at every turn! Heck, everything is a 5 star when it works to the individual dog!

    With that said, I have used most foods over the last 20 yrs with various mixed results. I have had dogs do great on Iams/Purina and the likes, and others crash and burn on Blue. My biggest problem is the cost of these types of products. The companies ask a premium price, you have to feed more, and IMO, you are not getting what you pay for. The lowest rated food I use currently is Pro Pac-some would consider this marginal as well, but for me and my crew, it works and works well. However, I am paying for what I get-its $28.99 for a 44lb bag, not $40 plus for it. I also feed Canidae-4 star and $36.99 for a 35lb bag. This food is at least better than some of the chemical laden ones, so you could do a whole lot worse!!!

  • Tyler

    Mandi,
    I’m with you, I’m glad to hear your dog is doing so well with it. My nine year old dog has had similar problems, but with this food she seems extremely happy and healthy with lots of energy. I recently had my parents watch her while I was away traveling for 3 weeks, and they switched the dog food to something they was better, closer to a 5 star dog food. The only thing I can tell different is that she has gained weight, doesn’t scarf it down as soon as it hits the bowl, and has a lot less energy. I’m switching back as soon as possible. Bob K, thanks for your input, but why would she ever want to trade to something else? I think we’ll both stay with our “marginal” dog food and be happy.

  • Bob K

    Mandi – Please tell us all the 5 star foods you have tried without success. The Iams Premium Protection (Dry) is a 3 star food and nothing special if you read the detailed analysis above. There are many other 4 star and a few 5 star foods that cost less and provide your loved one better nutrition. Better food for less money a win for you and your dog. Glad it works for your dog but you overpaying for a marginal product.

  • Mandi

    I have a golden who has had terrible skin issues and loose stools off and on for years. I have gone through ALL of the dog foods to find a good match for his sensitive system. I have spent astronomical amounts of money on the PERFECT 5 star food. I decided to try this one on a whim and a prayer as I was currently spending $60 on his food that still caused him to have a “blow out” every 6 or 8 weeks. Today I am looking at a dog with NO itchy skin for the first spring in about 4 years, and I am proud to say that we have been “blow out” free since day one (over a year ago). I love this food and I’m pretty positive Diego would give it 5 stars for his happy skin and belly.

  • Meagan

    Diamond Naturals, 4health, TOTW,Whole earth Farms

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Depends on where you live for availability, but of the 5-star raw foods, the foods that seem to be the most available are also the least expensive: Nature’s Variety Raw, Primal Raw, and Stella & Chewy’s Raw.

  • Jonathan

    Kirkland’s at Cosco.

  • Kevin

    without looking up each individual price – which i will probably do regardless – does anyone know the least expensive of the 4 or 5 star dog foods? thanks!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jessica… The prebiotics in this food can be found on the ingredients list as the word fructooligosaccharides. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

  • Bob K

    Jesica – Not a bad food but for what you are paying there are many 4 star foods cheaper and a few 5 star foods that are about the same price or a little more. What is your dog currently eating? Why the switch? Remember to transition slowly for 7 – 14 days gradually increasing the amount of new food.

  • jesica

    I just saw a tv commercial for this product and came here to see exactly how good it really is, (as I am very distrustful of advertising of any kind), and it rated better than I expected. The commercial does mention ‘prebiotics’ (not probiotics) and I was wondering if anyone knows what exactly these ‘prebiotics’ are. Thanks for the great site!

  • Meagan

    We had an Iams rep come to our school. I am almost positive she told us the adult has probiotics in it. So I purchased many bags(deal the school was getting 30lb bags for $15), becuase the dog I had just adopted from there has issues with loose stools and my professor said I should try this. Well he still had them on this food and he pooped like 4-5 times a day with the last to beeing very loose.

  • Jonathan

    I can’t help but disagree with the third star on this food. If the minerals were chelated, and they added probiotics, then I could see it, but without those important features, and considering the only real meat is by-products, which contains some proteins that are unusable, therefore making the protein percent inflated, I would have to say 2 stars. Maybe 2 1/2. ;-)

  • Deborah Brauer

    I just want to add to a review of Premium Protection Dog Food Senior that my dog is 12 and been on this food about a year. His last checkup was great. I asked the doc, do I need vitamins? He said, no, blood work looks great and he is a very healthy looking 12 year old dog. No way to tell if the dog food is completely the reason but it couldn’t hurt. He does get a lot of exercise too.
    Thanks for listening