Iams ProActive Health (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Iams ProActive Health Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Iams ProActive Health product line includes 15 dry dog foods, twelve claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and three for growth (puppies).

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • ProActive Health Senior Plus
  • ProActive Health Mature Adult
  • ProActive Health Adult Chunks
  • ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks
  • ProActive Health Senior Plus Large Breed
  • ProActive Health Mature Adult Large Breed
  • ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed
  • ProActive Health Adult Large Breed (3 stars)
  • ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original (4 stars)
  • ProActive Health Adult Optimal Weight (2.5 stars)
  • ProActive Health Adult Lamb Meal and Rice (3 stars)
  • ProActive Health Adult Small and Toy Breed (4 stars)
  • ProActive Health Adult Optimal Weight Large Breed (3 stars)
  • ProActive Health Mature Adult Small and Toy Breed (4 stars)
  • ProActive Health Smart Puppy Small and Toy Breed (4 stars)

Iams ProActive Health Adult Chunks was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Iams ProActive Health Adult Chunks

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Chicken, corn meal, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal, dried beet pulp, chicken flavor, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), dried egg product, potassium chloride, salt, flax meal, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, fructooligosaccharides, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, 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), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide), l-lysine monohydrochloride, brewers dried yeast, dl-methionine, l-carnitine, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%16%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%33%43%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 43%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 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 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 feathers.

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 fifth 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.

After the chicken flavor, we find 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.

The eighth ingredient is 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 four notable exceptions

First, we find flax meal, which contains 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.

Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener1 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

In addition, 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.

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 Dog Food looks like an 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 28%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 59%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

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

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

Bottom line?

Iams ProActive Health is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product meal or lamb meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

Recommended.

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.

Iams Dog Food
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
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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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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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

10/08/2016 Last Update

  • Chris

    I have an almost two year old lab that became so sick when I gave her the proactive dry Iams. It was what I picked up at winco because my local pet store was closed. Don’t feed it to your dogs. She is a definite foodie. She’s a lab. So I thought it was strange when she didn’t eat her dinner. Then the next morning after she ate she was vomiting to the point of dry heaves. I thought it was a bug. But she still wouldn’t eat her food. And then she was becoming more energetic after a whole day of being down. Until she ate it again. More vomiting and diahrehea and really lethargic. I haven’t given her any more and she’s fine now. So pissed that they haven’t done a recall on this. She was so sick. She was crawling in bed with us under the covers and sleeping with her head on my leg. I was going to take her to the vet tomorrow had she not perked up to her usual self. That was the first and the last time I feed my dog that crap.

  • Pocketpooch6

    I called them to tell them what I was experiencing as well. I got a very nice lady on the phone who checked the lot number of several of the bags that my dogs were having issues with (we keep the empty bags handy for pooper scooping purposes). She told me that nobody had reported any issues with food from those lots. I never really got a straight answer as to whether they changed the formula; she didn’t know. But she sent me a refund check for one bag of Iam’s and a whole stack of $5 off coupons which we had no use for.
    To be honest I was very disappointed to hear that there were no issues with the lots, because it offered me no explanation as to why I was experiencing such a drastic and obvious problem with the food. It gave me no end date; no time frame in which I would feel safe buying Iam’s again. If only someone could tell me why, and if it will stop. Is anyone at that company is even aware of a problem? My problem didn’t seem to call the attention of anyone at that company; the lady I spoke to seemed very sorry but never once said that she would let anyone know, or check anything, or do anything to help fix the problem with the food. She just seemed to have been taught to try to make me, the customer, happier by apologizing and offering me a refund and some coupons. I kept restating the same question over and over in different words: Do you have any explanation as to what is going on – and – when, if at all, it will be fixed? No answer.

    Honestly now that I look back on it I’m not as devastated as I thought I would be, because I found a food of even better quality at an even better price just one aisle over. I never expected to be so happy with a new brand. The grain free fish and potato formulation of Authority, which is also surprisingly well priced, smells so darn good that I literally want to pour some milk over it and eat it. I’m allergic to potatoes (all nightshades are off limits for me) so I won’t dare nibble on a kernel, but that’s not to say I’m not tempted. When I was little I took a bite out of a Beggin’ Strip… was not as good as I imagined it would be. YUCK LOL

  • Pocketpooch6

    In my opinion, they absolutely changed the formula. I agree – I also seem to remember Iam’s rating lower here than where it is now. A couple of years ago when I first checked, I was actually embarrassed when I saw the rating, because I had been telling everyone what a reliable food it was. This year the formula has definitely gone awry because never in the history of us owning dogs have we seen such drastic negative results. Why would all of our dogs suddenly be repulsed by it? Our dogs eat anything but would not eve take a bite of the Iam’s. Why would they all suddenly come down with a poop-devouring epidemic? We follow a strict deworming protocol and monitor their health closely. Nothing had changed. Same brand, same formula, same routine, same dogs, etc. I even purchased Iam’s from different stores and different states, thinking maybe it was just a bad batch. Tried for months to get them to eat it while having to offer an alternate food source so they wouldn’t starve. Ended up mixing it all in until we used it up, and even took a couple unopened bags back when we finally realized it was a lost cause. They did something to the Iam’s this year that has made the food completely unfeedable in this household. After much research, pricing out, and experimentation, we ultimately switched to Authority Large Breed Chicken & Rice (made by PetSmart). We are floored by the results. What an EXCELLENT food for an unbelievable price. I’ve recommended it to everyone and my local PetSmart can’t keep enough on the shelves because of me. LOL

  • ap

    Something is definitely up with Iams. We have been having issues for 2 months now. I called the number on their website. Was directed to the canadian call centre. They were unable to answer my questions and didn’t seem to know anything about the dog food.

  • ap

    I have an 8 year old St. Bernard. Have been feeding Iams for the past 6 years. 2 months now my dog has had major skin issues, hives, redness on her belly, swelling and itching. Also hot spots have come up. Vet has tried antibiotics and they haven’t worked. I have gone off the kibble and started an elimination diet of sweetpotato and fish. Now planning on switching dog food. Looking for skin sensitive food with low protein as my dog is not an active breed we don’t require high protein.

  • ap

    I feel like the ingredients have changed. My dog has had skin issues for 2 months now.

  • Did you bother to read the footnote?

    The message at the top of this review states that we were “Unable to Locate Complete Label Data On Iams Website”… “as of 7/27/2016“.

    September 6, 2015 was 41 days later.

    Since no one (including you) has made any effort to advise us the Iams website had been updated, that message will remain on this review until this URL reaches the top of our queue and we have updated this report.

    Until then, do not use the Comments or any other area area to report a product change. Use the system we created for that purpose.

    Otherwise, your comments will be removed.

  • bojangles

    Hi Mike,

    You wrote this reply to me, then you deleted it:

    “Since no one (including you) has made any effort to advise us that the Iams website has been updated, that message is true and accurate — and will remain as it is until the review reaches the top spot on our Update queue…”

    I not only advised you that Iams updated their website, I provided a link that showed you they updated it over a year ago.

    Then you removed my comment. I have reposted it below:

    bojangles 2 days ago
    Removed
    “Latest Report May Not Be Current
    Unable to Locate Complete Label
    Data On Iams Website1”

    The complete label information for the Iams Proactive Health Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food has been available on the Iams website since at least Sep 6 2015.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20150906070347/https://www.iams.com/dog-food/proactive-health-adult-large-breed

  • Did you bother to read the footnote?

    The message at the top of this review states that we were “Unable to Locate Complete Label Data On Iams Website”… “as of 7/27/2016”.

    Since no one (including you) has made any effort to advise us the Iams website had been updated, that message will remain on this review until this URL reaches the top of our queue and we have updated this report.

    Until then, do not use the Comments area to report a product change. Use the system we created for that purpose.

    Otherwise, your comments will be removed.

  • bojangles

    Hi Mike,

    My comment wasn”t about a recipe change

  • Per our FAQ page:

    “Although it’s our goal to maintain the accuracy of our reviews, it’s impossible for anyone to keep all the information for thousands of products up-to-date on a daily basis.

    “However, we do try to revisit and update each article at least once every 18 months — or more frequently whenever we’re alerted by a reader or a company of a product or recipe change.”

    Also, per our Contact Us page:

    “Pet food companies frequently change their products without notifying the public. So, we must rely on tips we get from our readers to know when to update our reviews.

    “To report a product or recipe change and request an update of our review, please contact us using this form.”

  • Susan

    Hi very sorry for your loss, did your vet do an autopsy on the dogs that passed away to see what was the cause of death…

  • bojangles

    “Latest Report May Not Be Current
    Unable to Locate Complete Label
    Data On Iams Website1”

    The complete label information for the Iams Proactive Health Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food has been available on the Iams website since at least Sep 6 2015.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20150906070347/https://www.iams.com/dog-food/proactive-health-adult-large-breed

  • Jess Ransdell-Smith

    I’m sorry, it’s not digestive issues, it’s actually better for their performance according to studies. I suppose that doesn’t matter much in retired greys but it does say they tend to have a better muscle development when the energy gained from protein is lower than it is for carbs and fat. Anywho, high protein diets tend to end up with runnier poo (something I’ve noticed a lot of greyhound owners talk about their dogs having “soft-serve” poo, which mine has only ever had after being nervous for a long period). I’m actually annoyed that his poo isn’t as solid on the Purina we’ve switched him too, but he eats it better so I’ll take it.

    http://www.greyhound-data.com/dir/806/Feeding_a_Racing_Greyhound.pdf

  • Jess Ransdell-Smith

    A food that is too high in protein is not good for greyhounds. It messes with their digestive tract. Thanks for caring for my dog though. 🙂 At this point he’s getting on in years that I’m happy if he’ll eat the food over whether or not it’s some random guy’s opinion of what a 5 star food is. And to be fair, this person valued the Iam’s he was eating as 3 stars out of 5, so above average. 😛

  • Susan

    Hi, that’s sad he has eaten the same crappy food for 6 yrs… you need to rotate kibbles & change proteins, add some fresh whole food to his kibble as well, look for a grain free kibble….not Purina, not Hills & not Iams..

  • Jess Ransdell-Smith

    Ours has also stopped eating the Iams he’s been on for the last 6 years unless we put yogurt on it. We switched over to the Purina Turkey and Venison because he gobbled it up over at our friend’s house while we were away (she normally has even more trouble getting him to eat than we do because of vacation stress). Bought some for him yesterday to mix into the last bit of his Iams and he gobbled up both dinner (like we didn’t even realize he’d eaten because he wasn’t standing around his bowl for forever) and he’d finished his breakfast before he came back to bed with me this morning where he’d been leaving it until after his noon poo break to finish it. I wonder if they changed the recipe some time within the last year and our dogs just don’t like it anymore.

  • mahoraner

    did they change the formula? for some reason there seems to be way less red in the ingredients, and if i remember correctly it wasn’t 3 stars (i thought it was 2 or 2.5)

  • Pocketpooch6

    We have faithfully stuck with Iam’s for decades. Iam’s MiniChunks. Unfortunately, over the last few months our dogs have flat out refused to eat it. I’ve had to soak it in warm water and mix pedigree canned food into it just to get them to eat. I’ve been giving them the leftover rice, beans, meats, and vegetables just so they would eat something during the day.
    We’ve also been dealing with poop eating issues – the one will poop, the other will stand right there and scarf it up the second she’s done. And then they’d switch and do the same with the other’s poop. I’ve literally had to stand over them with the pooper scooper and outrun them to the pile.
    Anyway, I went to PetSmart and bought four different similarly priced bags – ProPlan, Purina One, Pedigree, and Authority. All dry adult formula. I figured they’d maybe like one or two of them. As it turns out, they love all four of them. They won’t touch the Iam’s, but they will eat the other four brands with gusto. Oh, and today, the first day after I switched their food (actually I mixed it with soaked Iam’s so I didn’t shock their systems too much), nobody ate any poop. I did not have to stand outside hovering over them for the first time in weeks.
    What is up with Iam’s???
    Seriously, what is going on? We’ve stood by them faithfully for decades, and they sell us crap to feed our dogs. I guess that’s the end of our very long dedication to this brand.

  • mahoraner niall

    Not the worst food, but not the best food either, especially since there are better foods for almost the EXACT same price.

    here is a comparison i made with iams proactive health adult mini chunks and FROMM family classics adult formula :

    FROMM family classics first five ingredients :

    Chicken
    Chicken Meal
    Brown Rice
    Ground Pearled Barley
    Oatmeal

    Iams proactive health adult mini chunks first five ingredients:

    Chicken
    corn meal
    ground whole grain sorghum
    chicken by-product meal
    dried beet pulp,

    DIFFERENCES:
    Fromm uses whole meat – no by products
    Iams uses whole meat, AND by products
    Fromm uses healthy grains like barley, oatmeal and brown rice,
    Iams uses one healthy grain, and one unhealthy grain (corn meal)
    Fromm DOESN’T use by products from the manufacturing of food for human consumption
    Iams USES by products from the manufacturing of food for human consumption (dried beet pulp AND chicken by product meal)

    WHAT MY BIG POINT IS……..’

    That fromm only costs …… drum roll please…………

    $$$$$$$ $0.04 MORE A POUND THAN IAMS!!!!! $$$$$$$

    Iams proactive health adult mini chunks costs $17.97 for 15 lbs
    And FROMM classics adult costs $18.66 for 15 lbs!

    ALL PRICES WERE FROM : http://www.chewy.com

  • Joyce Elish

    I forgot to mention that I did mix the IAMS with their regular food so I was in the process of transitioning them to IAMS.

  • Sofia Kenny

    I also have more info on Danny and daisy symptoms on my fb page…https://m.facebook.com/Iamsdogfoodkills/

  • Sofia Kenny

    You want to cal iams and file a complaint and also file a safety report online. Yes you should transition the food but such a strong reaction from all three I would take then to vet just tonmake sure. Blood work should be ran and if pancreatitis was induced from the food they will want them on meds and also reported to fda. A simple blood test can diagnose.

  • Sofia Kenny

    Yes we did there is a full investigation in progress

  • Sofia Kenny

    So glad!

  • InkedMarie

    I don’t like this food but if you didn’t transition slowly from the old food to Iams, this could br why they got sick.

  • Joyce Elish

    I just purchased a 50 lb bag of IAMS Proactive Large Breed Dog food from Sam’s Club. It was $10 off the regular price so I thought I’d try it on my 3 dogs. I have a Newfoundland, Golden Retriever, and a Collie. All 3 of them threw up the food. I gave it again the next day and they vomited it again. This is the first time they had IAMS dog food. I do switch foods every so often but this is the first time they got sick. I will contact Sam’s Club tomorrow. Is there a phone # I can call to complain? Thank you so much for reporting Daisy and Danny’s death.

  • Sofia Kenny

    I’m so glad he is feeling better!

  • chris fox

    Cosmo seems to be stable he hasn’t thrown up all day yesterday and so far today he seems to look better

  • Sofia Kenny
  • Sofia Kenny

    Yes there is an open investigation

  • Sofia Kenny

    Thankyou

  • Sofia Kenny

    Thank-you so much

  • chris fox

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss but I need to know as much info as possible please contact me asap,my baby boy is having the same symptoms and I just recently switched him to the IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH ADULT PET FOOD!please call me 6232047983

  • Sofia Kenny

    Thank-you so much

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