Iams ProActive Health Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Iams ProActive Health product line includes 18 dry dog foods.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
Use links below to compare price and package size information at an online retailer.
- ProActive Health Senior Plus [M]
- ProActive Health Mature Adult [M]
- ProActive Health Adult Chunks [M]
- ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks [M]
- ProActive Health Senior Plus Large Breed [M]
- ProActive Health Mature Adult Large Breed [M]
- ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed (4 stars) [G]
- ProActive Health Adult Large Breed (3 stars) [M]
- ProActive Health Adult with Grass Fed Lamb [M]
- ProActive Health Adult with Farm Raised Beef [M]
- ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original (4 stars) [G]
- ProActive Health Adult Optimal Weight (2.5 stars) [M]
- ProActive Health Adult Small and Toy Breed (4 stars) [M]
- ProActive Health Adult Optimal Weight Large Breed (3 stars) [M]
- ProActive Health Mature Adult Small and Toy Breed (4 stars) [M]
- ProActive Health Smart Puppy Small and Toy Breed (4 stars) [G]
- ProActive Health Sensitive Skin and Stomach Grain Free with Real Chicken and Peas [U]
- ProActive Health Sensitive Skin and Stomach Grain Free with Real Salmon and Lentils [U]
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
Ingredients: Chicken, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal, dried beet pulp, natural flavor, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried egg product, potassium chloride, flaxseed, caramel color, salt, l-lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, carrots, tomatoes, calcium carbonate, fructooligosaccharides, spinach, green peas, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, sodium selenite, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, 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), dried brewers yeast, dl-methionine, dried apple pomace, l-carnitine, dried blueberry pomace, mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||16%||49%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||33%||43%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains up to 73% 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 corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is 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 choice cuts have been removed.
In addition to organs, this item can also include feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs and almost anything other than prime skeletal muscle.
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.
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 natural 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 seven notable exceptions…
First, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also 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.
Next, this recipe includes peas. 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.
Additionally, caramel is a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.
However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.2
In any case, 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 food is?
We also note the use of fruit pomace, the solid by-product of fruit after pressing for juice or oil. This item contains the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the fruit.
Fruit pomace can be a controversial ingredient. Some praise pomace for its high fiber, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough pomace here to make much of a difference.
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 Review
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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.
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 yeast and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Iams ProActive Health is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat and named by-product meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 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.
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)
- Iams Recall Mysteriously Removed by Retailer (11/27/2011)
- Eukanuba and Iams Dog Food Recall (8/1/2010)
Readers interested in Iams ProActive Health dry dog food may also wish to check out these popular pages, too…
Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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03/10/2018 Last Update