Iams ProActive Health Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Iams ProActive Health product line includes the 14 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Use the links to compare price and package size information at an online retailer.
- ProActive Health Mature Adult [M]
- ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks [M]
- ProActive Health Mature Adult Large Breed [M]
- ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed [G]
- ProActive Health Adult Large Breed (4 stars) [M]
- ProActive Health Adult Lamb and Rice [M]
- ProActive Health Adult with Beef and Rice [M]
- ProActive Health Smart Puppy [G]
- ProActive Health Adult Healthy Weight (3 stars) [M]
- ProActive Health Adult Small Breed [M]
- ProActive Health Adult Healthy Weight Large Breed (3.5 stars) [M]
- ProActive Health Mature Adult Small Breed [M]
- ProActive Health Smart Puppy Small Breed [G]
- ProActive Health High Protein with Real Chicken and Turkey [U]
Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks
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, dried egg product, flaxseed, caramel color, potassium chloride, carrots, choline chloride, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), fructooligosaccharides, calcium carbonate, brewers dried yeast, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, l-carnitine, sodium selenite, mixed tocopherols (a preservative), ascorbic acid, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, niacin supplement, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), inositol, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, manganous oxide, rosemary extract, potassium iodide, folic acid
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 next 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 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.
The next ingredient is 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.
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 Iams product.
With 5 notable exceptions…
First, 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.1
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?
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, 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, we note the use of 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.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually associated with higher quality dog foods.
Iams ProActive Health Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Iams ProActive Health Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.
Which means this Iams product line contains…
Above-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 notable amount of meat.
Iams ProActive Health is a grain-inclusive dry dog food that uses a notable amount of named by-product meal as its dominant source of animal protein, thus receiving 4.5 stars.
More Top Picks
Iams Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to this Iams product line. If there are no recalls listed here, we’ve 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)
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
06/19/2020 Last Update