Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Control (Dry)

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Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This Review Has Been Merged with
Iams ProActive Health (Dry)

Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Control dry dog food gets the Advisor’s second-lowest rating of two stars.

The Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Control product line lists just two dry dog foods… both meeting AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

  • Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Control
  • Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Control Large Breed

Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Control Large Breed dog food was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Iams ProActive Health Weight Control Large Breed

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 22% | Fat = 10% | Carbs = 60%

Ingredients: Corn meal, chicken by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine), ground whole grain sorghum, chicken, ground whole grain barley, dried beet pulp, chicken flavor, dried egg product, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), brewers dried yeast, potassium chloride, salt, dicalcium phosphate, caramel, flax meal, dl-methionine, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), dried chicken cartilage (natural source of glucosamine), 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), l-lysine monohydrochloride, l-tryptophan, l-carnitine, citric acid, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis20%9%NA
Dry Matter Basis22%10%60%
Calorie Weighted Basis21%23%56%

The first ingredient in this dog food lists corn meal. Corn meal is a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Now, contrary to what you may have heard, corn isn’t necessarily a bad ingredient.

On the other hand, although there’s no way to know for sure here, the corn used in making many pet foods can be similar to the kind used to make feed for livestock.

And that can sometimes be problematic.

What’s more, corn is commonly linked to canine food allergies1.

For these reasons, we rarely consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

The second item lists 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.

This stuff can contain almost anything… feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs… anything (that is) but skeletal muscle (real meat).

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

The third ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum 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. 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 occupy a lower position on the list.

The fifth ingredient lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index (like rice), barley can help support stable blood sugar levels in dogs.

The sixth item lists dried 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 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 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.

The ninth ingredient includes 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.

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 have much of an effect on the overall rating of this product.

With two notable exceptions

First, we find no mention of probiotics… friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.

And finally, the minerals 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 Adult Weight Control
The Bottom Line

Like so many other weight management dog foods, Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Control appears to lower its caloric content by reducing its animal-based ingredients… and raising the fiber.

This fact should become more obvious as we now try to estimate the product’s meat content… before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 22%, a fat level of 10% and estimated carbohydrates of about 60%.

The two products feature the same average protein and fat content which suggests a carbohydrate content of 60% for the pair.

Low protein. Low fat. And high carbohydrates… when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even with no evidence of any plant-based protein boosters, this still looks like the profile of a dry dog food containing only a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Loss is a grain-based kibble using only a modest amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand two stars.

Not recommended.

Those looking for a standard adult kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Iams ProActive Health Adult dry dog food.

Special Alert

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

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Notes and Updates

01/30/2010 Original review
09/05/2010 Review updated
06/04/2012 Last Update

  1. White, S., Update on food allergy in the dog and cat, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Vancouver, 2001