Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal product line includes two kibbles, one claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (puppies).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal Low Residue (2 stars)
- Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal Low Residue Puppy
Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal Low Residue dry dog food was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal Low Residue
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Corn grits, brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, chicken, fish meal, dried beet pulp, chicken flavor, dried egg product, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), brewer's dried yeast, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, fructooligosaccharides, monosodium phosphate, 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), fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), sodium hexametaphosphate, choline chloride, flax meal, dl-methionine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), ethoxyquin (a preservative), rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||10%||58%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||23%||54%|
The first ingredient in this dog food lists corn grits. Grits are made from ground corn, 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 second item is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
By the way, contrary to popular belief, brewers rice has nothing to do with the process of brewing beer.
The third item includes 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 a nutshell, chicken by-products are those unsavory leftovers usually considered “unfit for human consumption”.
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 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 account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The fifth ingredient is fish meal. Fish meal is another high-protein 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.
However, in this case, the company has confirmed the presence of ethoxyquin directly on the product’s label. Because of the fish meal’s higher position on the ingredients list, we would assume there to be a notable amount of ethoxyquin in this recipe.
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 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 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 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.
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 three notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, 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.
And lastly, we note the inclusion of sodium hexametaphosphate, a man-made industrial polymer with no known nutritive value.
HMP is used in making soap, detergents, water treatment, metal finishing and most likely here to decrease tartar build-up on the teeth.
Although some might disagree, we’re of the opinion that food is not the place for tartar control chemicals or any other non-nutritive substances.
Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Even though this is a prescription product, we continue to limit our judgment to the estimated meat content of the recipe as well as the apparent quality of its ingredients. And nothing else.
Our ratings have nothing to do with the accuracy of claims made by the manufacturer as to this product’s ability to effectively treat or cure a specific health condition.
So, to find out whether or not this dog food is appropriate for your particular pet, you must consult your veterinarian.
With that understanding…
Judging by its ingredients alone, Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal dog food looks to be an average kibble.
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 two products feature an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
However, to be more accurate, the adult Low Residue product (profiled in this review) appears to be considerably lower in meat content than the Low Residue Puppy formula.
Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal is a grain-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
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
02/02/2010 Original review
09/10/2010 Review updated
06/07/2012 Last Update