Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat Plus Response dog food earns the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.
The Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat Plus Response product line includes two dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat Plus Response FP
- Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat Plus Response KO
Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat Response FP was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat Response FP
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Potato, herring meal (source of fish oil), catfish, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), dried beet pulp, fish digest, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, fructooligosaccharides, choline chloride, potassium chloride, dl-methionine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), 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), 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%||13%||54%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||29%||49%|
The first ingredient in this dog food lists potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The second ingredient is herring meal. Herring meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh herring.
Unfortunately, the controversial chemical, ethoxyquin, is frequently used as a preservative in many fish meals.
But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, ethoxyquin’s presence does not have to be reported to consumers.
However, in this case, Iams does indeed report the use of ethoxyquin as a preservative in this recipe. Because of the fish meal’s higher position on the ingredients list, we would assume there to be a notable amount of the preservative in this recipe.
The third ingredient lists catfish. This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.1
Although it is a quality item, raw fish 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 fourth item is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.
Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized livestock.
For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is 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.
The sixth item is fish digest, a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings. Animal digests are usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry dog food to improve its taste.
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 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.
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.
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 Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat
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 Skin and Coat appears to be a below-average dry dog food.
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 23% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 56% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-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 only a modest amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include ethoxyquin in its recipes. For without this controversial preservative and more meat, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat is a plant-based kibble using a limited amount of herring meal or kangaroo as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 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
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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.
Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.
However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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.
To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.
Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.
Notes and Updates
02/02/2010 Original review
09/07/2010 Review updated
06/07/2012 Last Update