Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat (Dry)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Iams Veterinary Formula Skin and Coat Dog Food is not rated due to its intentional therapeutic design.

The Iams Veterinary Formula Skin and Coat product line includes two dry recipes, each designed to help in the treatment of skin disorders.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Iams Veterinary Formula Skin & Coat Plus Response FP
  • Iams Veterinary Formula Skin & Coat Plus Response KO

Iams Veterinary Formula Skin & Coat Plus 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

Protein = 24% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 54%

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
Guaranteed Analysis22%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%13%54%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%29%49%

The first ingredient in this dog food is 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. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, herring meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The third ingredient is catfish. This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.2

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 ingredient 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 pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

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.

The sixth ingredient 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.

The seventh ingredient is calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.

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 four 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 sweetener3 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

In addition, 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, this dog food contains ethoxyquin, a controversial preservative linked to the accumulation of hemoglobin pigment in the liver and elevated hepatic enzymes in the blood.

Iams Veterinary Formula Skin and Coat Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Although this is a prescription product, our review has nothing to do with the accuracy of claims made by the manufacturer as to the product’s ability to treat or cure a specific health condition.

So, to find out whether or not this dog food is appropriate for your particular pet, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.

With that understanding…

Judging by its ingredients alone, Iams Veterinary Formula Skin and Coat appears to be an average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still prefer to estimate the product’s meat content before concluding our report.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 24%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 54%.

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 59%.

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 a modest amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Iams Veterinary Formula Skin and Coat is a plant-based dry dog food using a modest amount of herring meal or kangaroo as its main source of animal protein.

Iams Veterinary Formula
Dog Food Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit 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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

07/07/2015 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Wikipedia definition
  • Linda

    Gale, I have the same problem with my German Shepherd. We have been dealing with this since he was a year old, he is now 8 years old. He has been tested for allergies, I have given him allergy injections and staph lysate injections every 21 days for 7 years. With his condition getting worse every year, he was on antibiotics almost all of last summer, this spring I took him to Iowa State University animal Hospital. After changing his food yet again, we still had the problem. My dog is now on Atopica, I wish we didn’t have to use this medication, but he has been on it a month and his skin is the best it has been since he was a puppy. I am just starting to lower the dose to see what his maintenance dose will be. We have spent thousands of dollars on this boy, he is worth it, this may be our last hope of keeping the staph under control.

  • Gale

    My English Springer Spaniel has chronic Staph infections which present as ‘pimples’ which burst and dry out. He has been on antiobiotics many times in the last two years. The antibiotic will usually clear the infection but it always comes back. We’ve switched to grain free food but it doesn’t seem to be helping. We use a special medicated shampoo – again no luck. Any suggestions????

  • Zeke

    My Shih Tzu lived 14.5 years eating this food. 😉

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  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Dostana,
    As you’re researching which grain free, potato free food (both of those contribute to skin issues) you might want to look at environmental triggers as well. Many things we’ve been taught to put on our dogs (and ourselves, which transfers to the dog) cause contact dermatitis – skin problems. The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is a major player in detox. Toxins that are eaten are processed by the liver, & lymphatic system and much of it is expelled through the skin. Toxins are also absorbed through the skin. Symptoms of toxins being on or coming out of the skin include red irritated patches, pustules, blisters, black skin, or hyper-pigmentation, oozing, rashes, boils, lumps, calluses, dry, cracked scaly patches, hot spots, Etc.

    So number one, what kind of flea and tick control are you using? Commercial preparations are pesticides and pesticides are poisons. If you’re applying it to the skin, the poison absorbs through the skin and into the dogs blood stream, where it’s carried to every cell in his body. Those are facts, not scare tactics…. Though it is scary when you think about it that way. Luckily non-toxic flea control is available, cheap and effective.

    Remember, what ever you put on or in your dog also gets transferred to you and your family members (especially kids).

    Secondly, worm Meds. These are also classed as pesticides. They are ingested to poison the worms. They concomitantly poison your dog… Ths too can be the cause of skin problems,

    The next suspect is vaccines. Many vaccines, especially rabies, cause all kinds of adverse events which include skin reactions. My Rosie (in my avatar) has vaccinosis that includes ear discharge, swelling and yeasty smell. She got it from her first puppy shot… D/P. but, there’s a lot you can do to improve the health of your dog and turn their immune system around, so don’t panic! Lots of our regulars came here with dogs with health problems and they have some amazing looking animals. Check out the recent before and after pics of JohnandChristo on the Brother’s thread. ;-). Mike P’s Jubilee s amazing as well! So is Alexandra’s Dante!

    So now we’ve covered the basic 3 on your dog, next lets consider his environment… Pesticides are also common in his environment and effect him more, as he’s closer to the ground. Weed and feed product, vegetable and garden dust, even fertilizer… All poisons that harm your dogs immune system. Bug sprays and baits, continue to volatize toxins long after you’ve sprayed or placed them.

    Next most people are unaware that all fragrance contains pesticide… Or you’d be swarmed by bugs. Especially the biting, stinging kind. It doesn’t matter if the fragrance is cheap or expensive, a component of a cleaner or laundry product or the most expensive perfume. On average fragrances contain about 200 known toxic ingredients. They’re trade secrets so they can’t be monitored by any government agency.

    You’ll find dramatic health benefits in going fragrance free. While your at it, use only non-toxic cleaners. Not “green.” that could mean that they just use recycled plastic containers! With the same toxic concoction of nasty chemicals.

    If you are interested in safer alternatives, just ask. :-)

  • Dostana

    we went to a specialist vet for my dogs skin problems and she prescribed us this same formula. after seeing it was a an Iams brand i told her i wasnt comfotable feeding my dog ‘low grade foods’ and she looked at me like i was crazy. i asked her if there as any other limited food diet i can give my dog that wasnt commercial low grade food and she gave me an attitude and told me to do my own research and get my food from ‘wherever’ i usually get it!! after reading the ingredient list on the bag i saw it contained ‘animal fats’ with no mention of what animal. being on this site now i can see what i already knew, that this is a very low grade food. i most defiantly will not be feeding my dog this, and i will be looking for a high quality dog food with limited ingredients. i will also NEVER go to that vet again, she was a jerk.

  • Jonathan

    PJ, Simple solutions may work… there is also Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets… I have seen dogs do a 180 with their stomach problems after changing to NB with no transition! Of course, I recommend transitioning… that was meant only as a testament to how well I have seen the food work. And as Cathy mentioned above, too, Raw food would certainly be a limited ingredient diet. And concidering the tiny size of your pooch, even a commercial raw diet wouldn’t be that costly.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    PJ –
    For superior quality ingredients, high meat protein, low carbs – try feeding raw! It’s nature’s way.
    Real whole foods, uncooked, and minimally processed typically results in optimum health.
    Here are some raw foods available:
    Gastro problems generally disappear with raw feeding.

  • PJ

    I have a toy breed dog, 11 lbs, 10 years old. She has always had a sensitive stomach with gurgling, stomach upset, urping, spitting up & sometimes diahrea or constipation (which I treat with pumpkin). My vet put her on Iams FP about 2 years ago & she had the most beautiful coat & NO upset stomach. This food was recalled last summer so I have desperately been trying to find a better quality food with the same results as FP. The FP is back on the market, but it is crap so want to find a higher quality food that will not cause the stomach upset. I have tried Evo (way to rich for her & resulted in gastroenteritis), Wellness super 5 (lots of stomach upset) and now have her on Wellness Core. I changed over one kibble at a time and all went well. Now that she is eating just the Core she is starting to wake up in the morning with a gurgling upset stomach. She runs out and starts eating grass and shrubs & refuses to eat her breakfast (she has always been a good eater). I give her pepcid which helps, but I hate to try to change her over again to a different food. I like the idea of no grain (helps with her yeasty itchy ears) but have to find something that doesn’t bother her stomach. Does anyone out there have any similar experience & if so can you recommend another brand? I thought of trying Wellness Simple Solution, but it seems very high in carbs. Any thoughts? Thanks

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Judy… This review here presents the sum total of my opinion of this dog food. But please remember, our evaluations are always based upon apparent ingredient quality and estimated meat content only. And are “not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific health benefit for your pet”. We’ll leave that up to you, your vet and the experiences of our readers as they’re reported in these comments. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • judy fedorchuk

    i went to a dermatoligist yesterdasy with mu dog who has very bad bacteria infections in his ears and onhis feet she spent 2 hr with him bath, soak and medicine. he was suffering terrible. she changed his diet to iams food above mentioned for 30 days to see if the allergy is a food problem do you agree

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Sam,

    I have already prepared a list of all the better hypoallergenic dog foods currently in our database. However, there are many other dog foods yet to be analyzed. And we continue to add them gradually to our website. So, stay tuned as we get to the others.

  • SAM

    I would like to get a list of other dog foods available for dogs who have problems with allergies (skin and coat). Thanks.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Jason… Why not look through our list of 3, 4 and 5-star dog foods and find one that suits your needs (skin and coat?) and fits your budget. We plan to post a number of lists of recommended products for specific issues some time later this fall (2010). So stay in touch.

  • Jason

    What would you suggest instead?