Iams ProActive Health (Canned)

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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Iams ProActive Health canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2 stars.

The Iams ProActive Health product line includes 8 canned dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Iams Senior with Chicken and Rice [M]
  • Iams Adult with Beef and Rice Pate [M]
  • Iams Adult with Lamb and Rice Pate [M]
  • Iams Adult with Chicken and Rice Pate [M]
  • Iams Puppy with Chicken and Rice Pate [G]
  • Iams Adult with Turkey, Vegetables and Rice Chunks [M]
  • Iams Adult with Chicken, Vegetables and Rice Chunks [M]
  • Iams Adult with Beef, Rice, Carrots and Green Beans Chunks [M]

Iams Adult with Beef, Rice, Carrots and Green Beans Chunks was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Iams Adult with Beef, Rice, Carrots and Green Beans Chunks

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 31%

Ingredients: Sufficient water for processing, chicken, meat by-products, wheat flour, beef, wheat gluten, salt, flax seed, sodium tripolyphosphate, natural flavor, rice, dried carrots, dried green beans, guar gum, minerals (potassium chloride, magnesium proteinate, zinc sulfate, potassium iodide, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate), added color, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement), xanthan gum, fish oil, sodium nitrite (for color retention), sage, vitamin B6

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%3%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%17%31%
Calorie Weighted Basis38%35%27%
Protein = 38% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 27%

The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient includes meat by-products, an item made from slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime striated muscle cuts have been removed.

With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, this item can include almost any other part of the animal.1

What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. So, the meat itself can come from any combination of cattle, pigs, sheep or goats — which can make identifying specific food allergies impossible.

Although most meat by-products can be nutritious, we do not consider such vaguely described (generic) ingredients to be as high in quality as those derived from a named animal source.

The fourth ingredient is wheat flour, a highly-refined product of wheat milling. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.

The fifth ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

However, be sure to notice the use of the word “with” in the name of this dog food — “with beef”. This seemingly trivial detail can reveal much about the actual beef content of this product.

As a matter of fact, all eleven of these canned dog foods appear to follow one of the FDA’s four important naming rules — the “With Rule”.

Also known as the Three Percent Rule, this little-known technicality can provide a powerful clue as to the true meat content of any dog food.

Here’s how…

Whenever you see the word “with” used in a dog food’s name, you know you’re dealing with an ingredient totaling not less than (and probably close to) three percent of the product’s total weight.

In other words, there’s not much beef here.

The sixth ingredient is wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior plant-based proteins low in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.

This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is salt (also known as sodium chloride). Salt is a common additive in many dog foods. That’s because sodium is a necessary mineral for all animals — including humans.

However, since the actual amount of salt added to this recipe isn’t disclosed on the list of ingredients, it’s impossible to judge the nutritional value of this item.

The eighth 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 product.

With four notable exceptions

First, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any 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, we note the use of fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

In addition, this food contains a few chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

And lastly, we also note the presence of sodium nitrite, a controversial color preservative. Sodium nitrite has been linked to the production of cancer-causing substances (known as nitrosamines) when meats are exposed to high cooking temperatures.

Iams ProActive Health Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Iams ProActive Health looks like a below-average canned 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 44%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 31%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 24%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 28% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Iams ProActive Health is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named and unnamed meats and meat by-products as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.

Not recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Those looking for a comparable kibble may wish to visit our review of Iams ProActive Health Adult dry dog food.

Iams 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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Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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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.

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Notes and Updates

07/26/2018 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Association of American Feed Control Officials