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Iams ProActive Health Dog Food Review (Canned)

Mike Sagman


Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman


Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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Updated: March 21, 2024

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Which Iams Wet Recipes Get
Our Best Ratings?

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

The Iams ProActive Health product line includes the 6 canned dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product Rating AAFCO
Iams Adult Chunks Beef, Rice, Carrots and Green Beans Flavor in Gravy 1.5 M
Iams Adult with Lamb and Rice Pate 1.5 M
Iams Adult with Beef and Rice Pate 1.5 M
Iams Adult with Chicken and Whole Grain Rice Pate 2 M
Iams Puppy with Chicken and Rice Pate 1.5 G
Iams Senior with Slow Cooked Chicken and Rice Pate 2 M

Recipe and Label Analysis

Iams Adult with Chicken and Whole Grain Rice Pate was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

Iams Adult with Chicken and Whole Grain Rice Pate

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Chicken, sufficient water for processing, meat by-products, brown rice, barley, feeding oatmeal, flax seed, sodium tripolyphosphate, minerals (potassium chloride, magnesium proteinate, zinc sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide), dried yam, carrageenan, xanthan gum, natural flavors, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate {vitamin B1}, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement), dl-methionine, glycine, fish oil, yellow 6, yellow 5, sage, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 8% 6% NA
Dry Matter Basis 36% 27% 28%
Calorie Weighted Basis 28% 51% 22%

Ingredient Analysis

The first ingredient in this dog food 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.

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

As a matter of fact, five 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 chicken here.

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

The third ingredient lists 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.2

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 brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is barley, a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth ingredient is feeding oatmeal, which is a by-product of rolled oats “and consists of broken oat groats, oat groat chips, and floury portions of the oat groats, with only such quantity of finely ground oat hulls as is unavoidable in the usual process of commercial milling”.3

This inexpensive cereal grain by-product is only rarely used to make pet food and is more typically found in cattle and hog feeds.

The seventh 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 Iams product.

With 4 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, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

The article, The Carrageenan Controversy, published in Scientific American, does a good job of addressing this topic.

In addition, 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.

And lastly, 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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Iams ProActive Health canned dog food appears to be a below-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 28%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 27% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 66%.

Which means this Iams product line contains…

Above-average protein, above-average fat and near-average carbs when compared to other canned dog foods.

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

Our Rating of Iams ProActive Health Canned Dog Food

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

Not recommended.

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 automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Iams through May.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

Get Free Recall Alerts

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More Iams Brand Reviews

The following Iams dog food reviews are also posted on this website:


1, 2: Association of American Feed Control Officials

3: As defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2012 Official Publication, p. 420

A Final Word

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