Iams ProActive Health Dog Food Review (Canned)


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

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

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

  • Iams Adult with Beef and Rice Pate (1.5 stars) [M]
  • Iams Adult with Lamb and Rice Pate (1.5 stars) [M]
  • Iams Puppy with Chicken and Rice Pate (1.5 stars) [G]
  • Iams Adult with Chicken and Whole Grain Rice Pate [M]
  • Iams Senior with Slow Cooked Chicken and Rice (2.5 stars) [M]
  • Iams Adult Chunks Beef, Rice, Carrots and Green Beans Flavor in Gravy (1.5 stars) [M]

Iams Adult with Chicken and Whole Grain Rice Pate was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Iams Adult with Chicken and Whole Grain Rice Pate

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 28%

Ingredients: Sufficient water for processing, meat by-products, chicken by-products, chicken, brown rice, barley, oatmeal feeding, flaxseed, vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate {vitamin B1}, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement), sodium tripolyphosphate, minerals (potassium chloride, magnesium proteinate, zinc sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide), dried yam, carrageenan, natural flavor, xanthan gum, methionine, fish oil, yellow #6, yellow #5, sage, vitamin B6

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis8%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%27%28%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%51%22%
Protein = 28% | Fat = 51% | Carbs = 22%

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 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 third ingredient lists chicken by-products, what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the choice cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs, this item can also include feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs and almost anything other than prime skeletal muscle.

The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.

The fourth 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.

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 fifth 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 sixth ingredient is barley. Barley is 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 seventh ingredient is feeding oatmeal. This item 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 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 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.

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.

Iams ProActive Health Canned Dog Food Review

By the looks of its ingredients alone, Iams ProActive Health Dog Food appears to be a below-average canned product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 25%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 28%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 39% and a mean fat level of 27%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 27% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 70%.

Which means this Iams product line contains…

Near-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 moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Iams ProActive Health is a grain-inclusive canned dog food using a moderate 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 list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to the Iams brand. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

Notes and Updates

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

01/03/2020 Last Update