Iams ProActive Health Active Maturity dry dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest rating of two stars.
The Iams ProActive Health Active Maturity product line lists three dry dog foods… each designed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
- Iams ProActive Health Active Maturity
- Iams ProActive Health Active Maturity Large Breed
- Iams ProActive Health Active Maturity Small and Toy Breed
Iams ProActive Health Active Maturity dry dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Iams ProActive Health Active Maturity
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Corn meal, chicken by-product meal, ground whole grain sorghum, dried egg product, dried beet pulp, chicken, chicken flavor, ground whole grain barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), brewers dried yeast, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, sodium hexametaphosphate, flax meal, caramel, fructooligosaccharides, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), dl-methionine, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, vitamins (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), l-lysine monohydrochloride, beta-carotene, l-carnitine, citric acid, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||11%||54%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||25%||50%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is corn meal. Corn meal is a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Now, contrary to what you may have heard, corn isn’t necessarily a bad ingredient.
On the other hand, although there’s no way to know for sure here, the corn used in making many pet foods can be similar to the kind used to make feed for livestock.
And that can sometimes be problematic.
What’s more, corn is commonly linked to canine food allergies1.
For these reasons, we rarely consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The second ingredient is chicken by-product meal… a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
This stuff can contain almost anything… feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs… anything (that is) but skeletal muscle (real meat).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.
Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.
The fourth ingredient is dried egg product… a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries… from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The fifth item 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 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 mentions chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 occupy a lower position on the list.
Following the chicken flavor, we notice barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index (like rice), barley can help support stable blood sugar levels in dogs.
The ninth ingredient includes chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken… a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid… an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is a quality ingredient.
The tenth ingredient lists brewers dried yeast. Although it is a by-product of the beer making process, brewers yeast contains about 45% protein… and is rich in other healthy nutrients.
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 find no mention of probiotics… friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
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 ProActive Health Active Maturity
The Bottom Line
Now, judging by its ingredients alone, Iams ProActive Health Active Maturity 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 28% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 54% for the overall product line.
Average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs… as compared to a typical dry dog food.
With no evidence of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a dry dog food containing an average amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include chicken by-product meal in its formulas. Without this lower quality item, we’d be inclined to award this product our next higher rating.
Iams ProActive Health Active Maturity is a corn-based dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand two stars.
Those looking for an adult kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Iams ProActive Health Adult dry dog food.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
01/30/2010 Original review
09/04/2010 Review updated
06/04/2012 Last Update