Iams ProActive Health (Dry)


Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Data On Iams Website1

Iams ProActive Health Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Iams ProActive Health product line includes 15 dry dog foods.

Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.

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

  • Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult
  • Iams ProActive Health Adult Chunks
  • Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks
  • Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed
  • Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Original
  • Iams ProActive Health Senior Plus Over 50 lb
  • Iams ProActive Health Senior Plus Under 50 lb
  • Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Large Breed
  • Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed
  • Iams ProActive Health Adult Lamb Meal and Rice
  • Iams ProActive Health Adult Small and Toy Breed
  • Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Control (2.5 stars)
  • Iams ProActive Health Adult Weight Control Large Breed
  • Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Small and Toy Breed
  • Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Small and Toy Breed

Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Iams Proactive Health Adult Large Breed

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 25% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Chicken, corn meal, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal (natural source of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine), ground whole grain barley, dried beet pulp, chicken flavor, dried egg product, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), brewers dried yeast, potassium chloride, salt, dicalcium phosphate, caramel, flax meal, choline chloride, fructooligosaccharides, 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), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), calcium carbonate, l-lysine monohydrochloride, dl-methionine, l-tryptophan, l-carnitine, citric acid, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis23%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis25%17%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis21%36%43%
Protein = 21% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 43%

The first ingredient in this dog food is 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 account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is cornmeal, a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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

The third ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) 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 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.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (conventional meat).

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

The fifth 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 sixth 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.

After the chicken flavor, we find 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 ninth ingredient is 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 actually a quality ingredient.

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, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, flaxseed meal contains one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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.

In addition, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Iams ProActive Health looks like 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 25%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the brewers dried yeast and flax meal, this still looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Iams ProActive Health is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken, chicken by-product meal or lamb meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.


Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

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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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

07/27/2015 Last Update

  1. As of 7/27/2015
  2. Wikipedia definition
  • Susan

    Hi, that’s sad he has eaten the same crappy food for 6 yrs… you need to rotate kibbles & change proteins, add some fresh whole food to his kibble as well, look for a grain free kibble….not Purina, not Hills & not Iams..

  • Jess Ransdell-Smith

    Ours has also stopped eating the Iams he’s been on for the last 6 years unless we put yogurt on it. We switched over to the Purina Turkey and Venison because he gobbled it up over at our friend’s house while we were away (she normally has even more trouble getting him to eat than we do because of vacation stress). Bought some for him yesterday to mix into the last bit of his Iams and he gobbled up both dinner (like we didn’t even realize he’d eaten because he wasn’t standing around his bowl for forever) and he’d finished his breakfast before he came back to bed with me this morning where he’d been leaving it until after his noon poo break to finish it. I wonder if they changed the recipe some time within the last year and our dogs just don’t like it anymore.

  • mahoraner

    did they change the formula? for some reason there seems to be way less red in the ingredients, and if i remember correctly it wasn’t 3 stars (i thought it was 2 or 2.5)

  • Pocketpooch6

    We have faithfully stuck with Iam’s for decades. Iam’s MiniChunks. Unfortunately, over the last few months our dogs have flat out refused to eat it. I’ve had to soak it in warm water and mix pedigree canned food into it just to get them to eat. I’ve been giving them the leftover rice, beans, meats, and vegetables just so they would eat something during the day.
    We’ve also been dealing with poop eating issues – the one will poop, the other will stand right there and scarf it up the second she’s done. And then they’d switch and do the same with the other’s poop. I’ve literally had to stand over them with the pooper scooper and outrun them to the pile.
    Anyway, I went to PetSmart and bought four different similarly priced bags – ProPlan, Purina One, Pedigree, and Authority. All dry adult formula. I figured they’d maybe like one or two of them. As it turns out, they love all four of them. They won’t touch the Iam’s, but they will eat the other four brands with gusto. Oh, and today, the first day after I switched their food (actually I mixed it with soaked Iam’s so I didn’t shock their systems too much), nobody ate any poop. I did not have to stand outside hovering over them for the first time in weeks.
    What is up with Iam’s???
    Seriously, what is going on? We’ve stood by them faithfully for decades, and they sell us crap to feed our dogs. I guess that’s the end of our very long dedication to this brand.

  • mahoraner niall

    Not the worst food, but not the best food either, especially since there are better foods for almost the EXACT same price.

    here is a comparison i made with iams proactive health adult mini chunks and FROMM family classics adult formula :

    FROMM family classics first five ingredients :

    Chicken Meal
    Brown Rice
    Ground Pearled Barley

    Iams proactive health adult mini chunks first five ingredients:

    corn meal
    ground whole grain sorghum
    chicken by-product meal
    dried beet pulp,

    Fromm uses whole meat – no by products
    Iams uses whole meat, AND by products
    Fromm uses healthy grains like barley, oatmeal and brown rice,
    Iams uses one healthy grain, and one unhealthy grain (corn meal)
    Fromm DOESN’T use by products from the manufacturing of food for human consumption
    Iams USES by products from the manufacturing of food for human consumption (dried beet pulp AND chicken by product meal)


    That fromm only costs …… drum roll please…………

    $$$$$$$ $0.04 MORE A POUND THAN IAMS!!!!! $$$$$$$

    Iams proactive health adult mini chunks costs $17.97 for 15 lbs
    And FROMM classics adult costs $18.66 for 15 lbs!

    ALL PRICES WERE FROM : http://www.chewy.com

  • Joyce Elish

    I forgot to mention that I did mix the IAMS with their regular food so I was in the process of transitioning them to IAMS.

  • Sofia Kenny

    I also have more info on Danny and daisy symptoms on my fb page…https://m.facebook.com/Iamsdogfoodkills/

  • Sofia Kenny

    You want to cal iams and file a complaint and also file a safety report online. Yes you should transition the food but such a strong reaction from all three I would take then to vet just tonmake sure. Blood work should be ran and if pancreatitis was induced from the food they will want them on meds and also reported to fda. A simple blood test can diagnose.

  • Sofia Kenny

    Yes we did there is a full investigation in progress

  • Sofia Kenny

    So glad!

  • InkedMarie

    I don’t like this food but if you didn’t transition slowly from the old food to Iams, this could br why they got sick.

  • Joyce Elish

    I just purchased a 50 lb bag of IAMS Proactive Large Breed Dog food from Sam’s Club. It was $10 off the regular price so I thought I’d try it on my 3 dogs. I have a Newfoundland, Golden Retriever, and a Collie. All 3 of them threw up the food. I gave it again the next day and they vomited it again. This is the first time they had IAMS dog food. I do switch foods every so often but this is the first time they got sick. I will contact Sam’s Club tomorrow. Is there a phone # I can call to complain? Thank you so much for reporting Daisy and Danny’s death.

  • Sofia Kenny

    I’m so glad he is feeling better!

  • chris fox

    Cosmo seems to be stable he hasn’t thrown up all day yesterday and so far today he seems to look better

  • Sofia Kenny
  • Sofia Kenny

    Yes there is an open investigation

  • Sofia Kenny


  • Sofia Kenny

    Thank-you so much

  • chris fox

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss but I need to know as much info as possible please contact me asap,my baby boy is having the same symptoms and I just recently switched him to the IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH ADULT PET FOOD!please call me 6232047983

  • Sofia Kenny

    Thank-you so much

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