Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of three stars.
The Iams ProActive Smart Puppy product line includes three dry dog foods… each meeting AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth.
- Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy
- Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed
- Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Small and Toy Breed
Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, corn meal, chicken by-product meal, ground whole grain sorghum, dried beet pulp, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), chicken flavor, chicken meal, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), dried egg product, potassium chloride, brewers dried yeast, salt, caramel, choline chloride, fructooligosaccharides, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), 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), calcium carbonate, dl-methionine, l-lysine monohydrochloride, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||19%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||39%||35%|
The first ingredient in this dog food lists 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.
Which brings us to corn meal… the second and (more likely) the dominant ingredient in this dog food.
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 third 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 fourth item 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 fifth ingredient is dried 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.
The sixth item 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 actually a quality ingredient.
After the chicken flavor, we find chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
However, due to its lower position on the list, this item is not likely to have much of an effect on the overall protein content of the food.
The ninth ingredient is fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids… and (depending on the level of its purity) should be considered a healthy addition.
The tenth 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.
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 Smart Puppy
The Bottom Line
Compared to the brand’s own ProActive Health Adult line, this Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy product has more protein and fat and fewer carbohydrates.
In a nutshell, the ingredient quality remains the same while the proportions change.
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 31% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.
Above-average protein and fat. And below-average carbohydrates… when compared to a typical dry dog food.
With no evidence of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing notable amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include chicken by-products in its recipes. Without this lower quality ingredient, we’d have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.
Iams ProActive Smart Puppy is a corn-based kibble using a notable amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand three 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
01/29/2010 Original review
09/04/2010 Review updated
06/04/2012 Last Update