Iams Veterinary Formulas Intestinal Plus (Dry)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Iams Veterinary Formula Intestinal Plus Dog Food is not rated due to its intentional therapeutic design.

The Iams Veterinary Formula Intestinal product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe designed to help in the treatment of gastrointestinal and digestive disorders.

Iams Veterinary Formula Intestinal Plus

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 10% | Carbs = 58%

Ingredients: Corn grits, brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, chicken, fish meal, dried beet pulp, chicken flavor, dried egg product, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), brewer's dried yeast, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, fructooligosaccharides, monosodium phosphate, 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), fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), sodium hexametaphosphate, choline chloride, flax meal, dl-methionine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), ethoxyquin (a preservative), rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis22%9%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%10%58%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%23%54%
Protein = 23% | Fat = 23% | Carbs = 54%

The first ingredient in this dog food includes corn grits. Grits are made from ground corn, 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 second ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient includes 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 feathers.

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 fourth ingredient 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 fifth ingredient is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

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 natural 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 six 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, 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.

In addition, we note the inclusion of sodium hexametaphosphate, a man-made industrial polymer with no known nutritive value.

HMP is used in making soap, detergents, water treatment, metal finishing and most likely here to decrease tartar build-up on the teeth.

Although some might disagree, we’re of the opinion that food is not the place for tartar control chemicals or any other non-nutritive substances.

Next, flaxseed meal is 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.

We also note that 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.

And lastly, this dog food includes ethoxyquin, a controversial preservative linked to the accumulation of hemoglobin pigment in the liver and elevated hepatic enzymes in the blood.

Iams Veterinary Formula
Intestinal Plus Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Although this is a prescription product, our review has nothing to do with the accuracy of claims made by the manufacturer as to the product’s ability to treat or cure a specific health condition.

So, to find out whether or not this dog food is appropriate for your particular pet, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.

With that understanding…

Judging by its ingredients alone, Iams Veterinary Formula Intestinal Plus Dog Food looks like a below-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still prefer to estimate the product’s meat content before concluding our report.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 24%, a fat level of 10% and estimated carbohydrates of about 58%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 41%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

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

Bottom line?

Iams Veterinary Formula Intestinal Plus is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein.

Iams Veterinary Formula
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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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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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.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

01/06/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Wikipedia definition
  • Samantha

    Chris i feed my dog with the same issues eagle dry food and I mix either a food topper or a freeze dried food in mixed with a little bit of hot water n he does great!

  • Chris

    This is the only food my dog gets. He has severe colitis and anything else we have tried to feed him causes the colitis to flair up. I worry about feeding him this exclusively and that he is not getting complete balanced nutrition. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks

  • Regina

    I agree completely. This is the only food our dog can tolerate. I cringe at the formulation and other e-mails too, but our dog was ill all the time on other “high quality” foods — and no health issues found by vets. On Iams he is energetic, happy, has a beautiful coat. What is worse?? Quality of life has to be worth something. I have to stop reading all the bad reviews. Everyone has to make the choice for their own fur baby.

  • Crazy4cats

    Yes, finally an avatar. That is Beans, my very quirky orange kitty. I have a nice pic of my dogs on my iPad, but it turned sideways when I uploaded it. I’ll see if I can figure out how to turn it. Until, then, it is Sir Beans.

  • Crazy4cats

    That is terrible!

  • aimee

    I’m open to the idea that is is good for our pets. I can’t simply dismiss the fact that veterinary and PhD nutritionists recommend the foods from Hill’s Purina etc. and that zoo’s that feed commercial foods choose products from these companies.

  • Shawna

    Two of the four vets in the office I go to have been caught being deceitful. One of those is the lead vet. One with vaccs and one recommending lung x-rays, that weren’t needed, to a dog owned by a pulmonologist. Oops Many recommend heartworm preventatives when they are absolutely unnecessary and suggest every 30 day dosage when they know the product is adequate when given every 45 days. They may feel their reasons are valid but it is still deceitful. I have no doubt that some do recommend prescription diets when it is known to not be necessary.

  • Bobby dog

    New Avatar?

  • Betsy Greer

    Maybe so, but to me, he was highly unprofessional and very condescending.

  • Crazy4cats

    I have mixed feelings about this article. I think it was very honestly written, but was a little a-wordish at the end. I honestly haven’t ever thought a vet was trying to sell me prescription food to line his/her pockets. But, I do think that they honestly think it is good for our pets. I’m not sure which is worse?

  • Bobby dog

    I felt he was expressing his anguish with being lumped into a stereotype.

  • Betsy Greer

    Really? I found it insulting. The writer of that article is an arrogant SOB who needs to “grow up” himself.

    If he signed any of his writing, I’d make certain never to patronize his clinic.

  • Bobby dog

    I enjoyed reading this article, particularily the end!

  • aimee

    I recently came across this article written by a vet titled “The truth about vets and the corporate pet food giants”

    Be sure to read through to the end its worth it!

  • dchassett

    Didn’t realize it was one of the trolls. I thought the name sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it. Thanks for the heads up.

  • LabsRawesome

    Do not “feed” the Troll, just flag, I did.

  • idlewild

    Brilliant retort. That convinced me. Absolutely. You believe in God too?

  • dchassett

    Seriously? This has been well known for years. Do you think the vets are feeding this food out of the goodness of their hearts or because they think this is an exceptional food and they carry this food and give it shelf room in their offices for free? Hmmmmmmmmm!

  • idlewild

    Can you please cite your sources for the “kick-back” the vets get?

  • RJJ

    Caused allergic lesions on the spine of our 7 yo corgi mix.

  • Jessica

    Thanks for your thoughts, Cindy. I’ve done a lot of research on pet nutrition and I absolutely agree with everyone who wants to put their dog on a better, higher quality food. Until now, however, this was the only food she could handle without very negative side effects. We kept our dog on the Intestinal Plus food for a few months because she continued to have digestive issues even after getting rid of the parasites. We are finally in the process of switching her to a better quality food, Nature’s Variety, and we hope that rotational feeding will help to strengthen her digestive system over time. Like I said, I don’t like the fact that the Iams Intestinal Plus is full of ingredients that no one would ever feed themselves, but it definitely did the trick with our puppy.

  • Cindy

    Your dog would have filled out anyways once the parasites were gone
    The Veterinarians get a “kick-back” from dog food companies that specifically design their formulas and distribute them as Rx. (Prescription)

  • Jessica

    When we brought our puppy home at 8 weeks, she had been eating Nutrisource Large Breed Puppy dry food. We visited our vet the day after we brought her home and found that she had both hookworms and coccidia (another type of worms). Because of this, she had wet stool and was a bit underweight. Our vet also wanted to see her “fill out a bit” and put her on Iams Intestinal Plus dry food. Our 4 month old little girl is now healthy as can be and filling out wonderfully. We are getting ready to switch her to a non-prescription food because of the cost and small bags of this type, but have been very happy with this food.

  • SunnyBunny

    I agree Karolina! I cannot bring myself to buy a food for my dogs, that hurts other dogs!


  • pup mom

    we’ve had the exact same issue- I don’t want to use Iams, my other dogs eat merrick but nothing will work for the puppy 🙁

  • Judy

    We are feeding Iams Intestinal Plus dry food to our two 8-month old rescue mixed breed sisters at our vet’s recommendation due to some previous intestinal issues. Before this Iams food, we had gone through several different brands of limited ingredient dry foods without success. The Iams Intestinal Plus is easily digestible and well tolerated, and poop is good. Their coats are now very, very soft. Before Iams, one dog’s coat was thin, spikey and she smelled like cat urine.

    But this food is pricey (one of us is retired) and the large bag can only be ordered online. Also, the dogs seem to be eating a lot of the food and yet are quite skinny. We are going to transition them to a more affordable food, and after researching this site we think we will try Pro Pac next. Thanks for this forum.

  • LabsRawesome

    Iams is owned by Proctor and Gamble. It’s true that they got busted for animal cruelty. They do treat their lab animals better now. The only reason that they cleaned up their act was to appease the public. I don’t believe that it’s necessary to keep animals in a laboratory setting. All the tests/research could be done on companion animals that live in a real home. Although I personally would never let my dogs eat their crap food, I’m sure others would be willing.

  • aimee


    Iams had contracted with a research facility that violated their animal welfare standards. They now care for all of the animals used in their studies.

    This article provides current information regarding Iams research facilities.


  • lilo’smom

    Did you try Acana’s Single’s? Look into that. That could take care of your problem. The lamb is really good for sensitive stomachs and it has some oatmeal in it as well so that could help if they need a little grain in the diet.

  • Karolina

    I just visited this site to find the indigence (I found out a friend of mine buys IAMS and I’m looking for a good substitute)

    Why is no one concerned about the fact that IAMS conducts cruel experiments on cats and dogs? Is everyone really just concerned about their own pets and indifferent to the suffering of other pets?

  • neezerfan

    I can’t believe this still has ethoxyquin in it.

  • lbatch

    The only health issues is ibs and its only a issue when not on this food. We have spent thousands of dollars on tests to see if there is anything else going on and everything comes back normal. Otherwise they are happy and healthy dogs!

  • lbatch

    yes we took a full four weeks to transition on each food. Pumpkin probiotics did nothing to help.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Just a question of clarification: when you say you’ve “tried them all”, did you transition slowly (adding in more of the new food to their regular food over the course of several weeks)? ..and did you try feeding with pure canned pumpkin until the stools were firm?  

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m sorry you find yourself in this position, but you’re not alone.  At least you’re here because you’ve tried other things that didn’t work instead of being here because you think this is the best food in the world.  Every dog is different and you have to go with what works.

  • lbatch

    As much as I cringe feeding my dogs this food, it is the ONLY food they can handle. We have tried them all, raw, homemade, orijen, artermis, natural balance you name them all and they have had horrible reactions. I hate hate hate feeding them a food with corn grits but when it comes down it is what makes my dogs able to eat. So while this food is only rated a two star food in my book its a ok for my babies. I just wish they would reformulate this food to make it better but then again I am not sure they would be able to handle that. A true catch 22 for us!

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  • melissa

    Which BB were you using? I recently added BB to my rotation(chicken, salmon and lamb) for the grain inclusive portion. Dogs seem fine eating the chicken, however when I moved on to the lamb, several developed loose stool-to the point that I will not feed it again. Fish(salmon) was only slightly better.

    When we get a dog who has intestinal issues from a richer food, we often find a “interm” food-one that is perhaps not “all” we want in a food, but several ‘clicks” higher/better than the last one. We then feed that for a bag or two and then move up to the next.

    From something like Beneful, we would go to something like Proplan, Iams, Nature’s Recipe etc. Lately we have been using Nature’s Recipe for sensitive stomach as our “interm” food and we have had very good results.

  • Toxed2loss

    Sigh! I know what you mean. That’s why I feed lots of balanced raw. Whole food is better. 🙂

  • Shawna

    Hi neezerfan ~~ I was gone most of the evening sorry for my delayed response 🙂

    Also avoid Brewers and nutritonal yeasts.  A couple foods have “hydrolyzed” proteins (I think it was Merrick that had a hydrolyzed pork?  Or maybe it was Back to Basics?). 

  • neezerfan

    Okay, back we go to foods without added vitamins and minerals!

  • Toxed2loss

    And wiki’s answer: Proteinate, are a particular type of chelate, in which the mineral is chelated with short-chain peptides and amino acids derived from hydrolysed soy proteins,[3].

    Soy is predominantly GMO. Hydrolysed soy proteins are resplendent with free glutamate. SMH

  • Toxed2loss

    Well, I did a little digging, and obviously not all “proteinated menerals are create equal… I found this on the FDA site,

    “Q2. Can all proteinated and chelated mineral complexes listed by AAFCO be used in organic livestock production?
    A2. No, not all formulations of the proteinated minerals may be used. Section 205.105(e) of the NOP Final Rule prohibits use of products of excluded methods (genetic engineering). Section 205.237(b)(5) prohibits the feeding of poultry or slaughter by-products to mammals or poultry. Therefore, proteinated mineral complexes that are derived from or contain products of excluded methods or slaughter by-products are not allowed in organic livestock production.”

    So obviously my next question is, “what protein are they binding to?”

  • neezerfan

    Proteinated minerals are the same as chelated minerals I believe. Supposedly easier to absorb. There is a down-side to that which I can’t remember and I also can’t remember where I read it. Possibly on this site.

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Neezerfan,
    I was just listing the top ones that popped out at me from the BB reviews. The whole list is on truthinlabeling (dot) org, I think it’s org… I avoid those other’s, too, for me personally, like the plague. I know there are two industry forms of lecithin. One is soy. I hate soy. One is egg white. The term “proteinated minerals” makes me shudder. Do you have info on it?

  • neezerfan


    Are there any other ingredients to avoid other than those you listed? What about guar gum, locust bean gum, lecithin? 
    Also what is your opinion about proteinated minerals? Shawna feel free to chime in too!

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Confused,
    I’m tossing in my 2¢… I looked over the BB reviews. They all rely heavily on forms of MSG, near the top of their ingredients list. (broth, caregeenan, citric acid, natural flavor) Explosive diarrhea is a known symptom of MSG poisoning. A sensitivity could build up over time, causing them to become sensitive, when they weren’t, originally. It can take up to 3 months for excess glutamate to be cleared. & the flax seed is going to exacerbate the problem.

    One of my hard and fast rules… No MSG!! That limits your choices to only a handful of kibbles. My top pick is Brother’s Complete Fish Formula. It’s grain free, potato free, flax free & has no free glutamate (MSG) or aspartate sources (another excitotory neurotoxin.)

    Click on Richard Darlington’s avatar, it will take you to the Brother’s Complete website, and you can call and ask Pierre for some free samples. 🙂

  • Shawna

    I know how much of a pain it was with one…  And she’s a Pom…  Can’t imagine how much work and frustration two would cause!!!!!  Ughhhhh

    My holistic vet was a HUGE help though…  She recommended a homeopathic remedy based on my Poms EXACT symptoms.  The remedy would make the diarrhea stop before it even started!!!  I knew she was going to have issues when her tummy would strart to grumble…  Diarrhea would happen within an hour or two….if not sooner…  The remedy made it completely stop and then I was able to figure out it was the chicken that was causing the problem… 

  • Confused in Scottsdale

    I have been on this food for a while, say 3 or so months…Its just gotten worse over the last month. It was always loose. My girlfriend advised me this happened to her dog as well switching to BB was really rich. I am just frustrated. I will keep trying to find something else, I just cant put my guys thru this anymore. OR myself lol

  • Shawna

    Wow!!  I’m kinda shocked that a raw feeding vet would even consider this food??

    Melissa is so right!!  When switching from a lower quality food to a higher quality food diarrhea is not at all uncommon.  Even in some dogs that are introduced slowly.  I see it with my foster dogs too.

    In addition to that, there are foods that can not be well tolerated by certain dogs.  Example — my Pom can not eat chicken for more then a few meals or take NSAID meds for more then a few days or she too will have explosive, urgent diarrhea (colitis was her diagnosis).  Parasites like giardia (which are not killed by antibiotics) can also cause severe diarrhea.  However, I’m sure your vet checked for those types of issues.

    There are many foods that can cause that type of diarrhea — all grains, potato, chicken, egg or any food that caused gut inflammation.

    It is possible that the particular bags of BB were bad too..  Maybe they sat in a hot warehouse too long and the fats were rancid as an example..

    I’m really glad that this food worked for you — I know how frustrating colitis like diarrhea can be.  However, that doesn’t make the ingredients in this food of the protein content any more worthy of a higher rating 🙁

  • melissa


    Look in the article section and I am sure you will find the answer to your rating question.

    The fact that you went from such a low quality food, to a much higher one can certainly cause stomach discord. It happens frequently with the rescues we take in, going from low to high quality foods, Just because the BB did not work for your crew, doesn’t mean that none of the higher quality ones will. I would suggest if you are trying another, that you take weeks, even a month to complete the switch-some are just more sensitive then others.

  • Confused in Scottsdale

    Im very torn here. I need some advice. I had my dog on Beneful Healthy Weight and found out how bad it was. I slowly switched over to Blue Buffalo which he seemed to like OK. I also put them on all “Made in the USA” treats. Nothing from China. We got another dog (he was on eukanuba) and transferred them both slowly to BB. When they were on BB 100% my Puggle Marley got so sick where he couldnt control his bowels and it was pure liquid. He destroyed our outside balcony in our condo and we had to rip the floors up. I felt so bad. He is 5 years old and never had a problem like this in his life. He was going to the bathroom every 2 hours. My vet put him on this Iams and some meds (thinking it was a virus) and he went back to being his normal happy self. He wasnt depressed or sad anymore and was having normal bowels. It was like we had our old dog back. I thought it was a virus and started him back on the BB again. Within a day his feces went back to loose and gross. Then our Mix Ralphie got sick. He destroyed a beautiful comforter we had in our bedroom and I knew it was bad if he couldnt have made it down. I put him on the Iams and got him some meds. He instantly within a day was better. I have them both on this food, until I can figure something else. Our vet is a very renoun vet and does the Raw Diet and some other stuff. He has wrote books and people come from all over to see him. I am surprised you have this listed so low. IF you are not a vet how do you get your stars? How do you rate the food. I have found out I can not give the dogs a rich food like Blue Buffalo or a non-grain diet. Does anyone have any ideas? I am so stressed out from this and want my babies happy.
    Thanks in advance!

  • daisy1999

    First of all, I’m not sure why your vet had you start a new food just for a bout of salmonella.  My dogs all had what we presumed to be this recently and they were fasted, then boiled hamburger and rice.  This is usually standard.  Although, some vets do like to push these prescription foods if they carry them at the office.  They are in general junk, as is this one, but can have a time and place dependent on your pets condition.  I’m curious as to what they were on before?  I’m really surprised that due to your dogs other conditions he would have put them on this in the first place, much less want to keep them on it.  In a dog with Cushings, it is recommended that they have a high protein (a good quality protein), low fat, low fiber, low purine diet.  Well, this prob. meets the fat and fiber requirements.  Not the protein or purine.  Certain fish is high in purine and this food doesn’t identify the fish source, so you don’t know.  Organ meats are also high purine and with chicken byproduct, you don’t know what the heck they have included.  Yeast is also high purine and this food includes brewers yeast.  With Addisons, while its not as cut and dry, ethoxyquin and byproducts are no-no’s and they are present.  You should also stay away from corn, wheat, soy.  Corn is your first ingredient.  Botton line-bad food and especially for your dogs.  I would check over on the raw forum.  A lot of people with dogs with these diseases choose to do either raw or homecooked diets as nutrition is especially important.  In Cushings, I know a lot of people get rid of grains all together.  You should have no prob. feeding both dogs the same thing.  Just remember that your dog with Addisons also needs low potassium.  It is a good idea to use vitamins and antioxidants to boost their immune systems.  Some of these can be done through what foods you choose.  Also, there are certain herbs that boost adrenal function.  You can find lots of recipes online for homemade food.  Just remember to make sure the ingredients you use match the disease requirements. Certainly don’t discount your vets expertise.  Just do your research and let him know why you want to change foods.  If you are using supplements, you can ask him to assist you in proper dose and make sure they won’t affect any medications the dogs are on.   

  • Anne

    After both of our dogs came down with salmonella, the vet started them on this food.  Both dogs have health problems (one has cushing’s and is 13 1/2, the other had Addison’s) and they’re doing quite well on it.  Our vet has suggested they remain on it as they seem happy and are feeling  healthy.  The food has such a low rating here that I’m torn.  I want them to do well and I trust our vet and his expertise, but I also don’t want to feed them junk food!  Any thoughts?  It is worth pursuing other foods, or since there is so much variation in how well dogs do on food, should I be content to keep them on this as long as they seem to be feeling well?

  • Toxed2loss

    Mike P,
    I sauté with coconut oil all the time. I am in complete agreement with Sandy. 🙂

  • sandy

    Mike P,

    You can still cook the food to rare with the coconut oil.  It is solid at room temperature so warming it in the pan as to cook with it will let it “melt” and then be able to incorporate it into the dog food easier.

  • Mike P

    Thanks Ninja and Toxed.I only lightly cook food for a minute or less with a sauce pan and a quarter inch of water.Her meat is very very rare and don’t know if I would be able to cook the same with coconut oil.With that said I will be on the prowl for this oil on my day off friday.I only have wally world,sullivans,and save a lot to find this oil.DFN thanks for the heads up on the spray on oil.

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Mike P,
    I’m with Sandy and DFN, coconut oil is highly beneficial. 🙂

  • sandy


    Dr Becker video.

    It’s antifungal, antibacterial too and easily available/digested by dogs with pancreatitis, IBD.  Nutiva brand, Dr Bronner, you can get it from amazon, a health food store, even at better pet stores. Get organic, extra virgin.

  • Dog Food Ninja

    Hey Mike P.  I have been learning a bit about coconut oil because it is one of the only plant-based oils that is acceptable to cook with on the paleo diet.  It is saturated fat heavy (as opposed to many plant based fats that are polyunsaturated loaded) and it is almost 50% lauric acid which is a very easy to digest short-chain fatty acid and it has anti-microbial properties as well.  It is a bit pricy…. there was only one brand at my Harris Teeter.  It was $10 for a small-ish container.  But a little oil does go a long way!  oh, and be ware of the spray-on cooking oil.  the same brand had a coconut spray version, but it contained soy lectin.     

  • Mike P

    Yes Sandy I divide the meat and freeze it.I use water when I cook with water for moister, why coconut oil?Where do you get this coconut oil?Can you tell me a little bit about it?

  • sandy

    Why don’t you just cook them in coconut oil?


  • sandy

    Do you buy your organs and chop them up and portion them out and put in the freezer?  I was thinking you could use 1 oz or 2 oz portions cups or just make organ ice cubes.  That way you can take a cube or 2 out at a time to thaw.  You can do that with canned pumpkin too as to not let it go to waste.

  • Mike P

    Whenever I feed gizzards,hearts ,livers and eggs I always lightly cook them in a little water and mix it with the kibble.I let it cool and feed.Very moist and she loves it.I also started giving a tablespoon of yogurt before bedtime.

  • sandy

    Do you give probiotics and digestive enzymes? I’m wondering if that would help with digestion and breaking down the kibble more.  How about adding some canned food also for more moisture?  Or even using a dehydrated food that you mix with water – that way she gets more moisture like The Honest Kitchen, Grandma Lucy’s, Addiction.


  • deehenry

    I have a 3 year old Great Dane that has been recently diagnosed with Idiopathic dilated megacolon.  Frequent constipation and 3 impactions in the last 8 months.  Need to have her on a low residue food but I will not do the Iams Low Residue.  She currently eats Taste of the Wild.  We now have her on Lactulose and are continuing her Miralax. Our vet is great but I am trying to help out by doing my own research.  She has seen very little cases of this in dogs, mostly cats.  She does not even carry Eukanuba or Iams perscription food.  Can anyone suggest something else?

    Thanks!  Deena   

  • Shawna

    Thank Blu for the slobbery lick — I don’t find it disgusting at all (well okay maybe just a tiny bit but I will get over it quickly!!!!). 🙂

    Canola oil provides omega 6 and 3. Dr. Becker uses hemp oil in her rotation.. If you feed grass finished (I know from another post you made, that you watch GMOs (NICE)) you may need to add an oil that provides omega 6 as well.. Short term I wouldn’t worry about it..

    Have you read Jeffrey Smith’s book/s?

    If you aren’t already receiving, you may be interested in Dr. Mercola’s videos and articles as well. He disscusses human nutrition.. Very anti-GMOs… 😉

  • angelasfeathers

    OK thank you so much guys I am still working on this and removed the grain starch ( brown rice , soy , wheat, etc) and removed the canola oil and hope fish oil alone is OK . I watched Dr Karen Becker’s video on bloat and on the 1-13 list of best to worst dog food and am going to go now to mercolahealthypets.com and get her rotation raw diet menu , book and anything else I need …you guys have been awsome . And my bloodhound , Blu is sending you all a huge slobbering “digusting” lick!!
    PS. Anyone help me? I thought I was pretty computer wise ..but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to find where to be able to add a photo ID ..and my avatar is nothing like moi not to mention deathly pale

  • aimee


    If you are doing a lot of R+ training and she is getting a fair amount of her daily calories in “treats” you could consider doing what I did.

    I took a portion of her reg. diet and mixed in smelly fresh foods then put it in a zip lock bag over night in the fridge. My dog liked feta cheese so I used that. ( I even trained her to retrieve a hot dog using feta and blue cheese as the R+) I also used fresh cooked liver, bacon, salmon, sardines etc.. The kibble takes on a bit of pizzaz, yet I still had a consistant shaped and easy to handle R+

  • Shawna

    Brandon Martin ~~ peas, baby carrots and any type of meat is great. I bought a dehydrator (cold air) and I buy organic liver (cheap) as well as fish like catfish or tilapia, heart or whatever.. Dogs LOVE it and I know the quality of the product.. My dogs also lover cucumber slices and blueberries.

  • Brandon Martin

    Hi, I have been feeding My 8 month old Golden-doodle, Acana grain free (wild prairie) food since i brought here home. She loves it and i love the fact it’s so good for her….I have a problem with the treats I give her. I’ve been old by many that the Natural Balance dog food (roll) would be a great treat. She ABSOLUTELY loves it. I cut it up and keep it in the fridge and use it as a training tool and all around treat. I just read on this site that it only gets 2 STARS and my stomach dropped to the floor. DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A 5 STAR alternative? I hate to take away her favorite treat but i want her to be as healthy and well cared for as possible. Thanks for your help!

  • Shawna


    A lot of problem with bloat (and torsion) is there are many theories on what the cause is.. Veterinarian (and raw feeder) Dr. Karen Becker has a video/article on bloat. Might be worth watching/reading. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/01/25/gastric-dilatation-volvulus-or-twisted-stomach-in-pet-dogs.aspx

    Most of us raw feeders don’t feed just one recipe as there are different nutirents in different foods that can be deficient if only using one diet. Example if only feeding red meats the diet could be deficient in omega 6 fatty acids. If only feeding poultry the diet would be deficient in saturated fat. Some of us also don’t like canola oil as it is a ” highly processed” and therefore dead oil. Most of us don’t like carbs in the form of grains either — NO rice..

    However the diet is a good short term starting point.. Dr. Becker co-wrote (with Beth Taylor) a book called “Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats”. It is confirmed to be complete and balanced and is a rotational diet — including chicken, turkey, beef, sardines and eggs. Commercial premades is another way to go as is commercial pre-mixes (Honest Kitchen, Steve Brown of See Spot Live Longer and Sojo’s all have pre-mixes).

    So glad you got to your baby in time!~!!!!!!!

  • angelasfeathers

    My bloodhound 3 weeks ago had surgury just in time to save his life from “bloat”…it was a miricle that we got home in time to find him.
    I am currantly feeding him i/d canned food and cannot find out how much calories are in one can..does not tell you and the vet clinic does not know either ? My dog weighs 85 lbs and they do not want him to gain weight …and also most of the bloodhounds they see are usually overweight they are happy to see him on the thinner side.
    But reading the reviews for this i/d canned expensive food I am concerned about feeding this “junk” to him …..I don’t know what to do and I don’t blame those responding as their hands are tied and I can see from some of the replys people have “not” gotten telling them to check with their vet …that it seems legally it is impossible to get an real answer . I am actually thinking of going back to feeding him Kirkland’s dry dog food and soaking it first ? Or also thinking of giving him a raw diet . What do I do? Here is the recipe for a raw food diet and is there something missing to it like canned pumpkin and greek yogurt ? :
    Raw Diet homemade for dog example for 20 lb

    1.4 lb of meat ; select one
    Skinless chicken
    Lean ground beef
    Lean ground turkey
    Ground Lamb
    Organ meats a few times a week or some daily
    RMB( raw meaty bones) : turkey, chicken backs and necks,
    Egg with shell

    1 cup cooked : select one
    Brown Rice
    Sweet Potatoes

    ½ cup steamed : select 2 and rotate for variety
    Green beans

    Prepare with: recommended to add:
    2 T sardines or liver ( supplies B-12) 3 x per week per 20 lbs
    /4 t salt substitute ( potassium chloride)
    1 t vegetable oil ( canola)
    Reduce amount of oil if dog is overweight
    *Note: it is the cooked bones that cause a problem (splintering etc) not raw bones.

  • Hi Isabel… Unfortunately, I would doubt any grocery store food would be the medicinal equivalent of this specialized prescription dog food.

  • This food is junk, and I have no idea what makes it “low residue”. I wouldn’t recommend something like it! lol It’s just made from a bunch of cereal grain and meat packing byproducts. What was the dog eating before he got put on this “special” diet?

  • Isabel Oliver

    I would like to know which dry food is the most similar to Iams Low Residue that I could buy at the pet or grocery store, not from the Vet. My dog is a 3 yr. old schnoodle.
    Thank you.

  • Jonathan

    Evan, try something with more meat and less carbs. Earthborn Grain Free foods are all life stages and the Great Plains formula even eliminates white potatoes by utilising peas and tapioca as the binders. Also, add probiotics to the food with plain yogurt or food additives like Salmon oil with probiotics that you can find at a pet store. Also, if stool is the problem, try adding some canned pumpkin to his food.

  • Evan

    I have a 5 month old Rottweiler who has had GI problems ever since I got him at 7 weeks. The breeder had the litter on Purina Puppy Chow but I switched my dog over to Nutro Large Breed Puppy. Recently my vet put him on Iams Low Residue Puppy to see if it would clear up his GI problems. I have to say I have seen no difference in his stools between the Nutro and the prescription food. I would say his less interested in the prescription food and I pretty much have to coax him into eating it. Reading your review on this food and looking at the overall grade you give it really has me worried. I think I’m going to tell my vet that I don’t think he should be on the prescription food anymore since it’s really not helping him out. Should I go back to Nutro? Should I try something else like Blue Buffalo Large Breed? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Hi Animal Lover… Since each dog responds to a particular food in its own unique way, it would be impossible for me to assure you feeding Wellness (or any other product) would keep your dog healthy. Unfortunately, choosing the right dog food still involves some trial and error. Wish I could be more help.

  • Animal lover =O

    I have both of my cat and dog on iams there doing fine…but i’m worried that my cat and dog are at risk of getting sick from iams.Should i change to wellnes?

  • Hi Susie… I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s surgeries. Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian, you’ve asked a question I don’t feel qualified to answer. Like with humans, each dog responds to a particular food (or an ingredient) in its own unique way. So, it would be impossible for me to assure you feeding another product would control the healthy for your sweet dog. Wish I could be more help.

  • Susie

    Hello, I have a 9 year old Lab who just went through 2 difficult surgeries. The first was removal of 3 fatty tumors along with the removal of her anal glands. 3 days later we rushed her to the Animal ER for Bloat and had to be operated on to untwist her tummy. We are unsure if the Bloat had any relation to her first surgery but we noticed that she had excessive gas along with many other symptoms, we believe it was related to the stress of the first surgery. So now that you know the background…it has been two weeks now and I had been weaning her off of the mixture of IAMS Low Residue & Boiled Chicken & White Rice and onto her previous food PurinaProPlan Sensitive Stomach. (which i now see also doesnt have a very good rating) Everything was fine until I got to the higher quantities…approximately 1 cup of her old food (still mixing the other items in) and she started having excessive gas again and it would actually scare her (i think because of the incontinent issues she had with the removal of the anal glands) Yesterday I backed her off of her old food completely and am now back to full meals of the IAMS Low Residue and Boiled Chicken and Rice. My Vet said that I may need to permanently stick with a “Low Residue” food now. I’m happy to do so, but like everyone else comments on, the ingredients in the IAMS sound so terrible and I dont mind paying a hefty price for something that will keep my little girl healthy. But is it healthy?? And can she stay on a “low residue” diet for the remainder of her life?? Any help or recommendations for a healthy Low Residue food would be tremendously helpful!!

  • Jonathan

    I think you should just try a few different foods until you hit on one he handles well. Have you tried Blue Buffalo Large Breed puppy? Or Wellness? Vets are quick to put your pup on a “prescription” food because they make a huge profit on them. I wouldn’t trust the average vet’s knowledge on dog food nutrition any more than I trust a dentist (sorry, Mike!) to preform open-heart surgery. Just because they are in the health industry, doesn’t mean they know every aspect of it. The difference is, a dentist would never tell you he can perform open-heart surgery. Where as, Vets take people that trust them and give them advice on things (like nutrition) that isn’t even a subject they spend time studying in Vet school. So they are, whether they are doing it consciously or not, abusing their position over us by selling us foods that are garbage. Some vets may buy into the hype and the seminars that Hill’s and Iams send them on (free vacations) but others are out-right lying for profit.

  • N. Mulcahy

    Hi there,

    I was delighted to come across your very informative Wesite. My 6 month St Bernard puppy has had alot of GI problems and was not thriving. I had him on innova large breed puppy which he didn’t like the taste of and the vet said that although it was a good quality dry feed he required a dog food that was more bland. The vet suggested Hill’s ID (my dog did not like the taste of it), and now he is on Iam’s Veterinary Intestinal diet. I am unsure what to do, my dog likes the taste of the Iam’s and his Diarrhea has subsided but I hate the fact that I am paying exhorbent prices for a low grade formulae. Can you suggest a better grade bland dog food for a large breed puppy, preferably one that appeals to a fussy eater? I don’t mind paying more money if the food is good quality. I would really appreciate some advise as I would like my growing Saint to have a good balanced diet so as I can enjoy him for many years.

  • Hi Pat… Food intolerances can be a challenge. Dogs are a lot like us humans. Each responds to a different food in its own unique way. For this reason, it’s impossible for me (or anyone) to assure you a particular food would deliver the results you’re looking for. Both Wellness and Natural Balance limited ingredient products have short ingredients lists to help you pin down the suspected culprit. But unfortunately, both are on the low end in the way of meat content. The Solid Gold Hundchen Flocken Puppy is “average” in meat content (not particularly “rich”). Why don’t you try something else? Just cruise through our lists of 4 and 5-star foods and pick one you think your dog would like. No matter how you approach this, most everyone has to experience at least some trial and error to find the best one for their pets.

  • Pat

    This info is great! Was wondering if you have any recommendations for our 1.5 year old mix. When we adopted her, she was eating Solid Gold Hundchen Flocken puppy food, which we continued, but at about 6 months she couldnt handle the richness and had really bad diarrhea. Our vet recommended putting her on Iams Low Residue to clear that up, which it did, and once she got regular we’ve wanted to get her off it due to the questionable ingredients and heavy amount of corn in the food. We’ve tried transitioning her onto a couple types of Natural Balance LID foods (potato & duck, sweet potato & venison) and more recently California Natural (chicken & rice), which she digests fine but just doesn’t seem to like. She wont really eat it until after it’s been out for a long time, and then will just sort of pick at it. Her way of telling us she likes the nasty Iams? Was thinking about trying Wellness Simple but am wondering if you have any recommendations. thanks!

  • Phil

    Thanks for the info Mike. I talked to the Vet and they said that our specific run of food was not involved in the recall. The problem is that we put the last bit of it in her bowl this morning, so my original plan of buying a small bag of it to use for transition to another food is out the door becuase at the moment they are not selling it. The vet recomended buying a small bag of Purina EN to use for the transition. Well I did not actually talk to the Vet just the lady who answered the phone. They said that the Purina EN and Eukanuba intestinal is what they are switching their Iams customers to. I would guess that buying a small bag of this and using it for the transition would be easier on my dog than just switching to something new… So that is my plan right now. Thanks….

  • Hi Phil… Not sure about this one. If you believe your current food is actually tainted, you’d be better off getting away from it as soon as you can. Unfortunately, doing so could stress your dog’s digestive system.

  • Hi Phil… Halo is an excellent dog food. But a little light on meat content. We like it a lot. There are many others. Just browse around and find something you like, too. Remember, take your time and transition SLOWLY to the new food over the course of a week. Otherwise, an upset GI system can result. Hope this helps.

  • Phil

    Sorry, I meant to ask a question about the switch. My plan was to buy a small bag of her current dog food to mix in with the new food to make the transition, but after reading about the recall I am not sure what I should do…


  • Phil

    Just came across this site and it is wonderfull… My dog (weimaraner) has been on Iams Low Residue for a while now, and I was thinking about switching up to Halo. I did not even know about the recall until reading the comments. There will be a call to the vet for sure… Any thoughts about swithcing to Halo dry kibble? My thought is that the quality ingredients in it would be better for my dog and easier on her, but I am truely clueless on dog food…

    Thanks again for all the info…

  • Hi Diane… Ask your vet about low fat dog food. You should be able to find a number of highly rated products on our site. Go to the Tag Tree at the top of each page and click on the link “Low Fat”. This will give you a list of product lines that contain at least one low fat dog food. Hope this helps.

  • Diane

    Thank you so much for this website – I sent the link to my friends and family. My 10 yr old standard poodle was diagnosed with pancreatitis and the Vet put him on Iam’s Low Residue. They did call me when it got recalled so I’m thankful for that, but the contents in this food are disgusting. Why would the vet prescribe this? Do the vets get kickbacks from Iams?? I’ve switched him to Canidae all adult stage dry (which my other dogs eats) and am also trying the Orijen senior, their fat content is a little higher but I’m much more comfortable with the ingredients. I’m also mixing the dry with a spoonful of the prescribed canned Iams low residue until they completely go back to dry kibble. I’ll be keeping any eye on him and see how this works.

  • Hi C Caton… Even though I’m not a vet, I’m concerned about your dog’s age and GI history. In any case, you may want to think about Wellness Simple Food Solutions or maybe Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Lamb (or Fish Meal). There are many others. In the meantime, if you decide to make a switch, please do so with your vet’s blessing and with a very gradual transition over a week to 10 days. Hope this helps.

  • c caton

    Hello! Our 15-1/2 yr old lab mix has been on this Iams formula for many years, due to gastro problems with other foods (we tried several different types of food/proteins back then before finally going to the vet for a rec). Now, b/c of the recall, the vet switched her to the Hill’s brand – which also doesn’t get good ratings here. The vet didn’t even call us about the recall (although we buy it from them on a regular basis, for $50 or so a bag, and we’re in their database/easy to search and call – we ended up using all her iams food, and had to switch her to hills w/out dovetailing). Are there any other foods we could possibly try or ask our vet about? We even tried a food with salmon in it, years ago – no luck. thanks so much!

  • Hi Kim… Don’t give up on the vet-recommended dog food. If your dog is doing well on it, you may want to reconsider making the switch. If you decide you still want to find another dog food, there are many puppy foods on out site. We review dog foods by “product line”… and thankfully many product lines contain very good puppy foods.

    By the way, it’s always advisable to switch to a new food very gradually… “dovetailing” the new food slowly into the old food… starting with just 10-20% and very slowly increasing to 100% over the next 7-10 days. So, take it easy on the transition.

  • Kim

    Dear Lord….my vet recommended Low Residue Dry Puppy mixed with Low Residue Adult canned for my 12 week old puppy. Funny thing is, I originally had her on Wellness Puppy – dry and canned combined – and she just WOULD NOT eat it. She ended up with a stomach bug and was switched to Iams by the vet. I was excited, because the first time I put a bowl of Iams down, she gobbled it up. Ugh…now I’m feeling the need to cleanse her system. 🙂

    Your site is great and thanks for all the info – what are your thoughts on a high-quality puppy food? Everything here seems directed toward full grown dogs.