Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat (Dry)

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Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Iams Veterinary Formula Skin and Coat Dog Food is not rated due to its intentional therapeutic design.

The Iams Veterinary Formula Skin and Coat product line includes two dry recipes, each designed to help in the treatment of skin disorders.

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

  • Iams Veterinary Formula Skin & Coat Plus Response FP
  • Iams Veterinary Formula Skin & Coat Plus Response KO

Iams Veterinary Formula Skin & Coat Plus Response FP was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Iams Veterinary Formulas Skin and Coat Response FP

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 54%

Ingredients: Potato, herring meal (source of fish oil), catfish, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), dried beet pulp, fish digest, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, fructooligosaccharides, choline chloride, potassium chloride, dl-methionine, 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), ethoxyquin (a preservative), rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis22%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%13%54%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%29%49%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 49%

The first ingredient in this dog food is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The second ingredient is herring meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, herring meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

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

The third ingredient is catfish. This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.2

Although it is a quality item, raw fish 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 fourth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized pets.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

The fifth 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.

The sixth ingredient is fish digest, a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings. Animal digests are usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry dog food to improve its taste.

The seventh ingredient is calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.

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, 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, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener3 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

In addition, 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 contains ethoxyquin, a controversial preservative linked to the accumulation of hemoglobin pigment in the liver and elevated hepatic enzymes in the blood.

Iams Veterinary Formula Skin and Coat 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 Skin and Coat appears to be an 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 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 54%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 23% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 56% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

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

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a modest amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Iams Veterinary Formula Skin and Coat is a plant-based dry dog food using a modest amount of named meats as its main sources 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.

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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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Notes and Updates

01/07/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Wikipedia definition