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Iams Dog Food Review

Reviews September 11, 2020

Iams Dog Food Review

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Iams is a well-known dog food brand that was established in the 1940s. Today the company, along with its sister brand, Eukanbua, is owned in North America and most of the word by Mars, Incorporated.

(In Europe the brand is made by Spectrum Brands.) The company offers a wide range of dog food recipes based on a dog’s age, size, and dietary needs. Keep reading our unbiased review to find out if Iams is the right food for you and your dog.

Iams Dog Food – Top 5 Recipes Reviewed

Product NameFood TypeProtein (as fed)kcal/Cup/Can/Tray
Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog FoodDry dog food25%380 kcal/cup
Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog FoodDry dog food27%373 kcal/cup
Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Dry Dog FoodDry dog food24%349 kcal/cup
Iams ProActive Health Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog FoodDry dog food20%322 kcal/cup
Iams ProActive Health Senior With Slow Cooked Chicken & Rice Canned Dog FoodWet dog food7%430 kcal per 13-ounce can

Brand Score

Our reviews are based on extensive research and years of professional knowledge of dog food brands. In order to remain objective, we do not accept gifts of free products or write sponsored posts on this site.

We’ve examined Iams dog food closely and graded the brand according to the PupJunkies.com standard. Our criteria include ingredients, quality, customer experience, recall history, working with veterinary nutritionists to formulate the food, nutritional standards, research, and price.

Iams Dog Food
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
  • Iams has been making pet food innovations since the 1940s
  • Real meat is the first ingredient in many Iams recipes
  • Iams is made in the USA
Cons
  • The brand appears to be on the decline, discontinuing recipes in recent years, though it was once a trail-blazing pet food company
  • Some ingredients do come from China
  • Some of the recipes are very high in carbohydrates
Pros
  • Iams has been making pet food innovations since the 1940s
  • Real meat is the first ingredient in many Iams recipes
  • Iams is made in the USA
Cons
  • The brand appears to be on the decline, discontinuing recipes in recent years, though it was once a trail-blazing pet food company
  • Some ingredients do come from China
  • Some of the recipes are very high in carbohydrates
Ingredients
Overall Quality
Customer Experience
Recall History
Formulation
Nutritional Standards
Research
Price

About Iams Dog Food

Iams was founded near Dayton, Ohio, in 1946 by Paul Iams, an animal nutritionist who graduated from Ohio State University. Mr. Iams developed the world’s first animal-based protein dry dog food in 1950, calling it Iams 999. Most pets had been fed tablescraps until that time. If they were fed pet food, it was usually a canned food made from horse meat. Dry food was of a low quality at the time.

In 1969 Mr. Iams formulated another formula and called it Eukanuba. By the 1980s, Iams and Eukanuba were considered to be two of the first premium dog foods available to dog lovers.

The brands were sold to Procter & Gamble in 1999. Iams became a grocery store brand while Eukanuba continued to be sold primarily in pet stores. There was some customer feeling that the quality of Iams dog foods suffered after this move. In 2014 P & G sold Iams and Eukanuba to Mars (North America, worldwide) and Spectrum (Europe).
You can see the Iams timeline  on the company’s web site.

Iams has headquarters in Mason, Ohio, while Mars has headquarters in McLean, Virginia. Mars Petcare, which overseas the corporation’s pet-related businesses, has headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee.

Sourcing and Manufacturing

Iams is made by Mars, Inc., which makes a number of other pet foods. Mars has some 20 manufacturing facilities  in North America and others around the world. According to the information we found online, Iams has manufacturing plants in Ohio, Nebraska, and North Carolina.

Most of the ingredients come from the United States, but a limited amount of vitamins and minerals are imported from other countries, including China.

Recall History

We found several recalls relating to Iams products.

  • August 2013, potential Salmonella contamination; March 2013, a market withdrawal of some products due to possible mold growth.
  • December 2011, a small production run of Iams dry dog food recalled because of high aflatoxin levels.
  • June, July, August 2010 several different kinds of Iams cat food were recalled because of Salmonella and low thiamine levels.
  • March 2007, various sizes and varieties of Iams dog and cat foods were recalled because of possible melamine contamination (part of the Menu Foods melamine recall). Altogether, 43 Iams products (plus 25 Eukanuba products) were recalled at this time – more than any other pet food brand.

You can find more details about these recalls here.

What Kinds Of Dog Food Does Iams Offer?

We found 20 different Iams recipes currently listed on the brand’s web site. That includes kibbles and wet foods. They include kibbles based on age and size, kibbles based on special dietary needs, and wet dog food.

Iams veterinary formulas were discontinued in the U.S. and Canada in 2017. Several other Iams product lines have also been discontinued, especially more expensive formulas with more meat protein.

Iams’ snacks and savory sauces are no longer shown on their web site. According to the information we found, they have been discontinued.

Iams Dog Food: Top 5 Recipes Reviewed

Here’s a look at some of the bestselling Iams dog food recipes on Chewy.com to give you an idea of what’s popular and what other dog lovers are choosing for their dogs.

Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 25% Min
  • Fat – 14% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Iams ProActive Health Adult MiniChunks Dry Dog Food is Iams dog food’s bestselling food on Chewy.com. This dog food has been Iams’ most popular recipe for decades. It’s available in 7-lb, 15-lb, 30-lb, 38.5-lb, and 40-lb bags. Chicken is the first ingredient. Made in the USA.

This food has a smaller kibble size to make it easy for small and medium-sized dogs to eat, but big dogs like it, too. It has farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient.

Here’s a look at the ingredients in this food:

Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Caramel Color, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide), Potassium Chloride, Carrot, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Calcium Carbonate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract.

Some people will balk at ground whole grain corn in this food but as long as it’s not found in excessive amounts, this is a good ingredient in dog foods, containing amino acids that dogs need. Chicken by-product meal is a named animal protein that can provide beneficial protein  for your dog as long as it is sourced well.

We have more problems with the “natural flavor” (vague and undefined) and the caramel color, which is an artificial coloring from sugar, than from the corn or chicken by-product meal in this food.

According to the dry matter basis (DMB), this food has 27.8 percent protein, 15.6 percent fat, and 4.4 percent fiber. This formula has an estimated 48.1 percent carbohydrates. It has 380 kcal/cup.

Our rating for this food is 4 out of 5 stars.

Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 27% Min
  • Fat – 14% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food is formulated especially for large breed puppies (51 to 90 pounds at maturity) and giant breed puppies (over 90 pounds at maturity). It contains no artificial preservatives or flavors. The first ingredient is chicken. Made in the USA. Available in 15-lb and 30.6-lb bags.

This recipe is made especially for the nutritional needs of growing large breed puppies. Farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient. It also has omega-3 DHA for good brain development and vision.

Here are the ingredients:

Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Fish Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Brewers Yeast, Dried Egg Product, Carrot, Potassium Chloride, Caramel Color, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide) Choline Chloride, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), L-Lysine, Fructooligosaccharides, Calcium Carbonate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract.

We notice that fish oil is used as the primary fat in this food, with chicken fat coming in far down in the ingredient list. This is very unusual in a dog food. The fish oil provides the omega-3 DHA for your puppy.

Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food has 30 percent protein and 15.6 percent fat, according to the dry matter basis (DMB). It has 4.4 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates in the food came out to about 43.8 percent DMB. It contains 373 kcals/cup.

Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 24% Min
  • Fat – 10% Min
  • Fiber – 5% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Dry Dog Food is made for older dogs. It has no artificial preservatives or flavors. The first ingredient is chicken. Made in the USA. Available in 7-lb, 15-lb, and 29.1-lb bags.

Farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient in this recipe, too.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Egg Product, Carrot, Marine Microalgae (source of DHA), Caramel Color, L-Lysine, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide), Calcium Carbonate, Chicken Meal, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Beta Carotene, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Citric Acid (preservative), Rosemary Extract.

There is no obvious source of fat in this ingredient list, such as chicken fat or fish oil. We suspect that marine microalgae  is playing the role of fat. This is an ingredient that has been edging its way into dog foods in the last few years as a source of omega fatty acids and DHA. It’s also thought to be beneficial for cognitive abilities which might explain its use in a dog food for senior dogs.

We did find some customer reviews that said dogs refused to eat the food so this might be an ingredient that not all dogs accept.

We don’t see glucosamine or chondroitin which are often provided for older dogs to help with joint health. We even checked under other scientific names. There are other dog foods for mature dogs that do include these ingredients. Or, you can add them yourself to your dog’s diet.

By our calculations, this food is lower in fat than most dog foods and very high in carbohydrdates.
This formula has 26.7 percent protein and 11.7 percent fat, according to the dry matter basis (DMB). It has 5.6 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates in the food came out to 49.9 percent DMB. It has 349 kcals/cup.

Our rating for this food is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Iams ProActive Health Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 20% Min
  • Fat – 11.5% Max
  • Fiber – 15% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Iams ProActive Health Adult Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food is made to help dogs with weight control. It has 17 percent less fat than Iams Minichunks. This recipe contains no artificial preservatives or flavors. Made in the USA. Available in 7-lb, 15-lb, and 29.1-lb bags.

This recipe contains farm-raised chicken and eggs. It contains 17 percent less fat than traditional Iams Minichunks.

Ingredients:

Ground Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Chicken, Natural Flavor, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Caramel Color, Carrots, Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, DL-Methionine, Fructooligosaccharides, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols (A Preservative), Ascorbic Acid, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Source Of Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Source Of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source Of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Rosemary Extract, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid.

You can see by looking at the ingredient list that this food is very grain-heavy, with corn as the first ingredient. Carbohydrates can help a dog feel full so he won’t beg for food between meals, especially when a dog food has a lower fat content. However, at a certain point you have to be concerned about lower protein, especially lower animal protein.

Again, our calculations found this food to be lower in fat than most dog foods and very high in carbohydrates.
According to the dry matter analysis for this food, it has 22.2 percent protein, 11.1 percent fat (approximately), and 5.6 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates in the food came out to 54.9 percent. It contains 322 kcal per cup.

Our rating for this food is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Iams ProActive Health Senior With Slow Cooked Chicken & Rice Canned Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 7% Min
  • Fat – 3% Min
  • Fiber – 1% Max
  • Moisture – 84% Max

Iams ProActive Health Senior With Slow Cooked Chicken & Rice Canned Dog Food is an adult food formulated for senior dogs 7-years-old and up. Comes in 13-ounce cans/case of 12.

Here are the ingredients:

Sufficient Water for Processing, Meat By-Products, Chicken, Chicken By-Products, Brewers Rice, Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Flax Seed, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Carob Bean Gum, Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, Salt, Natural Flavors, Dried Yam, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement), DL-Methionine, Glycine, Fish Oil, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Sage, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6).

Meat by-products are undefined. They could be anything. This recipe also contains artificial dyes.

This recipe contains several “gums” which are permitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They are GRAS or “generally recognized as safe.” Their purpose is to help the wet food hold its shape and act as meat stabilizers.

Some people don’t like them but unless your dog has sensitive digestion, they shouldn’t be a problem for most dogs.
This formula has 43.75 percent protein and 18.75 percent fat, according to the dry matter basis (DMB). It has 6.25 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates in the food came out to 11.1 percent DMB. It contains 430 kcal per 13-ounce can.

Our rating for this food is 3 out of 5 stars.

How Much Does Iams Dog Food Cost?

Iams dog food is reasonably priced.

What Do Customers Think Of Iams Dog Food?

Most customers give Iams dog foods good ratings and say they would recommend the food to others.

Overall, Is Iams Dog Food A Good Choice?

The quality of Iams dog foods took a nosedive after the brand was purchased by P & G in 1999. However, there are indications that the brand has recovered since being bought by Mars, Incorporated.

There have not been any recalls since the Mars purchase in 2014. We think that some of the Iams recipes are a good choice.

Where Is Iams Dog Food Sold?

You can find Iams dog food at Chewy.com and other online retailers. Iams is also sold wherever dog foods are sold.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and is the author of several books about dogs. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.
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