Nobody wants to find out that they’ve been feeding their fur baby a bad pet food, and that’s why in our new series of articles we’ll be diving deep into the question of whether certain dog foods are good or bad.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the Iams dog food brand and seeing how they stack up against other products in their product class. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be using information pulled from the Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed dog food.
Is Iams a good dog food?
We can’t recommend Iams as a good dog food. We’ve evaluated the ingredients and come to this decision based on the prevalence of corn in the Iams brand food. While they get good marks for having chicken as the number one ingredient, corn is not ideal in a dog food.
Corn is a common filler food that dog food companies like to use in their products because it’s a cheap source of empty calories. What this means is that your dog is basically eating junk food instead of more nutritious meats and veggies.
Iams Proactive Health ingredient list: Potential problem ingredients in bold
Chicken, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, chicken by-product meal, dried beet pulp, natural flavor, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried egg product, potassium chloride, flaxseed, caramel color, salt, l-lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, carrots, tomatoes, calcium carbonate, fructooligosaccharides, spinach, green peas, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, sodium selenite, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, 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), dried brewers yeast, dl-methionine, dried apple pomace, l-carnitine, dried blueberry pomace, mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract
It’s the opinion of Beanietoes that a good dog food should be corn free, and we actually prefer grain free foods for our furry staff members. While grains are not always problematic, this particular food contains a high concentration of them, which often leads to obesity in dogs.
Iams also uses chicken by-products, which are made using waste from the slaughterhouse which is not rated for consumption by humans. The definition for by-products is extremely broad, and that makes ingredients like this a little scary, because you never know exactly what your dog is eating!
Some ingredients in this food can also act as allergy triggers, which can be particularly problematic for certain breeds like Pitbulls, Bulldogs, or Poodles, which often have severe skin allergies that are irritated by wheat and grain products like corn and brewers yeast.
Though this may pose no problem at all to your dog if they aren’t sensitive to these ingredients. Every dog is an individual, and many dogs eat brewers yeast without issue. However, when combined with the other issues this food presents, we simply can’t recommend it.
Below you can see some suggestions for foods which we think are better for pups, but you can also keep reading to get the full nutritional breakdown, recall history and consumer complaints for the Iams brand.
Looking for a better dog food? Try these!
If you’re looking for a more nutritious dry dog food for your pup, then we can recommend these for you. They offer high-quality meat cuts and nutritious veggies. Plus, they’re free from fillers, by-products and other problem ingredients.
$$ Moderately Priced
$$$ Most Expensive
Want to save on your monthly dog food costs? Purchase your dog food online and you’ll not only get the best pricing, but many retailers will even give you 5-10% off every purchase for signing up for auto-ship! However, our favorite vendor Chewy will also give you 30% off your first auto-ship order.
Iams Nutritional Breakdown
We’ve talked about the ingredients for the Iams dog food brand so far, but you can’t really know if Iams is a good dog food unless you perform a nutritional breakdown as well. Knowing what kind of nutrients your dog will be getting is just as important.
Is Iams good for dogs on the nutritional front?
Below you can see the nutritional breakdown for the food that we’ve selected to review. While there will be some variances, most dog food manufacturers have pretty similar ingredients and breakdowns across all of their recipes, so this should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from them.
The carbohydrate percentage for this food is particularly high, and this can often be a problem for dogs. For starters, this is usually a sign of a food that is full of low nutritional value ingredients, like corn.
That means that your dog is likely not getting as much nutrition as he could be with a better food. However, some dogs also have difficulties digesting large amounts of carbohydrates, and they can experience issues with vomiting and diarrhea if they are sensitive to these ingredients.
The protein percentage is also much lower than we’d like, and this is also often a sign of a low quality dog food. However, you can’t base your analysis on this alone, because sometimes dog food companies will use a high protein vegetable like peas to artificially raise the protein count.
While peas are an okay ingredient, they shouldn’t be the main ingredient, and pea protein is never as good as healthy meat proteins for your pup, so keep that in mind while doing your shopping.
The fat content is also a little high, especially when compared to the protein ratio, which should be higher than the fat content. A high fat and high carbohydrate diet is a recipe for an obese dog, which can cause a multitude of health problems that shortens their life.
If you’d like to feed your dog a higher quality diet, then it’s best to opt for a low carb and high protein food which derives most of its protein from high-quality meat items like salmon, beef, turkey, etc.
Avoid anything with corn, and preferably foods which feature grains in the first few ingredient positions, as the first few listings will be what the food is mostly made of. Dog food manufacturers must list ingredients in order of prominence, so a food that lists corn first is mostly made of corn.
If you need a more affordable option that offers a great nutritional breakdown and healthy ingredients, then American Journey makes a fantastic dry dog food that won’t break the bank.
Has Iams ever been recalled?
Yes, Iams dog food has been recalled numerous times over the years. Their foods have been recalled for several different problems including salmonella contamination, mold growth, and aflatoxin.
While past recalls are not necessarily an indicator of future performance, if they are excessive it can indicate a quality control issue. However, Iams is made in the United States, and that often leads to higher quality control than “discount manufacturing countries”. You should also know that Iams is owned by Mars, the same company that owns Pedigree.
Iams Recall history
- August 2013 – Salmonella recall for several dry dog food varieties
- March 2013 – Mold contamination for Iams Shakeables dog treats
- December 2011 – Aflatoxin contamination for Iams puppy food
- August 2010 – Salmonella recall for Iams cat food
- July 2010 – Salmonella recall for Iams cat food
- June 2010 – Cat food recall for low levels of thiamine
- March 2007 – Melamine contamination recall for dog and cat foods
Complaints about Iams dog food
Iams was acquired by Proctor&Gamble, and since then, some pet parents have complained that the ingredients and formulas of the Iams foods have been changed. This switch has seen potentially lower value ingredients and less healthy recipes.
They also apparently did a bit of a “bait and switch” a couple years back that left many pet parents upset. Their lamb formula briefly featured chicken as the first ingredient rather than lamb as it did previously. However, it seems that they have changed it back after many complaints from dog owners who did not appreciate the deception.
Still, it’s something that you may want to look out for in the future, particularly if your dog is prone to allergies, upset stomach or diarrhea. It’s possible that they may try to change formulas again.
In closing, Iams is at best, a mediocre dog food. They aren’t the worst on the market, but they certainly aren’t the best either. The high carbohydrate and fat content in this food is not ideal, and it could lead to health problems down the road for your dog, particularly if they are a senior pup or not very active.
They also use some questionable ingredients that we just won’t feed our fur babies, namely the corn and the chicken by-products, which seem to make up a large portion of all of their recipes.
We’d recommend that you feed your pup one of the below recipes instead. All of them have a much better nutritional profile, and they use only high-quality ingredients, as opposed to slaughterhouse waste and empty carbohydrates like Iams does.
$$ Moderately Priced
$$$ Most Expensive