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Iams Premium Protection Adult Dog Food Review

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4 Paws


You can find detailed information about Iams Dog Food, made by Procter & Gamble (P&G), in our main Iams Dog Food review. There you will also find information about how the food is made, recalls, and their quality control.

Iams produces a tremendous range of products for all ages, sizes of dogs, and dogs with different health needs. They emphasize nutrition in their foods but many people who look at ingredients will balk at the corn and other grains used in them. Some of their foods are popular grocery store brands and others can be found in pet stores or bought online. The veterinary formulas have to be purchased through veterinarians.

Eukanuba is the sister company of Iams. Ingredients in the two foods can differ and Eukanuba is generally sold online or in pet stores but the two companies rely on the same nutritional research.

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Ingredients In Iams Premium Protection Adult Dog

Chicken By-Product Meal(Natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Fish Meal (source of fish oil), Chicken, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Chicken Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Potassium Chloride, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salt, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Fructooligosaccharides, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Calcium Carbonate, Flax Meal, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), Vitamin E Supplement, Dried Chicken Cartilage (Natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), DL-Methionine, Vitamins (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), Beta-Carotene, L-Carnitine, Marigold, Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract


The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken By-Product Meal(Natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Barley and Fish Meal (source of fish oil). These ingredients are found in many other Iams foods, though in a different order. They don’t usually use fish meal in the first five ingredients, for example. Nor do they usually use chicken by-product meal as the first ingredient, though they often use chicken as the first ingredient. These ingredients show good sources of meat protein, with a few caveats. Chicken by-product meal is not as desirable as chicken or chicken meal. Iams uses fish meal that contains ethyoxyquin, a controversial preservative. The first five ingredients also show several grains, including corn, which might bother some dog owners. We think they are acceptable as long as they are used to complement a good portion of meat protein. We do note that the first five ingredients contribute chondroitin and glucosamine to the food and there are other sources of these supplements, which are good for your dog’s joints, in the food.

According to Iams…

The Most Advanced Iams Nutrition for a Lifetime of Love.

Iams is deeply committed to enhancing the well-being of dogs and cats for a lifetime of love with your pet. It is this commitment that inspired Iams nutritionists to work closely with veterinarians and create the ultimate Iams food for all your dog’s nutritional needs. The result is Iams Premium Protection.

The nutrient-rich chicken by-product meal in Iams Premium Protection is an excellent source of protein. It naturally contains minerals and amino acids essential to dogs. Our products contain only highly refined chicken by-product meal, which has enhanced quality and nutritional value.

This Iams Premium Protection formula has PreBiotics that work inside the digestive tract to promote healthy digestion and strong defenses.

Iams Premium Protection Adult Dog Features:

Premium Protection is precisely formulated using only our highest-quality ingredients, further enhanced with:

  • Advanced 2-part fiber system to promote healthy digestion
  • Twice the antioxidants, vitamin E and beta-carotene*, to promote a strong, healthy immune system
  • Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for healthy joints and mobility
  • Iams Daily Dental Care™ proven to reduce tartar buildup by up to 50%**
  • L-Carnitine to help burn fat
  • No added fillers, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

*vs Iams ProActive Health™ Chunks®
**As tested in Iams Adult formula

Omega 6:3

Iams research has shown that including omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio between 5:1 to 10:1 provides for optimal skin and coat condition in dogs, which is why all of our products contain sources of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.


This water-soluble substance attaches to fatty acids, transporting them into cellular mitochondria, the part of the cell that converts fat into a usable form of energy. There, they are broken down through oxidation and converted to energy for all tissues, including the heart, liver and skeletal muscles. (Adult, Mature Adult, and Senior Plus only).

Vitamin E

Antioxidants help maintain balance within the body by ridding it of harmful free radicals, which increase as a dog ages. To help maintain your dog’s immune-system response, feed a formula with antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E.


Iams Premium Protection contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate (Adult, Mature Adult, and Senior Plus only).


Tailored fiber blend, including prebiotics and beet pulp, for healthy digestion.

Recommended For: Adult Dogs 1+ years

We can substantiate most of the claims made by Iams in these statements. The food does contain prebiotics that are good for healthy digestion. It also has the protein described above as well as the antioxidants, fiber, and sources of glucosamine and chondroitin. The food also has the ingredient Sodium Hexametaphosphate which Iams uses for dental care. It’s been shown in studies to help reduce tartar build up.

The only claim that we would question is the statement that Iams uses no artificial preservatives since they do use fish meal that is preserved with ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin doesn’t have to be listed on the label because the fish meal is preserved with with this ingredient before it reaches the pet food plant so, technically, Iams doesn’t add the ingredient. Many pet food companies use this “out” when discussing ethoxyquin or other ingredients. But this preservative is still in the food that your dog eats, though Iams defends its use.

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Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown

Chicken by-product meal is the first ingredient. Later in the food we find chicken as the sixth ingredient. We always like to see meat protein as the first ingredient in a food. Chicken is about 80 percent protein and it’s a good source of Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Niacin and Selenium. Chicken is more desirable than chicken by-products. Obviously the chicken would appear lower in the list if the moisture were removed but the chicken by-product meal already has most of the moisture removed so it contains a lot of protein. AAFCO defines chicken by-product meal as: consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice.” There are some good parts in chicken by-products and chicken meal supplies concentrated animal protein, but it’s a mix and it’s not the same high quality protein as chicken meat. However, it should be noted that it’s definitely chicken. It’s not by-products from some unknown animal. So, it might not be chicken breast but it’s not so bad. Many people who feed raw like to give their dogs chicken necks and other parts that would be called “chicken by-products.” As mentioned, chicken by-product meal is a good source of chondroitin and glucosamine which are good for the joints. The food also has Dried Chicken Cartilage – a natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine.

The second ingredient is corn meal. According to one source, there are 27 different corn or corn-derived products listed in the AAFCO manual that are all by-products of the various corn milling operations which make human food products. The company says that corn meal is used in their food as a high quality source of carbohydrates for energy. We are uncertain about the nutritional information for the corn meal used in dog food. Assuming that it is similar to corn meal sold for human cooking, then it has about 10 percent protein, 14 percent fat, and 76 carbohydrates. However, we’re not sure if this is the same as the corn meal that’s used in dog food. If you have additional information about corn meal in dog food, please let us know. If these figures are correct, the corn meal would provide a source of plant protein and a lot of carbs in the food.

The third ingredient is ground whole grain sorghum. While sorghum is currently touted as having a lot of health benefits for humans, such as being gluten-free and helping with some health issues (which haven’t been proven), it’s usually associated with livestock feed. Sorghum is about 3 percent protein, 8 percent fat, and 89 percent carbohydrates. It contains some B vitamins and a few assorted minerals, but not large quantities of anything, although it does have a lot of omega-6 fatty acid. One species of sorghum is the source of sorghum molasses. Other kinds of sorghum are used for grass/fodder and grains for animals.

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The fourth ingredient is ground whole grain barley. Barley is about 90 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent fat, and 7 percent protein. It’s a good source of dietary fiber and Manganese. Whole grain barley is considered to be a good grain for regulating the body’s blood sugar.

The fifth ingredient is Fish Meal (source of fish oil), a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acid. Farther down the list we also find Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E). Fish oil is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 is good for your dog’s skin and coat, among other things.

Overall, these first five ingredients provide some good sources of meat protein with the chicken by-product meal and fish meal, and some plant protein as well as a lot of carbs, especially from corn.

Additional Ingredients of Interest

The food also contains dried beet pulp. There are some misconceptions about beet pulp, probably because of the name. Dried beet pulp is a natural, fermentable source of fiber. It is a wonderful addition to dog food to help move fecal matter along in the intestines, for one reason because it soaks up a lot of moisture and keeps things moving. It also acts as a pre-biotic to help good bacteria grow in the gut. Dried beet pulp is not a source of sugar for dogs. It does not make dogs hyper. The sugar has already been removed. “Despite being a byproduct of sugar beet processing, beet pulp itself is low in sugar and other non-structural carbohydrates, but high in energy and fiber. Among other nutrients, it contains 10 percent protein, 0.8 percent calcium and 0.5 percent phosphorus.” (Source) Dried beet pulp is part of the fiber content that Iams discusses for the food.

The food also contains chicken fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E). Chicken fat is a good named fat which is good for dogs. Mixed tocopherols are a form of vitamin E and they act as natural preservatives to keep the fat from spoiling. Chicken fat is also a good source of Omega-6 fatty acid.

The fifth ingredient is chicken flavor. This ingredient probably contains little nutritional value but it’s better than “natural flavors” which are sometimes added to dog foods and which often feature monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Dried egg product is a good source of animal protein. Eggs offer high bioavailability for mammals like dogs.

Brewers dried yeast (not to be confused with brewers rice) is a yeast that is leftover from making beer (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and it has a lot of nutritional uses. It provides biotin and B complex vitamins, as well as protein. It’s considered to be very good for your dog’s skin and coat, for example. Many people add brewers yeast to their dog’s diet as a supplement to discourage fleas. It supports the nervous system and helps keep the skin, hair, eyes, and liver healthy. It’s a source of the antioxidant nutrient selenium.

Sodium Hexametaphosphate is a very interesting ingredient in the food. It’s not usually found in pet foods. It’s added to pet food to help remove tartar buildup and there is research to support its effectiveness (read more here).

The food contains the natural sweetener Fructooligosaccharides which is 30 to 50 percent as sweet as other commercial sweeteners/syrups. It is usually derived from fruits and vegetables but it can come from grains and cereals. Dogs don’t really need sugar added to their diet. However, fructooligosaccharides (FOS for short) has some other benefits. It’s becoming popular as a prebiotic, for example, helping to increase gastrointestinal health. According to some sources, it may also help prevent yeast infections. According to some studies, FOS, together with inulin (which is not present in this particular dog food) promotes the absorption of calcium in animals (and in people). The microflora in the lower gut is able to ferment FOS which leads to a reduced pH. Since calcium is more soluble in acidic conditions, the intestines are better able to digest foods that contain calcium and transfer it to the bloodstream. FOS can also be considered a small dietary fiber with a low caloric value.

Flax meal is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid but it’s also a phytoestrogen and it can cause hormonal problems for dogs, especially for unspayed female dogs. If you are a dog breeder, you should be careful about feeding a food with heavy concentrations of this ingredient to a puppy.

The food also contains the essential fatty acid Methionine. Methionine is related to aging and there are ongoing studies about how it affects people and animals. However, it usually seems to be added to dog food because it can keep dog urine from leaving burned patches in the grass.

We also note the presence of inositol in the food. Inositol is a component of the B vitamin complex. It can be found in plant and animal tissue and it is necessary for the growth of yeasts and other fungi. It’s especially important as a part of a phospholipid found in the brain.

Beta carotene is a carotenoid that usually comes from various foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s a red, orange, or yellow pigment – you’re probably familiar with it in carrots. It provides lots of vitamin A and it’s an antioxidant so it can act as a natural preservative. Beta carotene has many suggested benefits. One of them is strengthening the immune system.

The food also contains the compound L-carnitine. L-carnitine comes from the amino acids lysine and methionine. It helps the body turn fat into energy, among other things.

This food also contains Marigold. Theoretically, marigold in dog food is a source of lutein. Lutein is normally found in high quantities in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and in carrots. Most animals obtain it, directly or indirectly, from plants. Marigold is said to exhibit anti-microbial and anti-inflamatory properties, stimulating production of white cells and strengthening the immune system. However, most pet food experts suggest that the addition of marigold is used as a gimmick in order to appeal to owners and that marigold isn’t present in a large enough amount in any food to actually be beneficial.

Rosemary extract is an antioxidant that acts as a natural preservative. It’s a common ingredient in many dog foods but if your dog is prone to seizures you will probably want to look for foods that do not contain rosemary since this ingredient has been linked to them. The food also contains citric acid which is used as an antioxidant and natural preservative.

Most of these ingredients are found in other Iams dog foods as well, though the percentages may be different. We do note the absence of caramel from this food which is typically found in many of Iams’ other dog foods. Caramel is an artificial coloring/flavor so we think this is an improvement.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein, minimum ….. 27.00 %
Crude Fat, minimum ….. 12.00 %
Crude Fiber, maximum ….. 4.00 %
Moisture, maximum ….. 10.00 %
Ash, maximum ….. 9.40 %
Calcium, minimum ….. 1.00 %
Phosphorus, minimum ….. 0.80 %
Phosphorus, maximum ….. 1.40 %
Vitamin E, minimum ….. 300 IU/kg
Beta-Carotene, minimum ….. 12 mg/kg*
L-Carnitine, minimum ….. 40 mg/kg*
Omega-6 Fatty Acids, minimum ….. 1.78 %*
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, minimum ….. 0.31 %*
Glucosamine, minimum ….. 400 mg/kg*
Chondroitin Sulfate, minimum ….. 40 mg/kg*

*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

More information about glucosamine and chondroitin: These supplements do not prevent joint problems but if your dog has arthritis or other joint problems, glucosamine and chondroitin may be able to help. It’s debatable whether the amounts found in pet food are enough to help a dog.

Calories Content

297.6 Kcal/cup calories per 8 oz cup

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

Iams Premium Protection Adult Dog Food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for Maintenance.

Dry Matter Basis

On a dry matter basis, this food contains 30 percent protein and 13.3 percent fat. Fiber makes up 4.4 percent of the food. The food contains 43.3 percent carbohydrates.


We like many of the ingredients in this food, although we wish chicken or chicken meal was the first ingredient instead of chicken by-product meal. The carb percentage is a little high but, overall, this looks like a nice maintenance dog food for adult dogs. We particularly like the addition of the dental care ingredient.

Iams Premium Protection Adult Dog Food has received our 4 paw rating.


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