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Iams ProActive Health Adult Lamb Meal and Rice Dog Food Review

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3 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 ProActive Health Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Dog Food Review

Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Grits, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Flavor, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Egg Product, Potassium Chloride, Monosodium Phosphate, Flax Meal, Salt, Caramel, Fructooligosaccharides, Choline 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), Calcium Carbonate, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, L-Carnitine, Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract


The first five ingredients in this food are: Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Barley and Ground Whole Grain Sorghum. This food is formulated as a maintenance food for dogs over 1 year of age, but it’s also designed for dogs with sensitive stomach and skin. Lamb meal is often a good ingredient in these cases. It’s a good source of animal protein. Brewers rice is sometimes considered to be a filler ingredient, however. The first five ingredients show a lot of carbohydrates from grains and cereals.

This Iams ProActive Health formula has PreBiotics that work inside the digestive tract to promote healthy digestion and strong defenses. Healthy inside. Healthy outside.

Designed for dogs ages 1+ years with sensitive stomachs and skin. Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula contains high-quality protein for easy digestion.

Protein sourced from lamb, chicken and egg helps build strong, firm muscles, and seven essential nutrients nourish the heart. Enriched with antioxidants to help maintain a strong immune system, it’s also a gentle fiber source to support your dog’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Crunchy kibbles scrub your dog’s teeth with every bite to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to bad breath. Vet recommended, this premium dog food is 100% complete and balanced, with no fillers or artificial preservatives. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Recommended For: Dogs of all breeds that prefer a lamb-based diet – 1 year and older. 

We don’t have any problem with these claims, which are really very modest, other than the fact that most veterinary dentists and research in this area shows that eating crunchy kibble isn’t enough to reduce plaque and tartar on a dog’s teeth. If you would like to reduce plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth you should brush them regularly; give your dog chews, especially dental chews; look for toys designed to massage your dog’s gums and scrub his teeth; and talk to your vet. You can also look for dog foods that are specifically formulated to help reduce plaque and tartar. These foods generally have a seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) or a similar organization. Iams does have some foods which feature ingredients that are supposed to reduce tartar buildup but this food doesn’t include those ingredients as far as we can tell (read more here).

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Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown

Lamb meal is the first ingredient and it’s a good ingredient found in many dog foods. At one time lamb was a novel protein but today it is widely used so some dogs are allergic to lamb. However, it is still used in foods for sensitive stomachs. Lamb is about 60 percent protein. It’s a good source of Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B12, Iron, Zinc, Copper and Selenium. It also contains lots of omega-6 fatty acid. Since this is a meal, most of the moisture has already been removed prior to cooking and the protein is very concentrated.

The second ingredient is brewers rice. It’s a by-product of the rice milling industry. According to AAFCO it is “the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice.” Brewers rice is a processed rice product that is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice thus reducing the quality. It is often used in pet foods. Brewer’s rice is used as a source of fiber in dog foods. Used in moderation it adds texture and structure to dog food but it’s the second ingredient here.

The third ingredient is corn meal. Corn meal isn’t defined by AAFCO but corn germ meal and corn gluten meal are. Corn germ meal is: “ground corn germ which consists of corn germ with other parts of the corn kernel from which part of the oil has been removed and is the product obtained in the dry milling process of manufacture of corn meal, corn grits, hominy feed and other corn products.” Corn gluten meal is used widely in many farm animal feeds and in pet foods. Corn meal and corn gluten meal aren’t ideal ingredients for dogs but corn isn’t the worst ingredient in the world either – though you might think so from reading a lot of things on the Internet. Corn gluten meal can have about 60 percent protein so it’s a terrific plant source of protein as an addition tomeat protein. Many of the problems for dogs come when the corn outweighs the meat in the food. It seems to be very easy for many dog food companies to get carried away with the corn and to use less and less meat protein in their foods. Dogs are able to digest corn in dog food more or less efficiently partly depending on how the corn is processed and prepared before it’s added to the food mixture. So, the bottom line is: corn isn’t the best ingredient you can find in your dog’s food but it isn’t always a bad ingredient either.

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 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.

Overall, these ingredients seem to meet some of the company’s claims about the food. They provide protein from lamb as well as some plant protein. There are also carbs from grains. There’s also fiber from these plant ingredients.

Additional Ingredients of Interest

The food also contains chicken by-products meal. 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. 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 it supplies animal protein, but it’s a mix and it’s not the same high quality protein as chicken meat.

Corn grits are another by-product of corn milling for human food. They are often used as part of swine rations. “[T]here are 27 different corn or corn-derived products listed in the AAFCO manual, yet none have the word ‘by-product’ in their name. Ingredients such as corn grits, corn gluten feed, corn gluten meal, corn feed meal, corn bran, and corn cobs are all by-products of the various corn milling operations which make human food products (read more here). We couldn’t find any nutritional information for feeding corn grits to dogs but it’s our opinion that dogs probably have a hard time digesting grits or obtaining nutrients from them very well. If you have nutritional data on corn grits, we would like to see it. Grits are considered to be calorie-dense in human diets, with 82 percent of their calories coming from carbohydrates. According to Iams: “Corn grits is the portion of ground corn containing little or none of the bran (fiber) or germ (the small protein portion at the end of the kernel).” The company says that corn grits (and corn meal) is used in their food as a high quality source of carbohydrates for energy (read more).

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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” (read more on Wikipedia)

The food also contains 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).

The food also has 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.

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

The food also contains flax meal. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. L-Lysine is an essential amino acid. It’s a necessary building block for all protein in the body. L-Lysine plays a major role in calcium absorption; building muscle protein; recovering from surgery or sports injuries; and the body’s production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.

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.

The food also has caramel which can refer to coloring or flavor. In either case, it’s not something that your dog needs. Finally, the food 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.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein, minimum ….. 22.00 %
Crude Fat, minimum ….. 12.00 %
Crude Fiber, maximum ….. 5.00 %
Moisture, maximum ….. 10.00 %
Ash, maximum ….. 8.60 %
L-Carnitine, minimum ….. 40 mg/kg*
Omega-6 Fatty Acids, minimum ….. 1.56 %*
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, minimum ….. 0.17 %*

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

Calories Content

319.99 calories per 8 oz cup

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

Iams® ProActive Health™ Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Formula 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 24.4 percent protein and 13.3 percent fat. These are average percentages for most kibbles. Fiber makes up 5.6 percent of the food which is a little above average. The food contains about 48 percent carbohydrates which is more than many kibbles. It’s a lot of carbs.


This food does contain some nice meat protein from lamb meal but, overall, the protein percentage is only average. Some of the carbohydrates in the food are a little troubling such as the brewers rice as the second ingredient and the corn grits. We do note the addition of many nutritious ingredients in the food, however. Overall, this appears to be a nutritious food but it’s not the best food for your dog, even if your dog has a sensitive stomach or skin.

Iams ProActive Health Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Dog Food has received our 3 paw rating.


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