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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.
Ingredients in Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed
Chicken, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal (Natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), Ground Whole Grain Barley, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, Caramel, Flax Meal, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, 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), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), Calcium Carbonate, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, DL-Methionine, L-Tryptophan, L-Carnitine, Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal (Natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), and Ground Whole Grain Barley. Chicken is a good source of animal protein in dog food. However, since this is whole chicken it still contains a great deal of moisture. On a dry matter basis, it would make up less of the food and come lower in the list. Chicken by-product meal also provides animal protein and it is a meal, so most of the moisture has already been removed. However, some owners will dislike chicken by-products used for the meal. The other ingredients listed here provide a lot of carbohydrates which do provide energy and some fiber for dogs.
We note that this large breed formula does have less protein than the Iams ProActive Health Adult Chunks formula it is based on (25 percent compared to 27.8 percent, dry matter basis).
According to Iams…
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+ year and 50+ lbs, Iams ProActive Health is specially formulated to help maintain your large dog’s healthy joints. Protein sourced from chicken and egg helps build strong, firm muscles while seven essential nutrients nourish the heart. Antioxidants help maintain a strong immune system.
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: Large breed (51-90 lbs.) – 1 year and older; Giant breed (over 90 lbs.) – 2 years 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 (read more here). This food does contain dicalcium phosphate which is often used in human toothpastes but Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed still isn’t considered a dental formula for dogs.
The company also notes…
- Giant breed puppies, over 90 lbs. at maturity, should transition to Iams ProActive Health Large Breed formula at 24 months of age.
We agree with these recommendations. Puppies of other breeds can usually begin eating adult food as they approach their full size but it’s particularly important for large breed and giant breed puppies to continue eating a puppy food that meets the nutritional needs for a growing puppy until they are ready to make the transition to an adult food.
Chicken is the first ingredient and chicken by-product meal is the fourth ingredient. Together, this indicates that the food contains a lot of chicken protein. 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. 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 animal protein in a condensed form, but it’s a mix and it’s not the same high quality protein as chicken meat. Chicken by-products are, indeed, a natural source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine which can be important for the joints of large and giant breed dogs.
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 (read more). 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. This ingredient is listed second here, after the moisture-rich chicken, so you can be sure that there is a lot of corn meal in the food. If the water were removed from the chicken, then corn meal would most likely be the first ingredient.
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.
We’ve already covered the fourth ingredient – chicken by-products meal. The fifth 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.
Overall, these ingredients seem to meet the company’s claims about the food. They provide protein from chicken. The protein comes from both meat and plant sources. There are also carbs from grains and fiber, as well as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for joints.
Additional Ingredients of Interest
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 and antioxidant. 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. Citric acid is also an antioxidant that acts as a natural preservative in dog foods.
As already mentioned, dicalcium phosphate is often used in human toothpaste to help control tartar. It’s also used in breakfast cereals, enriched flour, and in noodles. It’s often added to poultry feed. It’s frequently used as a calcium supplement. If it is overused or applied to the skin it can be irritating, but otherwise it is simply a mineral supplement the same as other supplements used in dog foods. It is possibly used in this particular food to help achieve a good calcium supply for large and giant breed dogs.
L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that acts as a building block for protein biosynthesis in the body. According to one source it can help relieve pain. It is not a very common ingredient in pet food though it is found in some dog foods. It can also be bought as a supplement for dogs that need calming. Tryptophan is the ingredient that people often associate with with drowsiness after eating turkey though this effect is actually exaggerated. Tryptophan is found in many foods, including chocolate, eggs, some cheeses, milk, other meats, and some fruits and vegetables.
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.
Crude Protein, minimum ….. 22.50 %
Crude Fat, minimum ….. 12.50 %
Crude Fat, maximum ….. 15.50 %
Crude Fiber, maximum ….. 5.00 %
Moisture, maximum ….. 10.00 %
L-Carnitine, minimum ….. 40 mg/kg*
Omega-6 Fatty Acids, minimum ….. 1.96 %*
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, minimum ….. 0.13 %*
Glucosamine, minimum ….. 350 mg/kg*
Chondroitin Sulfate, minimum ….. 35 mg/kg*
*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.
355.8 calories per 8 oz cup
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
Iams® ProActive Health™ Large Breed 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 25 percent protein and 14 percent fat. These are about average percentages for kibble. Fiber makes up 5.6 percent of the food which is within the normal range for kibbles. The food contains 46.7 percent carbohydrates which is moving toward the higher range of carbs in kibble.
We think this food is very heavy on corn and other grains. The protein content, including the chicken and chicken by-product meal, is only average. There are some good ingredients here but this is just an average food for large breed dogs.
Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed Dog Food has received our 3 paw rating.
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