Iams Dog Food Ingredients

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Iams manufactures roughly 39 different dog food products. Each product utilizes a unique set of ingredients to achieve a desired nutritional profile.

In this article, we'll explore Iams ingredients and answer many of the most common questions.

As of right now, our records indicate that Iams uses roughly 135 different ingredients.

First 5 Ingredients

Dog food ingredients in the United States are listed in descending order of pre-cooked weight. The first 5 ingredients typically constitute a significant portion of the recipe.

For Iams, these are the most common ingredients found within the first 5 dog food ingredients.

  1. chicken
  2. chicken by-product meal
  3. ground whole grain sorghum
  4. ground whole grain sorghum
  5. dried beet pulp

As you can see, the most common first ingredient in Iams is chicken. The most common 2nd ingredient is chicken by-product meal, followed by ground whole grain sorghum, ground whole grain sorghum, and dried beet pulp.

Artificial Food Coloring Dyes

Our records indicate that Iams does use artificial food coloring dyes. More specifically, we've identified 3 artificial food dyes used by Iams.

Although these food dyes are classified as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, we recommend avoiding them when possible.

According to the Center For Research In The Public Interest (CSPI), there are many potential health risks associated with the consumption of artificial food coloring dyes.

Given that most pets consume the same products for prolonged periods of time, these concerns should be taken seriously. In general, we recommend pet owners avoid feeding products which contain artificial food coloring dyes.

For more information regarding the CSPI's findings, read our artificial food coloring article.

yellow 6
2 Recipes

Yellow 6 is an artificial food dye which may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 6 can cause adrenal tumors in animals.

The following recipes contain yellow 6:

yellow 5
2 Recipes

Yellow 5 is an artificial dye which may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. Like other dyes, yellow 5 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain yellow 5:

Animal By-Products

Iams does indeed use animal by-products. More specifically, 3 animal by-product ingredients were found during our analysis of Iams dog food ingredients.

According to AAFCO, by-products are defined as the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. In other words, animal by-products are the leftover ingredients that humans typically do not consume (lung, heart, tongue, stomach, intestine, blood, etc).

Many consumers have equated animal by-products with slaughterhouse waste. Animal by-products are still very controversial. Most premium brands have abandoned them in favor of specific named organ ingredients (duck liver, chicken heart, etc).

If you must feed a product with animal by-products, ensure that the specific animal source is specified. In other words, avoid ingredients such as meat by-products or poultry by-products.

meat by-products
7 Recipes

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, meat by-products contain nearly all parts of the animal which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the meat source is not identified. Anonymous ingredients such as meat by-products are typically very low quality additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the animal source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat by-products:

chicken by-product meal
23 Recipes

Chicken by-product meal is produced by cooking chicken by-products using a process called rendering. By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, chicken by-products contain nearly all parts of chickens which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, chicken by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that "named" by-products, such as chicken by-products, supply many important nutrients required by dogs.

The following recipes contain chicken by-product meal:

chicken by-products
3 Recipes

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, chicken by-products contain nearly all parts of the chicken which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, chicken by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that "named" by-products, such as chicken by-products, supply many important nutrients required by dogs.

The following recipes contain chicken by-products:

Anonymous Meat Ingredients

Anonymous meats are animal-based ingredients which do not provide the source animal's name. These ingredients are controversial because they can come from almost any animal.

In addition, anonymous animal-based ingredients are very inexpensive and often the lowest quality meats that are still allowed to be used in pet food.

In general, we do not recommend feeding any products which contain anonymous meats. When in doubt, always contact the brand's customer service desk for further clarification.

Unfortunately, we've identified 3 anonymous meat ingredients used by Iams.

fish meal
9 Recipes

Fish meal is defined by AAFCO as "the clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish or fish cutting, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil." Since the specific type of fish is not mentioned, we cannot discuss any specific qualities of this ingredient. In general, anonymous ingredients are low quality inclusions when compared to ingredients such as tuna meal, salmon meal, catfish meal, etc.

The following recipes contain fish meal:

animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols)
1 Recipes

Animal fat is a by-product of tissue rendering. The source animal is not specific and therefore we cannot be certain that the source does not include diseased animals or even euthanized dogs and cats.

The following recipes contain animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols):

meat by-products
7 Recipes

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, meat by-products contain nearly all parts of the animal which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the meat source is not identified. Anonymous ingredients such as meat by-products are typically very low quality additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the animal source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat by-products:

Controversial Ingredients

In most cases, ingredients which are given the controversial classification can be substituted with higher-quality alternatives. You should evaluate each controversial ingredient independently to see if there is truly a valid cause for concern.

Keep in mind, certain sacrifices often must be made to produce dog foods at a reasonable price. In general, the more expensive the product, the fewer controversial ingredients you'll find.

In our analysis, we've identified 15 controversial ingredients inside Iams products. These controversial ingredients are listed below. Click on each ingredient for more information.

feeding oatmeal
1 Recipes

According to AAFCO, feeding oatmeal "is obtained in the manufacture of rolled oat groats or rolled oats". It contains "broken oat groats, oat groat chips, and floury portions of the oat groats." In other words, feeding oatmeal is an inexpensive by-products of rolled oat processing.

The following recipes contain feeding oatmeal:

dried tomato pomace
1 Recipes

Dried tomato pomace is a by-product of tomato manufacturing. It's considered a controversial ingredient because many people believe it is an inexpensive low quality filler. However, tomato pomace provides a notable amount of dietary fiber, B vitamins, Lycopene, and vitamin A. Although it is a very inexpensive ingredient, it is not nutritionally empty.

The following recipes contain dried tomato pomace:

iron oxide
1 Recipes

Iron oxide is an FDA approved natural food coloring agent. It's commonly found in rusting metal and provides a reddish-brown color.</p><p>We believe food colorants are unnecessary ingredients in dog food. Other than potential harm, food colorants do not provide any nutritional value. These type of ingredients are used only to make the food look appealing to humans.

The following recipes contain iron oxide:

animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols)
1 Recipes

Animal fat is a by-product of tissue rendering. The source animal is not specific and therefore we cannot be certain that the source does not include diseased animals or even euthanized dogs and cats.

The following recipes contain animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols):

corn gluten meal
3 Recipes

Corn gluten meal is a by-product from the production of various corn products (corn starch, corn syrup, etc). It's very high in protein (nearly 60% protein) and therefore can significant boost the protein content of the product. Because plant based proteins such as corn gluten meal are inferior to meat based proteins (lack many essential amino acids), they are not suitable substitutes.

The following recipes contain corn gluten meal:

wheat gluten
3 Recipes

Wheat gluten is the main protein of wheat. Although wheat gluten is mostly protein, wheat gluten is considered controversial because it significantly boosts the protein content of the product. This is undesirable because plant based protein does not provide the same amino acid profile as meat based protein.

The following recipes contain wheat gluten:

pea protein
2 Recipes

Pea protein is produced by removing the starchy parts of peas. Pea protein is considered controversial because it provides a substantial plant based protein boost. This boost is undesirable because plant based protein is typically lower in biological value when compared to meat based proteins.

The following recipes contain pea protein:

ground whole grain corn
23 Recipes

Ground whole grain corn contains the entire corn kernel (the germ, bran, and endosperm). Corn is a cereal grain which provides a modest amount of vitamins, minerals, and plant based protein. It also happens to be one of the most controversial ingredients in dog food.</p><p>Proponents of corn claim that corn is highly digestible and an excellent source of protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.</p><p>Opponents however believe that positive claims in regards to corn are either half-truths or completely false, we'll discuss a few of the opposing arguments.</p><p>In regards to digestibility, the claims of "highly digestible" are only true if corn is processed into a meal or flour and subsequently cooked. In regards to the protein contribution, we must note that corn is a plant based protein which does not contain all of the necessary amino acids required by dogs to sustain life. Therefore substituting corn for meat is an unsuitable substitution and actually degrades the overall protein quality of the product.</p><p>Finally, we'll discuss the claims about vitamins and minerals in corn. Although corn does provide many vitamins and minerals, it not necessarily an exceptional ingredient in this regards. There are many other ingredients which are more complete and biologically appropriate. Therefore the usage of corn as the primary ingredient in dog food should certainly warrant further questioning.

The following recipes contain ground whole grain corn:

caramel color
25 Recipes

Caramel color is a concentrated form of caramel, a natural food colorant. Caramel color has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals. Since our pets do not care about food color, caramel color is an unnecessary addition with possible health risks.

The following recipes contain caramel color:

fish digest
1 Recipes

Fish digest is the result of undecomposed fish tissue after hydrolysis, a chemical reaction. It is typically used as flavoring to improve taste. Fish digest is considered by many as an undesirable low-quality ingredient.

The following recipes contain fish digest:

beet pulp
1 Recipes

Beet pulp is the by-product which remains once sugar has been extracted from sugar beets. The primary contribution of beet pulp is dietary fiber.</p><p>We'd also like to note that beet pulp is fairly controversial in pet food. Proponents claim that beet pulp can promote intestinal health and regulate blood sugar. However, opponents claim that beet pulp is an inexpensive filler.

The following recipes contain beet pulp:

meat by-products
7 Recipes

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, meat by-products contain nearly all parts of the animal which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the meat source is not identified. Anonymous ingredients such as meat by-products are typically very low quality additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the animal source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat by-products:

chicken by-product meal
23 Recipes

Chicken by-product meal is produced by cooking chicken by-products using a process called rendering. By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, chicken by-products contain nearly all parts of chickens which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, chicken by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that "named" by-products, such as chicken by-products, supply many important nutrients required by dogs.

The following recipes contain chicken by-product meal:

chicken by-products
3 Recipes

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, chicken by-products contain nearly all parts of the chicken which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, chicken by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that "named" by-products, such as chicken by-products, supply many important nutrients required by dogs.

The following recipes contain chicken by-products:

Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Harmful ingredients are those which have been linked to adverse health effects. In general, we do not recommend feeding any product which contains any harmful ingredients.

There are certain situations where these ingredients may be necessary. We always recommend contacting Iams for further clarification regarding any harmful or controversial ingredient.

We have identified 3 harmful ingredients used in certain Iams recipes. To learn more, click on the ingredient's name.

yellow 6
2 Recipes

Yellow 6 is an artificial food dye which may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 6 can cause adrenal tumors in animals.

The following recipes contain yellow 6:

yellow 5
2 Recipes

Yellow 5 is an artificial dye which may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. Like other dyes, yellow 5 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain yellow 5:

Iams Dog Food Ingredient Lists

Iams

Proactive Health
Bulldog Breed Specific Recipe
Iams
Proactive Health Bulldog Breed Specific Recipe
First Five Ingredients
ground whole grain corn
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain sorghum
ground whole grain barley
chicken fat

Iams

Healthy Naturals
Healthy Weight With Chicken
Iams
Healthy Naturals Healthy Weight With Chicken
First Five Ingredients
ground whole grain sorghum
chicken
ground whole grain barley
chicken meal
brewers rice

Iams

Healthy Naturals
Farm-Raised Chicken and Barley Recipe
Iams
Healthy Naturals Farm-Raised Chicken and Barley Recipe
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain sorghum
ground whole grain barley
chicken meal
brewers rice

Iams

Healthy Naturals
With Grass-Fed Lamb and Rice
Iams
Healthy Naturals With Grass-Fed Lamb and Rice
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain sorghum
ground whole grain barley
chicken meal
lamb

Iams

Proactive Health
Chihuahua Breed Specific Recipe
Iams
Proactive Health Chihuahua Breed Specific Recipe
First Five Ingredients
chicken
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health
Adult Chunks
Iams
Proactive Health Adult Chunks
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
chicken by-product meal
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health
German Shepherd Breed Specific Recipe
Iams
Proactive Health German Shepherd Breed Specific Recipe
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
chicken by-product meal
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health
High Protein With Real Chicken & Turkey
Iams
Proactive Health High Protein With Real Chicken & Turkey
First Five Ingredients
chicken
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain sorghum
ground whole grain corn
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health
Labrador Retriever Breed Specific Recipe
Iams
Proactive Health Labrador Retriever Breed Specific Recipe
First Five Ingredients
chicken
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain barley
ground whole grain sorghum

Iams

Proactive Health
Mature Adult Small Breed
Iams
Proactive Health Mature Adult Small Breed
First Five Ingredients
chicken
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain barley
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health
Senior Plus
Iams
Proactive Health Senior Plus
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain barley

Iams

Proactive Health
Senior Plus Large Breed
Iams
Proactive Health Senior Plus Large Breed
First Five Ingredients
chicken
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
ground whole grain barley

Iams

Proactive Health
With Beef & Rice For Adult Dogs
Iams
Proactive Health With Beef & Rice For Adult Dogs
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
chicken by-product meal
beef

Iams

Proactive Health
Yorkshire Terrier Breed Specific Recipe
Iams
Proactive Health Yorkshire Terrier Breed Specific Recipe
First Five Ingredients
chicken
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
dried beet pulp

Iams

Healthy Naturals
Wild-Caught Ocean Fish and Rice Recipe
Iams
Healthy Naturals Wild-Caught Ocean Fish and Rice Recipe
First Five Ingredients
ocean fish
brewers rice
ground whole grain sorghum
fish meal
ground whole grain barley

Iams

Proactive Health
Dachshund Breed Specific Recipe
Iams
Proactive Health Dachshund Breed Specific Recipe
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
chicken by-product meal
fish meal

Iams

Proactive Health
Sensitive Skin & Stomach Grain Free Recipe With Real Chicken & Peas
Iams
Proactive Health Sensitive Skin & Stomach Grain Free Recipe With Real Chicken & Peas
First Five Ingredients
chicken
pea
pea starch
chicken meal
fish meal

Iams

Proactive Health
Sensitive Skin & Stomach Grain Free Recipe With Real Salmon & Lentils
Iams
Proactive Health Sensitive Skin & Stomach Grain Free Recipe With Real Salmon & Lentils
First Five Ingredients
chicken
pea
pea starch
chicken meal
fish meal

Iams

Proactive Health
Smart Puppy Small Breed
Iams
Proactive Health Smart Puppy Small Breed
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain corn
chicken by-product meal
corn gluten meal
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health
Healthy Weight For Large Breed Adult Dogs
Iams
Proactive Health Healthy Weight For Large Breed Adult Dogs
First Five Ingredients
ground whole grain corn
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain sorghum
ground whole grain barley
chicken

Iams

Proactive Health
Lamb & Rice Recipe
Iams
Proactive Health Lamb & Rice Recipe
First Five Ingredients
lamb
chicken by-product meal
brewers rice
ground whole grain barley
ground whole grain corn

Iams

Proactive Health
Small Breed Adult
Iams
Proactive Health Small Breed Adult
First Five Ingredients
chicken
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health
Mature Adult Large Breed
Iams
Proactive Health Mature Adult Large Breed
First Five Ingredients
chicken
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain barley
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum

Iams

Proactive Health
Healthy Weight Adult With Real Chicken
Iams
Proactive Health Healthy Weight Adult With Real Chicken
First Five Ingredients
ground whole grain corn
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain sorghum
chicken
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health
Smart Puppy
Iams
Proactive Health Smart Puppy
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain corn
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain sorghum
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health
Smart Puppy Large Breed
Iams
Proactive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain corn
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain sorghum
corn gluten meal

Iams

Proactive Health
Mature Adult
Iams
Proactive Health Mature Adult
First Five Ingredients
chicken
chicken by-product meal
ground whole grain barley
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum

Iams

Proactive Health
Adult Large Breed
Iams
Proactive Health Adult Large Breed
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain barley
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
chicken by-product meal

Iams

Proactive Health
Adult Minichunks
Iams
Proactive Health Adult Minichunks
First Five Ingredients
chicken
ground whole grain corn
ground whole grain sorghum
chicken by-product meal
dried beet pulp

Iams

Proactive Health Chunks
Chicken, Spring Vegetables and Rice Flavor In Sauce
Iams
Proactive Health Chunks Chicken, Spring Vegetables and Rice Flavor In Sauce
First Five Ingredients
water sufficient for processing
chicken
meat by-products
wheat flour
wheat gluten

Iams

Proactive Health Chunks
Turkey, Vegetables and Rice Flavor In Gravy
Iams
Proactive Health Chunks Turkey, Vegetables and Rice Flavor In Gravy
First Five Ingredients
water sufficient for processing
chicken
meat by-products
wheat flour
wheat gluten

Iams

Woof Grain Free
Farm-Raised Chicken and Salmon Dinner Wet Dog Food
Iams
Woof Grain Free Farm-Raised Chicken and Salmon Dinner Wet Dog Food
First Five Ingredients
chicken broth
chicken
water
dried egg product
salmon

Iams

Woof Grain Free
Hearty Turkey and Lamb Dinner Wet Dog Food
Iams
Woof Grain Free Hearty Turkey and Lamb Dinner Wet Dog Food
First Five Ingredients
chicken broth
turkey
dried egg product
lamb
sweet potato

Iams

Proactive Health Pate
With Chicken and Rice For Puppies
Iams
Proactive Health Pate With Chicken and Rice For Puppies
First Five Ingredients
water sufficient for processing
chicken
meat by-products
brewers rice
meat protein isolate

Iams

Proactive Health Pate
With Beef and Rice
Iams
Proactive Health Pate With Beef and Rice
First Five Ingredients
water sufficient for processing
chicken by-products
meat by-products
chicken
beef

Iams

Proactive Health Chunks
Beef, Rice, Carrots and Green Beans Flavor In Gravy
Iams
Proactive Health Chunks Beef, Rice, Carrots and Green Beans Flavor In Gravy
First Five Ingredients
water sufficient for processing
chicken
meat by-products
wheat flour
beef

Iams

Proactive Health Pate
With Slow Cooked Chicken and Rice In Sauce For Senior Dogs
Iams
Proactive Health Pate With Slow Cooked Chicken and Rice In Sauce For Senior Dogs
First Five Ingredients
water sufficient for processing
chicken
chicken by-products
meat by-products
brewers rice

Iams

Proactive Health Pate
With Chicken and Whole Grain Rice
Iams
Proactive Health Pate With Chicken and Whole Grain Rice
First Five Ingredients
chicken
water sufficient for processing
meat by-products
brown rice
barley

Iams

Proactive Health Pate
With Lamb and Rice
Iams
Proactive Health Pate With Lamb and Rice
First Five Ingredients
chicken
water sufficient for processing
chicken by-products
lamb
brown rice