Is IAMS Good For Dogs? [Should You Feed This Food?]

Are you trying to figure out what the best food for your dog is? I get it. It’s overwhelming, right? Besides, there are many brands and variations to choose from. IAMs is just one of them. If you are considering this particular dog food brand, you’ll be pleased you came here. Here is all you are going to want to know.

So, is IAMS good for dogs? IAMS is considered a better alternative than discount dog food brands, particularly in terms of having a higher protein content. However, it could be argued that IAMS has room for improvement, in terms of ingredients choice, product recalls, and the use of artificial dyes in their kibble.

IAMS is a brand of dog food that comes in many varieties and is mass-produced in factories.

You have to remember that last part. It’s designed and created on a mass scale.

Not always a bad thing, but it certainly could impact quality and the margin for error could certainly increase.

Nevertheless, let us continue to explore this popular dog food brand before turning to an alternative you are going to want to consider.

So keep reading. That way, you’ll be aware of the pros and cons of IAMS and will be able to make an informed decision as to whether feed this to your dog.

Is IAMS A Good Dog Food Brand?

IAMS is a well-known brand that makes numerous types of food, from dry kibble to wet food options for dogs of various ages and stages. IAMS is a considered a decent dog food brand in the moderate price range, likely being a better choice than big-box store dog food brands in terms of dog food quality.

IAMS is good in the fact that it is easily available at stores, generally has better ingredients than some lower-cost brands, and has a lot of varieties.

Still, there are a few factors that you could argue keep IAMS from being a true 5-star dog food brand.

When IAMS was first developed in the 1900s, it was a focused attempt at creating a high-protein, shelf-stable, dry dog food.

While the man who invented the recipe was not a nutritionist himself, he did manage to create a dry dog food that’s high in animal meat as a protein source. 

As IAMS grew, it was purchased by a large manufacturing company that changed the IAMS recipe and began to lower the quality and types of meat used.

This had a positive impact on production price but kept IAMS from maintaining the high standard it had originally set. 

The best dog foods on the market today can still name specific meat sources for both their wet and dry food recipes, unlike the more vague labels of larger brands that source many types of meats for their protein source. 

But as mentioned earlier, IAMS dog food is mass-produced in large factory settings, which could be the reason behind many of the dog food recalls.

IAMS has been recalled for concerns such as salmonella, mold, and other toxins being present in their food.

While most large-scale produced dog foods have had recalls at some point, this problem is much less common among smaller family-owned and operated brands.

Ultimately, and on the whole, IAMS is considered safe dog food as recalls are a small minority of total sales.

It makes a good option for people who need quick access to dog food at the store and is looking for an easy to serve product.

For those wanting dog food with the highest quality of ingredients and a lower risk of recalls, there are other brands to consider.

What Are IAMS Dog Foods Made Of?

The number one ingredient in most IAMS dog food recipes is chicken. Chicken is followed by corn and sorghum as leading ingredients in IAMS dog food. Another ingredient worth knowing is the inclusion of caramel coloring in IAMS dog food.

While IAMS creates several types of dog food, we will look at IAMS’s commonly purchased Proactive Health line of kibble for the remainder of this article.

This kibble does a good job of representing IAMS as a whole in regards to food makeup and nutritional value.

Meat-Based Protein Source

It is positive that IAMS has a meat-based protein source as its main ingredient.

This puts IAMS ahead of some other brands that are almost entirely corn-based.

However, this ranking is based on the number of ingredients prior to processing.

After undergoing heat processing and the removal of water from the chicken, only a small amount of actual chicken is likely to remain in the kibble.

And furthermore, although pure chicken is the number one item on the list, the main protein source for IAMS actually comes from chicken by-product meal.

Chicken by-product meal is high in protein but is made from chicken slaughterhouse waste after all other usable meat has been removed from the chicken.

It is a feed-grade quality ingredient that isn’t considered safe for human food consumption.


The second ingredient in IAMS is corn which is a common filler for store-bought dog foods.

While IAMS beats out brands that use this as their main ingredient, it still makes up a large part of their kibble.

Corn can be a troublesome ingredient for dogs with sensitive stomachs due to it being a hard grain for their systems to digest.

Dog food brands without corn as a major ingredient are usually much kinder to dogs’ stomachs.


Sorghum is next on the list and is another plant-based filler that is slightly better for dogs than corn but can be an irritant for dogs with grain allergies.

Caramel Food Coloring

One ingredient that isn’t high on the list in IAMS dog foods, but has caught the eye of nutritionists, owners, and some veterinarians is the use of caramel food coloring.

The true impact of food coloring on a dog’s health has been debated for some time.

Recent studies have shown it may be a cause of cancer when fed to some animals in laboratory settings.

Artificial coloring may enhance the appearance of dog food, but it doesn’t generally affect flavor or positive nutritional value for dogs.

For this reason, some owners and veterinarians prefer foods without dyes, such as caramel coloring.

Is IAMS Harmful For Dogs?

Short of a recall event, IAMS is not significantly harmful or toxic to dogs. IAMS dog food is used by many pet owners throughout their dogs’ lives. Feeding IAMS is not likely to cause your dog specific health issues, but it may increase allergy sensitivities in some dogs, be hard for some dogs to digest (due to the presence of corn), and does contain artificial coloring that has some speculated risks for a pet’s long term health. 

IAMS will meet a dog’s baseline nutritional needs but may leave gaps in a truly well-balanced diet and full nutritional profile.

It is higher in protein than several other discount brands of food but you could argue that it doesn’t have the same level of healthy proteins and fats that true 5-star dog food brands have. 

IAMS is good for owners who have limited access to other food brand options, who may need to be feeding many dogs affordably (such as in a shelter setting), or that need wet canned food at an affordable price. 

For owners who want a dog food that is less likely to experience recalls, is made from ingredients that are safe not only for dogs but also for humans, lowers the risk of allergies, and is high in healthy fats and proteins, there may be more suitable options available.

Can Dogs Eat IAMS Everyday?

Dogs that are fed IAMS dog food should eat it every day. Frequent or rapid changes in dog food types and brands can be hard on a dog’s digestion. If IAMS is your dog food of choice, it will need to be fed an appropriate amount each day over two or three feedings.

The amount of IAMS you feed your dog each day will depend on the dog’s age, activity level, size, and personal preferences.

Most IAMS packaging will have suggested food servings based on these factors.

If you are unsure how much to feed your dog after looking at your dog food package, consult a veterinarian.

If you are feeding your dog IAMS and choose to switch brands of dog food, you will want to continue feeding the IAMS each day as you phase in the new food.

By mixing a dog’s current food with any new food, over time, transitioning fully to the new food, you help a dog’s system have time to adjust to their new diet.

Alternative Options To IAMS

If you are looking for a brand of dog food with minimal, wholesome ingredients, is veterinarian designed, and that has never been recalled, you might want to consider Sundays For Dogs.

The creators of Sundays For Dogs, a veterinarian and an engineer, knew how healthy a raw human-grade quality diet could be for dogs.

They also knew that hand prepping fresh foods every day or even every week wasn’t logical for many dog owners.

Through patience and practice, Sundays For Dogs was born as a way to give dogs all the benefits of a whole foods diet in an easy-to-store and serve kibble form.

Sundays For Dogs is an air-dried kibble, unlike large production brands that use heat extrusion to bond together with their kibble (while losing out on some of the nutrients).

Air-Dried dog foods are typically higher in protein and lack overly processed ingredients – meaning what is on the label is what your dog is actually eating. 

Nutritionally the ingredient list is a part of what puts Sundays For Dogs ahead of brands such as IAMS.

Sundays For Dogs has ingredients that are all human quality, meaning they are completely safe for a human to eat, and the meat in their recipes is real USDA sourced beef and quality chicken cuts– not butchering leftovers.

One piece of good news is that this dog food does not include food dyes such as caramel coloring.

Caramel coloring like that found in IAMS has caused some concern for dog owners due to possible links between food dyes and cancer and other illnesses in dogs.

Because Sundays For Dogs is a smaller company, it can give great customer service and specialized care to each batch of dog food made.

This plays a role in the fact that Sundays For Dogs has never been recalled for any reason, unlike IAMS and many other large-scale dog food brands.

Also, if you have any problems or questions as you start feeding Sundays For Dogs to your sweet pup, their customer service is considered excellent by those who have used it.

Feeding your dog can get pricey, and that remains true when you are searching for dog foods of the highest quality.

You are going to pay more per serving for Sundays For Dogs than you would for IAMS, but you are also guaranteeing that your dog has one of the most nutritionally well-rounded foods on the current market. 

If you want to feed your dog the best food but price is a pinching point, brands like Sundays For Dogs offer subscription services that can get you discounted prices and make sure your food supply never runs out.

It makes the whole process of ordering effortless – with no need to go out, buy, carry and bring it home either! It’s delivered right to your door, as and when you specify.

Also, the company often has offers or discounts on a box of food.

For many owners, skipping out on one restaurant meal each month is worth it for the peace of mind that great dog food brings about their pet’s health.

So why not head over to Sunday for Dogs official website and see for yourself.


Feeding your dog is a big responsibility and what to feed them isn’t a choice to be made lightly. 

If you ask around, you are likely to find a good number of people who feed brands such as IAMS to their dogs, and that is okay.

For pet owners who like to know exactly what is in their dog’s diet, who want to avoid added dyes or corn filler in their dog’s food, and who feel uncomfortable with recalls on certain dog food types, there are other food brands that might be a better fit.

That’s where brands like Sunday for Dogs come in. They really do tick all of the boxes. 

If in doubt, talking with your veterinarian about your goals for your dog and their nutrition can help you make a final choice on what dog food will work best for your furry family member.

Wondering about other brands of dog food? Then check out my other guides: