Disclosure: When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.
Disclosure: Watchdog Labs is free to use. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.
IAMS Healthy Naturals Chicken & Barley Recipe is a low-priced dog food with overall lower quality. This product has 3 controversial ingredients. It does not use artificial preservatives and colors but includes an artificial flavor. The food has a high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat and mixed meat and fat quality. IAMS also has an above-average number of dog food recalls. Positively, the company was overall quite transparent when answering our food quality questions.Read the Full Review Below
The food has high carbs and somewhat low protein and fats, making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low and they are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts. However, high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.
To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more
Min. Protein 27.78%
Min. Fat 15.56%
Min. Carbs 48.89%
Max. Fiber 4.44%
Max. Ash 7.78%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 25.0%
Min Fat: 14.0%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 4.0%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 10.0%
364 Calories per Cup
This product has an average amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Average calorie foods like this are typically best for fairly active dogs who need a moderate amount of daily calories. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.
Grain-Free Dog Foods
This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.Learn More
Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Fish Meal (source of fish oil), Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Monosodium Phosphate, Carrots, Choline Chloride, Tomatoes, Spinach, Green Peas, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Copper sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide), 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), DL-Methionine, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Apple Pomace, Dried Blueberry Pomace, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract.
The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 3 total controversial ingredients and 1 is found in the first five ingredients. This is concerning because the first 5 ingredients make up most of the product.
Top 5 Ingredients
Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at a dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.
Country of Origin
This dog food is made in the USA.
Meat & Fat Quality
This food shows Chicken, Chicken Meal, Fish Meal (source of fish oil), and Chicken Fat as the added meats and fats. The chicken-based ingredients are clearly showing what animals they are made of, but the Fish Meal doesn’t show clearly which fish it comes from. That’s decidedly less transparent than the other ingredients.
This product contains no controversial preservatives. Here’s the deal: Not that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.
No artificial colors are used in this dog food, nice.
Chicken Flavor (an artificial ingredient) is used here. That’s not a good thing and totally unnecessary. While it makes your dog more likely to like the food, it’s a controversial ingredient. See above for more information.
IAMS has an above-average number of recalls.
We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.
How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?
IAMS is part of the Mars family of brands and was pretty responsive. It only required one email, and they responded in 4 days. Not the fastest response time, but compared to the average it was good.
Does IAMS have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?
Mars Petcare US employs Associates with expertise in many different fields including nutrition, food science, animal science and veterinary sciences to name a few.
Did not answer the question directly. In a follow-up email, no names for these professionals could be provided.
Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?
Developing pet foods involves teams of Associates with expertise in many different fields including nutrition, food science, animal science and veterinary sciences. Mars Petcare has been developing pet foods for over 80 years and the nutritional knowledge and expertise of our Associates goes into every diet we produce.
The names of these professionals could not be provided.
Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?
Our diets are tested either using AAFCO feeding trials or by analysis of the finished product to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles. It depends on the diet. Both ways of ensuring nutritional adequacy are acceptable methods and the method employed on a particular diet is listed on the diet itself within the nutritional adequacy statement. For those products that are formulated to meet nutrient profiles, we utilize our extensive database of the nutrient content of our ingredients and well as analytical values of key nutrients in order to ensure the delivery of the nutrient profiles of our diets.
What country are your products manufactured?
In the U.S. we employ 25,000 Associates across 6 segments: Mars Food, Mars Drinks, Mars Petcare, Mars Chocolate, Mars Symbioscience and Wrigley. We employ more than 75,000 Associates worldwide. We have 37 manufacturing plants in the U.S. and 43 U.S. states have Mars operations. For more than 100 years, Mars has been committed to making our products in the markets where we sell them. By growing our footprint in the U.S., we are better able to introduce new products to meet consumer demand for greater choice and variety.
Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?
At this time we do not offer public tours of our manufacturing facilities.
Common answer for large companies like Mars.
What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?
Quality is the cornerstone of every aspect of our business and the number one responsibility of all our employees, suppliers and distributors. At Mars Petcare, we have a vision for making A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS®. The health and wellbeing of pets is our absolute priority. Our products are manufactured in strict compliance with the stringent guidelines set down by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), as well as each state's feed regulations and in many cases our own guidelines far exceed them. Under the Mars Supplier Quality Assurance Program, all of the raw materials that we and our suppliers use must meet our strict global internal quality and safety requirements, in addition to local laws and regulation. Our robust global standards, which apply at every stage of the supply chain, allow us to ensure that all of our products are safe, nutritious and enjoyable, meaning owners can feel confident that their pets will thrive on our products.
Does IAMS (Mars) own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?
Do any parts of your product come from China?
We source our ingredients for our North American plants as close to our facilities as possible. We do not purchase meat-based ingredients from China. Our vitamins and minerals often come from China, as that is often one of the only locations to source these ingredients globally, similar to human foods. Mars has an extensive Supplier Quality Assurance program, which includes audits and visits from our own associates to these suppliers.
We learned from speaking to many companies that sourcing quality ingredients at scale is a significant challenge. This reality means that companies like Mars who are supplying huge amounts of food to the entire world will often use a variety of sourcing options, including China.
Linda P Case, MS; Daniel P Carey, DVM; and Diane A Hirakawa, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, Mosby-Year Book, Inc.