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Science Diet vs. Iams: Who Wins? [2024]

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene Divina, one of the content writers at IHD, loves going on adventures with her adorable fur baby. She now creates informative content for pet parents. Read more
| Published on January 2, 2024

Science Diet and Iams are two leading dog food brands that many pet owners find themselves choosing between. This article dives into a comprehensive comparison of both, evaluating their ingredients, quality, protein content, value for money, and their respective recall histories.

Science Diet Vs. Iams: An In-Depth Ingredient Comparison

Science Diet Ingredients Pros:

  1. Natural Ingredients: Science Diet often touts its use of natural ingredients. The brand typically uses real meat, such as chicken or lamb, as its primary protein source. This ensures that dogs receive the necessary nutrients to maintain muscle health.
  2. Beneficial Additives: Many Science Diet formulations include antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial for a dog’s overall health. Additionally, some formulas have added taurine, essential for heart health.
  3. Diverse Formulas: Science Diet offers a variety of specialized formulas based on age, size, and health needs. These formulations may include specific ingredients to target issues such as joint health, weight management, or digestive concerns.

Science Diet Ingredients Cons:

  1. Grains: While grains aren’t inherently bad, some Science Diet formulas contain grains like corn, wheat, and soy. These can be problematic for dogs with certain food sensitivities or allergies.
  2. Price: Because of its high-quality ingredients, Science Diet can be pricier than other commercial dog foods.
  3. Fillers: Some formulas might contain chicken by-product meal and other fillers which, though providing protein, might not be as nutritionally rich as whole meat sources.

Iams Ingredients Pros:

  1. High Protein Formulas: Iams emphasizes high-protein content in its dog food. The brand uses real chicken or lamb as its primary ingredient in many formulas, ensuring dogs get a protein-rich diet.
  2. Tailored Nutritional Content: Iams produces dog food that is tailored to different life stages, from puppies to seniors. This means ingredients are chosen specifically for the nutritional needs of each stage.
  3. Includes Fiber-Rich Ingredients: Many Iams formulas incorporate beet pulp as a primary source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion.

Iams Ingredients Cons:

  1. By-Products: Iams sometimes uses meat by-products as a protein source. While still a source of protein, meat by-products can vary in nutritional value compared to whole meats.
  2. Grain Inclusion: Similar to Science Diet, some Iams formulas contain grains. Dogs with sensitivities or allergies might not react well to these ingredients.
  3. Artificial Additives: A few Iams formulas might include artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, which some pet owners might want to avoid.

Head-to-Head Ingredient Comparison:

When directly comparing the two, both brands have their strengths and drawbacks. Science Diet’s commitment to natural ingredients and tailored nutrition for specific health concerns stands out. However, the inclusion of grains and fillers in some of their formulas can be concerning for some pet owners.

On the other hand, Iams‘ focus on high protein content and inclusion of beneficial dietary fibers is commendable. However, the usage of meat by-products and artificial additives might be off-putting to some.

In the end, the “best” ingredients largely depend on an individual dog’s needs. While one might thrive on a grain-inclusive diet from Science Diet, another might benefit more from the high-protein content of Iams. It’s always recommended to consult with a veterinarian to understand what specific ingredients will best serve a dog’s unique nutritional requirements.


Compare Pricing & Discounts: Science Diet vs. Iams

Iams 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals
Science Diet 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals

Recalls & Lawsuits: Science Diet Vs. Iams

Both Science Diet and Iams, leading players in the pet food industry, have faced recalls and legal challenges related to their products. Delving into each brand’s history provides a clearer picture of its commitment to safety and quality.

Science Diet Recalls & Lawsuits:

  1. 2019 Recall: Science Diet issued a voluntary recall for specific canned dog food products due to elevated levels of vitamin D. Excessive vitamin D in dog food can lead to potential health issues in dogs, including vomiting, loss of appetite, and increased thirst and urination.
  2. 2014 Recall: There was a recall involving Science Diet dry dog food due to potential salmonella contamination. No illnesses were reported in connection with the affected products.
  3. 2012 Recall: Specific batches of Science Diet Puppy Small & Toy Breed dry dog food were recalled because of potential salmonella exposure. No cases of salmonella-related illnesses from this recall were reported.

Iams Recalls & Lawsuits:

  1. 2013 Recall: Iams had a recall that included both cat and dog food products. The company stated that the recall was due to possible salmonella contamination. As with similar recalls, salmonella poses a risk not just to pets, but also to humans handling the contaminated product.
  2. 2012 Recall: Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy dry dog food faced a recall because of aflatoxin, a toxin produced by mold that can be harmful to pets if consumed in significant quantities.
  3. 2010 Recall: Iams issued a recall for specific kitten and cat food batches because of low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1), crucial for cat health. A deficiency can lead to gastrointestinal and neurological issues in cats.

Legal Challenges and Lawsuits:

  1. Science Diet: In the past, Science Diet faced lawsuits related to false advertising claims. One notable instance involved allegations that the brand misleadingly labeled their products as “prescription” or “veterinary exclusive,” implying a higher standard of nutrition or medicinal benefit. The company settled the lawsuit without admitting any wrongdoing.
  2. Iams: Iams have also been the subject of legal challenges. In one case, the brand faced a class-action lawsuit over alleged misleading advertising. The suit claimed that Iams falsely advertised their food as being able to reduce allergens in cats. The lawsuit was settled out of court.

In assessing the recall and legal history of both brands, it’s clear that no brand is immune to challenges. However, how a company responds to these issues speaks volumes about its dedication to quality, safety, and transparency. Both Science Diet and Iams have taken steps to address concerns, issuing recalls out of caution and settling legal disputes. For pet owners, the key is to stay informed and always prioritize the health and safety of their pets when choosing a food brand.


Compare Pricing & Discounts: Science Diet vs. Iams

Iams 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals
Science Diet 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals

Our Verdict – Science Diet Vs. Iams: Who Wins?

In comparing Science Diet and Iams dog foods, several factors stand out. Both brands have high-quality ingredients; however, Science Diet often leans on real meat as the primary protein source, offering a slightly higher protein content in many formulations. On the aspect of recall history, both have faced challenges, though Science Diet’s recalls have primarily been precautionary measures due to potential contamination concerns. Iams, on the other hand, had recalls related both to potential contamination and nutritional content issues. Weighing these factors, we lean towards Science Diet as the preferable choice due to its consistent protein sources and preventive approach to recalls. Nonetheless, every pet is unique, and owners should consider their dog’s specific needs when making a choice.


Science Diet vs. Iams: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the primary protein sources in Science Diet and Iams dog foods? Both Science Diet and Iams prioritize high-quality protein sources in their formulations. Science Diet often uses real meat, such as chicken or lamb, as the first ingredient in many of their recipes. Iams also uses real meat, but they sometimes include meat by-products in certain formulations, which can be a good source of additional nutrients.
  2. How do the price points of these two brands compare? Iams is generally considered a mid-tier brand in terms of pricing, making it more affordable than Science Diet. Science Diet, falling into the premium category, tends to be priced higher, reflecting its emphasis on specialized nutrition and premium ingredients.
  3. Are there grain-free options available for both brands? Yes, both Science Diet and Iams offer grain-free recipes. These are ideal for dogs with grain sensitivities or allergies. However, it’s always recommended to consult with a veterinarian before making significant changes to your dog’s diet.
  4. Which brand offers a wider range of specialized formulas? Science Diet has a broader range of specialized formulas designed for specific health needs, age groups, and sizes. From weight management to dental care, they offer targeted nutrition. While Iams does provide tailored nutrition for puppies, seniors, and large breeds, they have fewer health-specific formulas compared to Science Diet.
  5. Do these brands source their ingredients globally or locally? Both Science Diet and Iams source ingredients from trusted suppliers, which can be both local and global. Their emphasis is on quality and safety, ensuring that all ingredients meet stringent standards regardless of origin.
  6. What is the calorie content like in Science Diet versus Iams? The calorie content varies based on the specific formulation and intended purpose of the food. Generally, both brands offer a range from low-calorie options, ideal for weight management, to high-calorie foods designed for active dogs or puppies. Always check the packaging or the brand’s official website for specific calorie counts.
  7. How do the two brands approach the inclusion of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors? Science Diet emphasizes natural ingredients and typically avoids artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. Iams also has many recipes that are free from artificial additives, though it’s always best to check the ingredient list on specific products.
  8. Do these brands offer prescription diets? Science Diet offers a range of prescription diets formulated to address specific health issues, available only through veterinarians. Iams does not have a line of prescription foods but does offer some vet-recommended formulations.
  9. Which brand is more environmentally conscious? Both brands have shown initiatives towards sustainability. Science Diet, under the Hill’s umbrella, emphasizes sustainability in production. Iams, under the larger Mars Petcare brand, has also made strides in sustainable sourcing and production.
  10. Do Science Diet and Iams have wet food options? Yes, both brands offer a range of wet dog food options. These can be beneficial for dogs who need additional hydration or simply prefer the texture and taste of wet food.
  11. How do both brands fare in palatability tests? Both brands are generally well-received by dogs in terms of taste. However, palatability can be subjective, varying from one dog to another. Trying a small bag or a sample can help determine what your pet prefers.
  12. Where can I purchase Science Diet and Iams dog foods? Both brands are widely available in pet stores, supermarkets, and online retailers. Science Diet prescription foods, however, are typically only available through veterinary clinics.
  13. How often have these brands faced recalls? Both brands have experienced recalls in the past. Science Diet’s recalls are typically precautionary, addressing potential contamination concerns. Iams has faced recalls for similar reasons and occasionally for nutrient content issues. Always check the latest recall information and register products for updates.
  14. Which brand is better for puppies or senior dogs? Both brands offer nutrition tailored for life stages, from puppies to seniors. The best choice depends on your dog’s specific needs, but both brands are known to provide well-researched, age-appropriate nutrition.
  15. Are there any common allergens in their foods? Like most dog foods, some formulations from both brands may contain common allergens like chicken, beef, or grains. However, both Science Diet and Iams offer recipes designed to cater to dogs with sensitivities, including grain-free and limited ingredient options.

Compare Pricing & Discounts: Science Diet vs. Iams

Iams 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals
Science Diet 35% Off 1st Autoship See Current Pricing & Deals

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