Is Your Puppy Ready for Adult Dog Food?
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When, Why, and How to Start Feeding Your Pup Grown-up Nutrition
As your puppy grows into an adult dog, he needs nutrition that keeps his body as strong as your love, and that means a high-quality, premium adult formula such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks
The Benefits of Feeding Premium Food
Why move your grown-up pup to a premium adult dog food? Because quality counts. It's crucial to continue his superb puppy nutrition into adulthood. Downgrading to a lower-quality brand at this stage of his life may upset his digestive system, and won't provide him with the same level of nutritional excellence he was raised on.
Think of a baby. When it's time to start giving him solid food, you wouldn't dream of feeding your child anything less than the best nutrition you can buy. The same is true for your maturing puppy. He needs the best age-appropriate food there is to help maintain his overall health.
Premium foods, such as IAMS, are specifically designed to provide your dog with a food that has:
- High-quality ingredients
- High total-diet digestibility
- Balanced, optimal levels of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals
- A nutrient-dense formulation appropriate for a particular life stage
- Consistent, high-quality, natural-ingredient recipes that do not change because of manufacturing costs
- Specific fatty-acid balance to help maintain healthy skin and coat
- Great palatability and taste, based on feeding trials
- Met or exceeded the Association of American Feed Control Officials guidelines
- Product guarantees
What does it all add up to? A happy, healthy dog. With premium dog food, you can expect key indicators that contribute to providing your dog with a long, healthy life:
- Exceptional muscle tone
- A shiny, luxurious coat
- Healthy skin and bones
- Clean teeth
- Clear, bright eyes
- Small, firm stools
Founded on more than 60 years of research into canine nutrition, premium formulas from IAMS help maintain your dog's health and provide him with the nutrition he needs for a long life. Basic brands may not provide these benefits or match the level of expertise that goes into every bag of dog food from IAMS.
When to Switch
Your puppy's transition to adult food should begin when he approaches adult height. His breed type will also help determine when to switch. Small-breed dogs tend to mature physically much sooner than large-breed dogs. Follow these guidelines to help you decide when to switch formulas:
- Small-breed dogs that weigh 20 pounds or less when fully grown are usually ready to eat adult food at 9 to 12 months of age.
- Medium-breed dogs that weigh between 20 and 50 pounds as adults normally mature at 12 to 14 months of age.
Large- and giant-breed dogs, those weighing more than 50 pounds when fully grown, might not be ready to switch to an adult food until they're 12 to 24 months old.
Make the Transition
To avoid upsetting your dog's intestinal tract or causing diarrhea, make the change from a puppy formula to an adult diet over a period of four days by mixing the two foods in your dog's bowl.
- Day One: Fill your dog’s bowl with 75% puppy food and 25% adult food.
- Day Two: Mix the adult and puppy food in a 50/50 ratio.
- Day Three: Feed your dog a mixture that’s 75% adult food and 25% puppy food.
- Day Four: Switch to 100% adult formula.
How much food should you give your dog? Check the daily feeding recommendations established by the pet-food manufacturer and read the label. Dan Carey, DVM and Director of Technical Communications at IAMS, suggests using the recommendations, then weighing your dog each week. If he's gaining or losing weight and shouldn't be, slightly decrease or increase his daily intake, and weigh him again in another week.
If you have specific concerns about your dog's weight, talk to your veterinarian. He or she can assess your dog's needs and give you a feeding recommendation.
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- adp_description_block1604 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
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Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.
4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food
1. Introduce the new food gradually.
When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:
- Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
- Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
- Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food
At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.
2. Watch your body language.
Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.
3. Don't give in to demands.
Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.
4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.
Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.
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