Feeding Tips from IAMS
Tips for Successfully Changing Your Dog's Diet

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. They, like us, become accustomed to a food and may not be thrilled about a new routine. Here are some useful dog feeding tips to help you keep your pooch's pooch happy.

Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food

Introduce the new food gradually. This is the most successful way to ease your dog into the change in diet. Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% old food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the old 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. Not to worry, a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.

Watch your body language. Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it in your dog's bowl and declaring that he had better 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 encourage him to try the new food.

Don't give in to demands. Don't give up too soon! For the first two days, 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.

The biggest challenge. 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 may 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. This prevents 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 the dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions as outlined above.

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Finicky Eater?

Is your dog really a finicky eater, or could it be something else? There are many factors to consider when you notice that your dog doesn't seem to be eating as usual. If you're suspicious, take a closer look at exactly what he's eating during a day's time. Does he get the occasional dog treat, or is someone sneaking him extra table scraps?

When you feed your dog a balanced, highly nutritious diet, nothing else is needed. In fact, extra treats can drastically alter your dog's normal intake of dog food. It's similar to the feeling you get after eating too much candy or potato chips. Are you interested in a full meal? Neither is your dog.

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Feeding for Lifestyle or Life Stage

IAMS dog foods are nutritionally balanced and specifically formulated to meet the needs of dogs in all life stages, and with different lifestyles. There are dry, canned and pouch varieties, plus options for senior or overweight pets, puppies and dogs with reduced activity levels. Talk to your veterinarian or an Iams® Pet Care and Nutrition Center professional for advice on what's best for your dog.

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Product Feeding Guidelines

Recommended feeding amounts are shown on every package. The guidelines are general suggestions for the amount of food you should feed your dog. Every dog is different and does not need the same amount of food. Your dog's activity level and his metabolic makeup are the determining factors. Start with the amount given in the feeding guidelines. Then, add or subtract food as you observe your dog's eating habits and weight.

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Portion-Controlled and Free-Choice Feeding Methods

Portion-Controlled Feeding: Divide the daily amount and feed at specific intervals. It is important to take away all leftover food after 15 to 20 minutes. This sets a pattern for your dog to follow. The portion-controlled feeding method is recommended for giant and large breeds as well as for overweight dogs. Portion control also works well for dogs with special needs.

Free-Choice Feeding: Feed the daily amount and let your dog eat at leisure. This method is recommended for use only with dry foods. Remember, dogs eat to meet their energy requirements. They quickly define their own daily portions when eating free-choice.

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Good Dog Feeding Tips for All Dogs

Water: Regardless of which food you choose to feed, your dog must have plenty of fresh, clean water. A good dog feeding tip is to place the water three to five feet from the food. This will help prevent your dog from gulping water and air in addition to food.

Routine: Dogs need it. Feeding at the same time and place every day establishes a comfortable eating pattern.

The Veterinarian: Regular visits help keep your dog happy and healthy!

Read more about Natural Pet Nutrition .

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