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A Crash Course in Dog Food Nutrition

Pocket Edition

Dogs don’t come with instruction manuals. Oh wait — yes they do. And you’re holding one.

Let’s get started!


Nutrition Needs for Dogs of All Ages

As your dog progresses through the years, they will have different nutritional needs. We’ve customized our advice based on their current age.



How to Feed a Puppy

So you’ve added a new family member. By now you’re well aware of the impact puppies have on the human heart: They turn it to total mush.

Your puppy stays a puppy for up to the first two years.

Read on for how to feed puppies.

And they call it puppy love...

Puppies feed on their mama’s milk for the first weeks of their lives before transitioning to puppy kibble.

At 8 weeks of age, puppies can eat their nutrient-rich food split into two meals a day. 

For the first weeks,

mama knows best.

Portion size: A series of trials and errors

Larger-breed puppies need more food than smaller breeds, so pay attention to the recommendations on the food package and always consult your vet.

Fair warning: Leather is always

on the menu.


Now that's one smart puppy

IAMS offers formulas tailored for your puppy, whether they're going to stay small, get bigger or grow large.


How to Feed an Adult Dog

Your dog is all grown up — when did that happen? Just yesterday they were having accidents on your carpet. Today they’re a full-fledged barking, chasing, rolling-in-the-grass adult.

When your dog is about 90% of their weight, they’re considered an adult dog.

Read on for how to feed adult dogs.

Transition to adult food slowly.

When your dog is ready for adult food, transition them slowly over the course of four days to avoid upsetting their intestinal tract or causing diarrhea.

  • Day One: 75% puppy food and 25% adult food
  • Day Two: 50% puppy food and 50% adult food
  • Day Three: 75% adult food and 25% puppy food
  • Day Four: 100% adult food

What meal size is right for my adult dog?

Wondering about meal size? The internet doesn’t always know best. It depends on the food, how much you’re feeding your dog, their weight and metabolic rate, and how much exercise they get. Read pet food labels and talk to your vet to determine the right amount.

Adulting for dogs is pretty

much the same as for people,

but with more jumping.


Adults come in many sizes.

IAMS™ offers formulas tailored for your adult dog, whether they're small,
medium or large.

How to Feed a Senior Dog

Your dog has been with you through thick and thin. But lately you’ve been wondering, “Are they getting ... old?”

Large dogs can be considered senior when they’re 5 or 6. For small dogs, the golden years start around 7.

Read on for how to feed senior dogs.

Their best years are not behind them

Older dogs tend to gain weight and lose lean body mass. Their immune responses also decline. A diet lower in fat and higher in protein and antioxidants can help them maintain a healthy body composition and immune responses.

Maturity comes with age.

Or does it?


How to transition your senior dog from adult dog food:

When your dog is ready for senior food, transition them slowly to avoid upsetting their intestinal tract or causing diarrhea.

  • Day 1: 25% new food and 75% current food
  • Day 2: 50% new food and 50% current food
  • Day 3: 75% new food and 25% current food
  • Day 4: 100% new food

Think small. And medium. And big.

IAMS™ offers
formulas tailored for
your aging dog,
whether they're small,
medium or large.

7 is the new 3.

Help them feel young, even if the candles on the cake get crowded.

Choose foods with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to help promote joint health. 

"Only humans would light

a cake on fire."



Nutrition for Dogs of All Sizes

Some big dogs act small, and some small dogs act big. But one thing’s for sure: Their diet and nutrition should be tailored to their size.


Nutrition for Small Dogs: Small but Mighty

Whether they fit in your purse or on your lap, your pint-sized companion is your number-one friend.

Your dog is considered small if they will weigh 20 pounds or less as a full-grown adult.

Read on for how to feed small dogs.

Energy, times two.

Many little dogs are full of energy and have higher metabolic rates. That means they burn through calories more quickly.

Make sure they’re getting enough calories. You may want to feed them smaller meals more frequently, too.

Small dogs need small kibble so they can chew and digest properly.

We recommend IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Small & Toy Breed for a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

Feeding Guidelines for IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Small & Toy Breed:

1 pound = 1/8 – 1/6 cup per day

3 pounds = 1/4 – 1/3 cup per day

5 pounds = 1/2 cup per day

10 pounds = 3/4 – 7/8 cup per day

15 pounds = 1 – 1 1/8 cups per day

20 pounds = 1 1/4 – 1 1/3 cups per day

Nutrition for Medium Dogs: Who You Callin' Average?

They’re not small, and they’re not large — they’re medium. But your dog is anything but average.

Your medium-breed dog will weigh 20 to 50 pounds by the time they reach adulthood.

Read on for how to feed medium-sized dogs.


Feed them a nutritious, well-balanced diet.

IAMS™ Minichunks Chicken and Whole Grains Recipe has essential nutrients and prebiotics, plus a smaller-sized kibble for easier chewing.

Currently seeking: Medium

height, medium build,

big heart.

Every breed is different.

A 50-pound border collie and a 50-pound basset hound have different dietary needs.

The border collie will probably need more calories per day because they are generally a more active breed.

Average in weight,

maybe, but not in



More isn't always more.

Medium dogs need more food than smaller dogs. But this doesn’t necessarily mean more calories.

Smaller dogs could have a higher metabolic rate, so they might require more calories.

Feeding Guidelines for IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Small & Toy Breed:

30 pounds = 1 2/3 – 2 cups per day

40 pounds = 2 – 2 1/3 cups per day

50 pounds = 2 1/2- 2 3/4 cups per day 

Nutrition for Large Dogs: Large and in Charge

Their tongue is big enough to clear a dinner plate. Their paws are bigger than a toddler's. But having a large dog means having more to love.

Large dogs weigh in at about 60 pounds or more.

Read on for how to feed large dogs.


Big dogs need bone and joint support.

Large breeds put a lot more pressure on their joints than smaller ones. Choose a food that's formulated with nutrients to support bone and joint health.


It’s called glucosamine, and in larger dogs it can support healthy joints. IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed gives your dog that extra dose to keep them going strong.

Landing on the right portion size may take some trial and error.

That's because different dry foods contain different amounts of calories per cup.

Start with the recommendation on the package and adjust over time to maintain their ideal weight.

Feeding Guidelines for IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed:

60 pounds = 3 – 3 1/2 cups per day

70 pounds = 3 1/2 – 4 cups per day

80 pounds = 3 3/4 – 4 1/2 cups per day

100 pounds = 4 1/2 – 5 1/4 cups per day

120 pounds = 5 1/4 – 6 cups per day

140 pounds = 5 3/4 – 6 3/4 cups per day

Ever forget to feed your large

dog? LOL. Of course not.