What Is a Product Code?
A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product that a manufacturer produces to provide information about when the product was made.
As part of the product code, products manufactured by The IAMS™ Company include a "Best Used By" date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats (line 1 below).
The second line represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control (line 2).
Depending upon the production line, pouch products might have code date information in a single or double line.
By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.
What Is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a product that is stored properly maintains its freshness. This means that if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.
The shelf life for our dry dog and cat foods is 16 months. All canned and pouch formulas have a shelf life of 24 months. Biscuits have a 12-month shelf life, and sauce formulas have a 16-month shelf life.
What Is the Proper Way to Store Dry and Canned Products?
Unopened dry products are best stored off of the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry products also might be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Opened wet products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the can has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans or pouches. However, wet foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.
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Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active
It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.
Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health
At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.
Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite
Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.
Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines
Continue to use preventive medicines.
Senior Dog Health: Dental Health
Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.
Senior Dog Health: Exercise
Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.
Senior Dog Health: Diet
Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.
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