How Preservatives Are Used in IAMS™ Dog Food
How Preservatives Are Used in IAMS™ Dog Food

How Preservatives Are Used in IAMS™ Dog Food

Preservatives are an important part of nutritious dog food. Unless you make your dog’s food from scratch for every meal and serve it immediately, preservatives are needed to keep your dog’s food from spoiling. No one wants to feed their pet rancid food that could make them sick!

In pet foods, preservatives slow down or even prevent the breakdown of the food, so it can maintain its nutritional value longer. While wet foods are preserved by packaging, IAMS™ uses a preservative system in its dry dog food to make sure your dog receives the freshest product possible, from shelf to bowl.



How Long Do IAMS™ Dog Food Products Last?

We conduct thorough shelf-life testing on all IAMS™ products, and different types of dog food have varying shelf lives. In general, IAMS™ dog food products last for:

  • 24 months for wet foods
  • 16 months for dry foods



Why Does IAMS™ Dry Dog Food Have Preservatives?

Active dogs thrive on diets high in fat. Feeding a fresh, nutritious, high-fat dry kibble diet, however, can be a challenge. IAMS™ dry dog food products, such as 

Opens a new windowIAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Minichunks, overcome this challenge by using an effective preservation system that slows the rate of breakdown and allows the food to last longer.



How Do Dog Food Preservatives Benefit IAMS™ Dry Dog Food?

The IAMS™ preservative system features a special blend of mixed tocopherols, or natural antioxidants extracted from vegetable oils. These antioxidants not only preserve high-fat food from going rancid, but they are also a source of additional nutrition. In fact, vitamin E, also known as alpha-tocopherol, is commonly used as a preservative in dog foods. There are four major types of tocopherols, and specific mixtures of different tocopherols protect dry dog food against rancidity.



How Does IAMS™ Preserve Wet Dog Foods?

Wet foods, such as 

Opens a new windowIAMS™ ProActive Health™ with Chicken and Whole Grain Rice Pâté, do not require preservatives because they are kept fresh with airtight packaging.

When wet food ingredients are mixed and ready for cooking, the mixture is packed into cans, trays or pouches and cooked in a retort, which is a lot like a pressure cooker that sterilizes and preserves the product within the packaging. Then the cans, trays or pouches are cooled through a process that keeps the food sterile and intact within the container, so it’s ready for your dog to enjoy.

By using a preservative system in our dry dog food and preservation through packaging in our wet dog food, IAMS™ makes sure the food your dog eats is well-balanced, nutritionally beneficial and shelf-stable for months.


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  • Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On
    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

    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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