Special Nutritional Needs for Dogs

Just like people, all dogs are unique. Their breed, size, age, weight and overall health are key deciding factors in how we care for them and what we feed them. And if your dog has special nutritional needs, the decision about which dog food to give him can feel even more complicated.

Gray dog on a couch laying its head against a pillow

Dogs with special nutritional needs may include:

  • Dogs that are overweight
  • Senior dogs
  • Pregnant or nursing dogs

Learn more about special nutritional needs in dogs, as well as special formulas from IAMS™, with our list of frequently asked questions.

 

What Should I Feed an Overweight Dog?

If your dog is overweight, you can help reduce his weight by maintaining the required dietary nutrients he needs while also reducing his caloric intake to the level necessary for his metabolic energy demands. This is done by feeding recommended portions at least twice a day and weighing your dog on a regular basis to monitor weight loss.

Because dogs metabolize differently and have different activity levels, it might be necessary to adjust the amount you feed several times. Keep in mind that it will take a lot longer for a 15-pound dog to lose one pound than it would a 200-pound person. Keep things in perspective and be patient. Our reduced-fat and weight-control products, such as IAMS ProActive Health™ Healthy Weight, are recommended for overweight adult dogs. Before putting your dog on a weight-loss program, however, consult a veterinarian.

 

Do You Have Products for Older Dogs?

We offer foods for older dogs that help address the special lifestyle changes associated with aging. As dogs grow older, activity levels often decrease and muscle mass diminishes. These changes can result in the need for a product with fewer calories and more protein. In addition, older dogs also might prefer a food that is easy to chew. Products such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Mature Adult are well suited to meet the nutritional needs of older dogs.
Large white and brown dog laying its head on the side of a gray couch
 

What Should I Feed a Pregnant Dog During Early and Mid-Gestation?

When selecting a food for a pregnant dog, consider her condition and weight. Because gestation places additional nutrient demands on the body, a food that contains optimum amounts of protein and fat is recommended.
 

What Should I Feed a Pregnant Dog During Late Gestation and Throughout Lactation?

Late gestation and lactation are some of the most stressful times in a dog’s life. Dogs need considerably more nutrition during these times because fetal growth requirements are very high and a mother’s milk must meet the nutrition needs of her litter. Because of this, gestating and lactating dogs should be fed a diet more nutrient-dense than her regular adult diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy, which is formulated to provide the nutrition gestating and lactating dogs, as well as their puppies, need.

Generally, a pregnant dog should be fed approximately 125% to 150% of her normal amount during late gestation, and she can be fed free choice (as much as she wants) throughout lactation. After the puppies are weaned, and the mother is back to her normal weight, she can be transitioned back to her maintenance diet.

 

How Can I Learn More about Pet Nutrition?

The answers to these and other questions about pet nutrition are available by calling the IAMS Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-863-4267.