No two dogs are alike. So when choosing your pet's food, you'll want to take into consideration the dog's breed, size, age, weight, and lifestyle.
Full growth will happen at around 1 to 2 years, with the exact age determined by your dog's breed—small-breed dogs mature faster than large-breed dogs. “Grown dogs, especially ones who are more athletic, will start to eat more quantities in one feeding,” says Madan Khare, DVM. “You want to limit his feeding to one or two times a day, depending on his activity level.” Exact quantities should be determined by consulting your vet or by reading the package labels (just remember to split a daily serving in half if you choose to feed the dog twice a day).
When transitioning your dog from puppy food to premium adult food—such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks —you want to do it gradually. “Never change a dog's diet abruptly,” Khare says. Here's a schedule for transitioning your pet from puppy food to an adult dog food.
Day 1: Fill your dog's bowl with 75% puppy food and 25% premium adult dog food.
Day 2: Use 50% of each food.
Day 3: Feed your dog a mixture of 75% premium adult food and 25% of your current dog food.
Day 4: Give him 100% premium adult dog food.
Daily exercise and a diet packed with high-quality protein from chicken, lamb, or fish and essential nutrients will keep him happy and healthy throughout his lifetime. Premium dry pet food has all of the daily nutrition your pet needs. It helps promote healthy teeth and gums, too.
“When it comes to feeding your dog human food, I have three words,” Khare says. “No. No. No.” Interfering with your pet's food regimen by adding higher-fat and higher-calorie human foods can disturb the animal's digestive system. When it comes to biscuits, Khare recommends looking for ones low in sugar, salt, and fat. "You have to keep in mind that you're adding calories to his daily diet, so offer them in moderation,” Khare says. Finally, make sure your pet has a clean bowl of fresh water at all times.
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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. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.
4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food
1. Introduce the new food gradually.
When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:
- Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
- Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
- Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current 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. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.
2. Watch your body language.
Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should 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 encouraging him to try the new food.
3. Don't give in to demands.
Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, 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.
4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.
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 might 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 to prevent 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 completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.
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