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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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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