Why Premium Puppy Food Is a Better Value
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Low-cost food might be better for your wallet, but it can be a raw deal for your dog, because he may not get the nutrition he needs. Premium foods, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy Original , make sense both nutritionally (because of consistent, high-quality ingredients) and economically because they provide:
- 100% complete, balanced nutrition
- High nutrient and energy density, which might allow smaller feeding portions
High Nutrient and Energy Density
The investment in a premium food might initially cost more per bag, but because these high-quality formulas are high in nutrient density, your dog may need less food, which can offset the higher cost per unit of weight. On a cost-per-feeding basis, look at how much you feed each day as opposed to how much the bag costs, because nutrient and energy density will generally be lower for a low-cost food compared with premium foods.
With budget-priced formulas, the emphasis is on production and ingredient costs. Two bags of the same least-cost formulated food can have different ingredients and/or levels of ingredients. Plus, those ingredients may vary significantly in digestibility. This means, simply, that you may need to feed more just to equal the nutrition offered by a smaller amount of a premium dog food formula.
What Premium Foods Provide
High-quality, complete, and balanced premium dog foods such as the IAMS brands are specifically designed to provide your dog with a food that has:
- High-quality ingredients
- High total-diet digestibility
- Balanced, optimal levels of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, which make costly nutritional supplements unnecessary
- A nutrient-dense formulation appropriate for a particular life stage
- Calibrated fatty-acid ratios to help maintain healthy skin and coat
- Great palatability (taste) based on feeding trials
- Product guarantees
To determine how much food to give your dog, check the daily feeding recommendations set by the pet food manufacturer and read the label. To calculate portion sizes, divide the total daily recommended amount by the number of times (usually two for adult dogs) you plan to feed your dog.
To tell if your dog is at a healthy weight, move your hands along his sides. If you can feel his ribs, he's about right. Or, look down at him when you're directly above him. You should be able to see a waistline.
If he's gaining or losing a lot of weight, slightly decrease or increase his daily intake and weigh him in another week. If you have specific concerns about your dog's weight, talk to your veterinarian. He or she can assess your dog's needs and make a feeding recommendation.
Dry, Moist, and Biscuits
Once you've decided on a premium formula, you have another choice to make: dry or moist. And what about biscuits?
Premium dry dog food gives you the best value and convenience, while fortifying your dog with high-quality nutrition. Premium dry foods come in a number of bag sizes and formulas suited to size, life stage, and activity level. Dry food also helps keep teeth clean, and it stays fresh for a long time if you store it properly.
Wet foods from IAMS provide 100% complete nutrition. IAMS ProActive Health Puppy Biscuits make great treats and rewards and can add taste variety to your new dog's diet.
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- adp_description_block455Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
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Healthy joints and proper weight are especially important for dogs that grow to be more than 50 pounds. But not all large- and giant-breed adult dogs have the same nutritional needs. Is your dog getting proper exercise? Is she about to have puppies? Special conditions can dramatically affect your dog’s nutritional demands. Giving her a food specially formulated for her large size, life stage and activity level is the easiest way to make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs.
Choosing a Food for Overall Health
To address the special needs of your large- or giant-breed dog, look for these features:
- Less fat to help maintain an ideal body condition for less joint stress
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, shiny coat and overall health
- Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help maintain good health
- High-quality animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle tone
- A moderately fermentable fiber source, such as beet pulp, to maintain intestinal health, enhance your dog's ability to absorb nutrients, and reduce backyard cleanup
- A carbohydrate blend to help sustain energy by maintaining normal blood sugar levels
These components are key to good nutrition. Look for them in treats, wet dog food, or dry dog food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed.
Maintaining Healthy Joints and Cartilage
Joint health is a big concern for owners of large- and giant-breed dogs. A large- or giant-breed formula that contains high-quality protein can help nourish healthy joints. Vitamins and minerals help promote the production of cartilage. Also, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will help minimize joint stress.
Guarding Against Weight Gain
Dogs with lower activity levels and dogs that have been neutered or spayed are all prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog’s weight is an important step toward protecting against the health effects of excess weight, such as diabetes or joint health problems. If you use a weight-management food, look for these characteristics:
- A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
- L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
- Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health
Providing Nutrition During Pregnancy
Pregnant dogs have substantial nutrition requirements. Starting in the seventh week of her pregnancy, a mother dog will need to increase her energy intake up to 50% by the time she gives birth and increase it even more when she starts nursing her puppies. Because she may lose her appetite at times, it's important that she eats a nutrient-dense food. A complete, balanced puppy formula can give her the extra nutrients she needs. But avoid puppy food created for large and giant breeds; these formulas contain specially adjusted levels of energy and minerals that may not be sufficient for a pregnant or nursing dog.
Switching to a Mature Diet
Dogs who grow to be more than 50 pounds are considered mature or senior at age 5 or 6, which is earlier than small-breed dogs. So, it’s critical to make a proactive transition to a specially formulated mature diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Mature Adult Large Breed, to help keep your dog healthy and active as she ages.
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