The Science Behind Mature Dog Foods
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As your dog matures, his body functions change. He might have decreased immune-system function, deterioration of skin and coat quality, and more frequent intestinal problems. So it makes sense that what a mature dog eats might also need to change.
Decreased Immune-System Function
Throughout a dog's life, a process called peroxidation occurs. This is a normal process the body uses to destroy cells that outlive their usefulness and to kill germs and parasites, but this process also can destroy or damage healthy cells. As a dog ages, the damage caused by peroxidation accumulates and, in turn, increases the risk of certain problems such as infections.
Antioxidants are naturally occurring components in the body (but also can be acquired through diet). They help maintain overall health by neutralizing the peroxidation process of cellular molecules.
Research sponsored by IAMS™ found that dogs fed a diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E had improved immune responses and vaccine recognition. This might be especially important for mature/senior dogs, because IAMS research has found that, as dogs age, immune responses can decrease.
Deterioration of Skin and Coat Quality
Eating a complete and balanced diet with omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in vitamin-rich fish oils, also helps rejuvenate dry skin and develop a healthy, lustrous coat.
More Frequent Intestinal Problems
Aging dogs might have higher numbers of unfavorable bacteria and lower numbers of beneficial bacteria in their intestines, which can result in clinical signs of gastrointestinal problems (such as diarrhea). A diet with a moderately fermentable fiber source such as beet pulp can help maintain intestinal health. Beet pulp provides energy for the cells lining the intestine and promotes proper stool formation.
How Do I Know When My Dog Needs a Mature Diet?
Different dogs show signs of aging at different times, and much of this variation is associated with size. Larger dogs generally appear mature/senior sooner than smaller dogs. The table below can show you when your dog should start a mature diet with a food such as IAMS ProActive Health™ Mature Adult.
Dog Weight and Transition to Mature/Senior Foods
|Weight Range||Age to Begin Transition|
|More than 90 lbs||5 years|
|51 to 90 lbs||6 years|
|21 to 50 lbs||7 years|
|Up to 20 lbs||7 years|
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- adp_description_block499Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the 'guaranteed analysis.' These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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