Have you ever wondered if your dog gets bored of eating the same thing? Well, the answer is highly likely to be no. Dogs are creatures of habit and can go through the same routine over and over again - the same applies to their meals. But just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. Putting them on the same diet throughout increases the chances of them developing food sensitivities and nutrient deficiencies.
What is a Rotational Diet?
A common misconception is that mixing 2 or more different dog food types equals to putting your dog on a rotational diet. That’s not completely true - a rotational diet involves switching up your pup’s meals on either a fixed periodic basis to include as much nutritional, protein, and textural variety as possible. This could be as simple as rotating different proteins, or changing up the type of food completely (readhere to understand the different types of dog food available).
It’s much easier to implement a rotational feeding routine with puppies than adult dogs who are used to the food that they’ve been on. That said, it’s possible to transition your adult dog to be on a rotational diet, though you’ll have to do it gradually.
Perks of Food Rotation
(1) Nutritional Variety
Theperfectdog food doesn’t exist - each pet food formula is lacking or excessive in one way or another. Putting your dog on the same diet (same formula) for years on only serves to amplify that very flaw in pet food. Rotational feeding, however, takes that problem out of the equation. Changing your dog’s food now and then introduces them to a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, which in turn reduces the risk of them developing food intolerances.
(2) Digestive Immunity
Changing your dog’s food periodically also help steer him away from an inferior digestive system. A weak digestive system forms when your dog isn’t exposed to enough protein variety to train his natural gut flora to break down various forms of protein easily. Upset stomachs, bloating, and flatulence are unpleasant outcomes in such situations. A healthy digestive system is a healthy dog, and a rotational diet can help you achieve that.
(3) Fight Finickiness
Rotational diets are great for picky eaters! Switching your dog’s food will definitely reignite his interest in mealtimes, and you get to avoid the stress that comes with your furkid skipping meals.
Is Rotational Feeding Really All That Good?
Granted, there are certain grey areas of rotational diets! But there are ways to avoid landing on the bad side of rotational feeding too! The two main gripes with this type of diet is (1) stomach upsets are common and (2) keeping food fresh.
It may sound contradictory to say that rotational diets lead to digestive issues, given the fact that it was listed as one of the benefits of feeding such a diet. Upset stomachs only happen when rotational feeding is not done properly i.e. changing your dog’s food too abruptly. A smooth transition fixes that problem instantaneously - gradually increase the amount of new food while decreasing the old, over a 7-10 day period. Don’t rush the process and you’ll reduce chances of gastrointestinal issues significantly.
Alternating between food automatically means that each bag of food stays with you longer; this makes it difficult to upkeep the freshness of individual bags of food. You could opt for smaller bags of food, or store them in these Stefanplast food containers, away from direct sunlight. But whatever you do,please do not request for repacking services.
Implementing Rotational Feeding
Rotational feeding is not just about introducing your dog to a new formula. You should always take note to rotate complete and balanced food only! Rotating balanced and unbalanced formulas doesn’t ultimately result in an overall balanced diet and defeats the purpose of food rotation. Look for food that syncs with your dog’s lifestyle (age, activity level, health concerns, etc).
How often, then, should the switch happen? Just as there isn’t a perfect dog food for every dog, there isn’t a fixed feeding plan that fits every dog too. But if you’re just starting out, you might want to transition gradually - perhaps every one to three months. Or even emptying one bag of food before changing formulas. This is also an excellent opportunity for your dog to try out a different brand or type of food!
Remember, again, that the transition to new food should be a smooth one. For instance, if you’re rotating between variousACANA formulas, you should aim for:
Days 1 - 2: 75% old + 25% new
Days 3 - 4: 50% old + 50% new
Days 5 - 6:25% old + 75% new
Days 7+: 100% new
The same applies for cross-transition between different food types likeThe Honest Kitchen’s dehydrated food andStella & Chewy’s freeze-dried raw food.
Kim is an avid dog lover, serial guac and chips eater, and thrill seeker - all in one body. Currently chillin’ with her dogs.