Most dog owners will choose one dog food brand – or even one type of dog food by a specific brand – and never feed their dog anything else. This is mostly because it is assumed that dogs prefer one type of food and that since commercially packaged dog food promises to be balanced in terms of nutrition, this should be enough. Some dog owners are also concerned that they may upset their dog’s sensitive tummy by switching brands or formulas too often.
However, think of it this way: would you be able to eat the same meal for the rest of your life? The monotony of it will most likely get to you – and that is exactly why many experts are now advocating rotation feeding for dogs.
What is Rotation Feeding for Dogs?
Rotation feeding primarily refers to a varied food cycle. It involves changing the food menu for your dog daily or weekly, according to yours and your pet’s preferences. Rotation feeding is aimed at providing a nutritionally balanced as well as diverse diet to your pet; not only does it include different types of food within the same brand, but it also involves switching brands. This may involve cycling between different food forms, like raw, frozen, dry, and cooked.
Protein Rotation for Dogs
Another great way to rotate food is by practicing protein rotation, which is switching between different types of proteins. These may include chicken, lamb, beef, duck, and other types of meat. Protein rotation for dogs is particularly advocated by modern vets because of the variety of amino acids it can provide. Amino acids are the basis for all protein, and different types of meats provide different types of amino acids.
This essentially means that protein rotation for dogs can prove to be very healthy. However, it must be kept it mind that protein rotation is a part of rotation feeding, and might not be healthy enough on its own; the focus should be on a balanced diet.
Why Go for Rotation Feeding?
Rotation feeding and protein rotation for dogs may seem like big steps that would be detrimental to the health of your pet, but they are not. Here are a few advocated benefits of this feeding method:
It provides wholesome nutrition – While pet food is also designed to be nutritionally balanced, it goes without saying that ingredients and quantities differ from product to product, which means that there is nothing like ‘the perfect dog food’. However, you can give your pet the benefits or two or more products.
It gives you more control over health – Dog food is standard, but rotation feeding for dogs allows for more control over health problems. For instance, if your dog is prone to dehydration and the resulting diseases, you could rotate between dry and wet food, since the latter makes up for water deficiency.
It protects against diet-related intolerance – Just like people become intolerant to certain food types they have never tried, a dog’s body will also become extremely picky when it is fed nothing but the same meal for the entirety of its life. This means you have to be overly careful about what your dog eats, since anything out of the ordinary might trigger digestion problems or even allergies; adverse reactions usually come from being unaccustomed.
It lets your dog enjoy their food – Most dogs get excited about change and will begin to look forward to mealtimes when their food is regularly rotated. There have been reported cases of dogs being taken to vets because they just stop eating, and it turns out the only reason is that they become ‘bored’ of the same food. With new types of food, mealtime becomes an adventure in itself!
It makes feeding convenient – Food rotation for dogs does not only allow for flexibility and affordability, but many experts also advocate that you should train your dog to be tough and not overly sensitive; your pet should not be prone to diseases in case you lose access to one specific type of food due to reasons like discontinuation or traveling.
How to Implement Rotation Feeding
Ideally, rotation feeding should begin when small puppies start eating solid foods; that is when their stomachs are the most adaptable. With older dogs, it can still be implemented but requires some experimentation and a lot of patience. The process should begin with a consultation with your vet. Here are a few steps and tips to help begin rotation feeding for dogs.
Smooth transition is the key – It is likely that an older dog will face some digestive problems when switching to a new type of food. Here, it is important to introduce the new food item gradually, and observe the reaction for several days.
Start small – The ideal portion for introducing a new food item is 25%. For instance, for a dog that is used to consuming kibble, it is recommended that you mix one-part wet food with three-part regular kibble. Keep track of your pet’s digestion as well as signs indicating whether they like the change.
Try one new food at a time – Ideally, you should take the 25% up to 100% over 7-10 days. It is best to try only one new kind of food during this period.
Look out for dogs that are prone to indigestion – For dogs that may suffer from digestion problems, rotation feeding can be carried out with foods meant to aid digestion. The Honest Kitchen dehydrated foods, for instance, are human-grade and are ideal for improving digestion issues, therefore safe for rotation.
Switch between different products – If your pet seems to be reacting well, you can easily begin switching to different canned products from the same brand. This is particularly important for protein rotation. For instance, the Primal Freeze-Dried Foods range is encourages protein rotation for dogs. The brand comes with a range of hydrating protein sources providing different kinds of unprocessed amino acids. Rotation can be practiced by simply switching between the different protein products, like duck, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and more.
Carefully move on to switching between brands – To switch between brands, it is recommended that you wait at least six months to one year into the food rotation process. If your pet seems to love new kinds of foods and is adjusting easily, switching between different brands can provide different nutrition as well as textures and types. Ideally, you should use brands that endorse rotation feeding for dogs, and can gradually switch from kibble brands to raw proteins to dehydrated foods.
Does Rotation Feeding Have Any Drawbacks?
It is essential that you consult a vet before beginning rotation feeding or protein rotation for dogs. Most dogs will be fine with the process, though you will have to be careful about those that don’t like change. It is also wise to avoid it with dogs with specific conditions, like easily upset stomachs, gastrointestinal problems, or Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome. At the end, it really depends on the preferences of your pet, so the better you know them, the more effective feeding choices will be.