Changing It Up: Benefits of Rotation Feeding For Your Dog

Contrary to popular belief, it’s a great idea to change up your dog’s diet.

The monotony of the same old, same old routine kibble isn’t meeting all of your dog’s nutritional needs. Rotation feeding involves varying your pooch’s menu on a periodic basis so he can broaden his palette and experience a wider range of nutrients and ingredients.

Imagine eating the same meal, day in, day out. Even if it was your favorite food (let’s say pizza), the shine would eventually wear off. At first, you’d be excited: “Pizza for breakfast! Woo hoo!” But give it a week or two. I’d bet that the novelty would wear off and you’d never want to touch a piece of it for a long time. And that’s one of the reasons why pet owners incorporate rotation feeding as part of their dog’s diet.

Most people opt for a conventional feeding plan for their dog. Your dog is served the same food (brand and formula) at every meal. Rotation feeding involves varying a dog’s menu on a daily, weekly, or other routine basis.

Why Would You Consider Rotation Feeding?

Every dog is different, which means their dietary needs are different. And there are a ton of commercial dog foods on the market. Nutritionally speaking, do you know exactly what your dog needs from his food? Different brands of kibble feature different nutrients, and your dog may be deficient if he’s eating the same food every day. No matter how complete and balanced a dog food is, it’s unlikely that it can meet all of his nutritional needs over an extended period. By switching it up, your dog is more likely to get all of the nutrients he needs.

And let’s face it—eating the same thing is boring! Is your dog a “picky” eater? It may be because he’s bored of his bland food. It’s time to spice up his dinner (without making it too spicy, of course!)

But What About Digestive Issues?

You’ve probably heard that changing a dog’s diet can lead to upset stomach, and in some cases, this is true. But when you introduce a rotational feeding schedule properly, there’ll be little- to no-tummy troubles to worry about. It’s all about a smooth transition between foods. Don’t just switch your dog’s diet suddenly—you need to slowly increase the amount of new food while decreasing the old, over the course of a week.

But rotation feeding is more than just transitioning to a new formula. You should be thinking about building a strong intestinal system that will improve nutritional absorption and overall well-being. When you’re looking at what to include in the rotation, be sure that the formula contains a variety of proteins, fruits and vegetables for the best results. If you feed your dog a commercial food, not only can you try different recipes and ingredients, but also different brands.

How to Implement Rotational Feeding

Since the process of changing your dog’s diet should been done over the course of a week, you don’t have to necessarily change his food on daily or weekly basis (especially if you’re doing this for the first time). I recommend doing it every month to three months, or plan it around the time you usually replenish your dog food supplies. During the transitional period, you’ll feed your dog increasing amounts of the new food, and decreased amounts of the old food, until you have completely switched to the new food. Take note of the serving sizes and calorie count—different brands and formulas suggest variants on how much of the food you should be serving at each meal.

Rotational feeding is an optimal time to try out a new brand or dog food type. For example, if you usually give your dog dry kibble, you can slowly rotate a homemade recipe or dehydrated formula in the mix. I’m a fervent believer in rotational feeding and my dog, Oscar, enjoys the change of menu. I usually change it up when I notice the lack of excitement around meal times. I’ve changed him from dry kibble, to homemade, to Honest Kitchen’s dehydrated food (he’s a big fan of the chicken and turkey).

I love to see him eating with gusto… which is sorely lacking with a dry kibble menu. A rotational feeding plan allows me to try to foods to see which ones keep him active, healthy and licking his lips.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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