Our dogs commonly eat the same food for the majority of their lives, and until recently this was not questioned. Many pet parents are now feeding their dogs in a way that more closely resembles their own eating habits, offering a variety of proteins and formats at mealtime in a plan known as rotation feeding or the rotation diet. This can mean anything from changing proteins within a brand by the bag, to feeding one kibble meal and one raw meal in the same day. There are several benefits to this feeding method:
Keeping Things Interesting
Just as we don’t want to eat the same thing for every meal day after day, our dogs appreciate variety. Picky eaters are encouraged by a changing palette of flavors, and it can be rewarding to see their enthusiasm to try something new. The rotation diet keeps us more involved in our pets’ routines with planning and investigation. Instead of being stuck in the rut of the same old thing, we can stay open to new and exciting options.
Building Healthy Digestive & Immune Systems
Food allergies and intolerances are alarmingly common in our dogs, and eating one protein or one food day in and day out could be a contributing factor. By switching protein sources and formulas, we can ensure not only that our dogs don’t develop allergies, but that they are getting a wide array of essential nutrients and increasing their tolerance to dietary changes.
Flexibility & Affordability
One of the best things about the rotation diet is that it enables pet parents to feed higher quality foods for some meals which would be cost-prohibitive if fed exclusively. It makes everything from shopping to traveling easier when your dog is accustomed to more than one kind of food. Just as dogs enjoy variety of ingredients, they are also enriched by activities at mealtime like eating out of a puzzle toy or learning new tricks in exchange for kibble currency.
Optimizing Diet Options
With rotation feeding, the door is always open for improvement. You may want to introduce a novel protein, try out a different format or simply explore a new brand. Open Farm offers the perfect opportunity to try rotational feeding with three thoughtfully formulated recipes: Homestead Turkey & Chicken, Catch-of-the-Season Whitefish & Green Lentil and Farmer’s Table Pork & Root Vegetable.
How to Get Started
If you are interested in rotational feeding, always start slowly. A good rule of thumb is to introduce the new food over a week or more, starting in 25% increments. For example, feed 25% of the new food and 75% of the old food for a few days, evaluate for any negative changes, then move on with 50% new and 50% old until the transition is complete. Not every dog can tolerate diet changes and it is always best to consult your veterinarian before making any drastic modifications.
Lara is a pet blogger living in Colorado with her two rescue dogs and very old cat. She enjoys hiking and trick-training with her dogs, riding horses, reading and vegetarian cooking. She writes about animal advocacy, reward-based training, rotation feeding and a dog-obsessed lifestyle at Rubicon Days.