Learn more about the practice of rotational feeding and whether or not it’s a good fit for your canine companion.
You may have read about rotational feeding online or heard about it at your local pet store, but what exactly is it? Similar to people, some dogs don’t like to eat the same thing every day, every month or even every year. Why? Because it’s boring! Mealtime should be exciting and fun for your pup, so if you notice he’s starting to turn his nose up when you feed him, it may be time to consider rotational feeding!
What is rotational feeding?
Rotational feeding is a systematic approach to a pet’s diet that involves alternating between different types of food. The key is to mix it up so that your dog is fed a variety of protein (i.e., chicken, beef, fish, etc.) and types of food (i.e., dry, wet, and raw). “By changing up the different types of protein in your pet’s diet, you can help improve his overall health,” says veterinarian Dr. Bradley Quest.
Rotational feeding is a great way to get your dog excited for mealtime again because it adds an element of surprise. It also offers numerous health benefits, since each new ingredient will deliver different nutrients. For example, a high-protein kibble fed every other day, alternated with a homemade raw diet, will provide your dog with a variety of macro- and micro-nutrients.
How to rotate your dog’s food
Rotational feeding is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, when broken down, it’s pretty simple! The first step is to pick a type of food – a grain-free kibble, for instance – and rotate the protein sources within that type. For example, you can switch from turkey to lamb, to pork, to fish, etc. “By rotating protein sources, it is also less likely your pet will develop an allergy or intolerance to a certain protein,” says Dr. Quest.
The second step is to rotate different types of food, such as varying kibble to canned, to raw food. By doing this type of rotation, you’re helping your dog receive the benefits of each variety of food. “It’s always important to feed a high-quality, nutritionally complete and balanced diet when rotating different types of food,” says Dr. Quest. “I recommend that pet parents find a trustworthy brand that carries a variety of different recipes so that it’s easy to introduce a rotational diet without causing digestive upset. Essence Pet Foods is a great option that offers both kibble and canned diets.”
Of course, if you have any nutritional questions or concerns about how your dog may react to rotational feeding, talk with your veterinarian. You may be surprised what you discover about your dog throughout this process, and keeping your veterinarian informed about the outcome will only aid him or her in giving your dog the best possible care.
The benefits of rotational feeding
One of the benefits of rotational feeding is that it can help dogs who have food sensitivities and intolerances. “Many food allergies and intolerances can be attributed to repeated and continued exposure to a certain protein source,” says Dr. Quest. “Over time, the pet’s body can have a negative immune reaction to a single protein. By rotating protein sources, we may reduce the frequency of food allergies and intolerances in our pets.”
Adding wet and raw foods to a kibble-based diet also helps ensure that your dog is getting proper hydration from his meals, whereas dry food can aid in removing plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth.
And of course, rotational feeding may be just what your picky dog needs! He’ll relish in the freshness of his ever-changing diet – and will love you more for keeping things exciting!
For more information on how to execute a rotational diet, talk with your veterinarian about your dog and his specific health and dietary needs.