Rotating dog foods
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Thread: Rotating dog foods

  1. #1
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    Rotating dog foods

    I've read a couple posts by Francl27 where she says she rotates dog food to avoid long-term nutrition deficiencies. (Francl27, if you're male, please excuse my use of the "she" pronoun)
    I'd love to have people comment on the pros and cons of such a diet and whether those pros outweigh the cons.

    I'm guessing pros are: Less chance of developing a food allergy; less food boredom; better chance of an overall balanced nutrition.

    And I'm assuming the cons are: chance of stomach upset, especially if transitioned too quickly; if stomach upset occurs, not knowing if it was the transition process or something in the food that makes the dog ill; buying a bag of food the dog doesn't like; local availability of several good quality dog foods.

    FYI, I've been feeding my border collie pup Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy Food because it rates well, has a good protein/calcium/phosphorous content, is not grain free, is affordable, and is available locally in PetSmart. I do worry that I'm upsetting the good nutrition balance with her mostly protein-based training treats (baked chicken, hot dogs, freeze-dried liver, Rachel Ray chicken "Roasters") and the frozen chicken wing that I give her three to four days a week.
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  3. #2
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    Re: Rotating dog foods

    I've never found a food that my dogs don't like yet, but they're all pretty much hoovers. For me the main con is transitioning from one brand to another, it takes a while and it means more containers open. I typically switch every 3-4 months.
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    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    I rotated a lot in the past and I generally think its a good thing to have say, 3-4 go-to foods that you know your dog likes, digests well, and that you can find at different price points and locations. I have gotten a bit lazy on rotating but Eva gets supplemental healthy human foods often.

    It allows for flexibility when travelling, if you run into financial issues and need to step down from a pricier food, if you have shipping delays and need something local etc. I mostly hover around $55 for a large bag but I have foods that I know are good in the $30 to $75 range. And foods from online as my mainstay but kroger and walmart options for when a snowstorm hits or I misjudged my food reserves.

    It also seems likely to help balance nutrition over time but that is not something I can state as fact.

    I nevee bother to transition. End one bag, open a new. Unless a dog has known digestive sensitivities, most do just fine switching between foods with similar fat and protein contents. Most of the trouble seems to happen when some switches from a lower protein and lower fat food to a high protein and high fat one and of course that new fat content can make the gut a bit wonky. Or vice versa where a big shift to lots of carbs is new. But say, a 30/20 chicken and rice food over to a 30/20 lamb and oatmeal? Almost always fine.

    The majority of the name brand non-grocery store foods are satisfaction guaranteed.

    One thing I have done is avoid 2 or 3 "novel" proteins completely so that I always have a fall back food to test for food allergies. I have not fed rabbit, bison, venison, or kangaroo. I stick with chicken, turkey, beef, pork and fish.
    Last edited by Shell; 03-23-2019 at 07:10 PM.
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    Senior Member gingerkid's Avatar
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    Re: Rotating dog foods

    Most pet stores will allow you to return an open bag of food if your dog doesn't like it or doesn't do well on it.

    I rotate. My dogs get bored, I get bored, I also don't like paying full price for anything (although pricepoint is one of my criteria, my go-to foods are all ones that fall in my budget at their regular price). Like shell, I avoid novel proteins, at least in everyday foods. I also avoid lamb, as quality studies have shown that lamb meal tends to be the lowest quality meat meal (and also my dogs don't love it).
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    Senior Member Lillith's Avatar
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    Re: Rotating dog foods

    The only thing that I regularly rotate is canned food which only gets stuffed in Kongs and sometimes used as a topper. I buy maybe 12 cans at a time, and it's usually something higher-quality but on sale at the pet store, haha.

    As for regular food.....every once in a while, but it's mostly because I'm bored. The dog has never NOT been excited to get his kibble. He eats from food puzzles in the morning, and in the evenings his food gets a couple squirts of fish oil. We've been using the exact same Victor formula for about 6 months now after I switched him off a lower-protein diet.

    I mean, if your dog can handle transitions well and you want to do it, go for it. I think there's plenty of foods out there, why not try a bunch of them?
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    Re: Rotating dog foods

    I rotate daily, i have 2 bags of food, he gets one, one day, and the other one the next, and when they are finished i move on to 2 different brands/flavours. I also add as many different proteins to my dogs kibble as i can get my hands on, he also doesnt have the same protein (meat) 2 meals in a row. In over 30 years of having dogs, i have never once served up a plain bowl of dry kibble.

    I do this because i feed my dogs the same way i feed my kids/family, with a large variety of different foods.
    I get bored, they get bored.
    I really don't believe a packet of food has absolutely everything a dog needs to thrive, it just makes no sense.
    Feeding a large variety has pretty much guaranteed my dogs all have cast iron stomachs. No need to do a slow transition, i can chop and change their food at a whim, and they are fine, because they are used to it.
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    Junior Member rebfein's Avatar
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    Re: Rotating dog foods

    I don't rotate my dogs' foods. They are happy on it. I will add a bit of grapeseed or olive oil to the mix as their skin is getting drier (they are 9 & 9 1/2 years old). But other than that, I leave it alone. I have one dog that is also a Hoover and will, and has eaten anything in range (dropped foods from kids mostly).

    I try to be careful with her food and feed India Nutro's Weight Management Plan. It is VERY easy for her to gain weight and I try to balance her exercise and snacks (mostly carrots). My other dog has food allergies, so I have him on Nutro's Lamb and Rice diet.

    For a while, Navarre was on their Venison and rice diet and I switched it when all dog food brands ran into trouble a few years back when there was a venison shortage. Both dogs also gets carrots for their snacks and when I have to give him pills, I put them in large marshmellows (my vet said they don't have anything dogs could have allergies to); instead of greenies. They're happy, healthy and my vet is very impressed with them.
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    Re: Rotating dog foods

    In rotating commercial PF the obvious advantage is hedging your bets against a recall. But whether rotating PF is successful very much depends on the dog's ability to digest food. Some (and again, none of this is meant to be a revelation, just an observation) dogs just have an iron stomach. So it seems like rotating food is working for them. Other dogs are much more fragile. What I have found is over feeding certain single protein can create a sensitivity (so I've eliminated chicken/poultry once again). I would have to experiment if alternating a poultry protein with a red meat protein by month, could help. But my dog's incidental distress isn't worth it. So I alternate among (human grade) very low fat ground beef, raw beef, and a canned single protein/carb food. The problem with rotating complicated commercial PF, is that so many recipes have so many ingredients, all those ingredients represent a lot of elements for a dog to digest, and then rotating them all around, increases that difficulty. I believe that's why transitional changes in feeding are encouraged. So I limit my dog's food to a single protein and one carb at a time. I keep a Feeding Journal (including if and which supplements are used) and then what is the result of the stools. But not every owner has the where-with-all to monitor the output, or the time to fuss with so much control. In general, I would select the main components you wish to change out (poultry, red meat or fish), use some rice or sweet potato for a carb. But sure would stay away from pea-starches (which is NOT the lovely little green peas we eat at the dinner table). It is a marketing ploy, because manufacturers will credit their ingredient labels with a vegetable "protein" instead of a meat protein which is what the dog actually requires. Pay attention to the first 5 ingredients which have the most weight in a recipe. And do not use "meat" meal (which means anonymous types of a "protein" meal), which is a miscellaneous animal-part rendered ingredient. Use an identified meal instead, which can be a really good source of protein because the water weight is eliminated.
    Last edited by Pacificsun; 03-27-2019 at 09:02 PM.
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  11. #9
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    Re: Rotating dog foods

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacificsun View Post
    Some (and again, none of this is meant to be a revelation, just an observation) dogs just have an iron stomach. So it seems like rotating food is working for them. Other dogs are much more fragile. What I have found is over feeding certain single protein can create a sensitivity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pacificsun View Post
    The problem with rotating complicated commercial PF, is that so many recipes have so many ingredients, all those ingredients represent a lot of elements for a dog to digest, and then rotating them all around, increases that difficulty.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pacificsun View Post
    I keep a Feeding Journal (including if and which supplements are used) and then what is the result of the stools.
    I really like the idea of food rotation to cover all the nutrition bases and keep my pup my pup from being bored with her meals. But I also fear my girl will have digestive issues and I won't be able to pinpoint the problem. My pup received one commercial, multi-protein puppy food, four different treats including freeze-dried liver, baked chicken, packaged treats and hot dogs. I sometimes top off her kibble with a bit of pumpkin, cottage cheese, cream cheese or peanut butter. Some days her stools are perfect. Other days they are too hard. Rarely are they too soft. I haven't been able to figure out what foods cause changes in her stools but then I've not been keeping track of what she's eating. I really like your idea of a food & poo journal. It should help me figure out what foods cause unacceptable changes in her elimination and might give me a foundation to build on as I attempt to introduce new foods (veggies, eggs, other commercial dog foods).
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