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Rotation Feeding For Dogs

Common and wise advice for feeding dogs speaks about feeding in a routine and not swapping products ad-hoc, or suddenly making changes to your dog’s diet. However, we as people know that we would soon get incredibly bored of eating the same meal every time, for three meals a day, seven days a week, and surely the same is true for dogs? Dogs can and do get bored with their food, or go off something that they once loved due to the monotonous same-ness of each of their meals.

So, is there anything that can be done about this to keep your dog’s meals appealing and varied, but without upsetting their digestive balance and causing problems by constantly introducing new things? Perhaps you should consider rotation feeding!

What is rotation feeding?

Rotation feeding or diet rotation for dogs involves following holistic nutritional philosophies that provide a varied diet, such as by varying the types of proteins fed, and the form that the food comes in; such as tinned, dry, moist, and various others. This lets your dog enjoy a range of different textures and flavours as part of their meal, and allows you to vary their diet on a daily or weekly basis.


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The good side of rotation feeding

Some of the benefits of rotation feeding for dogs include:

  • Varying the brands or types of food given to your dog can help to ensure that they have a complete, balanced diet, as no one dog food can be considered to be perfect.
  • Rotation feeding can help to improve the nutrients consumed by your dog, by offering a broad range of products and ensuring that your dog is keen to eat all of them.
  • Rotation feeding may help to make your dog less of a fussy eater. It can also help to reduce the chances of food allergies in later life, if rotation feeding is begun while your dog is young.
  • Offering a range of different options for meals at different times will help your dog to retain their excitement over being fed, and encourage them to look forwards to their meals.
  • It can also help to increase your dog’s water intake, by offering a variety of foods instead of just plain dried kibble.

Potential problems with rotation feeding

Rotation feeding should be carefully planned and properly managed, otherwise you will essentially just be changing your dog’s meals regularly for no good reason, which is not a good thing to do.

  • If rotation feeding is poorly managed and simply consists of using up one food and then swapping to another, this is essentially no different to simply feeding your dog anything to hand, which may have additional repercussions.
  • Some dogs with sensitivities or that are very picky about their food will not take well to rotation feeding, and so you should be prepared to give up on the process early on if it proves ineffective or detrimental to your own dog.
  • Having a range of products to feed can mean that large bags of food take longer to be used up, so they will not be as fresh towards the end. You can counteract this by buying smaller bags of each food, but this may mean losing out on the discounts inherent in buying larger bags.

How do you feed a rotation diet?

Exactly how you feed a rotation diet, how many products make up the diet and how often you swap and change will largely depend on how you want to go about things, and you should take your cues from this by examining how your dog is getting on with the diet, and their health and condition.

This can mean careful monitoring of your dog’s weight and the quality of their stools, as well as keeping an eye open for signs of improvements or otherwise in their general condition.

One way to work diet rotation is by beginning with a brand that offers a large range of products, such as more than one flavour of kibble and several flavours of tinned or wet food. You can usually integrate a rotation diet very easily in this way, by working only with the products from one specific range, without risking digestive upset.

If you change between brands and types of foods, it is important to phase each food in and out over time; take a few days between changes to mix the food you are finishing with the food you are starting, so that this does not provide a shock to your dog’s system.

Also, do not jump from tinned to dry products, as the change in texture and fluid levels can lead to diarrhoea. Mixed kibble and wet food is generally the best way to feed a diet of this type.

It is worth noting that rotation feeding involves change, not just variety; so buying four different types of food and mixing them altogether in one meal that is fed for every meal, is not rotation feeding per se, but can, on the other hand, help to provide variety for your dog in a rather different way. 


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