Although pets tend to be creatures of habit when it comes to feeding schedules, walks, and familiarity to their surroundings – food is one aspect of a pup's life that benefits from occasional variety. As humans, our options for food are endless, so why not offer some variety to your pet's diet? Can you imagine having the same meal day in and day out? Albeit, eating our favorite food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner may sound exciting the first couple of days, it's bound to become monotonous.
What is Rotational Feeding?
Rotational feeding is the practice of switching and rotating your pet's food to offer them protein, nutritional, and textural variety. Many animal nutritionists have raved about the benefits of this growing trend in the pet community that takes a holistic approach to your pet's diet. Knowing how to correctly implement this practice to your pet's diet is very important so that you don't cause your pet's stomach disarray.
Benefits of Rotational Feeding
The benefits of feeding a rotational diet can vary from one pet to another. A strong argument for this type of diet is that feeding the same protein for extended periods of time can promote food sensitivities, which can lead to a plethora of problems including itchy, dry skin or upset stomachs. Many pet experts argue that the reason why there are so many sensitivities to poultry are because early adaptations of dog food used this protein heavily. Feeding your dog a variety of proteins helps them steer away from food sensitivities that can be caused from eating the same protein for years.
On top of food sensitivities, renowned pet healthcare expert and advocate of rotational feeding, Dr. Jean Dodds, states that single formula diets can cause an inferior digestive system. If you aren't offering your pet variety, when they come in contact with "foreign" foods, they can react with upset stomachs, bloating, and/or gas. New foods can be hard for your pet's natural gut flora to break down and a healthy digestive system is key to a healthy pet. Introducing new flavors and proteins to your dog's diet can help them build a stronger system that can easily break down many different forms of proteins.
Aside from the health benefits, your dog will learn to appreciate meal time because of the variety in taste and texture. Some pets can become finicky and uninterested in their food once they grow tired of their normal routine. This can be caused by aging, boredom, or simply just a change in preference.
How to Begin Rotational Feeding
Now that you know more about rotational feeding, your probably wondering how to start! If your pup is new to variety in their meal routine, it is highly important that you introduce a transitional period so that you don't throw their system off balance. A transitioning period allows them to grow accustomed to new ingredients at a slow and doable pace that can help minimize upset tummies. To minimize upset tummies and the transition period, you can feed your pup a food that has similar base ingredients but offers a variety of single proteins in the same line.
How Often You Should Rotate
How often you rotate your pup's diet varies based on your budget, lifestyle, or pup's preferences. An easy way to rotate your dog's food is to introduce a different food towards the end of your current bag of food. This will allow you to mix in some of the new food with their previous food and help them transition seamlessly. If your dog has an iron stomach, there have been some pet parents who switch up their dog's food every meal or bi-monthly. If your dog has some health concerns or is taking medication that might impede with rotational feeding, it is best to consult with your vet if you want to introduce this style of diet.