Rotation Feeding for Pets
Have you ever had the same meal for an entire week? A month? A year? What if you had to eat the same exact meal for your whole life? This is essentially what most of us do to our pets — choose a food brand and stick with it. And while keeping your dog or cat on a consistent diet isn’t unhealthy, introducing a variety of protein has its benefits!
What is Rotation Feeding?
While rotating your dog’s food helps with keeping mealtime exciting, there are also a lot of benefits for your dog’s health. The three major ones are: helping with food allergies, a healthier digestive system, and benefits of different types of proteins.
How is Rotation Feeding Beneficial?
Food Allergies: Food allergies and intolerances in dogs can be due to the constant exposure of the same protein. This oftentimes leads to itchy paws/skin and upset stomachs. Over time your dog’s immune system will have an adverse reaction to the same protein that is being fed. By rotating proteins, your dog’s immune system will be stronger and will reduce the sensitivity to food allergies.
Healthier Digestive System: Changing up the proteins given to your dog can also promote a healthier digestive system! Your dog’s GI tract needs good bacteria to help with the digestion process. Only having one diet can limit the different types of beneficial bacteria. By varying their diet with rotational feeding, your pup’s digestive tract can become stronger, making it easier for them to break down new proteins—leading to less upset stomachs.
Benefiting from Different Protein: Rotating different proteins for your dog can help with overall health. This is because different proteins can provide your dog with various amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein for your dog and keeping the same diet will restrict your dog from getting a wide variation of these amino acid profiles.
When Should I Start My Pet on Rotation Feeding?
It’s much easier to start rotation feeding while he or she is still a puppy or kitten (assuming they are already eating solid food), but that’s not to say an older dog or cat can’t benefit from rotation feeding too. It just may take a little bit more patience. Often, it’s recommended that small amounts of the new food be blended into the regular diet, so that your pet may become accustomed to the taste and texture of the food slowly, especially if you are switching between brands with different formulations. This may be an issue for some pets.
The most important part is that you consult a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist before beginning rotation feeding. They can assist you in choosing which foods are best for the rotation and ensure that you continue to provide your dog a balanced diet. Also, keep a feeding diary. Nothing fancy, but keeping track of what you are feeding your dog will help immensely should he or she have difficulty processing a new pet food.
Here is a video of Dr. Karen Becker talking about food allergies.