Rotations Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Rotations Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4 stars.

The Rotations Dog Food product line lists three dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

  • Rotations New Zealand Lamb and Potato
  • Rotations Premium Chicken and Brown Rice
  • Rotations Wild Salmon with Peas and Carrots

Rotations Wild Salmon with Peas and Carrots dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.

Rotations Wild Salmon with Peas and Carrots Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Salmon (source of DHA), turkey meal (source of glucosamine), rice, whole barley, peas, chicken fat (preserved with citric acid and mixed tocopherols), brewer's yeast, tomato pomace, carrot, salmon meal, natural flavors, dicalcium phosphate, rye, calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, ferrous sulfate, niacin supplement, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, manganous oxide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, sodium selenite, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%16%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%33%43%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The third ingredient lists rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

The fourth ingredient lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The fifth ingredient mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

The ninth ingredient mentions carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to have much of an effect on the overall rating of this product.

With three notable exceptions

First, the salmon meal mentioned further down the list is another high protein meat concentrate.

What’s more, we’re pleased to report that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item1 appears to be ethoxyquin-free.

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And finally, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Rotations Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Rotations for Dogs appears to be an above-average kibble.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 28%, a fat level of 16% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate serving size of 49% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

Average protein. Average fat. And average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

In addition, when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Rotations dog food is a grain-based dry kibble using a moderate amount of poultry or fish meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Special Alert

Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

08/08/2010 Original review
07/21/2011 Review updated (menadione removed)
01/21/2013 Review updated
01/21/2013 Last Update

  1. Rotations Pet Foods website, 8/8/2010
  • Rhiannon Fitzgerald

    I’m taking care of my friend’s terrier for the forseeable future, he had him on a not very good brand of food. I found this site and tried to find brands available locally that had good ratings. Sid was not used to fleas in his yard but they are a constant battle in my yard he was soon itchy and licking the fur off his legs. I started him on the chicken rotations from the local petco that sells it online but not in their store for whatever reason. He was all interested when the bag came in the door, eats great and he’s really filled out well since he’s been on it. The leg licking issue seems to have lessened as well. I just ordered his second bag, trying the lamb this time, I might not try the salmon just because I think fish is icky and I really don’t want fishy doggy breath (lol) but I understand the fish oil is very good for their skin etc. He seems to have a very healthy coat is just absolutely a wild man energy wise and has very bright eyes and an alert stance. I think he’s actually gotten smarter on it, getting harder and harder to keep him from scampering out the door!

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I fed Rotations for awhile because I got some free food from them to try.  I liked it fine and their customer service was good, and most importantly my dogs did fine on it.  However, if I had a choice I would definitely go with the Acana.  It is made by its own company, Champion Pet Foods, whereas Rotations is not….in fact, I’m not sure who makes it.  I also prefer to use grain free whenever possible.  I’m not saying I’m against whole grains in dog food because I’ve fed many a food with grains, just personal preference is grain free if it works for my dogs.  Also, due to grains vs. grain free, Rotations is a 4* and Acana a 5*, if that’s important to you.  The main point to me is if they cost the same, then I’d definitely go with Acana (especially if it works well for your dog).

  • Hound Dog Mom

    If the price is the same I would keep them on Acana. If you’re feeding the Acana Regionals, it’s a higher rated food (5 stars), Rotations is a 4 star food. Acana is grain-free and much higher in protein which is a big plus in my opinion.

  • Bluedragonk29

    My dogs are on Acana right now and was wondering if its worth switching them to rotation. The price here in edmonton are the same. I just want my dogs to eat good food and live as long as they can

  • Slickdeals

    FREE 15 lb. bag of Rotations Hollistic Dog Food (reg. $27.99) +
    Shipping only $5.99. Choose from Chicken, Salmon or Lamb or try all 3!

    http://slickdeals.net/f/3930234-FREE-15-lb-bag-of-Rotations-Hollistic-Dog-Food-reg-27-99-Shipping-only-5-99-Choose-from-Chicken-Salmon-or-Lamb-or-try-all-3

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Yes, they have since reformulated their food and removed menadione.  It used to be sold with multiple bags of food in a box.  It also used to be a “life stage” food (puppy, adult, senior).  Now it comes in bags, has 3 flavors and is an all-life-stage food.  I have fed the new formulas and it feeds well.  I rotated thru the chicken, salmon.  I will say I did not use the lamb flavor as one of my dogs doesn’t do well with lamb.  My dogs loved it, even my picky ones.  Stools were fine and no problem switching between foods.

  • kbk

    oh wait, I see that you updated last year to remove that ingredient, so I guess that probably means they DID have it and have since removed it from their food. 

  • kbk

    I saw on another website that this food includes menadione sodium bisulfite which is something that site says is terrible and should be avoided.  I don’t see that anywhere in this review, so is it really not in this food? I don’t know about menadione sodium bisulfite, but I would like to try Rotations since it seems good and I like what I’ve learned about rotating food. Any input on that ingredient?

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Great food!  I bought the food recently with a promotion similar to the one offered now.  Great deal!  My dogs did really well on this food.  I will use it again, too, but right now I’ve rotated to Fromm.  Maybe after using Fromm, I’ll rotate back to Rotations.  Dogs liked it, did well on it and the deal was worth it!

  • Jackie

    Got a coupon in the mail for this food:

    As a special thank you to our FIDO Friendly customers we want to give you $10 off your next ROTATIONS pet food order of $20 or more.
     
    To redeem our coupon please visit our website at http://www.rotationspetfood.com and use PROMOTION CODE: FIDOFRIENDLY. For Canadian customers your coupon can be redeemed through participating Global Pet Food stores, the exclusive retailer of ROTATIONS Pet Food in Canada.
                                                                   
    Offer valid through 3/15/2012.  Limit 1 per household.

  • Jackie

    Got a coupon in the mail for this food:

    As a special thank you to our FIDO Friendly customers we want to give you $10 off your next ROTATIONS pet food order of $20 or more.
     
    To redeem our coupon please visit our website at http://www.rotationspetfood.com and use PROMOTION CODE: FIDOFRIENDLY. For Canadian customers your coupon can be redeemed through participating Global Pet Food stores, the exclusive retailer of ROTATIONS Pet Food in Canada.
                                                                   
    Offer valid through 3/15/2012.  Limit 1 per household.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    No problem, Mike S.!  Thanks for answering my questions and I definitely understand your decision and it does make sense.  Either way, I do like this food and never would have considered trying it without your review.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jan,

    I just took another look at the different recipes available for Rotations and I find them not different enough to affect the overall rating – only the text description of each ingredient the formulas uniquely contain.

    In this case, for example, the Guaranteed Analysis for each is 100% identical.

    Unfortunately, unless a recipe is a statistical “outlier” (a notably different design – like grain free), it simply wouldn’t be worth the significant effort needed to prepare (and maintain) a review for each product.

    I made this decision early on so that I would be physically able to manage a database of less than 1,000 products versus one of 3 to 4 times that many.

    Hope this makes sense.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Hi Mike S.!  It looks like your review here of Rotations is for the new formulas.  It is an all-life-stage food now in individual bags instead of a life-stage food sold in boxes. The reason for my post is I was thinking…..uh oh, a bad thing, I know LOL!  When you normally do a review of a brand or line of food you pick out one flavor to represent the whole line.  However, with Rotations, since each flavor/formula contains lots of different ingredients (they don’t just swap out the protein flavors) would it be better to review each formula?  Just wondering.  For instance, the Lamb has potatos, whereas the other formulas don’t and I think the Salmon also has different ingredients than the Chicken or Lamb.  Hope that makes sense.  Btw, I actually have been feeding this food lately.  I received quite a lot of it, either “free” or very inexpensively…all 5 lb. bags.  So far my dogs have gone thru 1 bag of Chicken and 1.5 bags of Salmon.  They are doing fantastic on this food!  I’m not adverse to grains (and they aren’t bothered with them).  I like this food as much (if not more) than the Prairie I was using.  After a short detox period (coming from higher protein, grain free foods they were eating) they are doing marvelous….stool great, coats thick and soft, no tearing, and they love it!  Now I do still top with NV Homestyle canned food or regular Prairie, but I would do that with anything I fed.  And, one more thing….I also give a probiotic/enzyme supplement, but that is all.  We have stopped premade raw for a little while due to traveling and others feeding them (Holidays, you know) and they have just been eating the above mentioned regimen.  I really think I will continue to order more of this food when what I have is gone.  With delivery, it’s about the same price as Prairie, Wellness or Halo, which I have used in the past.  

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Jan… Thanks to your comment, I’ve now added Rotations to my Update List. I’ll try to get to it soon. Thanks for the tip.

  • Jan (Mom to Cavs)

    Just fyi……Mike S.’s review of Rotations is for the new formulas. The food has since changed from the “boxed” version to individual bags, like NV’s Prairie. It is also an “all life stage” food now where it was not before. There is also no menadione in the new formulas. This food seems much better to me. I commend Rotations for making these changes. The food seems more reasonably priced now, as well.

  • Jan (Mom to Cavs)

    I was wrong, the Rotations company did send me more coupons after I got the deal. It’s not a bad food at all.

  • Jan (Mom to Cavs)

    Heather, thanks for the tip! I just got the deal….I use things like this for friends and my favorite shelter! Anyway, it really is just 5.00 for 20.00 of food. No other coupon to my knowledge. And you have to order an amount over 20.00 to use it, plus shipping. Still a good deal, though!

  • Heather

    Doggyloot.com has a deal on this food today. $5 for $20 worth of food, plus a $20 coupon. That seems to be how it works, anyway. My dog eats canned only now, so I won’t be buying it, but I thought this could possibly help out someone else.

  • Jan (Mom to Cavs)

    The rotation concept is great, but I do believe Nature’s Variety was the first company to come up with it in their formulations. When I worked at a pet specialty store we got this product in (when it was in boxes). It was very expensive for what you got and I believe that’s why it didn’t go over well. I think at the time it was even more expensive than NV! You also had to buy all 3 flavors at one time instead of buying one bag at a time. This again made it be on the average quite expensive. I think the food has a decent ingredient panel. I like the fact they’ve gone to bags and you can buy one bag at a time (like Nature’s Variety :)). Recently, I got a deal online (don’t remember where) where you could get a 15lb. bag of one flavor or all three flavors in 3, 5lb. bags for free! All you had to do was pay for shipping (which I believe was 9.99). I got the deal and plan on donating the food to a friend of mine who can’t afford good food or to my local, favorite rescue.

  • http://thechickandthehound.blogspot.com Robin R

    I’ve been feeding my 6yr old Basset Hound the Rotations varieties for 3 months now and it’s been the best thing I’ve done for her! Less itching, ZERO upset stomach, remarkably less shedding, perfect poops and amazing energy! This dog food is the real deal, but don’t take my word for it…give it a try for yourself! Your dog will thank you :)

  • Amber S.

    Our dogs thrive on Rotations dog food, especially our very large breed dog who had terrible allergies and a sensitive tummy. Now his allergies are a thing of the past (thank god)! It’s also great since now I’m not having to go with the extra effort each meal by adding chicken broth or other enticers to get them to eat – they gobble it up and it’s been over a year now, so that’s great!!!

  • Ashley R.

    I have been feeding Rotations for almost 2 years and it has been the absolute BEST thing I’ve ever done…not only for my pooch, but for our family as well! This is the only truly rotational kibble diet on the market. Oreo, our Shih-Tzu, was going days and weeks without eating! He was vomiting bile several times a day and we tried everything out there, from the higest end super premium, all the way down to the cheapest food on the market (sadly enough!) He wouldn’t touch ANYTHING!! We gave Rotations a try PRAYING that it would make a difference and wah-lah! he eats his daily schedule, hasn’t vomited at all, and is by far the healthiest he’s ever been! Anybody who has picky eater or dogs with allergies should try Rotations…Oreo gives it “two paws up!!” THANK YOU ROTATIONS for changing our family’s lives!!!

  • Laurie M.

    I live in CT and also saw this food at my local Ocean State Job Lot. It sells 3 bags of 4 pounds each inside the box. One bag for each of the 3 different flavors they offer.
    I inquired with the Rotations Pet Food folks and they told me they are changing the packaging from boxes to bags, so all of the food in boxes now is being sold at discount.

  • Carol RI

    My local Ocean State Job Lot has 12 lbs for $15.00 – I’m thinking as they are carrying it – it isn’t going over well. But I may buy some to try. However, the picture in the flyer has it in a box – not a bag???

  • Suzanne

    This apparently didn’t sell well in my area either, as I bought two boxes of it really cheap at a discount store. For the price I paid it’s a great food, but I am switching to a higher protein, grain free food when this runs out.

  • Florence

    This food didn’t sell well in my area. A Distributor sold me a couple of tons, I’ve been feeding it going on 5 months. My kennel of 20 dogs have the same coat coat growth as on Diamond Naturals, and they’ve kept weight fine. I’ve raised puppies on it, and my bitches have had the same large 10 puppy litters with no problems whelping.

  • Susan C S

    My dog LOVES this dog food, she gets bored eating the same type or flavor every day – feeding her Rotations has solved that problem. I have chosen Rotations Puppy for the higher protein and fat content. She is just bursting with energy (sometimes, too much) but from a health standpoint, this food does her body GOOD!

  • http://www.jjcholine.cn/ tiana1988

    Choline Chloride
    is a B vitamin. Choline Chloride can promote liver and kidney fat metabolism; Choline Chloride or acetylcholine synthesis based body, thus affecting the transmission of nerve signals. Choline is also required for in vivo synthesis of motioning source of methyl. In many natural foods contain Choline Chloride, but not enough to meet the modern concentration on the animal feed industry, the need for rapid growth. Therefore, the feed synthesis of Choline Chloride should be added to meet their needs. Lack of Choline Chloride can lead to fatty liver, slow growth, reduced egg production rate, mortality increased and so on.