Diet Rotation for Dogs


The following items represent some of The Dog Food Advisor’s most frequently asked questions about diet rotation for dogs.

What is diet rotation?

Unlike a conventional feeding plan where the same food is served at each meal, diet rotation involves varying a dog’s menu on a daily, weekly, or other periodic basis.

Why should I consider diet rotation for my dog?

Since there’s no such thing as a perfect dog food, it’s reasonable to assume every product is deficient or excessive in some way.

Too much of one nutrient… or too little of another. Plus many foods can contain traces of dangerous toxins.

So, built-in flaws tend to be magnified when the same food is fed continuously… day-in and day-out… for a lifetime.

By periodically switching dog foods, the unhealthy consequences of serving the same imperfect products can be minimized.

Isn’t changing dog foods dangerous for the animal?

Although some pets can’t tolerate menu changes, I’ve never been able to find a single scientific study proving diet rotation to be unhealthy or detrimental to a dog.

Does diet rotation mean mixing two or more different dog foods together and serving them at the same meal?

No. The benefits of diet rotation are optimized only when cycling between different products on a periodic basis.

How often should dog foods be switched?

There’s no fixed feeding plan that works better than the others. So, it depends on your own imgenuity.

Some switch foods daily. Others change weekly. And still others prefer to empty one bag of kibble before beginning the next.

Is there a downside to diet rotation?

There are mainly two disadvantages to diet rotation…

  • Avoiding GI upset
  • Maintaining product freshness

Since some dogs have sensitive stomachs, the potential for GI upset can be an issue for certain pets.

And because alternating between two or more kibbles can make each bag take longer to use up, it can be difficult to maintain the freshness of each product.

What’s the best way to transition to a new dog food?

Most experts recommend transitioning to a new food gradually — starting with about 20-25% “new” and slowly increasing that amount to a full 100% over a 7 to 10 day period.

Be patient and don’t rush the transitioning process. Take your time to minimize the chance of GI upset.

Can you provide an example of diet rotation?

For Bailey, we mix one-fourth of a small can of a single-species wet food (chicken, lamb, rabbit, etc.) with his kibble. As each can runs out, we switch to a different canned product from the same brand.

Then, when each bag of kibble is empty, we start with a different kibble (usually, but not always, from the same brand).

Over the long term (twice a year), we gradually switch brands, too.

  • Storm’s Mom

    For the longest time, Storm would only eat from a plate not a bowl ..I think because once, not long after I got him, he accidentally overturned his bowl and it scared him (he’s generally a very brave/stoic dog, but he can be a wimp about some very odd things haha).

  • Pitlove

    I’ve been there. My dog would eat off the floor or out of my hand or the measuring cup, but not his bowl. I tried several different types of bowls, including elevated ones.

    I’d highly recommend looking into Fromm or NutriSource. Both are highly palatable and easy to digest.

  • Melanie Spencer

    His weight is good! He’s 13 pounds. I can tell when he isn’t eating because he either doesn’t poop at all, or it’s very little. He does not have dental issues. When I spoke to the vet, they didn’t really give me a solution. He ate something just a few moments ago, but only because I hand feed it to him. The same food was right next to me in his bowl!

  • DogFoodie

    How is his weight and his stool quality?

    Has he been to the vet? Does he have any dental issues?

  • Pitlove

    My dog was the same way, accept he always wants canned food. It took several different dry kibbles to find the one he liked the most. Now hes eating Fromm with no issue.

  • Melanie Spencer

    Hello everyone!

    I really need some help! I am a first time pet owner, and have an 8 month old Shorkie. I’ve had him for 5 months. He is a VERY picky eater! The person I got him from said to get any kind of kibble to feed him, so I did. He ate that for about two weeks, then no longer cared for it. So I switched to something else. Again, he ate it for about 2 weeks, then the same thing happened. I then went and got wet food. He loved that…..or so I thought. Cause he soon didn’t want that anymore. I would also mix it with his kibble, but he would just pick at it. Currently, he barely touches his food. He won’t eat the kibble or the wet food! I don’t give him snacks since he won’t eat his regular food. Please help!

  • Pitlove

    I would say that if he does well once hes fully on Wellness, it would be a great idea to rotate formulas. Also switching up his proteins can be good as well, though a lot of puppy formulas are chicken based. Personally, my dog did not enjoy me changing his food every bag- he became even more picky-, some do however. I think every month or two is an excellent idea. Adding canned as well is a great idea to get more moisture in his diet as well and since hes a small breed it won’t be as expensive as doing canned for a large dog like my boy.

    best of luck with your pup! glad hes doing so well with you.

  • Victoria De Los Santos

    I have a puppy that is 8 weeks old. I’ve had him since he was 5 weeks because he was not doing well with his mom and brother. But he’s a really good puppy that is learning really fast. I had him on Royal Canin Mini Starter Mother & Baby dog Dry Dog Food currently in transition to Wellness grain free puppy formula he really likes it but I want to know should I put him on two different formulas? I was thinking about every other month switching between the Wellness Grain free puppy
    formula and the Wellness Complete Formula. Good or bad idea? (Also please no comments about getting him too early)
    {I Just want to know if its a good idea or if you have any tips)

  • Sucker4Rescues

    I’m not sure exactly what you are asking, but you can do daily rotation. Some people feed a different kibble with every meal if their dogs can handle it. I typically change kibble after each bag. Which is about every 3 weeks. I feed canned as a topper. The canned I rotate after every can, so about every 3 days.
    Some people rotate every 3 or 4 months. A lot depends on what your dog can handle.

  • Minne_gurl125

    Is diet rotation rotation weekday dogfoodadvisor recommends? So long as it doesn’t upset the dogs GI?

  • CrazyCrab12

    some people foods are safe and some are poisonous. Be careful if thats what you do.

  • Shirley

    Ditto… I agree whole heartedly

  • Shirley

    Your vet is full of it… I would change that vet in a heart beat. Where in the world did she get her degree???? Gezzzz

  • el doctor

    Hi Josie

    I’m glad that you are looking into a homemade diet for your dog!

    You didn’t mention your dog’s weight, but a good starting point for a dog that is not high or low energy is about 2.5% of their body weight fed daily split into 2 meals. You would then adjust accordingly based on your pup’s results.

    I cook everything “rare”. I also use a very low heat to preserve as much of the nutrients as possible while eliminating excessive bacteria.

    All my recipes use supplements. I recommend you read this book, it has a wealth of information and some recipes.

    Here are 2 recipes for a 100 lb dog. You can make them as they are and then feed the appropriate amount for your dog based on its weight.

    The main supplement can be purchased here

    Smashed peas and Turkey recipe;

    Beef and Veggies recipe;

    Pic of Beef and Veggies

    Good Luck 😉

  • Josie Pacheco

    I was wondering what a good homemade dog food diet (recipe and amount daily) is best for a 2yr old Lab, Australian cattle dog mix. Who’s also sensative to gluten?..

  • Joe Adams

    I’ve been feeding my 2 French bulldogs purizon Angus beef for the past 6 months it’s a good quality food with a high protein% however they seem to have gone of it. I guess they’re bored of it so I’ve switched to TOW which they now love.. my question is can I feed them TOW one day then purizion the next day and keep rotating like that?

  • Joe Adams

    I’ve been feeding my 2 French bulldogs purizon Angus beef for the past 6 months it’s a good quality food with a high protein% however they seem to have gone of it. I guess they’re bored of it so I’ve switched to TOW which they now love.. my question is can I feed them TOW one day then purizion the next day and keep rotating like that?

  • el doctor

    Hi 1fedup1,

    I think it’s great that you supplement your dog’s diet with fresh human-grade foods!

    I feed my dogs a homemade diet, and If you would like any help in figuring out how to do the same for your pups, I would be glad to help.

    Dogs do have different requirements than we do, but once you learn how, you will find it’s not that difficult or time consuming at all, and as far as quality goes, nothing beats it 😉

  • jesse

    Yeah I feed him fromm and taste of the wild now