Does diet rotation create picky eaters?

Dog Food Advisor Forums Canine Nutrition Does diet rotation create picky eaters?

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  • #14777 Report Abuse

    Tracy
    Participant

    I read an article on here that it was good to rotate your dog’s food for various reasons. So that’s what I did. I changed my Shih Tzu puppy’s food after every bag (about 3 weeks) and recently she’s started to become a VERY picky eater. She used to like Blue Buffalo but when I tried to switch her back to it, she wouldn’t eat it. So I started adding various things to it, like bits of cheese or peanut butter, and that’s the only way she would eat it.

    Today I bought Wellness, a brand she’s never tried before, and she wouldn’t eat it either.

    Am I rotating foods too often, causing her to be a picky eater? I assume adding things to her food is definitely making her picky, so I won’t be doing that again.

    But what about rotation? I’ve read on another website that rotating foods is pointless and that you should just stick to one food.

    I’m confused. Should I stick to one food from now on, and should I just not rotate as often?

    Advice would be cool. Thanks.

    #14778 Report Abuse

    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi tracyx –

    You should rotate foods and you should add fresh or canned toppers to dry food. Feeding the same food day after day is very unhealthy, all living things need variety. Switching will strengthen your dog’s digestive system. Another benefit of switching foods frequently is that if there is an issue with a food like an ingredient change and it doesn’t work for your dog, you’ll have lots of other go to options and if there is an issue such as recall due to contamination, your dog will be less likely to be affected if you don’t keep him on any one food for an extended period of time (often times the contaminants are in trace amounts and take months of feeding to build up to a toxic level). Dry food is the worst thing a dog can be fed, it’s not species-appropriate (it’s low in moisture and higher in carbs and protein than fresh meat based foods and canned foods). For this reason it’s a good idea to always top dry food with some quality canned food, a commercial frozen or freeze-dried raw food (rehydrated) or fresh cooked or raw meat. My three dogs eat a homemade raw diet and get something different at each meal. Prior to feeding raw I rotate kibble brands at the end of each bag (about every three weeks) and rotated canned toppers daily (I also added things like raw eggs, tinned sardines, plain yogurt, healthy table scraps, etc.). I know rotating hasn’t made my dogs picky, they’d gladly eat the same food day after day but I would never allow that. I do have hounds though – if you have a more picky dog topping with fresh or canned could make them picky towards just dry. I wouldn’t let the possibility of your dog being “picky,” however, deter you from feeding a healthier more species-appropriate diet. I personally feel that feeding a dog only dry food and feeding the same food continuously is one of the most unhealthy things an owner can do for their animal.

    #14779 Report Abuse

    Mom2Cavs
    Member

    I feel that rotation is what keeps Lucy from being the picky dog that she was when we first adopted her. I’ve been rotating for many years now and Lucy, who was very picky when she first came to live with us, looks forward to every meal. Rarely does she turn any food down that I give her, and if she does then I know she’s not feeling well. When Lucy used to “turn her nose up at foods” I would take up the bowl and wait for abou 15-20 mins. then offer it again. If she refused again then I would wait and not give her food until the next meal. I would also offer different food at the next meal. It only took a short while until she would eat anything I put down for her.

    #14782 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    The idea of sticking to one food was marketing genius. Instant customer loyalty. All the people that stick to a food because that’s the way they’ve always done it are probably one of the reasons that some dog food companies have gotten away with using all the bad ingredients that they do.

    #14799 Report Abuse

    BryanV21
    Participant

    I understand that it can be hard for a dog parent to not see their pets eat, but you have to face it… sometimes they just don’t feel like eating. It could be because they aren’t hungry, maybe they have an upset stomach, who knows?

    Now, if a dog goes a couple of days without eating, then a trip to the vet may be warranted. In that case there’s a good chance there’s something else going on, because a dog will not starve itself if it’s healthy.

    I’m not saying it’s silly to add toppers to food… not at all. As HDM pointed out it can be a good thing if done right. I’m just saying that there’s no reason to start pulling your hair out over this. If it’s an ongoing issue then go see your vet, otherwise stay the course.

    #14803 Report Abuse

    Tracy
    Participant

    Thanks for your input, guys.

    I definitely think that my changing her food too often has caused her to become picky. I do not believe that dogs are born picky eaters… some are probably more predisposed to it, but I’m pretty sure I made her that way. And my adding things to her food until she ate it definitely made it worse.

    I’m just going to wait it out until she eats when she’s really hungry. I’ll continue to have her on a rotation diet but instead of changing every 6lbs bag, I’ll change every two 15lbs bag or something and see how that works out.

    I do believe in rotation diet. I can’t see myself feeding her the exact same thing for the rest of her life… but she needs to know who gets to choose the food around here! Haha.

    Anyway, thanks again, guys!

    #14805 Report Abuse

    pugmomsandy
    Participant

    I’m not sure if diet rotation creates picky eaters since all mine are always excited to eat whether it’s just kibble, kibble with canned, kibble with freeze dried, raw food, kibble and raw food. They never leave anything in their bowls.

    #14809 Report Abuse

    DogFoodie
    Member

    By the time I get to the bottom of a small five pound bag of kibble, my Cavalier is already acting disinterested. I switch kibbled foods, A LOT, and use different canned toppers with each can I open; but as soon as I give her some kind of different kibble, she’d eat it all up by itself without any topper. I think she’s a bit picky, just a bit, by nature.

    Sam, my Golden, eats whatever I give him and would like very much to finish whatever her big sister doesn’t eat when he’s done with his own.

    It works for me though, since I’m a dog food hoarder. ; )

    #14811 Report Abuse

    Mom2Cavs
    Member

    Betsy….I thought I was the only dog food hoarder lol! It’s a sickness I can’t seem to control, hence all my other dog people friends tease me about it all the time. I think it started when I worked for a pet specialty store and was told I needed to learn all I could about different foods because that’s what they wanted me to do, help customers choose the right food for the right reasons. Little did they know they were creating a monster hahahaha! This is when I decided to switch my dogs’ food, and the rest is history!

    #14953 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    I actually think it would be the the opposite. Mine get excited because thy don’t know what’s going to be in their bowls.

    #14972 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    It was the opposite for my picky eater. Gideon would only eat about every day and a half. Now he eats whatever I put in his bowl twice a day.

    #15020 Report Abuse

    NectarMom
    Member

    I think it can depend on your dogs system and what they can handle. For my dogs we cannot rotate due to I have one with intestinal allergies and one that will litterally chew her fur off. I am not sure how people can rotate or switch when they’re dogs are going through a detox period. I would honestly be afaid to keep switching and or feed 2,3 or more foods at a time because if an issue with your dog arrises then how would you know which food was the culprit? I am of the mind set that over the years even when I mixed a couple of different brands of kibble that I cannot be certain which one caused the damage so in order to cure my dogs issues I had to drop both foods and start over.

    From speaking to a Canine Nutritionalist I was lead to believe that dogs do not need Variety like we do so please enlighten me where it is stated that dogs need a variety in their diet? My dogs completely hate the diet they are on and some days turn their noses up to it and it bothers me but I do not give in and give them just anything they want because of the issues certain foods will cause them in the long run. When they get hungry they will eat. Its called Tough Love. My dogs get no treats, no can food and no table food. All they get is their Allergy kibble and that is it.

    #15021 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    NectarMom, I feed a variety but only after they are on one kibble for a whole bag, one Honest Kitchen for a whole box, etc. I see no reason why a dog should eat the same food day in and day out.

    #15025 Report Abuse

    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    The same kibble day in and day out with no treats, canned food or fresh food – I guess that is tough love!

    I’m a firm believer that feeding the same food daily – no matter how high quality it is – and denying a dog fresh food (healthy “scraps”) is the worst thing anyone can do for their dog nutritionally.

    You ask – “I was lead to believe that dogs do not need variety like we do so please enlighten me where it is stated that dogs need a variety in their diet?” Well, let’s think about this – what living thing, if left to their own devices, would eat the same food every day (especially dry pellets)? Do you honestly think there is one food that can provide every single nutrient a living thing needs to thrive (note I said thrive, not survive)? Different proteins have different amino acid profiles, different proteins have different balances of fatty acids, different trace nutrients, etc. etc. Rotating foods allows you to mitigate the shortcomings of any one food – and every food has shortcomings. It is pet food companies themselves that create the “dogs don’t need variety myth.” They do this to create brand loyalty – don’t be fooled. If you went to your doctor and he handed you a meal replacement bar and said “Look, this processed meal replacement is all you need to eat for the rest of your life. It it 100% complete and balanced and if you try to eat other foods you’ll cause digestive upset.” What would you do? I know I’d laugh and find a new doctor. I hope you understand how ridiculous the idea of feeding one food for life and denying a dog fresh food is.

    #15030 Report Abuse

    NectarMom
    Member

    HDM, What would you recommend as a fresh food that my dogs with allergy issues can tollerate? If I find something that is working for all 4 of my dogs then I am terrified to upset that balance that we have built so hard to get too. I hope everyone knows that having a dog that has intestinal allergies is tough. I know when she cannot tollerate something because she gets bloated and is in alot of discomfort. Shes allergic to most anything including insect bites or stings. she is a dog that like a person has to have an epi pen close by or she could die in 2 seconds. I have had ALOT of dogs in my lifetime and loved them all but this little chihuahua is truely my heart. I think you are misunderstanding me but it has taken so very long to get just to where we are today with the allergy battle and it is far from over yet. I am truely scared to try anything else with these dogs.

    #15031 Report Abuse

    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi NectarMom –

    I understand where feeding dogs with allergies can be difficult. What I would do is incorporate fresh versions of the foods that are already in their kibble – this way they can get some variety without running the risk of introducing a new food that throws their digestion off. So, if the kibble you’re feeding is turkey based you could buy some lean ground turkey and lightly fry it to mix in with the kibble or buy an all meat turkey canned food to mix in (stick with the all meat so you know you aren’t adding other potentially offending ingredients – Wellness, Newman’s Own and Wysong all sell 95% meat turkey-based canned foods). Once your dog’s condition has stabilized for awhile I’d work on incorporating new protein sources – one by one. Do it using fresh meat or all meat canned toppers and monitor the reaction. Then gradually work on introducing new foods once your dog’s digestive system has strengthened. I’m not sure how long you’ve been with the food you’re feeding now, but keep in mind that if a food is not working it’s just not working and it may be time to move on and try new protein sources and new types of food (often dogs do better on less processed foods – such as dehydrated, freeze-dried, raw or even a high quality canned food). Good luck!

    #15044 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    I have an “allergy” prone dog….he eats part raw (pre made) and he gets turkey, beef and duck, since none of those proteins cause an issue

    #15074 Report Abuse

    Hi Nectarmom-

    I have been trying to reply for two days, and finally its letting me at least post to this thread. My crew eats a variety of food without issues and none have become picky eaters as a result. If anything, they have become more excited about eating to the point of being obnoxious when the bowls come out(working on that!) However, I do agree that a sensitive stomach dog is a “beast unto itself” My dobergal has had issues on and off for 4 years-and only recently have we started getting it under control. The Abady granular worked well,. and now the Victor Ultra pro dry food. However, rotation for her is not the same as the rest of the crew. Her baseline food will stay the same-Victor Ultra Pro, but we will rotate her commercial raw, as well as her canned to offer her some variety.

    My point being, not all rotation will be the same for each and every dog. By rotating out the topper portions, we will be able to offer her some variety in her diet. While it will not be as frequent or as extensive as the “normals”, something, imo, is better than nothing.

    #15077 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    I have a yeasty, allergy dog on Brother’s Complete Allergy, too. He started on it in the same timeframe as yours, back at the beginning of September. I’ve found he can’t handle grains at all, he can’t handle much starch, and he may be sensitive to some chicken, but not all. To give him a little variety, I feed some raw food(with Richard’s blessing). I get some from Darwin’s, beef, turkey, and duck. And I also order from Hare Today, rabbit, goat, mutton, things I know don’t bother him. Yesterday, I got my first order from My Pet Carnivore. I also get tripe and a few kinds of fish. The key is learning what proteins your dog is having issues with and staying away from them.

    #15123 Report Abuse

    NectarMom
    Member

    Well I could only find Wellness Turkey 95% so I bought 2 cans. I only mixed up just a tiny bit to coat the regular Brothers Allergy formula and I have not seen my dogs eat like that in 6 months. Seriously my very very picky Shihtzu that will just about starve herself wanted more than what she was suppose to get. She is only 4lbs but shes probably a lb under weight IMO but my vet thinks shes a perfect weight. I just hope we don’t have no runny stools. I even added mercola probiotics in with it. I am shocked at how it made me feel seeing them beg for more, it made me feel like I have been starving them 🙁
    I may try Darwins next but it is just so expensive. I tried raw instinct before ( The medalions and all 4 threw it up so I am hesitant to ship some in and have the same thing happen. HDM , The only concern I have with Brothers Allergy is that if there is indeed a detox period and I have been on this since Sept and my one with intestinal allergies has not shown any signs of problems except the last couple of weeks she has been chewing on her ankles and now there is a bald spot where he has never done this before even before switching to Brothers Allergy. All 4 have been shedding more than normal too and that started right after the switch but I assumed it was a part of the detox but I don’t know. My one chubby Chihuahua was 17.5lbs before starting Brothers and now she is 11lbs ( shes big boned) So I think her normal weight should be approx 10 lbs. We will see how the Wellness can turkey goes even though I am not a fan of Wellness.

    #15124 Report Abuse

    NectarMom
    Member

    Oh I forgot to add that all 4 of my dogs have had horrible acid reflux and I am even giving one of mine that had an ulcer Pepcid AC and shes still got acid reflux even on that. I don’t know what else to do and neither does my vet. I do not want to put them all of prescription meds for acid reflux. What would be in this food that is causing this?

    #15125 Report Abuse

    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi NectarMom –

    Glad to hear they liked the canned turkey. If you don’t like Wellness you could certainly buy turkey from the grocery store, boil it and dice it up to mix in their food or fry some ground turkey in a healthy oil (like coconut oil or olive oil) and mix it with the kibble.

    For the acid reflux you may want to try adding a bit of unfiltered apple cider vinegar – I’ve heard that this is an effective natural treatment and healthier than medications. Here’s some information: apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/vinegar-and-acid-reflux.html.

    #15126 Report Abuse

    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi NectarMom –

    Glad to hear they liked the canned turkey. If you don’t like Wellness you could certainly buy turkey from the grocery store, boil it and dice it up to mix in their food or fry some ground turkey in a healthy oil (like coconut oil or olive oil) and mix it with the kibble.

    For the acid reflux you may want to try adding a bit of unfiltered apple cider vinegar to their food. I’ve heard that it’s an effective treatment for a lot of people so it’d be worth a try for a dog and I’m sure it’s much healthier than medications.

    Some information from apple-cider-vinegar-benefits .com:

    “One underlying theory here is that the acetic acid in vinegar lowers stomach acidity (increases its pH) since acetic acid is a weaker acid than hydrochloric acid. It is also believed that vinegar (acetic acid along with its acetate salt) may help buffer and maintain stomach acid at a pH level of about 3.0. In this milder acidic environment, the stomach can still efficiently digest food but it causes less problems with the esophagus and thus less heartburn.”

    “Another theory contends that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a pH sensitive valve.
    When there is food in the stomach with insufficient acid present, the LES valve can periodically flop open, causing acid reflux. Too little acid in the stomach may be caused by different factors, but one of the most common one is that, as we grow older, our body does not produce as much stomach acid. As a result the LES valve, sensing less acid, periodically flops open causing acid reflux. Drinking apple cider vinegar supplies the LES valve with the acidity it needs to function properly.”

    #15129 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    NectarMom, I just wanted to make rue you realize that the Wellness you bought is only for supplemental feeding or as a topper.
    Regarding Darin’s, go to thir website, you can pay $14.95 for a trial size. They will require you to set up a shipment schedule but you can easily cancel it with one phone call

    #15138 Report Abuse

    NectarMom
    Member

    WOW I did not know that about Apple Cider Vinegar. I am currently giving my parrot ( my vets instructions) 15ml to one quart of water as his sole drinking water for 10 days because he had slight yeast in his crop. Interesting topic about the Vinegar. HDM Thanks so much for your wealth of info 🙂

    InkedMarie I am going to go check that out …Thanks

    #15175 Report Abuse

    NectarMom
    Member

    I bought the Darwin’s $14.95 Turkey Raw only so I will give it a shot with my 4 rug rats and if they don’t eat it raw I can always cook it and they will eat it. We will see. This morning we had all solid healthy stools so it looks like the can food topper did not do any upsets. They all ate like champs too….YAY

    #15176 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    Good luck!! Mine are crazy about their Darwin’s

    #15178 Report Abuse

    DogFoodie
    Member

    I’ve tried to drink a bit of apple cider vinegar in water myself for all the same reasons you’d give it to your dogs, but I just can’t do it. I bought a bottle of Braggs ACV bottled drink with honey (which I’m sure I could have easily made myself at home), but I haven’t tried it yet. It just creates a weird sort of coating on my tongue and it seems hard to swallow. I wish there was a way to make it more palatable.

    Last time I put it on Bella’s Darwin’s, she immediately regurgitated her whole meal and neither of them would touch it after that. I figured Sam would scarf it up. It’s not like I used a lot either. No more than 1/8 tsp I would guess.

    #15179 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    I can’t drink ACV myself, not even with water and honey. I can swig dill pickle juice which has some of the same properties, and I can handle oil and vinegar salad dressing every day. I also like a little vinegar on fish and in marinades. So that is what I do to get the stuff into me. To get it into the dogs, I always dilute with water. It has quite a bite if you don’t, I think it burns all the way down, which makes me want to regurgitate too.

    #15180 Report Abuse

    NectarMom
    Member

    Thanks Patty I hope it agrees with them and they like it. I tried the mixture of 15ml ACV and one quart water and put it in a bowl and only one drank some LOL but she did not go back for more.

    #15182 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    I’m sure your dogs will love the Darwin’s!

    #15183 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    Mine won’t drink ACV out of a bowl either. I put a teaspoon in a cup of water and mix it in their food. I haven’t had them even sniff it after the first time.

    #15195 Report Abuse

    pugmomsandy
    Participant

    I couldn’t do the ACV with water and honey either but I do like the Bragg ACV drinks. The apple cinnamon and the ginger drink I’ve tried so far.

    #15387 Report Abuse

    Anonymous

    My 7 dogs love diet rotation… They aren’t picky at all.

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