How many of you actually rotate your pets food after each bag? I’ve fed our dogs the same food their entire lives which seems unhealthy when I really think about it. I’m wondering though how switching foods regularly would affect their digestion and upset their stomachs though. Also, switching between brands opens you up to more risk of recalls. Do any of you do this regularly and what issues have you had?
I actually have multiple bags open at once and rotate more frequently. One of my dogs has always had a very sensitive stomach and when I had to switch foods, I always took an entire month to switch her. Since I started feeding a rotational diet, she now has no trouble switching foods anymore and I switch her cold turkey every time. None of my dogs has had diarrhea in almost 2 years since I started. I wish I had started feeding this way years ago.
When I first started, I switched very slowly, but as soon as I had her used to the new food, I started the switch again, and then again. By about the 5th switch, I was no longer transitioning at all. In the beginning, I also added probiotics and digestive enzymes to every meal, but now I only add probiotics here and there and only give digestive enzymes to my one dog with other issues.
I think (and this is mostly an assumption), that the younger you start switching foods (protein types within a brand and brands too), the easier they take it. My Bruno is around a year old and he has been switched a bunch. It takes about a week to do a switch with no diarrhea or any other problems.
I think it also depends on the individual dog (maybe?) – some may have more issues than others with switching even if it is done very slowly.
But it is definitely good for them. Different proteins – different amino acids; different brands (read recipes) – different composition of vitamins and minerals. Variety is always good! I mean, chicken with steamed veggies is good for you, but is that ALL you’d ever want to eat your WHOLE life, breakfast/lunch/dinner? 🙂
TJ. When I initially started rotating foods a long time ago I would switch every two or three bags, then I started switching every bag. Always very very slowly. I eventually switched to commercial raw foods for all my three dogs because one of them has many food intolerances and allergies. I feed all three girls twice a day as I always have regardless of what I feed them and can now say, and it’s been a few months now, that I can feed them different foods a.m. and p.m. with no issues whatsoever. No gas, bad breath, diarrhea, constipation, nothing. I rotate their proteins within a brand, I rotate brands and I rotate their supplements. Nothing seems to bother them any more. Just as humans eat different foods for different meals without issues, so do my dogs. I will also say that they are incredibly healthy. I have a 14 1/2 year old Maltese (she’ll be 15 on 9/9/14) and I have a 4 1/2 year old Maltipoo and a 4 1/2 year old Yorkipoo. Vet is always praising how well they are. They only go to the vet at this point once a year for physical and the only vaccine they receive is rabbi’s vaccine. Hope any of this has helped.
Once you get your dogs accustomed to rotation, it has nothing whatsoever to do with their age. It is never too late to start rotating foods and they don’t take to rotation of diets any easier because they are young or old. Just take your time initially and before you know it you’ll be able to feed them different things all the time. Initially, like theBCnut, I used to add a complete probiotic and a digestive enzyme every day (not every meal). I haven’t done that in ages. Good Luck to you. Glad to meet you and welcome to the site if your new. If not, sorry I haven’t picked up on your name before.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by Dori.
I have many dogs so I have 3 bags open at once. When I started rotating or offering variety, I would serve all three and when one bag would run out (not at the same time), I bought a different food. So they always had “old food” along with “new food” so they didn’t get a transition. I also use different canned food toppers. Now, I wouldn’t suggest making a big jump from 1-2 star food to a 5-star food. That’s too much change. Especially since you’ve only fed one food forever. Just go with the next level up and as he tolerates better food, keep increasing if you wish. I will say I keep my foster food around 3.5-4.5 stars and I give them probiotics and digestive enzymes.
What about rotating with in the same brand? I just started using Merrick for my puppy I am slowly switching her off Blue Buffalo wilderness because her stools were always very, very loose on it. I noticed Merrick has different varietys like buffalo, chicken. Lamb, pork would it be ok to switch between the different varietys.
The issue with rotating only within the same brand is that they usually use the same vitamin/mineral premix, so if there is too much or too little or the wrong ratio of anything then the dog is being exposed to the same issue for a long period of time. I do use all the foods within a brand that I can, but I rotate other foods in between them.
Definitely rotate within the same brand but you need to find at least two other brands and rotate brands as well as proteins with all brands. A lot of people seem to have some problems with their dogs on BB. Remember, not every food is for every dog. Once you’ve done the complete transition to Merrick and his stools are fully formed then you can experiment with different proteins within the same brand, then begin to experiment with a different brand that has ingredients that your dog does well on. Slowly transition. Once that’s done and you’ve fed all the proteins on that brand, you’ll be in search of a third brand. Switching up within the brand is good so that you dog isn’t always eating the same protein and can possibly develop an intolerance to that protein. It’s also important to switch brands because even though the ingredients may be similar to the Merrick or whatever else you find, the proportions of proteins, fats, carbs, minerals, vitamins, essentially everything will be a little or a lot different from brand to brand so this way you can insure that your dog is getting a good balance. Also rotating is really very good in case there is a sudden recall in a brand you can immediately switch your dog off that food onto one that he’s already accustomed to. The more you rotate your dogs meals the easier you can move from food to food. Much much healthier for your dog. Healthy dogs will tolerate illnesses and minor recalls much better than an unhealthy dog. Hope I’ve answered your question and not babbled too much. Gotta go. Today is dog grooming at my house. I’ve done two of the girls, I’ve just got one to go. I’ll check in later.
Thanks so much for the replies!
I feed only canned, rehydrated, or fresh/frozen type foods. I rotate my dog’s food every 3 to 5 meals, feeding twice a day. Rarely he will try a food and get indigestion, but because he is used to variety he does OK with most foods and proteins. Like humans, dogs can get used to a varied diet and have fewer digestion problems.
Rotation keeps diets interesting, covers more nutritional bases, and you can buy foods that are on sale. Plus, I think it is just plain fun to pick out a “menu” for my dog.
BTW, I started my dog’s rotation diet about 8 months after I adopted him. When I adopted him he was 5 years old. Because he was an unclaimed stray, his past history is uncertain. The rescue was feeding him a popular low-end kibble dog food that they receive regularly due to a grant from the company.
Another question, my puppy (6 mos old standard poodle) is now at the point where she is on 1/2 blue buffalo wilderness and have merrick, her stools are firmer now. Can I keep her on this mixture or should I continue weaning her off the blue?
How many different brands do you guys recommend rotating?
At least 3, but more is better.
Adding to the thread…. my dog do well on Orijen Adult which is primarily chicken/other poultry. I have rotated with Acana Grasslands, but if I want to go to another 5 star food, that is not chicken does anyone have any suggestions and is from a different company. Orijen is really at the top of my price range, especially since the larger bag lasts too long so I need to buy the 15 lb. So, other protein sources, other carb sources, similar protein/fat/carb ratio to Orijen.
I rotate within brands and then also rotate different brands. I feel that if you stay with one brand and one protein you are opening your dog to allergic reactions! I no longer transition as they are “used” to getting different foods..I like the idea that they are also able to experience different foods! I also added my own cooked items to the food ..fish and beef and goose..Venison if the family have hunted any.
I have French Bulldogs.
I have a very picky eater who would go 3 days without eating if I feed something he does not like. I would love to rotate as it make sense, however, my fear is he would prefer one over another and go too many days without eating, waiting on his favorite. Anyone else have this issue?
Cindy_g, I would say you can finish off your bag of Blue (if you haven’t yet), but slowly be weaning your dog off to Merrick, then try something else too!
Lynn J, you can look into Victor Grain Free, and maybe Nature’s Variety Instinct, they do have chicken meal in some, but not all recipes, and are pretty good, 5 stars as well.
Becky G, why don’t you try topping with canned when you transition between foods? Most dogs like canned and would eat just about anything mixed in with it. Then you can (if you want) slowly reduce the amount of canned, until he eats the kibble alone. Canned is even better to keep in the diet though, so up to you. Also, you could add pumpkin, yoghurt, cottage cheese, kefir, or something else instead of canned if you’re up for that – my dog loves all those toppings too, and even though he licks them off first and licks and spits out the kibble at first, once the “topper” is gone, he eats whatever is in his bowl and licks it clean. Another technique that may work is, get (if you can) a sample size of a different food. Victor, Earthborn Holistic, Nutrisca, Taste of the Wild, Canidae Pure, Nature’s Variety Instinct are some that I have seen samples of. Then use those kibbles as treats and do training often – see if you can trick him to like any of them. It may take a while, but it works – I have gotten my dog used to new food this way before too. Good luck!
Thanks Nutrella, what are your feelings about Fromm Surf and Turf and one of the Merrick grain frees? I think I once checked out the Nature’s Variety Instinct and the ash levels were a bit higher than I liked…but that was awhile ago and I don’t remember which one it was. I’ll look at Victors.
Lynn, I have not yet fed Fromm or Merrick, but I intend to. I have fed samples of Victor (all Grain Free ones), and samples of Nature’s Variety Instinct and plan to feed them as part of my dog’s rotation in the future. Bruno (my pup) REALLY likes all of Victor Grain Free except for the salmon one – he’s not crazy about it, but he eats it mixed in his current food (Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch with Vets Choice Holistic Health Extension Original). As for NVI – he ate the samples mixed in his previous mix (mostly Dr. Tim’s Kinesis Grain Free – Nutrisca Chicken – Vets Choice Holistic Health Extension Grain Free, but when it was getting low I threw a bunch of samples in there – NVI Chicken and Duck&Turkey Raw Boost, NOW Fresh, and NutriSource Chicken), but he really likes the freeze-dried raw bits the most, and the NVI rabbit cat food, lol.
Sitting in amazement on how the advice on these Forums have helped over the past year. I went from a Greyhound who had so many food intolerances I was at the end of my rope to now feeding:
Natures Logic, Earthborn GPF, Hare Today grinds bones & Tripe, Grandma Lucy’s, See Spot Live Longer, and Tiki canned food (the only canned food I’ve found).
I never thought I’d find ONE food let alone rotate! Soooo very grateful 🙂
I would like to hear more about your Nature’s Logic experience. My GSD has been on prescription WD food for a month due to diarrhea which showed up during transition from TOW to Origen and then to Acana. Had diarrhea with both once I reached 50/50 in the transition. Ended up at the VET, with Metronidazole twice, many loose stools and diarrhea. A mess. I am now at 50/50 Prescription WD (UGH) and Purina Pro Select Sensitive Stomach (which I am not excited about). The Purina Pro is “not bad” but is not what I want to keep him on for long. But he is doing better and I am grateful too for this group of people who so graciously have helped me. I am impressed with Nature’s Logic and have talked to the company. I think it will be the first “real” food I try him on after the sensitive stomach food. There are lots of testimonials regarding diarrhea and GI issues coming to a stop with Nature’s Logic. It looks like great wholesome real food. Please tell me anything you can about it. Thank you. Nancy Calloway
Hi Nancy ! Sorry to hear about your boy’s problems. Harry has been prone to loose stools since I got him 2 yrs ago – it is a common Greyhound thing. I went thru MANY kibbles with no luck & thru trial & error and a Hemopet Allergy test found out he’s intolerant to turkey, chicken, salmon, white fish, venison, sweet potato, & oatmeal. And he refuses Lamb. Well that eliminated 95% of kibbles on the shelves.
Nature’s Logic Beef or Sardine formulas & Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast are the only kibbles I’ve found that have none of the “avoid” ingredients in them. Harry does best on the Natures Logic Beef kibble. His diet at the track consisted largely of beef & that’s he continues to do well on. I add digestive enzymes & probiotics to his meals also.
I’m waiting to see the new Acana singles line up that’s coming out this summer. The Pork or Duck formulas look promising.
It is sooo frustrating I know. Natures Logic has been amazing. I can’t pick it up locally so I order it online from Chewy.com.
When first starting to rotate foods, how long should mix the old with the new and in what amounts? Also, how do I know how much and how often to feed my dog?
Thank you Freeholdhound – this helps. Yes, frustrating. It’s still a mystery how a food with the ingredients that WD has can help a dog get over diarrhea. I cringe when I read the ingredients!
Becky-that depends on your dog, and what you are going to and from. I don’t mix at all when going from one to another, but if your dog is on a lower quality moving to a higher quality, the richness will probably screw with their stomachs. One of mine has a bit of a sensitive stomach, and he gets digestive enzymes for the first few meals, and the girls it doesn’t bother at all.
As far as how much and how often, it again depends on what you’re feeding for how much, and how old they are for how often. I feed twice a day, but if they are a puppy under 6 months, that isn’t the case
Start with a small amount 10-20% of new food and don’t increase the amount of new food until your dog has stable stools. Some dogs can take just over a week to switch and some dogs can take a couple months. For adults, I don’t suggest feeding more than 2 kibble meals a day.
I am changing from one brand of kibble to another. My baby is 15 mos old and tends to have a sensitive stomach. If I do not feed him first thing in the morning, he will throw up stomach bile. As long as he eats, he seems ok. Anyone else have this issue???
Have you tried giving him a late night snack?
Yes, agree… depends on each individual dog. My 10 yr old Golden Retriever can eat a different kibble every day with no trouble, topped with racoon poop everyday after breakfast when she goes outside to poop. All the kibbles I have tried with my GSD with the stomach issues end up in the Golden’s bowl. This teaches me how this just depends on the dog. It appears that we have to figure out each unique dog – just like with our children. No two are alike.
No, I have not tried that although I know he would love it!!! Recommendations?
You can just give him a couple bites of his regular food or his regular treats. Just reduce his normal meals just a tad. I would give him something that he is use to so he doesn’t get an upset stomach. Or feed him dinner late. I feed mine dinner around anywhere from 9-11 pm.
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