Diet Rotation for Dogs

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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.

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