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.

  • Tony DePaul Sr.


    Kibbles ‘n Bits Dog Food receives the Advisor’s lowest tier rating of1 star.
    I wouldn’t think of feeding my Lab this crap.
    I try to stay at a 4/5 star dog food.

  • 1fedup1

    I feed my dogs TOW but always give them left over beef, chicken, raw carrots, homemade organic chicken soup or beef stew…they love their snacks!

  • pegleggreg

    Table scraps! dog food manufacturers want to sell their stuff so they have bad mouthed table scraps. feeding people food will provide variety

  • SP
  • Shawna

    I know your post is three months old Lynn and Bobby dog and pitlove have done a fine job of answering you, but I wanted to add one more to that.

    The below quote is taken from Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Meg Smart (Dr. Smart actually TAUGHT small animal nutrition for over 30 years — per an article on her blog). The below quote is from an interview she did for The Angry Vet website. Dr. Smart states “I like to see variety in a dog’s diet as their digestive tract is not designed to be fed the same diet day in and day out.”

    On her blog Dr. Smart writes
    “Variety is the Key (My conclusions after over 30 years of teaching veterinary clinical nutrition)

    Do not be afraid to add variety to your pet’s diet. Variety in the diet can include healthy table scraps (not leftovers often laden with salt and fat), homemade diets, kibble, canned, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods. Variety keeps a pet from becoming fixated on one diet with a special flavour. Variety also gives you flexibility in choosing pet foods and a selection of available foods while on vacation or when someone else is looking after your dog.”

  • pitlove

    As Dr. Karen becker (a holistic vet) says, dogs are not born with allergies, they can get them from overexposure to one protein source. She suggests rotating proteins to in fact AVOID your dog becoming allergic to any of them. You can youtube dr. karen becker and check out some of her videos about issues just like this. Variety is important for dogs same as it is for humans. I do not agree with your vet and I do not think Dr. Becker would either

  • jesse

    Alright cool thanks

  • Crazy4dogs

    That’s a pretty big switch. Kibbles n bits isn’t a well rated food with not a lot of meat. I would recommend a very slow transition of at last 2 weeks if you’re going to feed a grain free food. The basic formula is 25% new food/75% old food for 3-4 days. If all goes well 50% new/50% old 3-4 days, 75% new/25% old 3-4 days. If his stools get loose, move back to the ratio that was working and stay on that ratio for a bit longer. A very small amount of pure canned pumpkin added to the food will help keep the stools more solid.
    Giving a dog table scraps is not spoiling them as long as they are healthy scraps, like bit of left over meat and veggies with little or no seasoning. Good luck with it!

  • jesse

    So I have a 5 yr old black lab/rottweiler mix. I’ve always pretty much fed him big name brand food like kibbles n bits mostly. And he’s been spoiled with table scraps as well. But I want to switch him to taste of the wild. whenever I switched his food I just did it, not gradually and I guess I didn’t pay attention much to his poop to know if he got an upset stomach but he seems to have a strong stomach. So should I just switch it right away or should I do it gradually

  • Dog Lover Plus

    While I do agree that one cannot label any one dog food perfect, since each pet has their own unique dietary needs, I think assuming that all dog foods are deficient or excessive in some way is stretching the definition of the term reasonable a bit.

    Perfect is a subjective term anyway. I do not recommend assuming anything. If my dog is healthy and thriving, I see no need to change anything. I do not discourage the practice in any way, I simply do not suggest assuming anything in a generalized way.

  • Dog Lover Plus

    Consider this: the gut is a complex and varied microfloral colony that balances itself according to environmental conditions. The food you feed your dog is a major deciding factor on how this microfloral environment balances itself out. Anytime you make major changes to what you’re feeding your dog, you should almost expect changes in stool while the colony finds a new equilibrium.

  • FurMummy

    Just read about rhadobomyolysis from quail. I’ve been feeding my Golden Retriever Orijens Freeze Dried (which contains quail with ground up bone) mixed in with the Orijens 6 Fish. She’s allergic to turkey and pork. (Bloodwork confirmed)
    Know it’s not terribly common in people but now wondering if quail can pose a problem to her-or the cats?

  • You can go back to the Blue and once their GI systems settle down you can try adding in a new food but do it slowly. I suggest starting with just 25% of the new food and only increase the amount if their stools are good. You can also add a probiotic or probiotic/digestive enzyme combo with their meals. Adding a little pure canned pumpkin can also help with loose stool.

  • Sue

    I wish I had read this a few days ago. I just switched my two 60 lb dogs and my 6 lb chihuahua from Blue Buffalo Life Protection formulas to Merrick Classic formulas. All 3 have had diarrhea since the switch. Any advice? Do I go back to Blue Buffalo or what?

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Glad I could help!

  • jjennilee

    Awesome ty so much .. My dogs love chicken , and sometimes eggs … Freshpet is my personal choice but dogs can’t go and I noticed being all they want is chicken the same brand they get bored with but don’t seem to have issues with going from blue, to wellness, etc as long as it chicken lol … And these other foods seem to be better, less dry and they go better … I’m assuming because more moisture…. This is a relief to know as my hubby keeps telling me I’m gonna make them sick… So glad that’s not sp

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Changing flavors within the same brand is good, but changing brands from time to time is better. A bit of both is usually good. You can change foods at every meal if your dog’s stomach is okay with it, or less often is fine too. At first, you should transition slowly between foods, but if your dog has a pretty good stomach then the transition can eventually be shortened or removed all together. Adding digestive enzymes/probiotics can help with transition. Good luck!

  • jjennilee

    So then with wet rotAtion of flavors within same brand or can I do same flavor different brand ? Or a bit of both .. Being wet as long s it’s a good brand can it be changed daily or best to keep same for a week or so

  • Bobby dog

    I just want to add in addition to rotating kibble & wet foods I also rotate commercial raw and lightly cooked meats & vegetables too.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Yup, it’s great with wet food too!

  • jjennilee

    Is rotation diets for kibble only or can this be done with wet as well

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Lynn:
    I have read some comments from different Vet’s that suggest not using an exotic novel protein, for example kangaroo or rabbit, in your usual rotation. The reason being your dog would not have been exposed to those proteins and they could easily be used in an elimination diet if your dog develops a food sensitivity or allergy; makes sense to me.

    IMO rotating foods within some brands would not expose your dog to many different proteins or vitamin mixes as most recipes within a brand tend to be similar. Fromm’s proteins are pretty standard with what many companies are using today, beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, duck, pork etc.

    I feed a rotational diet switching to a new brand, protein, and carb source monthly; no exotic novel proteins. I am confident if my dog would ever need an elimination diet I would be able to find a novel protein to feed.

  • Lynn N

    I brought my dog in for his yearly check-up a few weeks back. The vet and I got to talking about diet. I told the vet that we have our dogs on Fromm Four Star Nutritional and are VERY happy with our choice of kibble. She asked which Fromm flavor we fed our dogs and I told her that we rotate through all of them. When we finish off a bag of kibble, the next bag we buy is a different flavor so they’re getting a bit of everything. She told me to stop doing that immediately – that it was very dangerous because if our dogs ever develop a food allergy, it would be very difficult to pinpoint the issue if we’ve been giving our dogs so many different flavors – stick with one flavor only. I was very confused by this advice – is there any merit to what she says?

  • Gail Brown Barsky

    just received a 28 lb bag of orijen puppy food (made in Canada), once it moves to KY – may switch. Anyway, I still have most of a bag of Costco Salmon and sweet potato kibble that for the first week will mix (I have a 28 pound standard poodle who is 6.5 months old). I ordered a bunch of orijen’s single freeze dried treats also since Zukes has changed for the worse since Purina bought them. I also add Total Fage 100 percent fat free yogurt to his breakfast (about 1/3 cup), top that with 2 pinches of raw shredded coconut and a pinch of wheat germ and maybe a table spoon of pureed carrot, brocolli or other veggies. My dog eats everything – not picky at all and he eats 3 small meals a day since SPOO’s are prone to bloat so he eats out of a slow bowl and kongs. Question is some folks noted below a single meat canned food and i’m lost with which brands are any good for when we travel or it’s not convenient to have other meats for him. I tend to add 1/4 cup of baked chicken, hamberger (grass fed and anti biotic free) to 2 of his meals since he’s getting yogurt at breakfast. Treats also include small pieces of banana and apple or pears or anything but citrus or stuff he shouldn’t have. Recommendations on the canned ? We are very active – he gets usually 2 one hour walks per day most days and play sessions in addition to free running in big back yard or big fenced area next to a school 2-3 times a week – lots of play with other pups – our neighborhood is great.

  • Crazy4cats

    Pure Balance canned IS rated 5 stars and it IS carried by Walmart. I like the stews. They smell great!

  • Dori

    Actually Pure Balance canned is rated 5 stars on DFA.

  • Archous

    Pure Balance is not rated 5-stars. Perfect Balance is. Nothing Walmart carries rates higher than 2.5-stars.

  • Crazy4cats

    That’s great. I’m glad I could help!

  • Linda Hacker

    Crazy4cats….I start my guy on Pure Balance mixed with water and he loves it. Thanks for mentioning that as I forgot my Dad use to do that with our dog when I was a kid. I also bought the Pure Balance canned food and he gobbles that up like no tomorrow. I had to laugh at him one night after feeding him I walked into kitch to find him up on his hind legs sniffing counter where I left the can….asked him if he wanted some more…gave him a little more and he was so excited as I was putting his dish down. Thanks for recommenations!

  • Linda Hacker

    Thanks never thought of adding water to the dry to make it softer. Hopefully I will get some grain free by this weekend and see how it goes!

  • Crazy4cats

    That’s OK. You didn’t know. That is why most of us are here! You could always add some canned with water to make it softer. Or even just feed canned food. It is less processed than kibble and healthier anyway. Walmart carries Pure Balance Stews canned that are very reasonably priced and rated 5 stars.

  • Linda Hacker

    Thank you for replying.
    I usually shop at PetSmart or Walmart. I have been feeding him Moist & Meaty since he was little (about 5 yrs) as that was all we could get him to eat. Don’t think he likes the crunch of dry food…. But will give it a try if it will help with his scratching. According to this web site moist & Meaty is one of the worst dog foods….

  • Crazy4cats

    The switch sounds like a great idea. Where do you shop and what price range are you thinking? If shopping locally, you could always print the list of 3, 4, or 5 star foods and bring it with you to the store to see which foods they carry. You will probably have to switch slowly if he has been eating the same food for a while. Especially slow if you are upgrading quite a bit. His tummy will take time to get used to the higher quality food, but it will be worth it. Good luck!

  • Linda Hacker

    Do I need to change my Mix Breed’s dry food gradually? He is a picky eater and he has been scratching alot lately so I am thinking of switching him from Moist & Meaty to a Grain Free Food…any suggestions>

  • Crazy4cats

    Are you looking for a kibble to mix it with? I feed my labs primarily Victor grain free joint health with various toppers. We are very happy with this food so far. Maybe if you give a little more information about what your are looking for and your price range, you could get some more suggestions. There are a lot of experienced dog peeps on this site. Stick around and good luck!

  • Tina Nash

    I was wondering what particular Choice dog food would compliment liquid
    consquin for a 11 year old lab?

  • Guest

    Cannot upload a pic because of size. =( She is actually my roommate’s dog along with the Dachshund I take care of.

  • Cyndi

    Thank you Debra! Can you share a picture of Brandy? I bet she’s beautiful! The dog in my avatar is Bailey. It took me a while to find her, but she has helped me in opening my heart again. Here is a picture of my Moose, he was the best. I couldn’t bring myself to adopt another doberman, although now I kind of wish I had.

  • Debra Cullens

    Sorry for your loss Cyndi. I will give Brandy a big hug and kiss for you. I do hope another wonderful dog has come along to help you on your journey in life. Peace and wellness to you.

  • Debra Cullens

    Thank you! The furkids are loving this new food. I just today bought a bag of Taste of the Wild for them to become the main kibble while phasing out the bil jac. They love it! I should know how the tummies are adjusting to this in a day or so.

  • Cyndi

    I don’t have any advice for you, I would just like you to give your dobie a hug from me. 🙂 I lost my doberboy 3 years ago at age 11. I miss him so much, he was my doggy soulmate.

  • Crazy4cats

    Do you mean that you want to use the fresh pet as a topper for the Bil-Jac dry food? If yes, I think it is a great idea! My dogs really like Fresh Pet mixed in with their kibble. You just need to make sure that you decrease the kibble to make up for the calories added to avoid over feeding. I always add a topper to my dogs’ meals to bump up the nutritional value. In addition to Fresh Pet, you could also add sardines, eggs and/or healthy leftovers to their meals. Fresh Pet is a balanced complete meal so you don’t have to worry about feeding too much of it. Unbalanced toppers and treats need to account for 20 percent or less of their total calories. Have fun with your pups!

  • Debra Cullens

    I recently started using Petfresh rolled beef and bison. I have been using the Bil Jac adult formula for a month or so. I understand Bil Jack may not be the best choice to use. How can I use dry food with the rolled food to supplement the cost? Is this a good idea or not? I have a 12 year old Doberman, 4 year old Dachshund, and 5 year old Beagle/Walker hound. Any suggestions?

  • Julie McDowell

    I have always fed a rotation diet to my dogs and foster dogs (and my cats as well). Over the years, I have never had a dog react unfavorably with gastro-intestinal problems (I do it fairly gradually) or any major illness. (I have had dogs who were sensitive to certain ingredients or proteins though which were easily avoided). It’s just sort of intuitive. No wild animal or human thrives on an identical meal day after day, and year after year. I’ve never had any particularly finicky eaters either.

  • steel3456

    I have recently joined in on the rotational feeding bandwagon and my dogs seem to be doing very well on it. I stick to the same brand of food called Activa that I get here locally. They have different proteins that I rotate regularly. My dog seems more excited about mealtime than ever before since I started this. Here is their website.

  • Donna

    I feed my boxer girl Fromm’s grain free formula. With Fromm’s you can switch formulas whenever you like (as long it’s within the Fromm’s family). I stay with grain free. She gets a variety of “Game Bird,” “Pork”, “Beef,” “Fish” or “Lamb”. I buy the 15 lb bag, and then switch her to another Fromm’s formula at the next bag… and so on. It works really well for her.

  • sue66b

    Dogs kill in packs taking down the biggest herbivores & the first area that is consumed is certainly not raw meaty bones, they eat the abdominal contents containing the intestines which are full of vegetable matter that is cooked inside the herbivores intestinal tract, The abdominal region is also the highest in fat containing such orgaans as the kidneys & the liver..

  • SP

    Ha! I warm up the raw EXACTLY the way you do.
    But warm up meaning “bring to room temperature.”

    In Chinese Medicine, cold foods are not good for digestion.

    In the wild, the fresh kill that wolves ate were still warm, not frozen nuggets / bars / medallions.

  • beenice

    The PREY model raw feeders and the BARF model feeders don’t agree with each other except that they both think kibble feeders should be put down. Who really knows? My parents fed kibble and had healthy dogs. Personally I think all the vaccinations are messing with dog/cat immune systems and causing allergies and intolerances as well as diseases like arthritis. Our boxer did not fair well on raw because the bones really bothered his GI system no matter what type we served. Were using Orijen presently and he’s doing well. There’s just way too many choices on how to feed dogs and they all have pros and cons. You just have to find one that fits your lifestyle, budget and animals health the best you can.

  • dchassett

    Are you speaking of dog toothpaste or human? If you are using toothpaste made for humans, you need to stop right away. My three dogs are on raw diets and all their poops are small, well formed, and firm; maybe a little harder than normal type seen on a kibble diet.

  • Shawna

    Hi Lia,

    Unless there is an underlying issue, your baby Pom should do just fine on raw however there could be a minor adjustment period.

    I have eight dogs including a 16 year old four pound Chihuahua and two Poms both weighing five pounds. My nine year old Pom started raw when she came to me at six months but puppies can start raw as soon as they are weaned. My nine pound Chihuahua mix was weaned onto raw by the breeder.

    All eight of my dogs eating raw have small, firm bowel movements unless they eat a food they are allergic or intolerant to. Example — my Pom Gizmo gets diarrhea if she eats chicken for more than a few meals. However this is ANY chicken be it raw or in kibble form.

    I agree with BCnut about human toothpaste.. There are some that feel it is fluoride in grapes that are causing kidney disease in some dogs. Most human toothpaste has fluoride in it. And those that don’t likely have other things that wouldn’t be so good for pups. Please disregard if you were referring to doggie toothpaste!!! 🙂

  • theBCnut

    Raw is known for producing small firm stools.
    Toothpaste is not good for dogs, even humans are supposed to spit it out and then rinse the rest out of their mouth. Please don’t let your dog eat toothpaste.

  • Lia

    With the raw diet, does you Yorkie have a “wet poop?” I have a 4 month old tiny pomeranian . I am switching her from eukanuba to Origen puppy food. I was considering raw diet but am not sure if her tummy can tolerate it. By the way , have you tried putting toothpaste on doggie toothbrush and just let your pooch nibble it?

  • Betsy Greer

    I might consider replacing an Answers chicken meal one or twice a week with a raw chicken wing one day and a leg another. Let him eat it in his crate or close off a small area ~ both he and the flour will clean up just fine. Heck, he’ll probably clean the floor for you. Watch him with it to make sure he doesn’t try to full it down. You might need to hold it for him until gets the hang of it. When it gets nice again, he can enjoy his raw meaty bones outside.

    I’m not familiar with PetzLife, but believe my friend Sandy here uses an enzyme product with success called PlaqueOff:

  • JS Carter

    And I do rotate proteins (chicken one day, beef the next. Right now, that’s all I’m rotating. However, Orijen makes freeze dried treats with lots of other meats. So, he does get other proteins even in his treats. ANSWERS raw diet makes a PORK diet, too. I haven’t yet given him pork.

  • JS Carter

    No, I haven’t ever given one. I’d like to, but since he’s in the house, it would really be a mess, and he has really long hair that would not agree. 🙂 Dental/oral health is no doubt essential and especially for Yorkies. For cleaning teeth, he will not let me brush, but I do use a natural (hopefully – they say it’s natural) dental gel from PetzLife. Any thoughts on that?

  • Pattyvaughn

    My extremely picky eater has not missed one single meal in well over a year and a half since I started feeding a rotational diet. Before starting a rotational diet he would pick at every third meal, same food, and was only 2/3 of a healthy body weight for his size. My vet was very concerned about how skeletally thin he was. Now he eats quickly no matter what I put in his bowl and licks the bowl clean.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The idea of suggesting that an animal should only eat one food for life to prevent “picky eater syndrome” really and truly is as ridiculous as me saying that you should only eat a fortified meal replacement bar for your whole life because if you try a variety of foods you’ll find that you enjoy the new flavors and prefer switching things up rather than eating the same thing day in and day out. Lack of variety is also a recipe for creating an unhealthy gut.

    My dogs eat something completely different at each meal and I can assure you, they are not picky. In fact, feeding variety is more likely to do the opposite of what you say. Many animals, like people, get bored with food. Feeding variety keeps them interested.

  • ExplEngineer

    There is one downside to diet rotation that seems to rarely be discussed outside of Veterinary circles because it, alone will not severely alter, nor seriously adversely alter short term outcomes, and it is primarily applicable to the “picky eater syndrome”. That is too many variations in diet can result in your dog becoming a “Shopper” refusing to eat certain foods which may be essential to balancing the dietary rotational diet. Just as humans favor some foods, and perhaps even dislike others to the extent that they will not eat them (unless they are hungry enough, I don’t want to go into what a “satisfactory human diet” can become during adverse combat operations, suffice it to say that even I didn’t think that until it became a survival diet I didn’t think I could ever eat some things, and I was not driven to the extent of the “Donner Party) and our dogs soon learn that we will never let them “go hungry” or to “starve”, which invariably results in their “shopping” you, refusing to eat the healthy foods that you may want to feed them for dietary or medical reasons, knowing (& yes, unless you are a hard “pet parent” you will eventually surrender to a picky eater, we have all fallen victim to that at times) that when the miss a meal or two, or act hungry or unhappy, you will return with the food item that they will graciously “agree to eat”, which essentially means that it is what they wanted in the first place. I would suggest that one find a suitably nutritious diet that conforms to your dogs needs and still fulfills the tastes that you have trained him/her to like, and stick with it unless or until there is a medical or other valid reason to vary from it. Dogs do well when they receive proper nutrition, and don’t really require “variation”, nor do they have a natural affinity for variety in their diet. Look to their predecessors in the wild, they each a certain type of diet, rarely does a wolf seek out a peanut farm, nor a squirrel wait until the predators are done with their kills to seek out remnants of a steak dinner.

  • LabsRawesome

    What do you get out of posting jibberish? Are you a Dr. Seuss fan?

  • Ch

    Pattu could not make it in life bc she is a bad wife now she acts like a frog doing the blog

  • Ch

    Patty the dike should take a hike

  • Charlie

    Patty it is me again time to flag

  • Charlie

    Patty the bully and hully

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi JS Carter,

    Assuming you’re rotating proteins, his diet sounds great!

    Do you ever occasionally give.your pup a raw meaty bone for chewing satisfaction and oral health?

  • JS Carter

    I have a Yorkshire Terrier. His main meals are raw diets. I switch out every few days between Nature’s Variety raw and Answers raw. Before serving, I gently warm the raw by sitting a plate over of a bowl of hot water (just for a few minutes). My Yorkie loves his food MUCH better when it’s slightly warmed rather than serving it cold.

    In addition, I frequently add Orijen freeze dried on top of the raw.

    My dog appears to be a truly thriving dog (who once appeared to be a very sick dog as a puppy.) It’s all about proper nutrition.

    I’m interested in hearing from several educated dog guardians regarding the way I feed my dog.

  • jenlabrador

    honestly, I fed my dog Beneful for the first 7 years of her life and had no problems. Perfect weight, perfect skin and coat (and she’s a backyard breeder lab). I switched her over to a better kibble when she got grain allergies at age 7. I’m not at all supporting beneful as a dog food, cuz it is crap, but if your dog is getting it’s proper amount of exercise and has good breeding on its side… well, apparently they can live on beneful for 7 years lol. I recommend the dog food we’re on now, Acana Pacifica. I’m from Alberta though so I don’t know how available it is anywhere else. But I’ve heard excellent things about Frommas well and it seems to be quite similar to the Acana. I think, in addition to food, your lifestyle will affect your dog just as much as anything.

  • It does, although I notice different stools on different canned foods or other wet food types. Right now I have at least six different brands of wet/freeze dried/dehydrated foods in the dog room. And they really do love Merrick Smothered Comfort. The bone is very soft.

  • Jjennilee Flowerbuddys

    Does this rotation diet work with wet as well as dry foods?

  • Emmy

    Please talk to your vet and do your research. This person does not know what they’re talking about. They’ve left out some key elements of a raw diet. Using their method will end up harming your dog

  • Emmy

    You are really missing some key elements to the raw diet. If you don’t do it right, then don’t do it at all and I can guarantee you that just feeding your dog “50% ground beef, 25% chicken livers, 15% sweet potato, 10% apples” is not right.

  • Pattyvaughn

    No, if you are formulating the diet correctly, beef and livers are not bad, but DogLovers diet needs work. Liver should be no more than 5% of the diet though.

  • Break The stereotype

    Isn’t the raw food beef and livers dangerous. I have used Natures Variety which is a type of raw food but prepared in such a way that its less dangerous then pure raw such as the beef and the livers. How long have you been feeding your dog this?

  • Pam

    My vet told me that, since my dog has food allergies, he can develop an intolerance to a certain protein that I have been feeding, even though he did fine on the food at first. By rotating foods with different proteins (NOT feeding them at the same time), I can eliminate the possibility for him to develop an intolerance, since we switch the food periodically. We switch every couple of months, because that is when his allergenic symptoms flare up. Feeding both types of food would not be harmful, I dont think, but it would not help in this type of case as my dog would still be getting the protein to which he developed an intolerance. Hope this helps.

  • Leyna

    Thank you, that is the way I have been feeding my crew for a while .I have decided to avoid foods that contain grains and it seems to be working out for my dogs.. They seem to be thriving feeding them this way.. They are happy, full of energy and their coats are shiny! Couldn’t ask for much more I guess. I would love to work with a holistic vet, but there are none in our surrounding area.

  • ManWithThe1000PoundBrain

    The way I am understanding it, is that one of the benefits of diet rotation is that you completely take your dog off of one food to prevent the accumulation of toxins that might be associated with one or more ingredients in that food. In humans, we have heard how you should eat fish–but not too often because of the mercury. You should “take a break” from eating fish because mercury can build up in your system and it’s toxic. This makes me wonder about feeding fish based dog foods for any length of time. If there is mercury in the fish humans eat, why wouldn’t there be mercury in fish based dog food? Another concern that some have discussed on the dog forums is arsenic in rice. Eating rice from time to time is okay, but perhaps it’s not healthy to feed it to your dog continuously.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Sojo’s is a brand of dehdyrated dog food.

    Here’s the website:

    Here’s the review:

  • Jenny girl

    I feel really dumb for asking, but what is Sojo?

  • sharron

    sorry – I didn’t post this under the right topic

  • sharron

    currently i’m feeding horizon amicus small breed weight management – she has to lose a lb – i’m mixing about a tsp of wet with 1/8 cup of dry 3 x day – is this do you think an appropriate amt for weight loss? – thanks

  • Wrangler Shelby

    I just switched my dogs from low grade food (didn’t know how bad it was till I got on here and was able to read all the reviews) to a 5 star food and my female ate around the low grade food to get all the five star food, she made the switch by herself without the slow transitioning and didn’t have any issue.

  • kennekra

    So, we just got a 9 week old Puggle/Shih Tzu mix as a friend to our 18 month old Terrier mix. What sort of rotation would be good to start with?

  • MerlynsMom

    My Golden has the chronic health issue Hot Spots – my vet put him on raw food fish oil and Curcumin and tapered off the prednisone – he is much better now.
    Have a look at the Golden Retriever Health Survey.

  • BogesMum

    Leyna: It is okay, as long as it’s a different brand. I mix two different varieties from different brands and then switch when that runs out. I also feed raw for one meal per day. My dog has allergies to certain proteins and a dislike for anything too gamey. You should work with a good holistic vet (who also does Western veterinary medicine, also good balance) to find out what works best for you and your dog. There is NO right answer, just what works best for you and your dog.

    Best of luck!

  • losul

    Theres so many many factors that come into play with that. In addition to what Patty said, also amount of delicate polyunsaturated fats, and especially omega 3’s in the food, type and amounts of preservatives used, etc.

    Insist on a food with a recent manufacture date and then store and use under the best possible conditions.

  • Pattyvaughn

    My understanding is they can start going rancid in as little as 2 weeks. I’ve never had a problem with having a bag open for a month, but I get out a weeks worth in another container then squeeze all the air out of the bag and reseal it to minimize exposure. Oxygen, humidity, and temperature can all play a role in how fast they can turn. I live where all three are high all the time, so you may have better results than I do.

  • Diane Hicks Clair

    How long does it take for dry dog food to go rancid?

  • Dog trainer

    How much do I feed per serving and are all the ingredients uncooked? I have never done a raw diet but have been terrified of the recent recalls and bad pr regarding the store foods.

  • dolly

    hI Storm’s Mom….no I hadn’t posted her allergies as yet. I will tell you just the food allergies, but she has MANY more. So it’s: pork (which I would never give a dog anyway), chicken, milk, soybean, barley, white potato, kelp, carrots and, as they told me there could be more because they don’t test for everything. we even had to stop using our pet sitter because turned out she is allergic to many grasses (and their yard was grass) AND they had a horse and she’s allergic to horse hair as well!!!! Many grasses, weeds, trees, fungi and ecen some insects!!! We live in north central Arizona, btw. thanks for asking!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Apologies if you’ve answered/done this already somewhere on DFA, but are you looking for food suggestions, and if so I’m wondering if you could provide a list of her allergies?

  • dolly

    Hi Wendy,
    I do believe I contacted that company because their food did contain some things that Minnie is allergic to. They did not make a food that was without those things, but I will check again! Thanks

  • dolly

    Hi Bob K,
    We did see an allergy specialist when we first rescued Minnie. She’s a golden retriever and that can spell allergy right there……..I’ve had many with skin allergies but this dog is more respiratory issues. Anyway, she was on custom allergy serum for a year and a half and it didn’t help. She has actually been on ONLY 2.5mg of prednisone for the past year and a half or more and this is the only thing that stops those horrible debilitating throat spasms that she was getting. She also gets diarrhea and vomits when the allergy kicks up. Anyway, two different vets said that this dose of prednisone is less than her body produces and not dangerous. She was on California Natural Chicken Meal and Rice and did well, but kept having diarrhea which we found out,, ultimately, was the salmonella issue. She is now on Tuscan Natural Lamb and Rice and her stomach is great………..but I worry that there’s not much nutrition in it. She has so many food allergies, and most foods have at least one of them in their composition. No herbicides or pesticides. We are VERY cautious with our dogs. My last golden was sensitive to bug spray, so we don’t ever do that anywhere!! No lakes or rivers. We do not even walk her outside our property because of the foliage in the neighborhood. So sad for her. I use only oatmeal baths, but just found tea tree oil and aloe shampoo that seems to be fine. She gets bathed every few months or so.

  • Wendy Crouch

    Many people have found that Brothers Complete Allergy Formula works very well and many symptoms disappear. You can only order it online from Brothers Complete but shipping is free over $40. I DO NOT have any affiliation with them—this is the only food my dog thrives on.

  • Bob K

    Dolly – If your dog is overflowing with allergies, please see a veterinary allergy specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. What are you currently feeding your dog? How often do you bathe your dog? What type of dog shampoo do you use? Have you tried other dog foods? Which ones? Which specific formulas? Is your dog getting into any herbicides or pesticides? Any lakes or rivers that your dog frequents? Are you sure? Lots of things cause allergic reactions. What symptoms does your dog have – Best of luck.

  • dolly

    Thanks for all this information!!! I’m going to get busy learning!!!!!

  • dolly

    I have a question. My dog is just overflowing with allergies!!!! I know this diet you are talking about says “raw”, but can the ,meats and potato be cooked? I’m not sure if this would all be too “rich” for her tender stomach!!!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi DogLover –

    While I agree with you that a homemade raw diet is the healthiest thing to feed a dog, I’m not understanding why you’re against diet rotation? No food is perfect which is why variety is important. No wild candid would eat the same exact thing every day. Rotating foods also fosters a diverse population of microflora in the gut which, in turn, boosts the immune system.

    I’d also like to point out that, while it’s wonderful you’ve recognized the important of a fresh raw diet, a diet of 50% ground beef, 25% chicken livers, 15% sweet potato and 10% apples is extremely unbalanced. While raw feeding it great, it’s crucial to properly research how to create a balanced diet otherwise you’ll do your dog more harm than good in the long term. Just to quickly point out a few of the major imbalances – there is no added calcium in your “recipe.” Canines require calcium and phosphorus in between a 1:1 and 2:1 (C:P) ratio. Meat is high in phosphorus but has little to no calcium. To achieve the appropriate ratio 10% of the diet should be bone or 800 – 1,000 mg. of calcium should be added per pound of meat fed. 25% liver is way too much – liver should be no more than 5% of the diet as it’s excessively high in vitamin a (vitamin a is a fat soluble vitamin and can be toxic and high doses). There should be at least one other type of organ meat (kidney, lungs, spleen, pancreas, brain, etc.). Together the liver and other organ meat should comprise about 10% of the diet. The other 80% (or 90% if you’re excluding bone and supplementing with calcium) should be muscle meat. There are no omega 3’s in this recipe – these can be supplied by cage-free eggs, fatty fish (salmon, sardines) or fish oil. There is inadequate vitamin d – I like to use cod liver oil to add vitamin d but you could also add a supplement. There is no vitamin e. There are also inadequate levels of manganese and other trace minerals.

    I would highly suggest picking up a copy of Steve Brown’s book “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet.” It’s a wonderful resource for beginners. Dr. Becker also has a good book called “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats.” is a great online resource. You could also check out the raw food area of the forum – I have several of my dogs’ menus posted on this thread: . There are also tons of people there to answer any questions you might have. 🙂

  • LabsRawesome

    It should not be a problem, as long as you can use both open bags fast enough that they don’t become stale or go rancid. 🙂

  • Butchroy

    I would think it would be fine, that is how some people introduce new foods is to mix when they worry there might be a stomach upset. I like raw best too, but can only afford to feed part of the time, so I mix together dry for one meal. I am mixing Nutrisource grainfree lamb with 4Health grain free. Butch loves it! Just my thoughts.

  • Leyna

    Please tell me why it is not ok to mix 2 or more different kinds of kibble at one time, if they are all 5 star rated foods, just different main ingredients and from different brands? I do not understand why that should be a problem?

  • DogLover

    Diet Rotation is another word for nutritional indecision. Dogs are not humans – and the entire concept of complete of AAFCO approved diets are a sham – almost 100% of dog food sold in supermarkets is junk – vets are being paid to push way overpriced Science Diet that is at best mediocre. What it comes down to is – there is NO better diet for a dog – NO fresher and healthier diet – than making RAW (B.A.R.F.) diet either at home or working with your butcher – kibble is a horrible way to feed a pet – it would take a hammer to break most dry kibble – the energy needed to break down already processed food – is dehydrating – instead of moving from one kibble to the next – why not learn how to feed your dog what he/she has evolved to eat, 100% fresh and natural and in many cases – even save money – lugging 30 lbs of kibble is bad for your back, wallet, and your dog. Try this diet – RAW – 50% ground beef, 25% chicken livers, 15% sweet potato, 10% apples – and watch your dog shine inside and out!

  • ravenzwhisper

    My Wicket gets Honest Kitchen on a daily basis, either the Embark or Love and then with each meal, which is two a day, he will get either beef heart, beef liver, beef steak or canned Sardines. I also vary it during the week and he gets full fat plain greek yogurt mixed in a couple of meals.
    He hasn’t had stomach upset with any changes that I have made.

  • Monroe.Othello

    Thank you too! I thought I was doing wrong since they are only puppies!!

  • Monroe.Othello

    Thanks Sandy! It is exactly what I am doing topping the kibbles with Sojo.

  • Pattyvaughn

    What Sandy said! You can definitely rotate more often. I don’t think I would rotate less often than every 3 months. The more often, the better.

  • Pattyvaughn

    What Sandy said! You can definitely rotate more often. I don’t think I would rotate less often than every 3 months. The more often, the better.

  • If you have space, you can feed 2 or 3 different foods as the same time so they get a different food for each meal. You can also rotate with every bag of food instead of 2 or 3. But the fact that you’re rotating in the first place is a good thing. You could even top the different kibbles with the Sojos.

  • Monroe.Othello

    I’ve been switching my pitbull and miniature schnauzer since I got them. First I started with Blue Buffalo Wilderness puppy, after the second 30# bad, i got them Holistic Blend Grain Free. Then after the second 25# bag, I switched them to Sojos Complete Raw Food Diet and now I got them on Infinia Bison and Potato, just started on this one yesterday. Got them mixed with the Sojos.

    Ages are: Miniature Schnauzer, male, 7 months old Othello
    Pitbull, female, 4 months old Monroe.

    The haven’t had upset stomach and are healthy. Can I continue to rotate every 2-3 bags of dry food??

    What would be a healthy pattern?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Since within a brand name they usually use the same vitamin /mineral premix, it’s a good idea to also rotate between a few different brands. But it sounds like you are doing great with your dog.

  • PattyRainbow

    I have two med-large dogs and buy 20# or less bags of dry food. I switch the main protein source between bags. Dogs never get sick or complain.

  • Shawna

    Yes, if you stated in your first draft what you stated in your reply to me, then me and my eight dogs do agree.

    However, we don’t agree with what you actually wrote in your first statement that actually posted. 🙂

  • aimee

    LOL Yes I’m beginning to think the frequency of it happening is directly proportional to the time and effort you put into the post.

  • aimee

    So…. then you and your 8 dogs agree with me? : ) I guess I shouldn’t have been lazy and had just rewritten what I inadvertently deleted. : )

  • Shawna

    I think that is exactly what myself and a few others said. If the dog is used to frequent rotation and varying macronutrient content, they can change abruptly without consequence.

    If the stomach and intestines weren’t adaptable humans could not eat bacon and eggs for breakfast and a vegetable salad for lunch without consequence. Although not species approprite, I imagine dogs could do the very same if conditioned to do so by routinely feeding this way.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I had that happen yesterday – I don’t even know what I hit on the keyboard but my whole post just disappeared. Frustrating – seems to only happen when you put a lot of thought/time into a post too.

  • aimee

    I had actually originally written a longer response but I did “something” that made it turn blue and disappear.

    Based on the reading I’ve done enzyme adaption occurs based on dietary composition. The bacteria population changes as well.

    Fat is the most complex to digest. IMHO if you have your dog on a 12% fat diet for months and then abruptly change to a 35% fat diet your dog may have a problem.

    If a dog is adapted to higher fat diets than I don’t think day to day variation will have much impact.

    Even this though may be dog dependent. I’ve often changed my dogs diets abruptly without consequence.

    A gradual diet change may also be beneficial when there are large differences in other components as well, Na for example.

  • Strey

    I looked into natures logic, Since i can get 10 dollars off on petflow, i will get her a bag of it …probably after dr. tims 🙂

  • aimee

    Thanks for the kind words smitty. I’m a data girl!

  • Shawna

    You are correct Eldee.. LOTS of people on this site rotate regularly without issue. My raw fed dogs get a new food every other to every third day. My three that get kibble w/ raw topper get the raw in the same rotation as the others and get a new kibble after every bag (the small 4 and 5 lb bags).
    I foster Boston Terriers and Papillons as well. Yes, when I get a new dog in they have issue with transitioning at first but after a bit they too can have their diet changed as regularly as my own without consequence.

  • Shawna

    I and all eight of my dogs disagree aimee. If that was the case my crew wouldn’t be able to switch from 36% protein kibble to 54% protein raw, and the macronutrients that vary with that, without issue.

    In my opinion, and experience, the conditioning of the digestive tract to not be able to handle transition by feeding the same food long term is far more relevant than the amount of macronutrients in the foods.

  • Hey Guys,

    Up-voting or down-voting any comment here is a right of every participant. Accusing each other for taking these actions is a waste of time and degrades the quality of these discussions.

  • To Whom It May Concern,

    Certain comments from this thread were deemed by the moderator to have been posted in direct violation of our commenting policy – and have therefore been removed.

    Unfortunately, deleted comments can sometimes make it more difficult to understand the context of the remaining conversation.

    I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may cause our readers.

  • smitty


    I enjoy your data driven posts. I learn a lot from you!

  • smitty


    Your comment adds nothing positive to this website.

    Every day thousands of people probably visit DFA wanting to learn something about dog food, then they see comments like yours designed to be rude and sarcastic and this could be the impression they get of this wonderful website.

    If you must make these sorts of comments why don’t you email someone privately and have a ball. They don’t belong on a public forum.

    For the record I have NOT down voted any of the comments you are talking about and this is something that Dr Mike could easily verify.

  • Eldee

    A healthy animal should be able to transition between species appropriate food sources without a hitch. I know that raw feeders transition between food all the time without a problem. I used to always worry if I was running out of food and wanted to try another brand. Now, I don’t worry so much. If there is a coupon for a certain good food at my pet store I will buy it and change over. It is almost like the pet food companies make you think you should not switch foods to keep you loyal. That is 1970’s thinking I think. I think I will do a little research on this and find out the real reason they talk about it taking weeks of transitioning.

  • Eldee

    Who??? I never noticed the down arrows. Someone is giving me down arrows? That’s not very nice. Must be someone that works at Purina.

  • LabsRawesome

    Yeah, me too. They stand corrected. lol

  • LabsRawesome

    Lol, I agree. Isn’t that right, smitty? (the creeper)

  • Strey

    Im going to Try Dr. Tim’s First. Ill let ya know. 🙂

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I kind of feel bad for them. Imagine how boring someone’s life must be if they have nothing better to do than sit on DFA and down vote posts. lol.

  • LabsRawesome

    Well I haven’t been on for 3 days, so they couldn’t down vote me. They must have gotten bored, and started picking on everyone. Freakin creeper.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I noticed that too – someone’s obviously very immature and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion who.

  • Interesting that every response to Eldee’s post is being down rated…

  • I think that’s a solid rotation, Strey. Continue researching and find some additional products that interest you in case something you’ve chosen doesn’t work for her.

    Which are you going to try first? Let us know how it goes. I’ll be especially curious to see how the Dr. Tim’s works for her.

    As for the wet food, if you happen to have access to Costco, they have a really quality canned product that comes in at well under a dollar a can called Kirkland Cuts in Gravy. Kirkland dry foods are very good quality foods, but unfortunately are made by Diamond.

    Good luck!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I couldn’t agree more. If I had a dog that couldn’t switch foods without a gradual transition, I’d be looking into potential health issues. Unless a dog has been on an extremely low-grade processed food for an extended period of time and is suddenly being switched to a high quality food – I think the idea of “transitioning” is ludicrous. I’ve never owned a dog that required a “transition” – I think it’s a scare tactic created by commercial pet food companies to gain brand loyalty. My three eat something completely different at every meal with no issues and my two youngest have been eating this way since they came home at 8 weeks old – even at 8 weeks they had no issues with variety.

  • Strey

    Thank you so much 🙂 I decided to go with Fromm Gold Puppy, Dr. Tims All life stages, and Earthborn puppy vantage for now. When shes an adult i think i will give her Nutrisource Grain free instead of earthborn or whichever i like less. Do you guys think that will make a good rotation diet? I like hearing others opinions!

  • aimee

    Hi Eldee,

    I’ve always thought it had more to do with the fat/carb/protein levels of the diet. Gradually changing may gives the body a chance to adapt to the new levels.

  • I agree completely, Eldee.

    I think the need to slowly transition is necessary for those pets whose digestive system isn’t accustomed to switching because they’ve eaten the same exact kibble day in, day out, sometimes for years; unfortunately, they’re lacking the proper gut health to be able to jump from protein to protein. It’s a shame that people do that to their pets.

  • LawofRaw

    Good point Eldee. It’s more to do with processed dog food than it is with natural foods. Even higher quality grain free processed dog foods will have artificial additives to say another brand. Not a great deal of difference but it’s because of the unnatural and processed foods that it is a precautionary measure to transition slowly in order to stave off a sudden upset stomach or digestive system issues. Albeit, it may occur for only a day and a half if at all. But like you bring up, regarding a poorer cereal ridden food like Purina that a dog is used to, should be transitioned slowly to another food that is cereal free, containing higher quality meat based proteins.

  • Eldee

    I have never understood the reasoning behind slowly .transitioning over to a new food. Unless, you are feeding something like Orijen and then switching over to Purina Dog Chow. In the wild, wolves will eat a rabbit, then a deer, then perhaps a salmon by the rivers edge, etc… which must be fine for them or they wouldn’t do it. I think if you are feeding a high quality grain free 5 star food, and switch to another 5 star grain free high quality food, then I don’t see why you just can’t make the switch. What is the reasoning behind slowly transitioning? We too, can switch from beef to pork to salmon to chicken without suffering. I do find, however, when I stop at Macdonalds for a Big Mac and fries, my stomach doesn’t fare so well the next day. Maybe it isn’t the food, so much as the quality and ingredients in the next bag. just a thought.

  • If you have a TSC near you, their new grain free 4Health kibbles would be a good option. Locally, for me, it’s $36.99 for 30 pounds. The grain inclusive varieties are made by Diamond, but the grain free is made by Ainsworth, which to me, makes the grain free a far superior choice.

    Dr. Tim’s is a great food, too. I’ve used the grain free Kinesis with great results and it’s $32.99 for a 15 pound bag on That said, the grain inclusive Kinesis is $64.99 for a 44 pound bag.

    I, like Sandy, think highly of NutriSource products and the Earthborn Primitive Natural you mention is another outstanding choice.

    At the higher end of your budget, but one of my absolute favorites is Nature’s Logic. A 26.4 pound bag of chicken or venison is $57.99. Nature’s Logic is made using whole food ingredients with no
    synthetic vitamins or minerals and no ingredients from China.

  • Nutrisource is around $50 for the large bags. No recalls. They are slightly higher in calories too so you might be able to feed a little less.

  • Strey

    My puppy is 8 months and her healthy weight seems to be about 40 lbs. I am trying to find her 2 -3 good dog foods to rotate between. I am looking for dog foods that are around 30lbs for under 60, and that don’t have a lot of recalls…Like Diamond :/. So far, I’m pretty sure i want to include Fromm Gold. Can anyone suggest some rotations? ive been researching like crazy xD Im only 18 but i love my dog …just wish i had more money! I am thinking about Rotating between Fromm Gold, Earthborn Primitive natural, and TOTW wetlands (eventhough it is made by Diamond) idk. I just need opinions! 🙂 thankk you thank you thank you! btw ive learned so much from this website. Its awesome and so helpful! I had no idea Beneful and purina and others were so bad! Im glad i only fed my dog one bag of puppy chow. 🙂 After that i fed her one bag of Whole Earth Farms, Then one small bag of Orijen, and now She is on Blue buffalo. she seems to do pretty good with switching foods. Oh and i almost always mix wet food with her kibble. 🙂

  • leslie

    You can purchase canned pumpkin and add it in when switching foods. It will help with any gastric upset your dog may have.

  • Jerry

    I currently rotate between four bags of food: BB Wilderness Chicken, Wellness Core Ocean, Merrick Grain Free Pork, and NV Venison/Lamb Raw Boost. I have a small breed so it takes a while to go through a bag, plus I add a canned topper from the kibble brand being used at the moment (or I add egg, green veggies, etc. to keep it interesting). I transition slowly between bags, about 10 days, to avoid any gastric upset. Overall my dog handles the changes well with very few stool issues, and the vet says her weight is perfect.

    Do you guys think the above rotation choices and schedule sound ok? My main cause for doubt is everytime I go to pick up more food, a rep at the store (usually from BB) tells me that I’m using too many brands and would be better off sticking with one or two at most. Any insight is appreciated, thanks.

  • Are chopped carrots ok mixed in dry dog food , 3 yr westie

  • Shawna

    Sorry your questions didn’t get answered earlier??
    Fromm Grain Free is a good food but at only 33% protein adding extra veggies/pumpkin etc just dilutes the protein. Veggies and fruits add very valuable nutrients to the diet but it is well documented, in teaching books like Waltham, that carbohydrates are not even necessary in a dogs diet.
    I’m a raw feeder and I just finished feeding Sojo’s veggie premix mixed with Bravo salmon. One thing I’ve noticed with my eight dogs is that the veggies/fruits in Sojo’s are not processed enough to be highly digestible. I have to soak the food til hydrated and then run it through the food processor or blender to ensure that my crew can digest it properly.
    You probably will want to add raw meats in slowly if you want to avoid symptoms like diarrhea. I foster Boston Terriers and Papillons. I don’t transition them when I first get them. I just start them on the new kibble with added canned AND complete and balanced raw foods. I add pumpkin and probiotics and I do deal with a little diarrhea but it is usually very short lived.
    A complete and balanced raw (or raw and premix) can be added to the kibble. Once adjusted to the food some here feed kibble for one meal and raw for the other. Some will say that combining kibble and raw will cause one of the foods to go undigested. However if you look at how digestion works, this simply doesn’t make any sense?
    And again, veggies and fruits definitely do add valuable nutrients to the diet but most of us raw feeders that add veggies and fruit keep them to about 20 to 25% (some less) of the total diet. Fresh and in season when available fruits and veggies will give you more bang for the buck.

  • Pattyvaughn

    It definitely helps some dogs keep a firm stool during food changes. If you start a rotational diet and stick with it, before long your dog won’t need the pumpkin either. My dogs get something different every meal and I no longer need pumpkin. Now I give it about once a week because it has some good things in it and they like it, not because they need it.

  • NoOats4me

    does anyone know about organic pumpkin? apparently that is the key to switching dogs food without GI upset.

  • Scout’s mom

    Once your dog enjoys every flavor of a brand ( small bag worth)..i feed a small bag then when it is just about finished i hold back a bit to mix with the new bag i will be opening and for me it’s should be able to rotate any flavor after that initial bag of that brand in a rotation I was told.

  • Scout’s mom

    The brown rice? You aren’t grain free?

  • Scout’s mom

    I have a one year old dog. I used as a puppy wellness holistic puppy kibble only. And started to add fresh veggies …fruit & pumpkin.
    (@ About 8-9 months) so at a year the end of January I changed off of the puppy food and I bought “Fromm no grain ” I add “wellness 95% canned” with a dollop of yogurt or pumpkin for his digestion.( He’s a 65 pound multi generation true labradoodle.)
    He does well.i switch the Fromm flavor..chicken ….bison…etc…and was interested in learning if anyone mixes the “Sojo” raw veggies only with their kibble?
    I have not done the raw meat…
    I would think I would have to introduce that gradually also…correct? Mix in with kibble?

  • I feed my dogs a rotation diet without realising it simply by buying decent dry dog food brands that are on offer at the time! Since I’ve fed them a very varied diet since pups, they’re stomachs are made of cast iron and can handle anything going in with solid poops still coming out. I vary from meal to meal, daily, weekly, monthly, when the bag runs out… just whenever really. I just ensure all the foods are decent (James Wellbeloved, Burns etc.) and they’ve only ever been to the vets for routine vaccs and neutering in 7 years. Happy advocate of the rotation diet 🙂

  • Canned food is a better choice of food as it is high in moisture and can be low in carbs and higher in protein than kibble. But just like kibble you’ll need to search for high quality canned foods. The Merrick Whole Earth Farms canned food is very reasonably priced and so is the Simply Nourish cans and the Kirkland cans and they all have high ratings. As for how often, you can feed canned foods as often as you’d like. It’s food. And you can serve canned food by itself or mix with kibble as often as you’d like also.

  • Pattyvaughn

    If you can feed all canned, that’s better than most kibbles. If that is too expensive then some canned and some kibble mixed would be good. Keeping some moisture in the food is better than just adding moisture later.
    As far as how often, I prefer to feed twice daily, but that is just a preference unless you have a puppy or a dog with a medical problem such as diabetes. Dogs were designed to gorge then fast and I know someone who feeds his dogs a huge meal every 3 days and then fasts them until the next time. Mine prefer food more regularly than that and tell me about it.

  • jeff

    I need to know should i give my dog can or hard food or a combination and how often

  • Golfbrat0369

      Read bottom response first…………. One more thing, if you’re concerned with parasites, those little
    boogers are typically found in the digestive track of the animal, which
    you do not feed that part to your dog.  The grocery store guts the bird
    for you making your job that much easier 🙂  As far as the bacteria of
    raw meat, either buy frozen or freeze it for 3 days and then feed, any
    living organism in the bird at that time will not be living.  Just a
    little FYI in case someone brings up the parasite/bacteria question AND a
    dogs stomach acid is at 1%… which can pretty much digest anything.

  • Golfbrat0369

     You have to be REALLY careful with how much liver you give your pets, it can be extremely dangerous if given in high doses, I wouldn’t give it as a snack and don’t put a ton of it in your pets food… too much of a yummy thing is not a good thing

  • I routinely rotate every month or so by trying different brands and/or blends of dry dog food. Sometimes I transition over a few days and sometimes I simply go from one to the other.

    Other times I purchase several smaller bags of dog food and mix them equally.

    Over the six years I have done this, I can recall only twice when the dog appeared not to tolerate the switch.

    One reason I think I have been successful is due to the fact I tend to stay with the 4- and 5-star rated foods with similar ingredients.

    Finally, several times a week I give the dog human leftovers — usually from dinnertime. These include: rices, peas, cooked carrots, potato dishes and other entrees and side dishes. I don’t overdo it.

    The dog is extremely healthy, trim and happy.

  • Kayla

    Any thoughts on rotation diet with a diabetic dog?

  • Pattyvaughn

    It is best if you protion out the kibble into freezer bags in the amount you would want to take out because every time you open the bag in the freezer you do get some condensation on the food that is left.  But I’m not sure it would really be enough to matter in any way.  I think you’ve got a pretty good routine going.  Keeping it sealed in an air tight container until it reaches room temp would prevent condensation from reaching the food, but as I said, I really don’t know that it would be enough to matter.

  • losul

    thnx Patty. My reasoning is pretty much the same as yours.

    It works out much better for me to mix raw and kibble for the same meals, rather than 1 meal raw and then 1 meal kibble, mostly because I only want to feed about 35% kibble total. So for now I think I will just continue, unless someone has a convincing argument.

    Because i am cost conscious, because I like the idea of food rotation, because I am feeding only about 1/3 of my 32 pound dog’s diet in kibble, because quality dog food manufacturers don’t any longer use harmful artificial preservatives at the expense of shelf life, and because 30lbs  of kibble can easily last 6 months, I have elected to keep the bulk of it in the deep freeze to preserve it. I don’t think it would hurt the nutrients to freeze a product with very little moisture content, I think it’s the ice crystals that damages the nutrients. The ice crystals will also damage the nutrients in any wet foods, including raw meats over a period of time. My concern is that the dry kibble might absorb additional moisture in the freezer, especially when opening/closing the bags, during the freeze/thaw cycle, etc., and making it more prone to mold or other contamination after it is removed from the freezer. I  remove about 1 weeks supply at a time from the freezer and keep in the fridge until feed time. Does anyone see a problem with doing this?

    I pretty much do the same thing with my parrots dry pellets, buying in bulk (usually 100 plus pounds) and freezing for probably as much as 6 months. The only difference is once removed from the freezer, I haven’t been keeping in the frig after about  3 weeks supply has been removed from the freezer. I have just been storing in canisters (3 different sizes of pellets) at room temperature. I’ve always wondered if I’ve been doing the right thing. As I have become more conscious about dog food, I am also becoming more conscious about my bird’s feed. Recently I realized that most of the name brand extruded bird pellets still contain many nasty artificial preservatives, especially ethoxyquin and BHT and many other real bad ingredients/problems the same as dog food. In fact Zupreem just recently had a serious problem recall that was very close to the manufacture date of the parrot food I now have. i wouldn’t even have known this had I not visited their website. So i am now absolutely switching the parrot feed to natural and organic.

    Thanks in advance for any advice

  • Pattyvaughn

    If your dog tolerates it, there is nothing wrong with mixing raw and kibble.  A few of us do that and have no problems.  There was an old report about dogs digesting things at different rates that prompted that idea.  People digest things at different rates too, but we handle a mixed meal just fine, so can dogs.

    I don’t think a deep freeze damages nutrients worse than the process to make kibble does, but most suggest a cool dry place.  If I was feeding out a bag that took longer than a month or so to feed, I would consider freezing too, but under that and I wouldn’t bother.

  • losul

    1) I’m under the impression that most think mixing kibble with canned food or even dehydarated raw for the same meal is alright, while mixing raw meat with kibble is not a good idea. It doesn’t really make sense to me. Why is this, especially if my dog seems to have no problem with mixing raw/kibble?

    2) Is it preferable or is it undesireable to keep the bulk of my dogs kibble in the deep freeze while only withdrawing small 1 weeks worth and keeping in the frig until fed?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Kalmeida397 –

    If you’re feeding homemade raw the meal should be approximately 80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat (no more than 5% liver) and 10% bone. If you’re feeding homemade cooked it should be 90% muscle meat and 10% organ meat (no more than 5% liver) with 800-1,000 mg calcium per pound of meat. If you’re feeding a balanced kibble, canned or dehydrated food and using the meat as a topper keep the topper to no more than 20% of the meal to prevent throwing off the nutritional balance of the food. The reason for the 80% muscle meat/10% organ meat/10% bone model is that this is the approximate distribution on a whole prey animal – this provides enough bone to create an appropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio and enough organ meat for the dog to get the appropriate levels of essential vitamins and minerals. The reason you shouldn’t feed more organ meat than this is that organ meat is VERY nutritionally dense and the dog could potentially get too much of certain vitamins and minerals which is oftentimes as dangerous as not getting enough. Liver, in particular, is extremely high in vitamin a. Vitamin a is a fat soluble vitamin so extremely high doses can be toxic. And remember heart is muscle meat, not organ meat. So heart doesn’t need to be limited. My dogs can eat entire meals with heart as their muscle meat with no issues but I have heard of large amounts of heart causing loose stools in some dogs.

  • losul

    Thnx for the replies. It’s much appreciated.

     Maybe someday he’ll get whole raw bones, but not this week or month, and prob not next either. I’m still trying to get over the fear of the pathogens I know he has most likely been ingesting, i.e, the coliforms, salmonella, etc. So a little at a time for us.I think I’ll take the middle of the road on these chickens for now  and remove half of the skin and bone for the grind. I have plenty of chicken livers on hand so I’ll prob add a few of those.

  • Kalmeida397

    We raised chickens for ourselves to eat- is it ok for them to eat just the heart/livers… we have pig/lamb/goat organs too…  We can’t possibly give away/eat all that we have in the freezer.  How much would you recommend a dog eat per meal w/ food?  someone wrote not more than 5% for livers, is there a reason? 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I agree with everyone else, leave the bones. Whole prey naturally has balanced meat/organ/bone ratio. My dogs eat whole game hens, quail, rabbits, etc. Just add the giblets that came with that one chicken. If you’re dog is big enough to handle the chicken whole I’d feed it whole rather than grinding it. You lose the dental benefits when you grind the bones. I’d also leave the skin, my dogs eat all their raw meaty bones with the skin on.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I feed whole chickens and that’s the way a wolf would eat them so I would say, if your going to grind them, grind all of them.  As long as the livers don’t go over about 5% of the total, adding extras is fine, but one chicken should have enough liver for one chicken. 

    I’m hoping someone more experienced will chime in too.  I just started raw feeding two months ago myself.

  • The whole chicken will have a good meat/bone/organ ratio in itself.  If your dog is not a breed prone to pancreatitis and/or is eating a normal diet (not low fat), then grind the whole thing skin and all.  Fat provides omega 3-6-9 and other nutrients and is needed for fat soluble vitamins.

    If you’re concerned about fat then take the skin off.  there will still be some fat on the body.

    Also, according to one recipe book I have (for a 10 lb batch), it calls for 8.5 lbs of meat and bones, 1/2 lb chicken heart, 1/2 lb liver, 1/2 lb gizzards.

  • Our raw feeders might have missed your post!  Maybe this post will catch their attention now.  I can’t answer your question, but I can tell you this… you can certainly give them some of those bones without grinding them!  My dogs love whole chicken legs!  I know lots of others feed whole chicken backs, too.  Thanks for looking our for your dogs!

  • losul

    wasn’t sure where to put this question, but

    I bought some whole cage-free chickens. I won’t feed with whole bones, i intend to grind them.

    Should I grind all the bones with these 4.5 lb chickens, or would that ratio of bone be too high?

    Should I remove all the skin, some of the skin, or leave it all?

    These chickens have giblets included. Should I still add some more chicken livers that I have on hand?

  • When you go to look at the Enhance, compare the regular adult formula with the puppy formula.  The puppy formula probably has more calories.  Again, not just puppies can eat puppy food.  : )  Good luck!  Let us know how things go.  

  • RMaine123

    THANK YOU so much for all the input.  I’m glad I wrote on here.  I think due to the availibility I will try Enhance.  his coat/muscle is great now, just looking for weight. so if anythign changes on enhance, with those things, I will know it is not the right choice.  I can also see if anyone will order Nutrichoice as well.   thanks for the heads up on ingredients too- it can be so overwelming, just those few pointers will help.   🙂  At least I have a right direction to start. 

  • Pattyvaughn

    I had the same experience with our JRT.  She had been on Science Diet her entire life up until I got her at age 5 and I tried to switch slowly to Blue Wilderness(I think).  She actually got very ill with mild pancreatitis so I had to go back to SD for a while.  Then I had to plan a long series of transitions to finally get her where she is today, which is in fine fettle.  But I sure wish I knew then what I know now!!

  • I agree with you on this, Patty. Nutrisource does seem to be a an easy food to transition to.

    Shortly after we first got Sam, he got sick while I was in the process of switching him off of the breeder’s choice of food, Purina Pro Plan to, I believe it was Wellness Core, which didn’t agree with him at all. I went out and picked up some Nutrisource adult chicken & rice formula and he switched to that very easily and his tummy improved right away.

  • Hi RMaine123, I noticed you and Patty had discussed your possibly using Nutrisource. I know she recommended regular Nutrisource first and then you might also consider transitioning from there to Nutrisource Performance or Super Performance – both more calorie dense and ideal for working, nursing, etc. dogs. You might also consider their puppy formula. It contains more calories and just because your dog isn’t a puppy, doesn’t mean she can’t eat it. : )

    I didn’t look at the calories of each, so you’ll want to check their website for more info:

    I like Nutrisource products and they’re very budget friendly, too. The also have a loyalty program if you can buy it locally, buy 12 bags get one free. If you can’t find it near you, you could order it from either or I’m sure there Reothers who carry it as well.

    Good luck!

  • Pattyvaughn

    I just looked at Enhance and it looks like a pretty good next food to try.  I hope it works for you.

  • Pattyvaughn

    It always is, because every dog is different.  Try it for 3 or 6 months and check his coat condition and muscle density.  You should be able to tell by then how it’s working for you, especially since it’s winterish now.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The calorie count is less but it’s much more useable.  But if you can’t get it near you that doesn’t matter.  Then what I suggest is to find a pet store near you and see what is available.  Don’t let sales people convince you to buy something that you can’t look at and tell is better, read the ingredients.  On Sportmix the first ingredients are plants, corn being the first.  You need a food that the first ingredient is a specific type of animal, chicken is usually cheapest, chicken meal is great.  Don’t buy a food that has animal meat, animal meal, or animal fat as an ingredient.  This is potentially very bad.  Then you’re looking for the grain component to be rice, oats, or barley.  Stay away from corn.  Grain free is better for your dog, but you don’t want to go Rambo on his digestive tract all of a sudden.  Look around and see what’s available, you may have a number of options.

  • RMaine123

    i checked with my grain supplier, they have wellness available and showed a brand Enhance (which is rated a bit higher than sportmix on here, is affordable and has higher protien/calories-made for hunting dogs)  so I will change over slowly and see how it goes for a year.  thanks again for your input.  guess really it will be trial and error. 

  • Pattyvaughn

    The higher meat protein will help feed his muscles.  Your right, he should be lean and muscular but curs can lose condition quickly too.  And 6 cups is too much volume for a 50 lbs dog.  You may eventually want to go to a food like Wellness, but I would find a food that is a little better than what you are feeding now and slowly transition to it, see how it does for a while, and then decide if he still needs more.  If you go straight to a food that is that “rich” your dog is going to have all kinds of intestinal upsets.  Others might pop in and suggest different foods to check out, but my best suggestion is go with the regular NutriSource first.

  • RMaine123

    thanks for the replies!  NutirSource i just looked at their website and the calorie count is less.  plus there are no stores near me anyway. 

  • RMaine123

    This is what I found on their website: Kilocalories per cup: 552 | Kilocalories per Kg: 4,268 – Is that what you were looking for? The vet said it better to be skinny than overweight. He is very muscular, but you can see ribs and the hips- sometimes more than other times. He is about 51 lbs. a black mouth cur. It is not uncommon for the breed to be thin. I’m just looking for something that can maintain his weight for his activity better, I’m not worried about him getting overweight. Sportmix is what others that have the breed feed. So go higher in the protien you think and higher quality? any brand suggestions? blue buffalo? wellness? those are what friends have said. Price is always so high though. they all feed small amounts, if I have to do 6 cups! yikes!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Just looked up Sportmix.  Try NutriSource, it should help with condition, muscling, etc…It’s not too hard to transition a dog to.  I think you’ll be much happier with how your dog looks.

  • Pattyvaughn

    How many kcal/cup does your food have?  What kind of dog, how big?  What are you seeing that your vet isn’t?  Most of the 4 and 5 star foods are more nutritionally dense than say 3 star foods so they usually have more calories in them and your dog gets more out of them.  20% fat is a pretty good level, but you may need to find a food that has better sources, like a specific animal based fat.  I’m not familiar with your food, but I would like to see more meat protein in my dogs food, 24% is low.

  • RMaine123

    Not sure where to add a comment, but this looks like a good spot.  changing food seems reasonable of an idea after so often.  Here is my question, which is not a common one!  Most people are looking to reduce their dogs weight- well I wouldn’t mind adding a few pounds to my active dog.  The vet says he is fine.  We feed him 4 to 6 cups of sportmix 24/20 blend.  (protien/fat).  Plus people food, treats, ect.   but when he gets really active, he looks like skin and bones.   People often comment….   Any recommendations for a dry dog food that would give him more calories/protien/fat?   I’m assuming those things would help him gain or at least maintain.  or even a dry/wet combo? any ideas!  thanks!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yeah, I knew my dogs didn’t need it I just saw it and wanted to try it lol

  • BryanV21

    Unfortunately people have been told by others that they should use PlaqueOff everyday, which just isn’t true. It’s a treatment for teeth that already have tarter or plaque build-up. Now, yes, you can use it everyday, but at $25 for a small bottle it costs a heck of a lot more than a toothbrush and toothpaste, or one of those Tropiclean products.

    People like you that are on top of dental care may not ever need to use PlaqueOff, or get a dental cleaning done by a vet. Nice work, although I’m not surprised. LOL

  • BryanV21

    While the concern is valid, it’s only seaweed, as there is nothing else added to it. There are no artificial coloring, preservatives, sugars, or gluten.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Melissa –

    I used plaque off before I started feeding raw the scoop is so small I don’t think iodine would be a big issue. Literally the scoop is maybe 1/8 of a tsp. if that and I know the serving for large dogs is 1 or 2 scoops. I can’t really comment on how effective it was though, because I’ve always brushed my dogs’ teeth and I’m sure the main reason they’re white it because of brushing.

  • melissa

     I am not familiar with this product, but before using it, I would suggest the person call and find out how much iodine is in it. Kelp and seaweed can contain varying amounts, and that would be a concern of mine.

  • BryanV21

    As Hound Dog Mom stated, dry food is not better for a dog’s teeth. On the surface it may make sense, as a dry food may seemingly scrape across the teeth as it chews, but that article HDM posted shows that it’s not true.

    I wanted to add that although brushing is best, there are items on the market that are alternatives to brushing. Face it, some dogs just won’t let their owners brush their teeth. A couple things I recommend to my customers are Tropiclean Gel or Foam. You just lift up the dogs lips and “squirt” the gel or foam in there, and the dog will lick it around their own teeth due to the taste. Again, not as good as brushing, but if your dog just won’t let you brush their teeth then you can try those things.

    One other thing… An alternative to getting your dog a dental cleaning at the vet, which not only costs a bit of money but putting a dog under anesthesia is always a scary proposition, is a product called PlaqueOff. All it is is seaweed, which comes in a powder. You just add a little bit to your dogs food once a day for 3 or so weeks, then you’ll be able to wipe your dog’s teeth clean with a soft/wet cloth.

    Dental health is important, so it’s great to see you asking about this stuff, because so many ignore this subject altogether.

  • Shawna

    Hi John Fisher ~~ I’m late to the game here..  Hopefully you are still reading..

    It is true that kibble digests slower then canned and raw.  However your source is incorrect in thinking that the kibble “passes through” with the canned (or raw).  That is not how digestion works.

    Food is eaten and goes to the first part of the stomach – the fundus – where digestion begins.  Short chain fatty acids are primarily absorbed here and enzymes start to break down the food.  Food then passes on to the “body” of the stomach where hydrochloric acid is secreted.  The HCL activates the enzyme pepsin which digests protein.  The partially digested foods (chyme) then pass (in small amounts) on to the small intestines where the pancreas secretes more digestive enzymes and carbs and long chain fatty acids get broken down.

    I would agree with your source IF all food eaten passed from area to area all at once.  But that is not how it works :)..

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Cinlin –

    You should read this article:

    It’s a myth that dry food cleans a dog’s teeth. Think about it, if you went to the dentist and he told you as long as you eat crunchy food your teeth would be clean what would you think? I know I’d find a new dentist. The only way to keep your dog’s teeth clean is to brush them or get dental cleanings at the vet’s. Raw meaty bones and specially designed dental chews can help to a certain degree, but they are no substitute for teeth brushing. High quality canned foods are actually more species appropriate and healthier than dry dog food – they have a higher moisture content, often have more protein, generally have less carbs, and less need for preservatives and colorings. You don’t have to feed all canned but it’s a good idea to at least mixed canned with dry, especially if your dog is picky.

  • Cinlin

    I’ve always heard that dry food is better for dogs teeth.  Can you comment on that? How would I start food rotation with dry food only for a 10 pound dog who doesn’t seem to like to eat?

  • BryanV21

    I was going to say what Sandy did. So instead of adding something here, I’m just backing up what she did. LOL

  • doggonefedup

    Food for thought…steak and potatoes digest at different rates also. Why should that be any different than canned and kibble? Now corn is a completely different issue ;o}

  • Hi John,

    1. Rotation would be optimized if foods are not mixed as then you would be feeding the “same mixture” so it acts like one food.  Unless you vary food A and food B with each “mixed batch”.
    2.  Normally I use the calories per can.  And of course the amount of calories your dog needs depends on age, breed, activity.  My small dogs can have around 350 calories per day and most of the cans I buy are around 350.  They would require more than that during the cooler months when we exercise daily.
    3.  You might be thinking of mixing raw food and kibble as being undesirable as raw food is quickly digested as opposed to canned & kibble.

    I’m sure others will add more input.

  • Hi John,

    To answer your questions:

    1. Whether you physically mix two foods together or alternated them periodically would probably not affect the benefit of diet rotation. The concept of dietary diversification should be the same in either case.

    2. This is a difficult question to answer in the limited space of a comment. You may wish to read this article for a good understanding of the concept of the metabolizable energy (ME) content of a dog food.

    3. I’ve heard this same rumor myself. Yet I find no scientific peer-reviewed study that negates the benefit of mixing fresh food with an otherwise lifeless dry food.

    Hope this helps.

  • John

     Ooops.. make that not considered desirable (in other words is UNdesirable)…

  • John

    I really like your site.  It has been very helpful.  I do have some questions:

    1. Why would the rotation benefit only be “optimized” if the food is NOT mixed. How would mixing various premium canned foods be counterproductive?

    2. The information on the cans regarding calories list two different amounts: a larger one and a “metabolized energy”, those numbers also sometimes listing (calculated) next to them.  How do these different numbers relate to the “needed” calories for dogs based on weight/gender/activity?

    3. You mention that you mixed canned and kibble foods.  I have done this for 10 years, but just recently heard from an informed source this is not considered undesirable as the kibble is digested at a slower rate thus causing undigested kibble to pass through causing potential irritation and less absorption of nutrients.

    ~ John Fisher

  • Marlane Barker

    ahhhh, was wondering why he wouldn’t eat from dish, makes sense now. Thanks! I usually use either a paper plate or napkin when i feed him canned/fresh. Hes pretty neat about eating as he chews all his food and takes forever to do so. I will check out the Fromm and vets extension. He’s just weird cuz he will eat it one day and the next he won’t have anything to do with it. Yes, He has a molar and one lower canine that are not budging! The molar on top is no problem, but the canine on lower jaw I guess its very easy to fracture on such a small little one, not to mention anastesia (sp) is always very risky. Thanks again for the recommendations, I’ll give them a go.

  • melissa


    gotcha : ) They must not be loose whatsoever.

    My picky eaters love the canned duck from Fromm and vets extension. They also love the NV raw bites. These are really tiny and even a toothless dog can eat wih ease.  Sometimes the little ones with dental issues will not eat from a bowl as they have problems grasping/grabbing the kibble. Perhaps try feeding him on a plate so the canned does not get all over he floor : )

  • Marlane Barker

    Because our vet is reluctant to remove them right now because of the chance of fracturing his jaw. We live in a very small rural area, he is monitoring him and his teeth are healthy he wants to take care of some other issues with Mojo before attempting this but will probably have to see a specialist.

  • melissa


    If the retained baby teeth are causing such issues for him to eat, why have you not had them removed? Not to mention they can cause/harbor infection and that is unhealthy.

    Each dog eats different amounts. My 5-6lb dog eats 1/3 of a cup of kibble per day,with a small amount of topper, and a squirt of salmon oil

  • Marlane Barker

    I have the same problem. Mojo is 3 lb Chi and sooo picky. He is 1-1/2 years old too lean and has a couple of retained baby teeth so he has a very hard time with eating and constipation…he’s a nightmare actually!! anyhow, i still haven’t found anything good I’ve tried diff canned food, no luck. so I’m still searching. Then he doesn’t eat out of a bowl, it has to be on the floor without bowl. Mojo gurgles too. I think its the digestion trying to take place (the enzymes etc) but without enough there to digest. So it can be uncomfortable for them. I have been trying to bulk Mojo up a little because every ounce is crucial with him cuz he is so small. Then i’m not sure how much is a reasonable amount to expect him to eat. I’ve always had big dogs so he has been a challenge. Everything has to be so precise with something that small. If you find something LMK, Right now i am giving him Rotation Diet kibble which has very small pieces and he likes it. I have 2 other dogs also, so eating is an issue here!

  • melissa

    Hi Betsy-

    Every one has their own “program” and thoughts on how they do rotation. One thing I have found, is that you are more likely to have loose stool when you are going from lower quality to higher- ie-why your pup has issues going from Pro Plan to Orijen. When I first started rotating, it was due to the massive recalls a few years ago, and I was looking for a better product-but could not decide on one brand. Honestly, I would “find one” start feeding it, and then “find another” that I wanted to try. My dogs also had/have fat content issues, so  that was a concern. I finally settled on a few favs and rotate between those.

    .  Breakfast was Acana Grassland & Chicken/Burbank Potato, and canned sardines-Dinner tonight was Acana Grasslands, canned Health Extension Duck/sweet potato, tomorrow will be the same kibble, but with Grandma Lucy’s for one meal, and canned beef or bison for the other. I can use any similar quality for the kibble portion w/out issue these days-however, I will say that I have tried some of the “bargain” grain frees such as Nutrisource and Earthborn and the dogs had soft stool as well as large stool : )

    One dog I do not rotate, but she has stomach issues. I may  try rotating her raw portion and if that does not cause an issue, I will try the kibble.

  • At first I couldn’t decide which kibble to feed so I ended up mixing 2 or 3 together.  When one flavor ran out I tried a different flavor so there was only either half or 1/3 of food that was new.  After a year of that I narrowed my food search down to a few keepers.  Now they can either eat mixed or single variety of kibbles with no problem.  I have 2 or 3 different foods open at one time.  Others feed one bag till its all gone and then open a new bag. They do get probiotics/enzymes.  I find that with some of my fosters who get no transition need probiotics/enzymes and a metamucil and reduced portions for several days.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Betsy10360,

    It’s all about conditioning. Oftentimes dogs that can transition to new foods have either been fed the same food for a long period of time or don’t have healthy digestive systems. My dogs never get the same thing two meals in a row and have no issues – this is just how I feed them so this is what they’re used to. For example, for dinner last night they had lamb, collard greens, squash, and goat’s milk and for breakfast this morning they had turkey necks, turkey hearts, blueberries, celery, and eggs. People eat something different every meal with no issues, it should be no different for a healthy dog. For dogs having difficulty probiotics, digestive enzymes, and canned pumpkin can help. Variety in a dog’s diet is a good thing, just like with people.

  • Betsy10360

    So, you mention that with your rotation diet, you begin a different type of kibble with each new bag (“usually, but not always, from the same brand).  You don’t do any sort of gradual transition between different bags of kibble? 

    I know every dog is unique and obviously, this is something your Bailey can tolerate.  I am feeding high quality, high protein kibble, but know that even different varieties of the same brand vary in their chemical structure.  So, do you think it’s the case that a healthy digestive system can make the transition from one high quality, high protein food, to another more easily?   

    I’m needing to do some kibble rotation with Arabella, my Cavalier, soon and she’s been eating high protein and has only seemed not to tolerate the whole milk yogurt I gave her recently – so I think her transition could be quick. 

    I also am going to be switching Sam, my 2 month old Golden pup from Purina Pro Plan, which is what he was eating when he came home from the breeder (cornmeal = poop = yuck) and know that his will need to be a more gradual transition.  He got ahold of Arabella’s uneaten Orijen red meat the other day and had some serious gas and lots of poops the following day.   

    So, I’m curious to know how you all rotate between high quality kibbles. 

    Thanks!  : )


  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Garati, Royal Canin is a 3 star food. Canned food is much more species appropriate. You should look around on this site at the 4 and 5 star canned foods, for your little guy. I have used Merrick 5 star, and 95% meat cans, as well as many others. Here is a list of 5 star canned food.               

  • Garati

    Has anyone used Royal Canin X-Small dry food? Is this a 4 or 5 star product? My little 4lb Chihuahua will only eat it if I put something on top of it and only if he becomes very hungry. He has a sensitive stomach.  Periodically his stomach gurgles
    for no apparent reason, and he comes to me to hold him. When his stomach gurgles, he does not eat or drink all day long. Can someone help me with why his stomach does this ?
    Thanks for any help.

  • Garati

     Mike, I have checked out canned dog food to start feeding my 14 year old Chihuahua since I noticed that he does not chew his dry food but rather swallows it in whole.  What I have noticed is that the canned foods contain 78%moisture and the rest is protein, fat, etc. My question, with such a small % of nutrients and the rest mainly water, does canned food provide a balanced diet?

  • melissa

     HI Lisa-

    I don’t use as much canned as dry, and I also give boiled chicken, canned sardines etc For cans, I rotate brands etc, trying to stay with 3/ 4/5 star products. In the past, I have used Wilderness, 4Health, Nutrisource(they LOVE the duck variety) Before Grain, Avoderm, Merrick(all varieties) I am sure there are others. I just try to stay away from the lower end brands just like the dry food.

  • Lisa

    Also, what brand can have you had success with? Wih this recall, it has me so concerned with what I buy. 

  • Ruth Kaempf

    Addendum: I forgot to mention that when the Paw Naturaw chicken or turkey comes with a good price on I put in an order and subsequently raw food comes into the switcheroo.  The hounds do a little joyful dance:-) when I open the freezer door, they know what is coming.

  • Ruth Kaempf

    Interesting, I thought I was the only one in the country who switches my dogs’ diet around.  Everybody I mention it to says not to do it, but my dogs not only thrive on a rotation, they eat everything I give them.  They are hounds, mini dachsies to be exact, almost 16, 8 and 4 years old.  I keep them on the slim side.  I finish up one bag of dry food before switching to another, but I also mix very small amounts of wet food, or chopped carrots, or green beans, sweet potatoes or pumpkin with their meal.  I steam the sweet pots. and I buy canned pumpkin.  The other thing they like is brown rice which I cook in low sodium chicken broth and they get a teaspoon of rice added to their dish.  I rotate quite haphazardly, without a firm schedule.  Once a day they receive a squirt of salmon oil (Costco) and for b’fast they receive a fish oil capsule (Costco) the same kind I take.  A breeder who raises corgis and dachshunds recommended the fish oil capsules.  In addition I give them the occasional greek yogurt or cottage cheese just for some excitement.  So far so good, no arthritis, no stomach, skin or ear problems.  Except for teeth cleaning, my vet isn’t making much money off my dogs, thank goodness.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I used Rotations for about 3-6 months with my dogs.  I discovered it when I got a free dog food promotion from them.  I was looking for a new food at the time, so I thought I’d try it.  I have to say my dogs did okay on it.  And customer service was fine.  However, I don’t know who makes them.  At the time, I wasn’t all that concerned about that issue, but now I want to know a lot more about the foods I feed.  I also wanted to start using a grain free food and, sadly, Rotations doesn’t offer that.  Maybe in the future?

  • Lisabart31

    Thank you Melissa. This is good to know. 🙂 

  • JenC

    We discovered, subsequently LOVE and highly recommend Rotations Pet Food! The name says it all – they made it specifically for the purpose of rotational feeding which you speak of here. It’s the best, hands down.

  • melissa


    A little is all they need when you add toppers for rotation.  My crew gets anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 can depending on their size, activity levels etc. Some days, they get primarily canned with a touch of kibble. They never know what is hitting their bowls and in what proportions, lol. I will say, with my ones that have sensitive stomachs, I feed them about 1/4-1/3 less when adding in new brands just to be sure they do not have a problem.

  • Lisabart31

    Thank you Melissa. 🙂 I can add can food to my allergy Beagle because it is easier for me to find things without her allergens. I have to be careful and add a little at a time so she doesn’t get an upset stomach. My other Beagle is very small and has a tendency to be overweight, I also find higher fat is not suitable for her so this is a great tip. 🙂

  • Eve’sHumanMom

    Aloha.  We rotate, phasing in and out when I get a new bag, switching every few months.  In humid Japan, one doesn’t want more than one open bag sitting around.  My question is how best to use the little 100gram trial bag of different dog food I recently received?  My little girl (mutt w/ strong Shiba genes) will eat anything, and this would give her about one day’s worth of food.  Do you think I can just give it to her for a day or half for only one meal? or would it be better to parcel it out, using the bits like dog treats?  I don’t plan to switch to this food.  While the ingredients look fine,  it is too expensive and the bags are too big.  Thanks. 

  • melissa


    If you can switch protein sources, that is preferable and closer to rotation. However, if fish is all he/she can have, then a brand/variety of fish rotation it is : ) Some of my dogs have fat issues(can’t consume more than 15 percent or so), so I was able to expand their diet by using one higher fat mixed with a lower fat to come out with an “overall” lower fat amount.

  • Lisabart31

    If this is good to change protein to decrease the risk of allergies, if I only use fish blends, I would just change between different fish blends? Or should I change to like duck or vension or something of that nature. That would be for my non allergy beagle but for my allergy beagle, I would like to rotate fish blends because that is really all she can have. If I can even find one she can tolerate besides TOTW Pacific Stream. Thank you

  • Robertglenn

    I rotate between various 4 and 5 star dog foods on a regular basis.  I use one large bag of each and phase in and phase out the ratios.  My two dogs, an older Min Pin and younger lab/golden mix, never have any GI symptoms with this and they never turn up their noses to any good brand.  Also we did have  an older shih tzu (age 16) who had a terrible skin condition with constant sores, scratching and odor until we switched to this technique from her long standing diet of Iams.  My current 2 dogs are the picture of health—no skin, gum or coat problems.

  • Mike P

    ohnoesaz as long as your dog can handle the switches in food it’s all good.I would be carefull as to not have to many open bags as they can become stale if not used up quick enough after opening them.

  • If their systems can handle it, then go for it.  I also feed a variety as I also like to eat a variety.  Different kibbles, different cans, various raw and freeze dried. 

  • ohnoesaz

    Can I keep four different foods and feed my dogs a random choice every meal or will I be shocking their bodies every time? For example; Containers of BBWildneress, Wellness core, sun dancer, before grain. What they get at a meal will be one of those and when one runs out I rotate in a different brand food in its spot. (This means there will be a meal now and then where the dogs get a completely new food – bad?)

    I think it would be good for a dog to have variety but am I completely wrong?

  • Cheryl & Pepper

    Melissa, THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR REPLYING TO US!!! I can’t believe it. O.K. here goes if you don’t mind reading this. I initially was babysitting Pepper over the Christmas holidays for a friend whose neighbor just left Pepper with her-he didn’t/couldn’t take care of her. My friend had her on and off for about 1 year. She owns a male mini about 3yrs old. I won’t say my friend didn’t care for her,let’s just say the care was VERY BASIC. Fed her Pedigree dry and wet-need I say more. Long story short my husband and I (actually me more than him) bonded instantly with her. I told my friend we were going to keep her. And that’s when the saga begins. Upon looking at her teeth and gums, I almost cried-such severe tartar and gum problems it was horrible!!! During this time I was cooking for here cause she won’t eat the Pedigree(who could blame her) wet to the store and got the Blue Buffalo Basics dry and wet-she liked it,but all that stopped when lo and behold my little sweet Pepper had 4 abscessed teeth which had to be pulled and gum surgery. That’s when the vet put her on strictly Purina Veterinary EN because she had to take antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for 2 weeks. Other than that she has had a tick bite and the SEVERE GASTRITIS-which i feel was due to the Orijen being too high in protein and fat for her. Even though she was getting about 1/8 of a cup at each feeding. I just wanted her to have the best since i really feel she has never been given any quality care in her ENTIRE life. She is just the sweetest and yet sadess little thing. Since i never owned a schnauzer I started researching found a great website by a breeder in Canada(i even e-mailed her but as of yet and it doesn’t look like I’ll ever get a response from her)she has an entire page devoted to the nutritional needs of the breed. Now i know the Orijen while being excellent was WAY TOO MUCH FOR HER. Just like you say I look for the fat to be in the 10-12% range and the protein in the 22-26% range. I also have been adding Prozyme Digestive enzyme powder to her food(she eats twice a day) 1/4 tsp. I am thinking this could be making her a little thirsty also. The vet gave me a product called FLATUEX 80 mg tabs-it is simethicone for her gas,it seems to work. I know I can’t keep her on these pills forever, I am just trying to find a quality dry and wet food for her to stay on. She also had some terrible reactions to the heart worm/flea meds,but that’s another story. I don’t want to be a hog and take too much of your time. Here are the 2 dry foods that I have: Fromm’s Senior reduced activity and NOW Grain Free. I also bout the Eagle Pack Holisitic Duck and Duck/Chicken for the wet food. The only reason I got the Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Chicken was that the ingredients looked good and she liked the brand before and I REALLY WANTED HER OFF THE EN AND DH(Had shall we say a little argument with the vet when she wanted her on the Purina Veterinary HA dry-when I read the ingredients back it went). I think I saw a post from someone saying they found that their pet was a bit more thirsty on this Blue Buffalo and since it is new i e-mailed the company this am. I REALLY hate to have to take her off something she likes(she has been on it just 7 days) but i certainly don’t want to hurt her and cause her to have other problems. Tomorrow I will be adding the Fromms to the Blue Buffalo and waiting to see what happens. I have the Eagle Pack Holistic wet-i am so scared to also introduce that to the mix-any suggestions? I would love to talk to you more  about your suggestions on heartworm and flea/tick prevention . She was on Trifexis for 2 months and then I think she had what seemed to be seizures. She is now on HeartGard Plus and K9 advantixII(i think she is allergic to this). We live in Louisiana so she must be protected. Taking her to areas like parks are now off limits since the tick bite. You see we have been through a great deal in our short time together. I feel the more i try to do for her the more hurt I am causing her. She never learned to play so her greatest joy is to go for walks. Other than that she just sleeps.It makes you cry inside. I want to give my girl the BEST YEARS THAT SHE HAS LEFT. Sorry again for this VERY long winded post. I don’t know if or how this is done but if you want and since your are a schnauzer owner, I can give you my e-mail address and we can communicate that way,if you wouldn’t mind. You see I need a great deal of help and guidance. I think the vet is done with me. Oh well, I have to do what I feel is best for Pepper and Purina ain’t it. Thanks again Melissa.

  • Angie

    I have chihuahua who is missing several teeth (puppy mill rescue) and I’ve had to be careful about what I feed her because of that.  When I first got her, I mixed together plain cooked shredded chicken and cooked rice for awhile.  She LOVED that!  Since then I’ve had good luck with Petcurean NOW! kibble for small breeds which is grain free and teeny tiny pieces.  She also likes Acana grain free which has bigger pieces but isn’t too terribly hard for a kibble.  She does better with canned though and loves the cans from Weruva, Innova, Addiction, and Hound and Gatos.

  • melissa


    While I agree with you that  the goal is to rotate through different protein sources, I am  also concerned with  the quality of ingrediants that goes into the food. Since there can be a vast difference in the quality of the meals, I would prefer to ensure that my dogs are getting the benefit and diversity of different brands. If a company has 3 levels of food it produces-bargain, mid range and grain free 5 star, it may be true that they buy 3 different qualities of chicken meal, but my gut feeling is that the meals are shared amongst each brand produced. Changing the way they are put in(recipe) does not change the fact that the ingredients are still the same ones, just arranged differently. My belief is that by switching out brands(different manufacturers), I hope to avoid nutritional shortages or excesses.  Being that DN, TOTW and Premium Edge are all Diamond made foods, I would never recommend that. If Diamond worked for my dogs, and I was looking for something in that price range, I would do DN, Hi Tec grain free, and grandmae Mae’s country naturals or Dave’s-same price point, different manufacturers.

    Every one has to do what they are comfortable with and what works for them and their dogs : ) Right now, mine are on Acana GF, Blue Wilderness, and Dave’s sensitive stomach-but two of them pick out the Dave’s and leave it(after sucking the canned off, lol)

  • Bob K

    melissa – The supplier of ingredients has little to do with rotation.   Rice is pretty much rice no matter who supplies it.  Chicken meal is Chicken meal, sure there are subtle differences but the larger goals of rotation is fish, beef, lamb, rice, potato, corn that provide variety of ingredients not who supplies them or what company made it.   Would I do a rotation diet of all foods from the Diamond Natural brand? no – because most are meat and rice formulas and not enough diversity.  Would I do a rotation of Diamond Natural, Taste of the Wild and Premium Edge – sure – great prices and decent diversity. 

  • melissa


    As Bob said, you want diversity, and you want a quality food. Not all foods work as well as others for each dog. I mix three brands together to control the amount of overall fat, and this allows me to feed some higher fat foods that I would not be able to feed solo. I switch out “flaver”(variety) by the month, and brands probably 3 times a year(more if one does not seem to be agreeing with the herd) . I am also careful to not feed just brands made by one company. IMO, if the brands are made by the same company, its likely that a lot of the ingredients are sourced from the same supplier, and therefore its not really a rotation.

  • Bob K

    Treehugr – Read the article above.  Remember this word  “Diversity”.  Stick with 4 and 5 star foods.  Remember to transition slowly to a new food, many dogs eventually do not need food transition time when fed a rotation diet.  What foods are available in your area?  Do you have a budget?  Some of my favorites:  Diamond Natural, Taste of the Wild, Eagle Pack, Canidae Grain free, Natures Domain, Premium Edge.  I also like to add eggs, chicken, pork and other meats from time to time when they are on sale. 

  • Treehugr

    Just trying to clarify axactly what I should look for within the dog foods in my rotation..
    How would I choose the different foods?
    For example, would you pick one food that has more protein and then cycle in on that has less protein and more of something els??

  • Saniya23

    I did some online searching and for food comparisons and discovered that he could be allergic to something in his food. I changed him to Canid ae which is all natural with no wheat, chemical preservatives, or corn, plus it has salmon which is great for a dogs’ skin. Sure enough in a few weeks I noticed a difference. No more scratching and biting and the irritations went away. Canid ae is certainly one of the best dog foods I have found.

    atopica for dogs

  • sandy

    Thanks Disqus for fixing my picture posting problem!

  • sandy

    chicken drumstick, feet, and turkey neck! yum-yum in their tum-tum!

  • sandy

    My dogs’ gas was dramatically reduced after I changed to a potato free kibble.  I was already feeding grain free but with potato.  Also, occasional, not so stinky gas is better than foul, rotten, something died in their intestine gas, if you know what I mean.  Does she still need to eat 3 times a day? Is she still considered a puppy?  Kibbles take a very long time to breakdown and digest – can take over 12 hours so maybe she gets a little backed up with the 2 kibble meals during the day and then another meal at night on top of that.  Just hypothetical.  You can also add some probiotcs/digestive enzymes to her kibble meals, this should help.  I only feed my dogs once a day.  Gives their digestive tract a rest so it’s not constantly having to digest something 24/7.

    Some good info if you click on the probiotics and the digestive enzyme products.

    As far as rotation diet – it’s great.  My dogs eat kibble, raw, and whole raw chicken legs/wings/feet/necks and some ribs.  None of them have ever had an intolerance or allergy to any food (since going potato free) as they never eat the same thing for months and years like alot of folks feed. 

  • Jahill_9

    Ahhh maybe someone on here can help me. I recently posted this on Yahoo Answers but got responses that rotation feeding isn’t good and you have to stick to one food blah blah… 

    So, here is my question..
    My 8 month old Golden Retriever always has occasional gas during the day. Usually, it comes right after she eats, or right before she needs to go outside to do her duty. I have researched it a little and all I can come up with is that she must have an allergy to something. We rotation feed her everyday and have been doing this for about 2 and a half months now.We feed her three times a day – In the morning and afternoon: we give her Acana kibble mixed with Merrick canned food. We try to give her the best nutrition possible so I really don’t think it would be due to poor food quality.. For dinner we feed her Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw patties. So, my question is, what should I do? Her gas isn’t very smelly but we take her everywhere with us (in laws, friends, camping, anywhere possible really) and it is a little embarrassing when she lets one rip in front of guests. Sometimes they are loud and very noticeable. We eventually hope to get her tested for allergies when we can afford to, but it is a little out of our budget right now and since we feed her such a variety of food we can’t really figure out what it is that is giving her the gas. I have read that it is normal, but I have had dogs in the past who never had the problem. We’re just trying to find a way that we can dismiss it all together. Has anyone else gone through this and found something that works? 

  • Sovida

    There absolutely without a doubt 100% NOTHING SMALLER then Wysong Epigens dry food! Half the size of rice ! My Sabrina LIVES them! And NO starch in any of the Epigens flavors! We use only the Epigen 90 ( as part as their rotation diet$

  • Tom

    Don’t know if it’s the smallest, but Taste of the Wild (puppy formulas) have pretty small bits, about the size of Rice Crispies.  Call or email the company for free samples, they are very accommodating.

  • Dawn

    Hi Diane..m wondering did anyone ever answer your question>? I just found this food and was wondering about it? Do you use it? any problems? You can write me at [email protected]. I’d really like to know  :O)  Thanks a bunch!

  • sandy

    Weruva has some soupy dog food as well.  Paw-Lickin Chicken doesn’t have any chunks.

  • Hi Pklyden,

    Kibble in any size can be very difficult for a dog with dental issues. It’s hard and can be painful to the gums.

    You may wish to consider a canned dog food with a pate-like (non-chunky) consistency.

    Hope this helps.

  • sandy

    Amicus and Epigen are teensy weensy.  Then after that I would say Instinct and Natures Select Grain Free. She wouldn’t even need to crush these kibbles into smaller pieces to swallow them.

  • Pklyden

    Does anyone know who has the smallest kibble (out of the top rated foods)? Our newly adopted wire hair dachshund only has five teeth.
    Many Thanks

  • Diane

    Has anyone used Country Pet dog food available frozen in Whole Foods?