Dogs commonly eat the same food for the majority of their lives, and until recently this was not questioned. Many pet parents are now feeding their dogs in a way that more closely resembles their own eating habits, offering a variety of proteins and formats at meal time in a plan known as rotational feeding or a rotational diet. This can mean anything from switching proteins within a type of food, to feeding one kibble meal and one raw meal in the same day. There are several benefits to this feeding method:
1. Keeps things interesting
Just as we don’t want to eat the same thing for every meal day after day, dogs also appreciate variety. Picky eaters are encouraged by a changing palate of flavors. The rotational diet keeps us pet parents more involved in our pet’s routines with planning and investigation into their health. Instead of being stuck in the rut of the same old thing, we can stay open to new and exciting options.
2. Builds healthy digestive & immune systems
Food allergies and intolerance are alarmingly common in dogs, and eating one protein or one food day in and day out could be a contributing factor. By switching protein sources and formulas, it reduces the chance of allergy development, ensures that they're receiving a wide array of essential nutrients and increases their tolerance to dietary changes.
3. Helps with flexibility and affordability
One of the best things about a rotational diet is that it enables pet parents to feed higher quality foods for perhaps one meal of the day, which could be cost-prohibitive if fed exclusively. It makes everything from shopping to traveling easier when your dog is accustomed to more than one kind of food. As most dogs simply love food and enjoy eating a variety of ingredients, they are also enriched by activities at mealtime like eating out of a puzzle toy or learning new tricks in exchange for kibble currency.
4. Optimizes diet options
With rotational feeding, the door is always open for improvement. You may want to introduce a novel protein, try out a different format or build your pup a custom bowl. Open Farm offers the perfect opportunity to try rotational feeding with many thoughtfully formulated recipes. Check out the variety here!
How to get started
If you are interested in rotational feeding, always start slowly. A good rule of thumb is to introduce the new food over a week or more, starting in 25% increments. For example, feed 25% of the new food and 75% of the old food for a few days, evaluate for any negative changes, then move on with 50% new and 50% old until the transition is complete. Not every dog can tolerate diet changes and it is always best to consult your veterinarian before making any drastic modifications. To learn more about transitioning, here's a guide on how to transition your pet's food.