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rotating foods ...

meb999
June 8th, 2006, 02:13 PM
To those of you who feed kibble, do you rotate your dog's food to give more variety? I read this article and am starting to think that I'm limiting Buster's food too much.

FROM : http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/changing_foods.htm

Change your dog’s food

Once you have selected a good quality dog food, that’s all you need to feed, right? Not really. You should vary your dog’s food periodically. There are many good reasons for this:

_ Dogs (actually all mammals) are designed to consume a range of different foods, and to obtain differing vitamins and minerals from each. They are not designed to eat “only chicken” or “only lamb” or any other food item for eternity. Changing foods, importantly the contents of those foods, every so often helps to give them the variety their bodies were designed to thrive on.

_ There is no one dog food in existence that “has it all”. And remember, the feeding trials that foods go through only last for six months (and not all foods are even trialled). Changing foods periodically helps to ensure that no dietary deficiencies or excesses build up over time.

_ Variety is the spice of life. Who wants to eat the same food day in and day out? Could you do it? For months or years? Feeding your dog something different helps to ensure that he does not become bored and frustrated with his food. This will not make your dog picky - we are talking about periodic changes here, not serving up something different or adding goodies to tempt him every time he doesn’t like his dinner.
And most importantly of all:

_ It helps to avoid the development of allergies. In a few extreme cases, you (or your dog) may be instantly and violently allergic to something. But that is a few extreme cases only - the vast majority of allergies are things that build up over time and with constant exposure. The surest way to develop an allergy to chicken, for example, is to consume it daily for an extended period. It is no coincidence that the most common allergens are things that have commonly been used in dog foods for many years. The (modern) advice given by nutritionists is that feeding a wide variety of different foods, preferably from a young age, can help to avoid the development of allergies in the first place (that's the advice given for humans too).

Common signs of allergies are itchy skin, red itchy paws, chewing paws, yeast infections, ear infections, and skin infections that may respond to antibiotics but reappear as soon as the antibiotics are discontinued.

That all adds up to changing the food you feed every once in a while. That means changing to a food with different main ingredients. There is very little benefit to switching from one chicken/rice food to another, for example. If you have been feeding a food with chicken as the main ingredient, then it is far better that the next food is based on lamb, or turkey, or fish, or beef, etc and that the other main ingredients are also varied.

Do I have to change brands every time I change food?

No, not necessarily. Look at the ingredients in the different formulas made by your brand. What is different? If it is only the main meat ingredient, then you should change to a different brand when you change foods. If many of the ingredients, including the main meat, are different then there is no need to change brands if you don’t want to. The point here is to ensure that your dog gets a good variety of different food items in his diet. Not brand loyalty.

How often should I rotate foods?

Minimally, at least every three months. But you can change more frequently than that. If your dog does not suffer from digestive upsets when his food is changed, then you might even consider changing foods every time the bag runs out.

How many different foods do I need? Can I use a food again?

At least three or four different foods (different main meat source and different main ingredients). More is better. You can certainly reuse a good food though, especially if your dog does particularly well on it. You could choose, for example, to feed food A for one bag then change to food B – go back to food A, then to food C and so on. This satisfies the criteria of avoiding constant or prolonged exposure to a particular set of ingredients.

What about just mixing foods together?

Mixing foods together can certainly help to ensure nutritional adequacy for the long term. But it does nothing to provide your dog with variety (something different to eat!) and it does not satisfy the criteria of avoiding constant or prolonged exposure to a particular set of ingredients. So this practice will do nothing to help avoid the development of food allergies – it just means that there are a greater number of things the dog is being exposed to on a constant basis. It also means that there is a wider range of possible culprits should a food allergy develop. You can mix foods if you choose, but you should vary the foods that you mix together, just as if you were feeding a single food.

Do I need to change the food gradually?

It is usually wise to effect a change gradually. Not every dog is sensitive to food changes, and many will handle cold turkey changes without issue. But many won’t, and the upset tummies and loose stools that can come with changing foods too fast are such an annoyance (for the dog too!) that it makes sense just to change gradually, unless you know for certain that your dog has the sort of cast iron stomach that won’t be upset by a sudden change.

The simplest way to change foods is to blend the old and new foods together for a week or so. Start with a mix that is 25% new food and 75% old. Feed that for two or three days, and if there are no upset tummies or loose stools, increase the blend to a 50/50 mix. Again, feed that for a couple of days, then increase to a 75/25 blend, and finally to 100% new food. If at any stage there is a tummy upset or the dog’s stools become loose, then hold off on increasing the amount of new food in the blend until that problem resolves. If there are no problems at all, it will take a week to ten days to accomplish the switch.

Won’t changing foods make my dog picky?

No, it won’t. It’s more likely to have the opposite effect, and keep the dog interested in his food. How long could you stay interested in eating exactly the same thing? A food change once a month, or every two or three months is not going to give you a picky dog. What creates pickiness is serving up something different any time the dog shows no interest in his meal. Just like little kids, a dog will learn very quickly that refusing to eat a meal results in Mom producing something better – if you constantly produce something better. Instead, you should give the dog his food at set meal times, and pick it up if it is not eaten within about 20 minutes. Don’t offer anything else (i.e. don’t fill him up on treats) until the next meal time.

Are there any other benefits to changing foods?

YES! Changing foods every so often means that you keep yourself aware of what is available. Dog food is not a static science and it is very pleasing to be able to note that constant improvements are being made. Foods that may have once been amongst the best available are constantly being surpassed (this is a good thing! Dog food has not historically been a high quality product).

We’ve all met people who swear “brand x” is the best you can get – and have been feeding it for the last 15 years, completely unaware of advances that have been made. Well, that may have been true 15 years ago, but now “brand x” may be one of the lower quality foods available (though it’s unlikely to be reflected in cost).

We fully expect the foods we currently recommend here to be surpassed or improved in the coming years. This is good news for you and your dog. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that what is the best available now will always be the best you can get. It won’t be (or at least, we sincerely hope that it won’t be).

Right now he gets either a can of either chicken, turkey, salmon or tuna or fresh cooked meat (usually a portion of last night's supper, minus the sauce or spices) in the morning and Nutram Lamb and Rice at night.

chico2
June 8th, 2006, 02:42 PM
I don't have any dog,but rotate my cats dry food.
They also eat canned as their main meals,but free feed on dry..every bag I buy is something different,right now they get Solid Gold for cats.
I personally believe,by changing ever now and then,their tummies will not be too sensitive and who wants to eat the same food all the time??

technodoll
June 8th, 2006, 03:05 PM
yep... my kibble boy gets a different kind every day, sometimes 2 brands mixed together (EVO + other with grains). At home we currently have EVO, Fromm's and Go!Natural. I also get tons of samples from the holistic petstore and add a different taste about 3 times/week. some meals are dry kibble - not often though - most have added cooked meats such as ground beef, chicken hearts, baked liver or kidney chunks, salmon or sardines or tuna, he also gets raw eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, holistic canned dog food, home-made broth, dinner leftovers (he loves mac n'cheese!) mixed in.... snacks are frozen whole-wheat bagels, sometimes with cream cheese or peanut-butter, dried apricots, raw pig hocks or feet... he's been happily chewing on a huge cow foot the past few days, it's been on the balcony for a week now and the more it stinks, the more he loves it, LOL! i've also noticed his teeth are much whiter & gums pink since he's been doing this :highfive:

i figure with all the variety he's getting, despite being on a kibble diet, he's getting good nutrition and his glowing health speaks for itself. PS: no gas, no belches, perfect poops too! :thumbs up

jessi76
June 8th, 2006, 04:25 PM
I keep the kibble the same, and change the add-on stuff. different flavors of canned, homemade foods, and other things.

My cats get different kibble & canned flavors, but I stick with one brand.

Puppyluv
June 8th, 2006, 04:35 PM
I didn't, but just before i switched to raw, my vet reccomended that I should, due to allergies that can build up. And my vet is so damn good looking, it's hard not to take his advice.:p

Prin
June 8th, 2006, 06:16 PM
I keep the kibble the same, and change the add-on stuff. different flavors of canned, homemade foods, and other things.
Yep, that's what I do. Only no homemade foods (we barely have enough food for ourselves as it is). They get different canned foods loaded with veggies and different meats on occasion, but they are doing really well on the kibble that I just don't want to mess right now (still).

technodoll
June 8th, 2006, 06:28 PM
Yep, that's what I do. Only no homemade foods (we barely have enough food for ourselves as it is).

what, no sharing the Kraft Dinner with the doggies? :D (i always make extra or else they look so bummed out, LOL) Love the Dollar Store! :D

Prin
June 8th, 2006, 06:39 PM
lol nope. Just bread crusts. And even then, it's animal abuse because Jemma's allergic to wheat. Otherwise, I just cook enough for the two of us because the meat, etc is frozen in pouches fit for two...

meb999
June 8th, 2006, 08:05 PM
Love the Dollar Store! :D

nothin' Buster likes better than some yummy, yummy dollar store canned tuna!

Jackie467
June 8th, 2006, 10:41 PM
I don't but that is because Candi has pretty bad allergies and we can't figure out what to. All I know is that she doesn't ich or hack on wellness white fish and sweet potato so I stick to it. But if she didn't have the allergies I would probably do different flavors or add on some wet food.

coppperbelle
June 9th, 2006, 06:45 AM
I feed them the same kibble but add things like cottage cheese, sardines, pieces of cooked beef or chicken. Then of course on the weekends there is pieces of toast and/or egg.

rainbow
June 9th, 2006, 01:14 PM
I've been thinking of rotating for awhile now. Lately, I've just been adding bits of meat and veggies from whatever we're eating for supper and I always share my fruit with them.

Puppyluv
June 9th, 2006, 02:07 PM
I think the thing with just adding yummies to the food, is that it doesn't solve the allergy problem. Your dog is still getting exposed to the exact same ingredients, just with a few extra thrown in. If the allergies really are a concern, you have to actually change foods. (even within the same brand. eg. wellness wf&sp to super5mix)

Jackie467
June 9th, 2006, 03:10 PM
I think the thing with just adding yummies to the food, is that it doesn't solve the allergy problem. Your dog is still getting exposed to the exact same ingredients, just with a few extra thrown in. If the allergies really are a concern, you have to actually change foods. (even within the same brand. eg. wellness wf&sp to super5mix)
All I know is if I feed her whitefish and sweet potato no problems, but if I give her extra treats or a different food she hacks, and scratches. I feel like if its not broke then don't fix it.

Prin
June 9th, 2006, 03:12 PM
Could be something you're adding. Like with Jemma- if I give her my bread crusts, she itches... You have to be so careful with these allergy dogs.