Rotational Diets

Rotating a pet’s food is based on the simple premise that more variety will provide better overall health for your pet. You don’t eat the same thing every day – why should your pet?

By varying the types of food your pet eats, as well as the protein sources, your dog or cat will enjoy a more diverse and complete nutrient intake to improve the health and immunity of your pet. Rotating types of food and protein sources can also increase excitement at mealtime – great for picky eaters who get bored easily.

Benefits of rotation include –

  • Reduced risk of food allergies – because one type of protein is not being overfed, the body does not become sensitive
  • Improved hydration – some health problems in pets stem from long-term dehydration, which can be avoided by rotating in high moisture content products like canned or raw food
  • Reduced pickiness – pets generally love the variety of proteins and food types
  • Better overall heath – though most foods are ‘complete and balanced’, rotation provides a greater variety of nutrients – not every food has the same vitamin/mineral profile

How to Rotate

There are two methods used to rotate a pet’s food.

The first is to pick a particular type of food, such as kibble, and rotate the protein sources within that type.  For example, switch from chicken, to lamb, to beef, to fish, etc.  Rotating protein sources provides a diverse nutrient profile, as each protein has a unique amino acid composition.  Feeding different flavors can also help sustain an increased interest in the food bowl for picky eaters.  By rotating types of meat, it is also less likely your pet will develop an allergy to a certain protein source.

The second method of rotation is to rotate types of food, such as kibble, to canned, to raw food.  This type of rotation enables the pet to get the benefits of each variety of food –

  • Dry Kibble – comes in grain-inclusive and grain-free variety, convenient, less expensive per serving
  • Canned food – high meat content, high moisture content, few if any preservatives
  • Raw Food – fresh ingredients, no preservatives, no nutrient loss from heat processing, live enzymes and beneficial bacteria

Many owners who rotate types of food will also rotate protein sources – in this method the pet gets a true variety of different types and varieties of food.  There’s no right or wrong way to do a rotation diet – your pet can benefit from a little variety or a lot.  Until your pet is used to switching, any changes in their diet should be made gradually.  Follow appropriate steps to slowly transition your pet to the new food type or protein source – beneficial probiotics are also always recommended. To help with the transition, keeping protein and fat level similar will help prevent digestive upset.