Dog Food Rotation for Dogs and the place of dog treats.
I found an article by the dogfoodadvisor website discussing tips for “Diet Rotation for Dogs”. If you are not across this process, and wonder why it might be beneficial and how it relates to healthy dog treats, then this is the article for you (and especially your dog).
They say “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.”
They give the reason for the rotation as a just in case the “product is deficient or excessive in some way.’ Diversification of the dog food will reduce the risk of major damage particular from accumulated toxins.
However we have more salient reasons for the vital method of food rotation for dogs.
Firstly, dog food is typically very high in grain or carbs (70%) to keep costs down, not for any health specific value. In fact we believe that this is massively excessive for a carnivore dog. Some people will change pellet foods, because their dog is ‘fussy’ or ‘goes off’ the brand they are feeding but the reality is that dog food manufactures do every trick in the book and then some, to entice your dog to eat boring old grain. If in fact it was just pure wheat, rice or corn, MANY dogs would not touch it. Your dog being ‘fussy’ is just it being wise, and normal.
It’s the science behind tricking the dog’s taste buds into finding the artificial pellet food tasty (usually addition of oils and salt and sugar – on-top of the sugar that the carbs in the grains are supplying) that does the trick to artificial tastiness. And in fact some companies have successfully used chemicals to bypass the dog’s natural mechanism that tells it when it is full, so dogs overeat.
Why healthy dog treats recommends dog food rotation
We realise that most people will not become raw meat feeders or feed their dogs sufficient meat to give the dog the right amount of bio available meat protein via regular dog food.
So in a way, feeding your dog meat healthy dog treats in any meaningful amounts will essentially be food rotation. However in a much healthier way than any rotation to any other vegetable based kibble could ever achieve.
You might also consider that in the wild, most dogs don’t eat the same prey every day of their life. Not only will it give a dog a different protein profile to consume and use, but in the wild eating different foods is exciting and keeps away boredom. Most humans should understand this with their own diet – do you eat the same kibble every day?
Why people don’t do dog food rotation
Erroneously, new puppy owners are told that to give their dogs the best start to life they must immediately introduce them to vegetable dog food (regular kibble or wet cans). They say its because their product contain all the nutrients their dogs will ever need.
We argue that the minimal amount of quality meat in most kibble, does not provide enough meat based essential amino acids, and animal fats, that a dogs bodies evolved to eat. Including more meat in a dog’s diet, by either raw meat in the main meal, or meat based dog treats, will provide the correct bio available food for the dog species.
Large dog food manufacturers tell owners that to change from their specific pellets, will be harmful to a dog. That they will have loose stools and the world will all go ‘henny penny’,
The truth is that if you are game to rotate regularly within brand, you might decide to change to a competitor dog food brand. And that is a commercial dog food companies main concern. We have also read articles that have results that show that giving puppies the same boring food day in day out for the first year, will cause atrophy in the tastebuds to the point that dogs will not be able to appreciate the full range of taste that they might with other foods.
Dogs taste-buds are already considered to be not as sensitive as humans or other animals, however their smell senses are up to 10,000 times more sensitive than humans. And since the sensation of taste is a combination of smell and taste, it makes sense that while dogs will eat many things in a dog park, their taste-buds can be fairly selective when it comes to a main meal in a bowl.
So by feeding the same kibble pellets year in year out, you are causing a puppy to only have the ability to appreciate the food they were given for the first year of life. They will do this with low or ‘high’ quality kibble – but you are essentially dumbing down their entire taste system, and locking them into a brand – for the brands sake NOT your dog !
As the dogfoodadvisor site says ” 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.”
Dog food rotation, what’s the worst that can happen?
If you rapidly change the pellet brand for your dog, like you have six very different ‘formulas’, then a dog with a sensitive stomach may have loose stools. And this means that they will be messy and may potentially have some form of short term malnutrition, as the nutrients are not being properly absorbed by the intestine.
But do you think that domestic dogs, in the wild, would eat the same formulation EVERY day? In fact that kind of uniformity is boring and risks health issues such as described above. ALSO if you have many big kibble bags open at once, like 10- 20 kg pellet bags, then they will be exposed to the air and degrade faster. If you have multiple different brand 3 Kg bags, you will be paying a premium price for tha tprivilege. Even though they still only have 30% (mdm) meat in them.
dogfoodadvisore advises ” 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.”
As we have mentioned on this site before, you can also substitute up to 25-40% of your dog’s kibble with the equivalent DRY weight of meat based dog treats like chicken, roo or beef jerkies without negatively impacting the ‘whole and complete’ affco requirements.
Good luck with your dog food rotation – in whichever form it takes.