Most people would get very tired of eating the same food day in and day out. Imagine having to eat the same exact food your entire life (maybe with a few treats thrown in!) This is essentially how most people feed their pets, not realizing there is a different way to handle their furry friends’ nutritional needs.
“Rotation feeding” or “feeding a rotational diet” is all about offering a variety of foods in a manner that won’t upset a pet’s system. Varying both proteins (chicken, beef, bison, etc.) and food forms (raw, frozen, wet, dry, freeze-dried) gives your pet a healthy range of essential nutrients and proteins that they would not receive on only one type of food. Various components like amino and fatty acids, moisture, vitamins, and minerals will differ based on the food. A variable diet will allow for a more complete nutritional profile, and one that more closely mimics what a canine or feline would experience in the wild. Pets may be more likely to develop food allergies or intolerances when fed the same food everyday.
Here in Florida, our hot and humid climate can become extreme in the warmer months, and not all pets will drink sufficient water. It takes 4 cups of water to break down every cup of kibble, and that is just to get back to neutral, creating a perpetual lack of adequate hydration in animals that are only fed kibble. Meat in the wild contains up to 70% moisture, which is why a pet eating a balanced diet with raw foods doesn’t need to drink as much.
Wet food, raw frozen, or freeze-dried foods, which are rehydrated with water, pet-specific bone broth (not cooked with onion or garlic), or goat milk, provide extra liquid intake to pets. Increasing moisture in the diet can also prevent systemic issues such as urinary problems, constipation, and liver disease – being well-hydrated is very important to overall health.
To begin a rotational diet, first get the ok from your veterinarian, and start small. Small amounts of new food blended into the old diet will be less likely to cause issues than switching all at once, which is not recommended. Whenever you are rotating to the next type of food, make a slow introduction:
- Start with mixing 75% old food with 25% new food for 2-3 days.
- If this seems well with your pet, do a 50% combination of old and new foods for 2-3 days.
- Move on to 25% old food and 75% new food, again for 2-3 days.
- If your pet isn’t showing negative symptoms, you’re ready to feed 100% new food.
You will learn your pet’s particular system and what they can handle when making a food change. Adding some canned 100% pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) or raw goat milk can help ease the transition. How often you vary your pet’s food is up to you, but it is not recommended to switch foods too frequently. Try smaller bags of food to find out what your pet enjoys and does well with – we are happy to help with your selections if it feels overwhelming. You can also start adding variety by introducing some freeze-dried meats as treats. We carry a wide selection: from chicken to tuna, boar to bison, and organ meat, which contains the highest amount of taurine for heart health.
If you have any questions about pet nutrition, please feel free to pop by the store or give us a call. Your pets will enjoy a more balanced and varied diet!