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Thread: rotating foods

  1. #1
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    Default rotating foods

    i've read here and there that it's healthy to change a dog's food from time to time, they get more varied nutrients that way and are less likely to develop allergies.

    so far, the suggestions/practices i've read about are to change food every few months or each time a bag of kibble is finished.

    i'm wondering if it's healthy or harmful to change much more often than that. for a long time, i've noticed that Zack will happily eat a food for a day or two, but then by the third day or so, he will act disappointed at that same food.

    For a while, i was switching foods and trying different foods, trying to find something that he would continue to like, but no matter what it was, with the exception of homecooked boiled chicken and rice, he always got disenchanted after one or two days.

    thanks to good advice from karlin, i stopped searching for something he would always like and just stuck with one kibble, and he will eat that. After the first day or two, he will not eat it right away but will eat it a little later, or off and on throughout the day til it's gone. i feed him twice a day generally, and he eats eventually even if not for some hours.

    recently, for about a week now, i've been switching his kibble every day or even giving him two different kibbles in the same day. After all that experimenting with different foods in the past, i have 6 different kinds of kibble in air tight containers. so, i figured, why not give him variety. The result is that when i give him one that he hasn't had in a few days, he acts happy and eats it readily.

    is there any health reason to not vary the food this much? his digestion seems fine, no sign of any problem.

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    Some places say that you will then not give a balanced diet that is as balanced as one kibble fed over time -- because some are richer or spread out their nutritional value in different ways (and thus you don't need to feed as much of one kibble compared to another for example).

    However I don't think it really matters. I don't think I would be changing kibbles at that rate though. Breeders that I know who rotate foods do it when one bag or two is completed, not every few days. So more like every month or two.

    Whether it's a good idea to switch around frequently with a dog that has had some digestive issues, I don't know. Switching foods around can cause stomach upset for some dogs. You might want to consult someone like Monica Segal. I would never alter kibble at that rate, though I do tend to vary homecooked and supplemented kibble meals. Why not stick to one kibble he tolerates well and just add things like cooked meat/sardines/vegetables on a rotating basis? Most dogs prefer to have something besides kibble rather than a variety of kibbles, I think.

    Also if you are free feeding at all I would stop that. Just give him his 15 minutes at each meal then take away the bowl full stop til his next meal. Don't keep testing to see if he will eat a bit more as that approach just reinforces being finicky about food. It means he controls the feeding situation, not you.
    Karlin
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    I don't rotate foods. Both of mine have been eating CA Natural chicken and rice for a couple of years. I had such a hard time finding a food that agreed with Jake's sensitive tummy that it just wasn't worth it. I add some supplments (prozyme, probiotic, and missing link among others) so I know they are getting the nutrition they need. They also get fresh fruits and veggies as treats.
    Cathy
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    Quote Originally Posted by karlin
    Whether it's a good idea to switch around frequently with a dog that has had some digestive issues, I don't know. Switching foods around can cause stomach upset for some dogs. You might want to consult someone like Monica Segal. I would never alter kibble at that rate, though I do tend to vary homecooked and supplemented kibble meals. Why not stick to one kibble he tolerates well and just add things like cooked meat/sardines/vegetables on a rotating basis? Most dogs prefer to have something besides kibble rather than a variety of kibbles, I think.

    Also if you are free feeding at all I would stop that. Just give him his 15 minutes at each meal then take away the bowl full stop til his next meal. Don't keep testing to see if he will eat a bit more as that approach just reinforces being finicky about food. It means he controls the feeding situation, not you.
    I wouldn't have had the idea of switching his food so often if not for already having several types of kibble and nothing to use them for. In addition to the 6 in containers, there are at least a couple more in bags because the store ran out of the containers.

    But as it is, it's not that he won't eat. It's just that he doesn't seem happy with what he eats, except when it's new. so, i thought maybe if he has something new every few days, he would be happier--as long as it's not turned into a game where he won't eat unless i change the food--in that case, he'll just get one food and either eat it or not, his choice. But he doesn't act like that. He eats what i give him. It's just my own wish to see him act more happy with what he eats

    thank goodness, he is not a dog with digestive sensitivities. The problems he had the first month i had him were eliminated by worming and he has never shown any digestive symptoms since. The switching over to straight kibble has resulted in the healthiest poops he ever had, large, easily passed, easy to pick up, not mushy, about 3 times per day, so his system is moving well and he is well nourished to the extent that the food i'm giving him is nutritious.

    I had read that kibbles vary in their nutritioinal strengths and weaknesses and that's one reason why people will rotate brands and types of meat, etc. i was thinking if he has a different kind every two to three days, he would have the best of all worlds. but i haven't heard of anyone else doing this--mainly because i doubt many people have so many kinds of kibble available to serve all the time. I'm trying to figure out what the downside to doing this with Zack is--as long as he eats and accepts whatever i give him and isn't having digestive problems, and is healthy.

    So far, his weight seems just right to me, by appearance. He's not a thick or meaty as any of the dogs pictured on Laura Lang's page, he goes in a bit more at the waist, but he's not bony. I haven't weighed him in about a month. He was just over 15 lbs then.

    Consulting with Monica is a good suggestion, about this question.

    About giving him additional stuff like sardines, so far, it seems that when i do that, each time, he becomes more disenchanted with the kibble, so I have tried it from time to time, and then gone back to straight kibble.

    I do think that what you say about not free feeding would change things in this respect. I leave his food down for him to eat when he chooses because it hasn't created any problems or issues, it's a relaxed kind of thing, he doesn't eat the food at first if it's one he is bored with, but he eats it later, so, since he eats it, i don't worry about him, and we have a routine where i feed him twice a day and he eats it all--i dont give very large portions. Not sure how much it is though, the serving cup that came with the containers isn't marked. but i anticipate that if i put the food down for 15 minutes and then picked it up uneaten, he would be quite hungry later, like when i come home from work, and would eat more happily, whatever the food is.

    I've not started that practice yet because he is in the stage of life where chewing is still a pretty serious issue. I have not had a chewing problem with him, but he hasn't completely grasped that some things are not ok to chew, when im not home there are sometimes one or two things he has chewed that are not his allowed chew objects, just because he can't really know yet whether that thing was ok or not.

    I believe he's getting it, these incidents are rare, normally i come home to no chewing, but i have imagined that while he's home alone and bored, and not having had enough exercise, if i add to that strong hunger, he could have some excess nervous energy or anxiety, which in turn could make chewing more likely as a way of dealing with his boredom and hunger. He has always had the tendency to use chew items like bully sticks and edible nylabones as substitutes for eating real food, i assume because he likes the flavor better.

    anyway, so because the free feeding so far has not caused any issues such as not eating or eating too much, so that an issue of control has not come up between us, i haven't felt an urgency to switch to a structured schedule. But if i were to have a more mobile life style where free feeding isn't possible, then it might become a problem of him not eating. so i am planning to change to structured feeding, but still waiting until i don't see any chewing. One book i read said the height of the chewing phase is 6 months to a year.

    as far as with Zack in practice (as opposed to this theorizing) i don't think there is going to be a chewing problem, or a feeding problem. He's quite adaptable and agreeable . I'll check with Monica about feeding varied kibbles, changing every 3 days or so, to see what might be a problem with doing that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathy T
    I don't rotate foods. Both of mine have been eating CA Natural chicken and rice for a couple of years. I had such a hard time finding a food that agreed with Jake's sensitive tummy that it just wasn't worth it. I add some supplments (prozyme, probiotic, and missing link among others) so I know they are getting the nutrition they need. They also get fresh fruits and veggies as treats.
    this is how i always thought it was supposed to be--one kibble, dog eats it, end of story. you and karlin both have a pair of dogs which gives them that extra motivation to make sure they get their share. that helps. my cat got overweight so i put her on smaller portions, and her hunger from that caused her to start trying to eat zack's food the other day. I think that is not healthy for her and i prevented it, but i was hoping he'd get jealous and value his food more highly. but he didn't. CA Natural chicken and rice is one of the kibbles i have in my pantry but it's not in an airtight container. Do you have any idea how long kibble can be left out in the opened bag before it would be stale or lose its nutritional value?

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    I rotate foods all the time. I have favorites (Canidae, Merrick and Wellness), but we use Evo, Evanger (sp?), etc... also from time to time. My dogs tummies are used to change and handle food changes with ease.

    I don't like keeping open dog food containers for longer than 6 or so weeks. I like to keep their food as fresh as possible. JMHO Sandy

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    What's your schedule for rotation, Sandy? Would you mix and match from day to day, or go from 6 week period to six week period?

    I feed a range of foods daily, but not a range of dry foods. Just one, and I don't feed kibble every day; more as an occasional meal... Usually with some supplement like sardines, chicken, beef etc.
    Karlin
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    Canidae is an easy to find, inexpensive good food. I use it as a base- I mix in half canidae with half another dry. I am using Merrick Wilderness blend as the other dry (makes a good gravy for variety too). Merrick canned is a wonderful addition for a topper. I use fruits, veges, and whole grain shredded wheat as treats. This seems to allow enough consistancy to not have stool issues and enough variety to make the all enjoy their mealtime.
    Everyone has to try to do the best by their pups- but this is how I try to keep my whole tribe wll-fed and happy. Sandy

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    Thanks, I'm always interested in what others are feeding! I wish we had some good quality canned but the only one I have found that seems good is Butchers -- I liked their three-tripe variety; no preservatives. But Tesco stopped carrying it and Petstop doesn't either (two main places I'd go for groceries/pet stuff). The dogs loved the tripe.
    Karlin
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    I recently switched King to Purina Beneful. (which he luvs) he was only Solid Gold puppy (for only 2 weeks cuz he refused to eat it) so he went to Merrick Puppy Plate...about the time he turned 1 yr I tried him on Solid Gold Hund-n-Flocken to c if he'd like it again since he hasnt had it in a couple of months...He did eat it 4 a bit but got tired of it, my mom got a lil sample bag of Purina Beneful from Cosco, so we tried it and he loved it....So i used up the rest of the Solid Gold while weaning him to Beneful. So we started him wit Beneful Orginal, when he finished that bag we thought to give him a change and got him Beneful Healthy Radiance (he like them both the same) I do mix in some NBL roll food, or cooked peas/carrots, or cooked meat as a lil variety for him...he seems to like either the meat or veggies mixed in the best. So kinda in my opinion Judy I would find a food he likes stick wit it, and u could add some things to give him a variety but keep him on the same kibble...but thats my opinion.

    also if i could recommend a treat 2 every1 that King is absolutly goin NUTS for is products from IMS pet Industries http://www.imspet.com/default.htm he really loves the "Chicken Filets", soft or regular "Chicken Chips" "Soft Chicken Sausages" and also all those in the duck flavored too... try some if u wanna c some happy kids wit tails a waggin...

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