Pet Nutrition – The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 2, Introducing Your Dog to Dietary Rotation

< A version of this article was published in the September 2019 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< A short link to this post http://bit.ly/DietRotation2 >

Introducing Your Dog to Dietary Rotation

Last month [ FMIhttp://bit.ly/DietRotation1-30JUL19 ] we explored why dietary rotation should be a regular part of your pet’s life. Understandably, you may be hesitant to make this change based on past experiences where you changed your dog’s diet. I have been there personally, and the initial consequence of diet change for one of my dogs was ten days of bloody diarrhea and a miserable pup. Often, it only takes one bad experience to convince ourselves that we should never try again. My argument stands, however, that we should not succumb to this fear, but instead we need to work on slowly and methodically strengthening your dog’s gut so that they can handle dietary change with ease.

The first step in introducing dietary rotation is to consider your dog as a unique individual. Things to reflect upon are your dog’s age, health issues, and how long they have been consuming a specific diet.  When dogs are young, it is usually easy to train their systems to handle a variety of diets by simply introducing an assortment of foods. Puppies typically are fed three to four times a day, and there is no reason that each of those meals cannot be something different. There is no question that it is a little more work and a bit more costly, but feeding a variety will have lifelong benefits.

For the older dogs that have been eating the same diet for months, if not years, it will most likely be necessary to move at a slower pace. A good starting point is to first determine if you want to use a different manufacturer or feed an alternate protein source from the same company. Many of the pet food companies have come to understand that people want variety for their animals. To keep you as a loyal consumer, they have tried to make transitioning your pet within their product line as easy as possible. There will often be common ingredients in their diets, identical vitamin and mineral packs, and similar probiotics and prebiotics. Usually, I recommend you start by changing the protein source to something new. Instead of feeding a chicken-based diet, choose one formulated with beef, salmon, turkey, anything but chicken.

On the other hand, if you are looking to switch manufacturers (remember many manufacturers make several brands), it may be best to match the protein source to keep the ingredients somewhat similar. For example, if an animal has been eating a chicken product from Manufacturer A, look for a chicken-based product from Manufacturer B to start. The sourcing, nutrient availability, and formulation will be different, so this keeps some things constant during that initial shift.

Whether changing proteins or manufacturers, it is recommended to start with ¼ of the new food and ¾ of the current diet and then increase by ¼ every four days. Slowly altering the diet in this manner allows for 16 days to completely switch to the new diet. Once eating 100% of the new diet, the next step is to alternate back and forth between these two diets daily. One day you feed Brand A, the next you feed Brand B. As your dog begins to tolerate this easily, it is time to add another protein source or manufacturer until you have a sufficiently wide variety of choices for your pet. For the dog with a sensitive gut, you may need to start by introducing the new food as a treat, a few kibbles at a time. If your animal has underlying health concerns, these, of course, must be taken into account; however, this does not have to mean that some rotation is not feasible.

The second area of focus regarding dietary rotation is determining what you want to include in your pet’s diet. Are you considering kibble only or are you contemplating adding some canned, dehydrated, or commercial frozen or freeze-dried raw food? If you are adding canned food to your pet’s diet, it is easiest to add a small amount to the kibble as a topper. This can be a great way to increase your animal’s moisture intake and meat consumption. (Do remember, as with kibble, not all canned is created equal.)  When introducing raw, it is easiest to start with a freeze-dried food, albeit not the least expensive way, to go. Just sprinkle some freeze-dried food on the dry kibble and you are done. From the perspective of introducing frozen raw, giving two or three nuggets a day as a snack can be a great starting point. With all of these kibble alternatives, the key is to increase gradually and methodically until you can make a complete meal out of them.

The end goal is for you to be able to routinely switch what you feed your pet and not be fixed only feeding them one, specific diet. While this can be an undertaking at the onset, it pays off in with a healthier gut. Remember, always be vigilant and avoid the potential pitfalls of feeding one food and one brand forever.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 1http://bit.ly/DietRotation1-30JUL19

Pet Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense http://bit.ly/DietRotation

GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Pet Foods We Offer At Green Acres Kennel Shop http://bit.ly/GAKS_PetFood_Brands

Things I Wish I Had Known… The Importance of What I Feed My Pets – – WWM-MAR2019 – http://bit.ly/Things-Nutrition-1

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gus – Maine Dog Magazine – Winter 2017 http://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet? http://bit.ly/What-Should-I-Feed-My-Pet

Pet Nutrition – What Do You Feed Your Dog? – WWM-JUN2016 – http://bit.ly/WhatDoYouFeedYourDog

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet? http://bit.ly/ShouldIFeedMyPetARawDiet

Pet Nutrition – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton with link to 1 hour video http://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton

Shared News Story – An Exposé on Prescription Diets from WJLA ABC7 Newshttp://bit.ly/Nut-RXDiets-WJLA-24MAY19

FDA Update on Heart Disease in Dogs & What Should You Do? – 7JUL19  http://bit.ly/FDA-DCM-Food-7JUL19

Shared Articles – More on the FDA, DCM and Pet Food – 10JUL19 –  http://bit.ly/FDA-DCM-Food-10JUL19

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Podcast – DCM, the FDA, and Dog Food-the Science and the Hype with Canine Nutritionist Linda Casehttp://bit.ly/Blog-DCM-FDA-8AUG19

Podcast – Pet’s in the News–No. 4 Pet Food, DCM and The FDA http://bit.ly/WfMw-DCM-FDA-20JUL19

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://bit.ly/DrPatton-Podcast

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://bit.ly/WfMw-Pet-Fooled

Podcast – Is Feeding A Grain-Free Food to Our Dogs Dangerous?, with Linda Case, MS – http://bit.ly/Podcast-FDA-Grain-Free-LindaCase-29SEP18

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Kymythy Schultze Author of Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health http://bit.ly/KymythySchultzeCatNutrition-Podcast

Podcast – An Eastern Approach to Pet Nutrition with Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncturehttp://bit.ly/WfMw-Munzer-EstrnNut-2018

Podcasts – Interview with Steve Brown about Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diethttp://bit.ly/WfMw-SteveBrown-2010

Other Resources

Wysong – The Truth About Pets Foods PDFhttp://bit.ly/WysongTheTruthAboutPetFoods-pdf

Pet Fooled on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/petfooled/

Pet Fooled Webpage https://www.petfooled.com/pet-fooled-part-1.html

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©31AUG19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Pet Nutrition – The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet – Part 1

< A version of this article was published in the August 2019 issue of Downeast Dog News>

< A short link to this post http://bit.ly/DietRotation1-30JUL19 >

< Updated 26AUG19 >

Would You Be Healthy If You Ate the Same Thing At Every Meal?

By Guest Columnist, Kate Dutra, CPDT-KA

Tokyo turnips dipped in cilantro hummus; a ham, cheese and lettuce sandwich on organic seven-grain bread; raw pepper, tomatoes, and cucumbers; a handful of pretzels – this is what comprised my lunch today. Overall, most would agree that it was a healthy, well-balanced meal.  Now, what if I ate this same meal every day, twice a day, for several years? Is that still considered healthy and well balanced? Probably not.

Why then do we deem this acceptable for our canine and feline companions? Pet food companies, veterinarians, breeders, and others have convinced us that changing our pets’ food is difficult and will result in digestive upset. Intuitively we know our pets should have more variety in their diet; however, there is also a grain of truth to the tummy troubles. If animals have been eating only one food for several months or longer, it is only natural that they will experience digestive upset, and possibly diarrhea, when their GI tracts are exposed to other types of food.

The reality is that many companies do not want us to change our pets’ food because it impacts their bottom line. Fortunately, several companies now offer their foods with a variety of animal protein sources and have made adjustments in their diets to allow for a smooth transition from one type of food to another. While this is a good start, it is insufficient. When speaking of dietary rotation, it is not just limited to rotating within a brand of food, but also rotating among brands as well as food types.

The reasons for dietary rotation are many. The most obvious is to increase our pets’ exposure to a variety of meat sources, thus giving them variation in both macronutrients and micronutrients. Whether it is kibble, canned, freeze-dried, or raw, varying the meals between red meats, poultry, fish and some of the more novel protein sources, can be a simple way to benefit our companion’s nutritional well-being.

By rotating brands, even when using the same meat protein, we are increasing the odds of some small variations in diet. All chickens (turkey, pigs, etc.) are not created equal. For example, one company may source their chicken from a poultry farm in the Mid-West and another from New York. Both farms may be Certified Organic, but the soil in the Midwest has different nutrients than the soil in New York. Additionally, the air and water quality will vary, and the farms may be using dissimilar poultry feeds. This results in small differences between the chickens, and as we learn more about nutrition, we are discovering that these differences matter. Another rationale for brand rotation is the vitamin and mineral packs that are often supplemented in pet foods. While all of these packs should meet industry standards, there will be some variation because many of these vitamin and mineral packs are proprietary blends manufactured for specific pet food companies.

Additionally, we still do not understand everything there is to know about nutrition. Nutrition is a very complex science and one that shifts with evolution and the environment. Currently, we are experiencing an apparent increase of (DCM) in dogs (and a few cats). It has yet to be determined if there even is a link between diet and DCM, or what that link may be, but we do know that many of the dogs in the analysis did not have any variation in their feeding. If it is concluded that something in diet plays a role in DCM, had those dogs been on a rotational diet, there is the possibility that they may have had less exposure to whatever is causing the increase in DCM. In our world of genetically modifying everything, who is to say that we have not damaged the bio-availability or essential makeup of some nutrients?

Furthermore, recalls and shortages do happen. If your pet can only eat one food, and that food is recalled or unavailable for some reason, you may find yourself floundering for what to do. If however, you have introduced multiple foods and proteins to your pet, you will have other options available. It is essential also to have an alternative protein because when there is a shortage in an ingredient, it is likely to impact multiple lines of pet food.

A final reason to change up our pets’ diets is boredom. There is a middle ground between creating a picky eater and offering a variety. We control so much in our pets’ worlds, and unintentionally deprive them of choice and experiences, and this is an easy way to enrich their environment. Next month, we will explore transitioning your pet to a variety of diets, what to do about those pets that truly have sensitivities to foods, warming and cooling foods and other questions such as these.

You can learn how to implement this health practice with your dog at The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet, Part 2, Introducing Your Dog to Dietary Rotationhttp://bit.ly/DietRotation2

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

The Wisdom of Rotating Your Pets Diet, Part 2, Introducing Your Dog to Dietary Rotationhttp://bit.ly/DietRotation2

Pet Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sense http://bit.ly/DietRotation

GAKS Philosophy on Pet Nutrition http://bit.ly/GAKS_Nut_Phil

Pet Foods We Offer At Green Acres Kennel Shop http://bit.ly/GAKS_PetFood_Brands

Things I Wish I Had Known… The Importance of What I Feed My Pets – – WWM-MAR2019 – http://bit.ly/Things-Nutrition-1

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gus – Maine Dog Magazine – Winter 2017 http://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet? http://bit.ly/What-Should-I-Feed-My-Pet

Pet Nutrition – What Do You Feed Your Dog? – WWM-JUN2016 – http://bit.ly/WhatDoYouFeedYourDog

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet? http://bit.ly/ShouldIFeedMyPetARawDiet

Pet Nutrition – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton with link to 1 hour video http://bit.ly/Video-Dr-Richard-Patton

Shared News Story – An Exposé on Prescription Diets from WJLA ABC7 Newshttp://bit.ly/Nut-RXDiets-WJLA-24MAY19

FDA Update on Heart Disease in Dogs & What Should You Do? – 7JUL19  http://bit.ly/FDA-DCM-Food-7JUL19

Shared Articles – More on the FDA, DCM and Pet Food – 10JUL19 –  http://bit.ly/FDA-DCM-Food-10JUL19

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Podcast – Pet’s in the News–No. 4 Pet Food, DCM and The FDA http://bit.ly/WfMw-DCM-FDA-20JUL19

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://bit.ly/DrPatton-Podcast

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://bit.ly/WfMw-Pet-Fooled

Podcast – Is Feeding A Grain-Free Food to Our Dogs Dangerous?, with Linda Case, MS – http://bit.ly/Podcast-FDA-Grain-Free-LindaCase-29SEP18

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Kymythy Schultze Author of Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health http://bit.ly/KymythySchultzeCatNutrition-Podcast

Podcast – An Eastern Approach to Pet Nutrition with Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncturehttp://bit.ly/WfMw-Munzer-EstrnNut-2018

Podcasts – Interview with Steve Brown about Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diethttp://bit.ly/WfMw-SteveBrown-2010

Other Resources

Wysong – The Truth About Pets Foods PDFhttp://bit.ly/WysongTheTruthAboutPetFoods-pdf

Pet Fooled on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/petfooled/

Pet Fooled Webpage https://www.petfooled.com/pet-fooled-part-1.html

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©26AUG19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >