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The Benefits of Rotational Feeding for Pets    

By Dr. Al Townshend

Rotational feeding means feeding your pets a variety of foods rather than the same food all the time.
This can mean varying the type of animal-based protein (chicken, beef, lamb, etc.) in the type of food you feed or varying the type of foods you feed such as kibble, wet, raw and almost raw.

Why Rotate

  • We humans are almost always rotating our diet.
    We rarely eat the same thing twice. Varying the diet helps to assure we are getting an optimal, balanced total diet. It can have the same benefit for our pets too.
  • According to Dr. Jean Dodds, rotating foods mimic the ancestral diet of dogs and helps to “create a strong intestinal environment”.
  • Feeding the same food every day can increase the risk of a pet developing a food allergy or intolerance.
  • Rotating can create excitement and keep things interesting at feeding time. Never knowing what’s for dinner can stimulate an even happier pet.
  • Changing the diet regularly can tighten the bond between the pet and the Guardian.
  • It is a great way to get more water in a pet.
    Water consumption is very important and adding a high moisture component to the total diet, like raw, can improve hydration.


There are two basic types of rotational feeding. They can be used separately or in conjunction with each other.

  • Rotating food types is a common form of rotational feeding.
    Instead of always feeding just dry kibble, switching to a canned food or a raw recipe, are common forms of rotating.
    Another method is to use kibble as the basis of the diet and add canned to the dry one day and the next maybe add a raw recipe to the dry.
    Freeze-dried and dehydrated recipes can also be added or used as the basis of the total recipe.
  • Rotating the primary protein sources is another method that can be used separately or in conjunction with rotating food types.
    Switching from chicken to lamb to fish etc… is another rotational method.
    Many do this within the dry kibble food type and some also use wet or raw additions of the same protein.

Getting Started

  • No matter how you rotate, the diets should all be complete and balanced in order to assure your pet is getting all it needs.
  • Switching between brands can be an issue and many recommend staying within one brand of food to reduce the risk of problems.
  • Rotational feeding is generally not done every day. Each week or each month is usually best.
  • A slow transition is always recommended to prevent digestive upsets. Starting with about 20-25% “new” and slowly increasing that amount to a full 100% over a 7 to 10-day period.


Additional Resources
Rotation Feeding for Dogs
Diet Rotation for Dogs

Be sure to take advantage of the Free Pet Planet Nutrition Consultation at a Pet Planet Health location near you.


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