Here at ABA, we talk a lot about how we can provide our animals with the healthiest diet possible. A healthy diet is paramount for overall health, as it not only provides our animals with various energy sources and nutrients, it also gives the body the tools it needs to stay healthy and the immune system the power to keep the body strong.
But one of the things that pet parents sometimes forget about is rotational feeding for dogs. It’s easy to create a healthy diet and feed that diet – but you also want to make sure that diet provides variety – and lots of it.
Creating a healthy diet (meaning both food and supplements) should always include rotation.
Why? Let’s explore…
The Benefits of Rotational Feeding for Dogs
Rotational feeding for dogs is just what it sounds like – rotating different foods over time.
After all, who wants to eat the same food over and over again? I sure don’t, and I don’t think my dogs do either. This alone is an important reason to rotate. But there are some important others as well.
1. Helps Prevent Food Allergies
Food sensitivities in dogs can actually be caused by the constant exposure to the same protein. Over time, your dog’s immune system can develop an intolerance if they’re getting the same protein over and over, for example, if you only feed beef, or only feed chicken. By rotating proteins, your dog’s immune system will be stronger and will reduce the sensitivity to food allergies.
2. Promotes a Healthier Digestive System
Different bacteria from different food sources help to encourage a strong and vibrant community in the gut. Lots of friendly bacteria of different kinds allows for your dog to be better equipped to handle any invading harmful bacteria. Only offering one protein or one type of food source can limit the different types of beneficial bacteria that grow in the gut. With rotational feeding for dogs, the variety gives the digestive tract that extra boost.
3. Different Proteins Have Different Benefits
Feeding different types of proteins can actually provide your dog with different nutrients. This is because different proteins have different nutritional profiles. Take amino acids for example – amino acids are the building blocks of protein and varying the diet will provide your dog with a wide array of these amino acid profiles.
4. Rotation Provides Vitality & Strength
Rotational feeding also applies to additions to those proteins. Widening the nutritional profile affords a body the resources it needs to stay healthy, fit, strong and vital.
We’ll talk about supplements in a minute, but fresh foods also contain a variety of nutrients that benefit your animal. For example, there are several different foods that contain natural probiotics – things like goat’s milk, kefir, or fermented foods – as well as prebiotics – fruits and vegetables like apples, berries, asparagus, bananas. Many foods and supplements contain a wide variety of pre and probiotics from different sources, so there is definitely value in rotation here as well. Then you have things like eggs, tripe, bone broth, etc.
Also, keep in mind that there is no stasis in dietary requirement, and by rotating we can better match the cadence and rhythm of your pet’s body.
And rotational feeding for dogs is fairly easy, no matter what you feed (of course, with a fresh, whole food diet it is much easier). Simply switch between different protein sources every few weeks! Offer local inclusions and rotate with the seasons – take advantage of your local farmers’ markets! This isn’t just a great way to round out the nutritional profile, it’s also a great way to harmonize the internal body environment with the external season it’s living through.
Remember: when introducing your dog to a protein they’ve never had before, especially a novel protein, watch for any signs of intolerance. If they don’t like a new food, just switch to something different.
As mentioned, just as with food, there are many different supplements you can rotate through to provide your animal with the best of the best.
Probiotics are perhaps the best example of why rotation is key.
We now know that good gut health is essential to overall health. Helping to build strong communities of beneficial bacteria in the gut by feeding probiotics is an essential part of this. By alternating between different probiotics, you’re exposing your animal’s gut to new and different strains of probiotic bacteria from different sources.
Take our different probiotics. At ABA we have a lot of different probiotic blends. Each one was created to fit a different need, and they also each target different areas of the body or different bodily systems.
Some have the same strains (Love Bugs, Healthy Gut, Gut Soothe) but with different additions, such as digestive enzymes (Healthy Gut) or anti-inflammatory herbs (Gut Soothe). Then you have our species-specific probiotics that feature canine or feline-specific strains. Then of course you have Soil & Sea which features soil-based probiotics. So, by giving these in rotation, you’re exposing your animal to so many different probiotic strains – and the different benefits are just mind-blowing!
Check this out!
Of course, then you have to consider the different prebiotics. Some of these have prebiotic larch, while The Wolf has prebiotic turkey tail mushrooms, and Soil & Sea has prebiotic chlorella! Sorry, I’m clearly getting overly excited just thinking about this!!
In our house, we pay close attention to rotational feeding. Our dogs eat a variety of different proteins, with different fruits and vegetable and other fresh foods every day. Plus, we rotate supplements. One month they get Love Bugs, then we move to The Wolf, then to Healthy Gut, and so on and so on. In doing so, we’re addressing so many different things.
Raising your pets in a healthy way should include rotation and variety. This makes them healthy and happy! Have fun with food, share in the experience of it, and enjoy all the colours of the rainbow!