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Discussion Starter #1
I keep seeing a few posters mention that dogs need to eat a food a full 12 weeks to gain full nutritional benefit. Are there any studies on this? How was it determined?

I wouldn't say I rotate, I do changed foods about every 2-3 bags depending on what sales I find or coupon codes I have. One bag last about a month so they are usually on the same food for about 8 weeks before changing.

Except for Pongo. Pongo will not eat the same food for more than 5 days or so. So he mostly eats sample bags. He eats 1/2 cup a day so samples actually work really well for us. Petflow does trials and anything with decent ingredients I buy as many trials as I can and rotate them with him. Right now he is eating Now Fresh senior. I have some Horizon Pulsar grain free fish and chicken samples coming and Canine Caviar lamb formula. He also eats raw some too. He is 15 yrs old. He had bloodwork a few months ago and it was perfect except his bun was 1 point over the accepted range. Everything else was right in the middle of accepted ranges. He has been eating this way most of his life, except he was on all raw for about 5 yrs of it. He does very well with this type of feeding. He is obviously getting his nutritional needs met. So I don't understand why a food has to be feed for a certain amount of time. Not trying to cause an arguement, I just don't understand it and would like to read some research on it if it is available.
 

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I don't have anything to add except I'm interested to see the information from both sides as this is something I don't know much about. I do know I never bought my cat the same bag of food, and each bag would last about 8 weekks , so it sounds like similar to what you're doing and mine never had an issue, never any loose stools. I also did this in case a food was recalled, she wasn't eating only that since we all know how long it takes to recall the food from the time the complaints roll in. Some brands have been in trouble for leaving out vital ingredients so I'd hate to have been feeding only one of those for several months!

I'm going to wager there's no evidence against rotating foods being negative and it being more a personal choice. I doubt there's much evidence on either side....
 

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From what I've learned if a dog is fed one kind of food, its digestive system adjust to digesting that food and if the food is suddenly changed the system is (often) upset which is what causes soft stool. An example, would be a person going from eating boiled chicken and rice (for weeks) then eating a steak and lobster meal. It's pretty much a guarantee recipe for stomach upset.Of course, if going from such a bland diet to another blandish diet the upset would be less likely to occur which is where rotating using foods of similar "make up" gnerally don't cause problems. But if fed a variety, the digestive system adjust to digesting lots of foods so is less likely to be upset at something new being added/changed. IMO (and they way I feed), dogs should be fed a variety of foods, preferably as different from each other as possible, i.e. brands, protiens, grains, etc, on a "daily" basis. I doubt any of my pups have eaten the same food for a single week. The closest they've been is eating the same brand with different proteins.
 

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My dogs get people food too, plus can food and raw food along with their kibble and it works very well for us. Some days it is just kibble, some days all raw if I find a sale and don't have enough freezer room. My dogs seem to really enjoy and thrive on the variety. I understand they are dogs and not people, but I wouldn't want to eat the same thing day in and day out. Plus very rarely in nature do carnivores eat the same thing daily (if they even get to eat daily). Maybe a squirrel today, rabbit tomorrow, the ranchers lamb the next day. Even herbivores usually get a variety of plants as well.

If there is research to the contrary, I would like to read it. But I just don't see how it can be so bad to feed a varied diet if my dogs do not appear lacking in anything and baring cancer and hereditary heart disease most are living into their teens.

And I do feed the cat the same way. I buy the sample bags and she rotates with them. She at Pure Vita for a month, then Evo for a month and is on GO! right now. Plus she eats a variety of brands of can food and she will occasionally eat a chicken neck or liver. She came from the SPCA eating Meow Mix and was very overweight. She has lost over 5lbs and eats as much as she wants 3 times a day.
 

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I'll try to put together some words, it's not a simple subject. I have to start with saying no dog is similar. The issues with switching food/ingredients is due to enzyme production by the liver and pancreas and the acid level they work at. Enzyme production is not static and constant but varies and adjust over time according to what is eaten and various enzymes functions best at diffrent pH levels. Enzyme production have even been seen to be reduced to close to nothing in dogs fed a formula which included papain, bromelain and aspergillus oryzae enzymes. Let's say Fido have been eating a chicken and pea based grain free food with these 3 enzymes for a while. Now Fido's owner want to switch to Holistic Select Fish, Oatmeal & Rice, and does so overnight. That's a recipe for disaster because Fido have limited ability to start the digestion of the fish and the grains. Fido will probably throw up most of it within 1 to 6 hours. It's the same mechanisms at work when talking about issues surrounding feeding raw meat and kibble together. Has nothing to do with different digestion rate as many say but the fact that different enzymes and a different pH level is needed. Dr Conor Brady have touched on the subject in the raw section some time ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So there are no actual studies to back it up?

I understand you need certain enzymes to break down food, but If the dog has no issue going from one food to another, how is it detrimental to them? I can see having an issue if they are used to eating a certain food for long periods and then you abruptly change, but if they are used to changing food and have no issues with it- What is wrong with doing it?

I was feeding Earthborn Meadows Feast and granted it doesn't have all 3 enzymes in it, but grain free lamb based and switched to Holistic Select Anchovies, Sardine and Salmon w/o issues. Those are 2 foods all my dogs can eat w/o upsetting my allergy dogs. We had no vomiting, no diarrhea, etc. I did so b/c my local Petco was discontinuing the Holstic Select in store and I got the big bags for $25. Dogs do pretty well on the food, but I think it is overpriced normally. So I went back to Earthborn after that and now they are pricing themselves out of my budget. Again no issue going back to Earthborn after eating the Holistic Select for 2 months. And they of course ate other foods like eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, can mackeral and can food plus raw while on each food.
 

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So there are no actual studies to back it up?

I understand you need certain enzymes to break down food, but If the dog has no issue going from one food to another, how is it detrimental to them? I can see having an issue if they are used to eating a certain food for long periods and then you abruptly change, but if they are used to changing food and have no issues with it- What is wrong with doing it?
There are studies with different angles on this, for many different mammals. PubMed have a lot of them. Also search for Dr Conor Brady here. Who said it was detrimental? When you say your dogs have no issues they have no issues, nothing more to say. Most will have a period of digestive upset followed by 8 to 14 days of less than optimal digestion if formulas are switched every 1 to 3 month. Waltham also have a lot on the subject.
 

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So there are no actual studies to back it up?

I understand you need certain enzymes to break down food, but If the dog has no issue going from one food to another, how is it detrimental to them? I can see having an issue if they are used to eating a certain food for long periods and then you abruptly change, but if they are used to changing food and have no issues with it- What is wrong with doing it?

I was feeding Earthborn Meadows Feast and granted it doesn't have all 3 enzymes in it, but grain free lamb based and switched to Holistic Select Anchovies, Sardine and Salmon w/o issues. Those are 2 foods all my dogs can eat w/o upsetting my allergy dogs. We had no vomiting, no diarrhea, etc. I did so b/c my local Petco was discontinuing the Holstic Select in store and I got the big bags for $25. Dogs do pretty well on the food, but I think it is overpriced normally. So I went back to Earthborn after that and now they are pricing themselves out of my budget. Again no issue going back to Earthborn after eating the Holistic Select for 2 months. And they of course ate other foods like eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, can mackeral and can food plus raw while on each food.
I read stuff from one vet saying to rotate, another saying not to. I personally think feeding as much variety, and always adding in fresh foods, is good as long as the dog can handle it. We're both solid evidence this works great for our animals :) Maybe it's a "know your pet" thing but there's nothing I've seen to convince me it's negative. I only know about enzymes in the raw aspect, so I'm not versed too much in the cooked form (or lack of?) but I'd think supplementing them is a good idea as not sure digestive enzymes really cut it. That's why you add in the freash items, but I have a cat who refuses to eat anything not cooked to death.

Check out this read as it talkes about how important adding enzymes to our diet is, or making sure you eat enough food that isn't nutritionally dead... but they reference dogs and studies done on rats. I think it's a good idea for any carnivore eating cooked food to be fed enzymes, obviously not the plant-based ones lol I'm going to get my cat some :)

Living and Raw Foods: Enzymes and Longevity
 

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Rotational feeding is a marketing gimmick that was started by Natures Variety. The basis of it is simple: Make up a story that a dog needs variety and leave it to the customer to go overboard with how frequently they change. A large proportion of people will then buy food in smaller bags at a higher cost per pound. Very Clever.

My nutritional issue with rotational feeding is that it leaves you with few if any choices if you have problem dog. Let's face it, how many proteins are there? If you take this concept to extremes, and people do, there is no such thing as a "novel" protein before long.

Overall, when a company recommends this, it is generally due to the economics of smaller packaging rather than science.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I did it well before I knew of Nature's Variety, but I didn't call it rotational feeding, I called it feeding the best I could afford at the time or best deal at that time! :)


I agree it depends on the dogs. Some dogs don't do well with changes. Others are fine.

Over the years (speaking of about 10+ yrs ago really), the one and only food I fed long term would be Pro Plan Performance and that was b/c I got it dirt cheap from a friend who worked at a distribution company and dogs loved it and did fantastic on it. Then Wellness came out and people online convinced I was killing my dogs by feeding PPP and I did a slow transtition to Wellness and really almost killed by dogs. They did horrible on it and after 3-4 months of forcing them to eat it, Zeus bloated and almost died. I have never since nor will ever feed that food again. I know a lot people like their grain free formula, but I still carry a grudge against the company. Plus they were really rude and nasty about it when I contacted them with my problems. That is when I ended up going raw and did for about 5-6 yrs. Then lost some suppliers and cost prohibited continuing. Zeus did however bloat again on raw and torsion. Then he bloated on Taste of the Wild and died about a month later at age 11 as his body just couldn't recover again. I think if I had kept him on PPP his entire life, he may have never had a problem. He did the best on that food, but I'll never know.

But then there are dogs like Red and Prancer 2 Min Pins I had and they literally had cast iron stomachs. Prancer ate most of a 5lb bag of flour and other than farting white dust, didn't even slow him down. He also climbed onto the fire wood and up on to the mantel and got in the stockings one Christmas and ate an entire 1lb chocolate Santa with no issue. He was a foster and was eventually adopted and they had to pin their garbage bag to the ceiling to keep him out of it! Finally after several years, they gave him back when they had some family issues. He was over weight and had CHF, so had to go on a diet. Thought we were doing really good restricting his diet, but in 1 week he gain 11 oz. Had another foster, female Dobe who was lactating. Picked up as a stray w/ no puppies and she was nursing a 10 yr old Min Pin! Then I thought for sure we had killed him when I have no clue how the short little fat tub of lard got the bagels off the back of the kitchen counter. He ate 5 1/2 big Lenders bagels and I found him passed out with the last 1/2 of a bagel in his mouth laying on his back. I thought he was dead until I touched the bagel! He took scavenging to a whole new level.
 

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Unless you have a dog with a super sensitive system (and that's pretty rare) I can not understand or justify feeding one food for the entire life of a dog. Considering the range of things a dog can eat and survive on, it eems to go against nature itself to limit them to one food. If anything, telling a new puppy owner to keep the dog on brand X food is the ultimate marketing gimmick.

Daviking, you mentioned a dog food that created rotational feedin by offering a rotaion" system" and while I agree that this was a ploy to boost sales, it was by no means the beginning of rotational feeding, simply the company noticing a trend and seeing that there was a market for this.

Same thing is happening with grain free foods. Regardless of whether it is better or not, it SELLS and that's all that matters (to them) so now more and more are jumping on the grain free wagon.

I too agree that fresh food beats processed. But, if you are to stick with processed, I think its a good idea to offer variety. Why are dogs allergic to the common proteins? Maybe because that's all they know?
 

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Daviking, you mentioned a dog food that created rotational feedin by offering a rotaion" system" and while I agree that this was a ploy to boost sales, it was by no means the beginning of rotational feeding, simply the company noticing a trend and seeing that there was a market for this.
Wasn't me. I have no idea about that part.

Just remember, 1 food isn't 1 ingredient, it's multiple sources of proteins, fats and carbs. When I feed *1* formula as a base and add various raw fish, some berries and fruits plus a few minerals the weekly diet isn't that much different, in terms of variation, than most ppl's diet. We are all creatures of habit and we tend to eat what we eat.
 

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Daviking, my apologies. It was Monster's dad. I am on my phone and its a lot less convenient than a computer.

Yes, a kibble is not just one ingredient. Many are single proteins though (altho I guess that is neither here nor there). The fact that you DO supplement with fresh things just goes to show that variety is fun! Why do you add them?
 

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We are all creatures of habit and we tend to eat what we eat.
That's not a good thing, though. And certainly not as nature designed. There's a reason certain veggies/fruits grow at certain times of the year.

If I have exclusive control over what an animal or human eats then I'm going to make sure variety is given. Just like when I'm responsible for a human life they will be eating a variety of foods and have a developed palate; not like what I got as a child! My child will be given liver from a young age and heart and other organs so it's not considered weird or foreign. As well as a variety of vegtables/fruits based on what's in season. If you eat from your farmer's market, there's no way you'll eat the same thing over and over. Some months you'll fine tomatoes and some months you'll find eggs and some months strawberries and so on. I eat on average 10-15 veggies a week and they're never the same week-to-week. Same concept with a wild animal as things come and go based on the seasons.
 

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That's not a good thing, though. And certainly not as nature designed. There's a reason certain veggies/fruits grow at certain times of the year.

If I have exclusive control over what an animal or human eats then I'm going to make sure variety is given. Just like when I'm responsible for a human life they will be eating a variety of foods and have a developed palate; not like what I got as a child! My child will be given liver from a young age and heart and other organs so it's not considered weird or foreign. As well as a variety of vegtables/fruits based on what's in season. If you eat from your farmer's market, there's no way you'll eat the same thing over and over. Same concept with a wild animal as things come and go based on the seasons.
We have a good farmers market here in Hamilton and we get our groceries from there all the time. That doesn't mean our menu changes much month to month. Some variations among the vegetables but that's about it. Secondly, canines doesn't care much for which produce is in season. I am glad you are going to cook foods many younger ppl in the western world (in particular N. America) will turn their back on to your child. When I grew up lung stew, blood loaf, ox tongue, salted herring etc etc was staples in our diet. Blood loaf with a little sugar sprinkled on top - yuuuum!
 

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We have a good farmers market here in Hamilton and we get our groceries from there all the time. That doesn't mean our menu changes much month to month. Some variations among the vegetables but that's about it. Secondly, canines doesn't care much for which produce is in season. I am glad you are going to cook foods many younger ppl in the western world (in particular N. America) will turn their back on to your child. When I grew up lung stew, blood loaf, ox tongue, salted herring etc etc was staples in our diet. Blood loaf with a little sugar sprinkled on top - yuuuum!
Sadly, I wasn't introduced to all that so it's tough for me. But I won't do the same to my child...

Maybe we're different but our menu does change greatly month to month. To some extent, it clearly doesn't matter the variety we get but more the quality. Many cultures around the world do exclusively eat the same things and they're thriving. I just prefer to spice things up and really trying to expand my palate so we have to get fancy with our ideas because we weren't raised to eat them and sometimes it's tough! If I don't spice it up, I'll get bored and resort back to junk food and unhealthy things due to cravings always being there somewhere combined with temptation everywhere! My mom, is one like you mentioned, and literally lives of five (very unhealthy)things.

And the point about canines and things in season wasn't to say they care or not, but more like mother nature does. I think it's weird seeing tomatoes in the store in the winter, for example. And I'm always kicking myself for not canning any during the winter.
 

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I've gone the gamut on feeding dogs over the decades so this is an interesting thread to me.

In a logical sense, it seems that the more frequently a dog is exposed to different foods/ingredients, the more adaptable its digestive system should be. The longer it's eating one specific kibble, the harder it will be to change to a new kibble.

All that said, for the time-being I've found it effective to use 2 different base kibbles that are similar in protein/fat percentages and I change back and forth after several bags. To the base kibble I'll add a variety of home-cooked foods.
 

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I've gone the gamut on feeding dogs over the decades so this is an interesting thread to me.

In a logical sense, it seems that the more frequently a dog is exposed to different foods/ingredients, the more adaptable its digestive system should be. The longer it's eating one specific kibble, the harder it will be to change to a new kibble.

All that said, for the time-being I've found it effective to use 2 different base kibbles that are similar in protein/fat percentages and I change back and forth after several bags. To the base kibble I'll add a variety of home-cooked foods.
That sounds like a good idea. One book I read stressed buying a very basic kibble because the less ingredients the less chance to go rancid and then add in either raw or home-cooked foods yourself since they'll be easier to digest and they'll benefit more from it. There's so many different angles to approach I'm leaning towards multiple ways could beneficial depending on the dog .
 

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I feed my cats this way, rotating through high quality foods with each bag. They are all healthy and do very well. Felix, the dog, has had a vomiting problem almost since I got him, so he stays on the same kibble, but gets lots of different raw and canned food. So in essence all my animals are provided a variety of different foods.

I look at it like this, would you like to eat spaghetti twice a day, EVERY day for the rest of your life? I know I wouldn't and you wouldn't be very healthy either. The same food over and over again isn't healthy, for people…or pets. Balance over time, I know it says kibble's are balanced, but I know my animals have never been healthier than when I give them a variety of different foods to munch on :)
 
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