Like humans, dogs enjoy, and should consume a variety of different foods. Although they are descended from wolves, and thereby classified as Carnivora, research shows that dogs are monogastric omnivores. This means that in addition to meat, dogs can enjoy a variety of other food sources. Rotating your dog's food not only is enjoyable for his taste buds, but also can stave off potential food allergies.
Benefits of Rotation
In the wild, dogs obtain minerals and vitamins by eating many different kinds of food. With most domestic diets, the vitamins and minerals already can be a part of your dog's food, as most commercial foods research the exact dietary needs of dogs at different stages in their lives. You can choose from a variety of foods; raw, dry kibble, canned foods or a combination of the above. Rotation still is important, however, as rotating food helps prevent protein allergies.
Allergic reactions occur in dogs who are fed the same food for extended periods of time; the dog's immune system begins to identify a food ingredient as harmful, releasing antibodies to fight the allergy. An allergic reaction often is the first indication of the need to change your dog's food. Allergies can manifest in a variety of ways, including itchy skin, hot spots, red and raw looking skin, an upset stomach and diarrhea.
How to Rotate Your Dog's Food
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It it not necessary to change your dog's food on a daily or even weekly basis, although it is recommended that you rotate your dog's food every three months or fewer. The new food can be the same brand and a different flavor or you can elect to choose a whole new brand. To rotate to the new food, transition your dog slowly over the course of a week. With each meal, feed him increasing amounts of the new food, and decreased amounts of the old food, until you have completely switched to the new food.
Tips and Tricks
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Vomiting or diarrhea during the transition is a sign that you may be switching too fast, or that the dog is allergic to something in the new food. Attempt to slow down the transition first, but eliminate the new food entirely if this does not help. Rotate your dog's food between at least three different protein sources, such as beef, lamb and chicken, for the best results. As always, consult with your dog's veterinarian before making any extreme changes to his diet.