A trending topic among dog lovers is rotating their pup’s protein source. This basically means you change the protein source of your dog’s food periodically: on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. You might go from beef, to fish, to pork and so on. With today’s dog foods, your options are limitless.
Experts recommend protein rotation for a variety of reasons. Some believe prolonged feeding of the same food for long periods of time can cause allergic reactions manifesting in a variety of symptoms including itchy skin, hot spots, upset stomach and more. Others believe it adds variety to their pup’s life and keeps them from getting bored with the same old food day after day. Whatever your reasons for rotating your pet’s protein source, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some tips:
- Do not mix foods. Rotating your dog’s protein source does not mean mixing two (or more) dog foods together.
- Talk to your vet to come up with a plan or schedule of how often you are going to switch your dog’s protein source. Some experts suggest you switch weekly, while others will tell you to empty one bag or supply of food before switching to an alternate protein source to insure freshness.
- Make sure all dog food is sealed properly to ensure freshness and keep it from going stale. If you use a plastic bin or dog food storage container, be sure to clean it out thoroughly after every bag of food or residual fats and oils that settle at the bottom could become rancid and contaminate fresh new food.
- Some dogs have sensitive stomachs and changing protein sources can upset their tummy. You’ll want to follow the basic rules for changing any dog food by gradually mixing in some of the new food starting at about a 25% ratio and working your way up from there until you are at 100%. This is usually done over a 7 to 10 day period but be sure to consult your vet.
- Keep an eye on your dog. You will want to consult your vet if your dog is showing signs of a food allergy: chronic ear inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, skin rash, hives, gas, obsessive licking, obsessive scratching and sometimes even nausea or vomiting. All of these symptoms could indicate that your dog may be allergic to the new protein source or food. However, if your dog was having those issues and those symptoms stop when you switch protein sources, you should also talk to your vet because they may have had an allergy to the food you were feeding them and you may not have even known it!
Protein rotation success story: A Shih-Tzu named George never slept through the night. He was always scratching and keeping his humans awake with his fidgeting, licking and squirming around. When they began rotating their dog’s protein source on the suggestion of a clerk at their pet food store, George suddenly began sleeping through the night. His humans always thought he was just a fidgety, squirmy, itchy boy but it turned out that he was actually allergic to the chicken based dog food they have been feeding him for years.
We’d love to hear your experience with rotating your dog’s protein source in the comments below.