Friday, October 28, 2016

Fit Food Friday: Rotational Diets

I've had a few questions lately about what I mean when I say I feed a "rotational diet" to my dogs. A lot of people feed rotational diets, and it doesn't always mean the same thing to all of us.

The basics are the same. Feeding a variety of different foods on a rotational basis is a rotational diet. (I've now used the word rotational so many times that I feel like it has lost all meaning to me- ever have that happen to you? I'm just going to say RD from now on, I think.) Exactly what is fed as part of an RD is what varies the most, person to person, dog to dog.

The big thing sticking out to the side is a tendon

I think most people who feed an RD rotate between flavors of kibble in the same brand (for example a fish formula and a beef formula by the same manufacturer), or else they rotate between flavors and brands both. I do those things, but I also add raw food into the RD I feed to my dogs.

Lots of meat and connecting tissues

I tend to buy meat on sale, get old freezer burned meat for free or dirt cheap, or get butchering scraps. This particular meat is butchering scraps from an elk. Humans may not like to eat the tendons and connective tissues that come with meat, but it is great nutrition for the dogs, who don't mind the texture and have jaws meant to deal with it. And of course, along with the silverskin (connective tissue from between muscles) comes some amazing wild game meat that the dogs absolutely love and that cannot be replicated with domestic animals.

Individually packaged pumpkin

So I rotate between a number of kibbles that work well for my dogs, some dehydrated foods, and raw. Since my dogs get such a wide variety, they rarely have any issues switching cold turkey from one to the other. And even when they do have an issue, it tends to be mild enough that a day or two of adding pumpkin to their food solidifies everything up.

Ptera's meal, with Weruva pumpkin on top

Ptera has had a venison based kibble before, and has had raw, but has not had raw elk. Wild game meats like elk and venison can be very different from domestically raised meat, lean and rich and with a different flavor and balance of nutrients. Since it is something new, I like to add a bit of pumpkin to the food to make sure we don't have any problems.

In the past, I've opened a whole can of pumpkin puree, used a few tablespoons a day for a day or three, and then had the rest of the can get moldy in my refrigerator. Or, occasionally, I'll remember to freeze the rest of the can in an ice cube tray and then lose the pumpkin ice cubes at the bottom of the freezer somewhere, to be found the next time I clean it out to the bottom. (I am not the most organized person in the world. Like, at all.)

Koira's meal, with Weruva pumpkin on top

Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up is 100% pumpkin puree, just like the cans, but in sized out pouches. They come as either 1 oz or 2.8 oz serving sizes. I got the 1 oz option for my dogs, because as much bigger as Koira is than Ptera, she is still a pretty small dog by most standards. One pouch is roughly the same as what I would use if I opened up a can. And while the pouches do cost more than buying a can, they are much more convenient, and won't go bad if they don't get used up in a few days (meaning that over time, if you use a few tablespoons from a can and throw the rest away, it doesn't take long for these pouches to be a better deal). And they would be great for traveling, when dogs often get nervous or excited to the point of digestive upset, and pumpkin can be a lifesaver. Way easier to have a few pouches than to worry about carrying a can with you, a can opener, a spoon to dish it out, and a way to store the opened can.

In terms of a rotational diet, I am likely not the norm, since I do add in raw food on a regular basis as well as feeding a variety of kibbles. The meat I feed varies a lot, though it is always pure meat with no added salt or flavorings (the dogs don't get bacon or ham, etc). But I try to be pretty calm about what my dogs eat overall. Outside of a very few foods, I don't worry much about if they eat a treat or a piece of food on the floor, because a tiny bit is unlikely to hurt them, and their stomachs are used to processing a variety of things. I try to feed high quality foods (which to me is a food where the majority of the protein comes from meat sources as whole meat or meal, but not by-products or generic "meat" rather than a named source, and produced in the US or Canada), and rotate what they eat both for variety and to make sure they are getting a well balanced diet over time.

Anyone else feed a rotational diet? If so, what does that mean to you for your pets?

Disclaimer: I was provided with Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way, and this review is entirely honest and in my own words. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing about RD and the way you feed raw. I'm starting to look into switching to raw with my dogs and I like that this is another option of kibble and raw together. Thanks for the info!