By: Tom Cameron, DVM
By: Tom Cameron, DVM
By: Tom Cameron, DVM
At Nature’s Logic, your pet’s health is our number one concern. The exceptional quality and variety in Nature’s Logic foods allows you to feed your pet as they were intended. We keep repeating the importance of feeding a species-appropriate diet. Feeding your dog or cat a variety of meat sources is “species-appropriate.” Let’s look at how protein rotation is a healthy practice.
Dogs and cats in the wild ate what they could catch, which changed often during the year. Animals couldn’t depend on their bowls being full each morning and evening, with treats in between. Dogs and cats naturally ate many types of meats. Their systems and genetics evolved to thrive on this variety, and their diets today should reflect that variety.
Feeding your dog or cat a variety of meat sources is “species-appropriate.”
An easy way to provide variety for your pet is to change the protein source regularly, say from chicken, to duck, and then to beef. Remember that in the wild, dogs and cats ate what they could catch, so one day it might be rabbit, a pheasant the next, and the remains of a moose carcass the day after. You don’t need to change foods every day with your pet – once a month is generally where I have owners start. Another approach is to change protein sources with each new bag of food. This is not an exact science. Feeding variety is what’s important.
You can also vary your pet’s diet by feeding food in multiple forms, including canned, raw, lightly cooked, canned, and dry. Each type of food has its strong and weak points. Rotating proteins and food forms does even more to provide variety and complete, species-appropriate (there’s that term again) nutrition.
Eating a variety of protein sources provides your pet with optimal nutrition. Beef has a different nutrient makeup than turkey. Rabbit and chicken are different still, as are vegetables and fruits. Each of these foods are rich sources of specific nutrients and by eating a variety of these foods, the body gets a full complement of proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Eating the same food, even your favorite food, every day, every meal for long periods gets boring. Many pet owners complain that their pet has become a finicky eater – most often these pets have been fed the same food for months or years! Often, their appetites improve with the addition of new foods. Imagine trying to feed your (human!) family the same food every day…..
A more serious result of eating the same food is that the body can develop a sensitivity to that one protein, say chicken or beef. This can cause upset stomachs, gas, and other health problems. Rotating protein sources regularly can avoid this problem.
Beneficial intestinal bacteria help process/digest the foods that are fed. If only a few foods are ever fed, this limited bacterial population can only process those foods, so when new foods are introduced, digestive upsets often occur – they aren’t ready for them. What would happen if you only did pushups for exercise? You would have strong arms (fronts) and upper back. But what happens when you have to run up the stairs? Your legs and heart have not been kept in shape by pushups alone. Repeating a variety of exercises ensures the body can handle most physical challenges. This works for the digestive tract, too. Feeding a varied diet exposes the GI flora to a wider range of foods, expanding its ability to process more foods efficiently. Animals eating a varied diet are less likely to experience digestive upsets when new foods are introduced.
If your pet has been on the same food for months or years, it is best to make food changes gradually, allowing their digestive systems time to adjust. Once your pet is used to a wider variety of foods, these food changes can take place faster.
Say your dog eats 2 cups of a chicken-based dry food, and you want to introduce a beef-based dry food. Look to make this change over 10-15 days.
If your dog experiences any digestive upsets during this changeover (diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite, increased drinking or urination, gas, etc.), stop the new food and just feed the old food for 5-7 days. Once the symptoms resolve, restart the process with even less of the new food (say 1/4 or 1/8th cup of the new food for the first 3-5 days). If symptoms occur at any time during the changeover, go back to the last combination of old and new food that your dog handled well. Especially when getting started, don’t be afraid to feed the new combinations for 2, 3 or more days longer than listed. Remember your pet is adjusting to this new food, and it can take some time.
|Old Food||New Food|
|1st 3-5 days||1 1/2 cup (75%)||1/2 cup (25%)|
|2nd 3-5 days||1 cup (50%)||1 cup (50%)|
|3rd 3-5 days||1/2 cup (25%)||1 1/2 cup (75%)|
|10-15 days||None||2 cups|
A final recommendation is regular use of an oral probiotic. Remember that we are expanding the population of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Probiotics boost the number of “good bacteria, improve digestion, and support immune function.
Congratulations! You are now ready to introduce variety in your pet’s diet. There is no set time table for switching foods – make it work for your schedule. I recommend switching protein sources every 6-8 weeks, or when finishing a bag of food. Buying a new bag of food 7-10 days before the current bag runs out gives enough time to mix the two foods, making a smooth transition. Nature’s Logic makes protein rotation easy, with a wide variety of 100% natural kibble, canned, lightly cooked frozen and raw foods with no synthetic vitamins or minerals.