Introducing A Rotation Diet

Discussion in 'Dog Health' started by running_dog, May 12, 2014.

  1. running_dog Honored Member

    Zac has a habit of becoming intolerant to what we feed him. He doesn't handle wheat, chicken or rice well, he needs low fat too. He's been on a salmon and potato kibble for a year or so and has done well on it as long as we add extra potato (otherwise it upsets his tummy), his coat has been great and he hasn't had flaky skin. I haven't risked varying his diet because of his digestive problems though I've been worried about the amount of starch he's been consuming.

    In the last month or so he has started shedding a lot, he's sometimes very itchy and he has a lot of flaky skin. If I feed him some home cooked ham (shop bought cooked meat makes him ill) his itchyness often subsides so whether it is a deficiency or an intolerance I am not sure. His digestive problems have not been so bad since he got medication from the vets so I'm hoping I might be able to introduce some more variety.

    I've ordered two different types of food to try him on, one is lamb and maize and kind of cheap the other is more expensive than his current food and is chicken and oats (the chicken is a risk but it is a low fat food and the chicken is organic so I think it is worth trying), both are lower fat than the food he is on currently, the chicken one is higher protein so might be too rich but I won't know until he tries it. What I was hoping to do was to rotate the foods so I feed him a different food each day, he gets 3-4 meals a day (because he needs small meals or his gut gets overloaded).

    Given his digestive problems should I'm thinking of introducing the foods like this:
    Day 1: replace treats with new food 1, ordinary kibble for meals (treats equate to one meal usually)
    Day 2: replace treats with new food 1, ordinary kibble for meals
    Day 3: use ordinary kibble for treats and meals
    Day 4: replace treats with new food 2, ordinary kibble for meals
    Day 5: replace treats with new food 2, ordinary kibble for meals
    Day 6: use ordinary kibble for treats and meals
    Day 7: replace treats with new kibble 1 and make meals 50/50 mix of new kibble 1 and ordinary kibble
    Day 8: use ordinary kibble for treats and meals
    Day 9: replace treats with new kibble 2 and make meals 50/50 mix of new kibble 2 and ordinary kibble
    Day 10: Use ordinary kibble for treats and meals
    Day 11: replace treats with new kibble 1 and make meals 50/50 mix of new kibble 1 and ordinary kibble
    Day 12: replace treats with new kibble 2 and make meals 50/50 mix of new kibble 2 and ordinary kibble
    Day 13: Use ordinary kibble for treats and meals
    Day 14: replace treats and meals with new kibble 1
    Day 15: replace treats and meals with new kibble 2
    Day 16: Use ordinary kibble for treats and meals

    If there is a huge problem with the new kibbles it should flag up at the treat stage. By breaking up the new kibble days with a day of ordinary kibble I hope I'll be able to know which one if either of the kibbles causes a problem. One of the things with Zac's bilistasis is that a food might be okay for a while and then something builds up in his system and he has an episode, by rotating the foods this might actually be avoided completely. Obviously if problems arise I'll adjust the plan.

    To those of you feeding a rotation diet does that sound okay as a plan? or am I going way too fast? Should I only introduce one at a time?

  2. running_dog Honored Member

    There is also the problem of all that added potato which I need to get rid of or replace with something or else the whole rotation is going to be undermined :eek:
  3. sara Moderator

    Sounds fine to me. When I switched my crew over, I started with a base kibble, mixed in with 1/4 kibble one for one meal and 1/4 kibble 2 for the next. I was also introducing in canned foods as well. After a couple of weeks I upped it to 1/2 and 1/2 then finally to completely different foods for each meal.

    You could add different things to different meals, like sweet potato one meal, pumpkin the next, and veggies the next. That will give him the extra help with digestion, and you're still rotating new foods in.
    running_dog likes this.
  4. running_dog Honored Member

    So you took longer to introduce the new foods but you were introducing more at the same time?

    I'd like to feed more variety in the future but it is really expensive to stock up on several foods at once so we are trying 3 to start with and maybe if he can handle these I'll be able to introduce more.

    I think that the treats will be just less than 1/4 of his food consumption and he does sometimes have different treats so he should be able to handle that. Perhaps then I'd be adding too much new by going to half and half in his main meals... I'll have to see how he goes with it. I feel I'll be doing well if even one of the new foods is okay for him.

    I'd been thinking about sweet potato but hadn't thought of pumpkin, maybe I could cook a big pan and freeze them in small bags so I don't have to prepare them every day. He gets left over vegetables already so that shouldn't be a problem to introduce - because I sometimes eat cabbage as a snack he thinks it is a special treat :LOL:.

    Thanks so much for replying, it feels so scary to change anything in his diet and yet I know it has to be done. All the advice seems to be about changing foods permanently or on a monthly rotation so it is really good to hear from you because you feed your dogs on a daily rotation.

    I've missed seeing you around.
  5. sara Moderator

    Oh I'm around, just too busy to post much. I'll have to start a thread onr of these days ti tell you all why :)
    running_dog likes this.
  6. sara Moderator

    I took a long time to switch my guys over because Oliver was so intolerant to change. Now he can eat anything and everything without even a soft stool.
    running_dog likes this.
  7. running_dog Honored Member

    Hopefully I'll get to that stage with Zac :)

    I can always slow down the transition if I have to, I just don't want to slow it down too much as he is already having that itchiness. I can't start any changes until after he's been to the vets on Friday, because if he gets a stomach ache the vet won't know whether it is the new food or Zac's bilistasis.

    Life does have a habit of getting very busy but hopefully it won't be too long before you have time to update us... it would be great to hear what you've been up to and to see what Mouse, Boo and Ollie have been getting up to as well :cool:
  8. running_dog Honored Member

    The vet has told me not to make any changes to Zac's diet for at least 2 months :(.
    But at least I should be all set for when we're allowed to move on :).
  9. sara Moderator

    Ah, well hopefully it goes well for you when you do attempt it :)
    running_dog likes this.
  10. running_dog Honored Member

    My rotation diet idea for Zac hasn't exactly worked... One of the foods I bought was no good but the Acana Light and Fit seemed to be a success. We got to the treat stage (about 1/3 of his daily food) and partial meals and then we stuck. I felt happy enough that at least he was getting variety even though his system wasn't getting a rest.

    Then Zac seemed to become intolerant to his base kibble, or it might have just been that we had a bad sack but I've never felt like buying another to find out. So for a while he's been almost completely on the Acana with some of Gus's food (Wainwrights salmon and potato) mixed in sometimes. I'm wary about buying a lot of different foods now because it is very expensive to buy smaller bags and there is a risk that larger bags will go off before Zac eats his way through them.

    Last time I bought the Acana I bought a small bag of Orijen adult and we've been using that for treats. After 3 days Zac seems to have more energy and his moulting seems to be reducing. The Orijen doesn't seem to have affected his liver problem yet though his digestive system is obviously still adjusting to the dramatic increase in protein content. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that he'll be able to handle this food as about 1/3 of his diet in the longer term.

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