If you had a family pet when you were little, you probably fed it the same kind of food for its entire life. There’s a good chance you opted for a flavourless kibble with cheap fillers like corn and grains — it’s OK, most pet owners did back then.
“The old school of thought was to keep pets on one food for their whole life, but now we encourage owners to give their pets variety,” says Chad McMillan, owner of A Pet’s Life. “Rotating their diet gives your pet nutrients from different ingredients, just like humans benefit from eating a variety of foods.”
When we constantly expose our pets to the same protein, they can develop food intolerances and allergies. That can lead to symptoms like itchy skin and upset stomachs. By rotating foods you’ll give your pet a wider range of nutrients and help keep their immune system strong!
How to rotate your pet’s food
“Rotating your pet’s food is not as simple as mixing two bags of kibble together. It’s important to incorporate a variety of proteins and food styles to give your pet everything they need. Ask for advice at your local pet store, or talk to your vet if you have questions,” Chad says.
An easy way to introduce rotation is to stick with your current brand, but incorporate different proteins. Fish, pork, turkey — switch it up so your pet has access to all those great amino acids. You can also rotate styles, from dry kibble to canned wet food to raw food.
“Rotating foods also helps save you money, if you want to give your pet the benefits of a raw diet but can’t afford to commit to it full-time,” Chad says.
Food toppers are another way to bring in some variety.
“You can get toppers that are in cans (wet food), frozen, or even freeze-dried,” Chad says. “Add a topper to help hydrate a pet that doesn’t drink much water, or you can add a drizzle of pet-safe bone broth or raw milk to tempt a picky eater.”
Don’t forget about treats! They’re a great opportunity to supplement your pet’s nutrition. Talk to your vet about fruits and veggies that are safe (and beneficial) for your pet, or pick up a bag of healthy treats from your favourite pet store.
“People used to think of pet treats like dessert, but there are lots of great options that are packed with nutrition and tasty for dogs and cats,” Chad says. “We even have treats from local producers, right here on Vancouver Island.”