Written by Anne-Marie Hays | Last Updated February 24th, 2020Anne-Marie Hays is a Content Management Intern with Best Company. She enjoys comedy, hates crowds, and loves that you are reading this bio.
Pet owners are always trying to do the best for their fur babies. When it comes to meal time, some wonder whether feeding Fido the same kibble everyday is helping or harming him. To understand the complexities of this question, we reached out to industry experts, asking for advice. Here is what they said.
Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, serves on the advisory board for Pup Life Today. She advises that “As long as your dog eats a nutritionally complete and balanced diet and is doing well on it, there is no need to switch between different foods.”
Sara Ochoa, DVM is a veterinary consultant for doglab.com. She agrees: “If your dog is doing good on one type of food they never have to switch from that food. The saying ‘If it ain't broke, don’t fix it,’ applies here. If they are doing great on a type of food, do not change.”
What about nutritional needs?
“It isn’t harmful to feed your dog the same food every day as long as it meets all of his nutritional needs,” says Li-ran Bukovza, founder of Puppy Tip. He adds, “That said, it's always a good idea to check with your vet or a pet nutritionist that the food you give your dog is complete and balanced.”
So, what is the deal with all of the different dog food choices?
“Just like in the wild,” explains Krystn Janisse from Homes Alive Pets, “animals are designed to eat a variety of foods to get all of their essential nutrients. While dog food is "formulated to be complete and balanced," this doesn't mean that every diet is right for every dog.”
To switch or not to switch?
Dr. Amanda Nascimento, DVM, MVSc., PhD. explains, "If it is a balanced diet, you can feed your pet with the same diet every day. However, they will enjoy it much more if they have a variety of different ingredients in their diet."
“Dogs do fine eating the same thing every day, but some do enjoy a change in food so even having a mixture of two different types of food will help change up their diets just a little bit,” says Ochoa.
“[S]witching up foods just for the sake of variety can be hard on your dog’s digestive system,” Bukovza warns. “However, if your dog isn't sensitive to diet changes, rotating dog food every few months can have great benefits and may even help with picky eating habits.”
How does rotational feeding work?
“For rotational feeding purposes, switch your dog's diet at least 2–3 times per year,” suggests Janisse. “More experienced rotational feeders switch much more frequently, sometimes every week or even daily if their pet has adapted to the transitions well.”
When should you definitely switch Fido’s food?
“While you don't have to switch up your dog's food regularly, there are times in a dog’s life when it’s appropriate to change his diet,” says Bukovza. “For example, puppies need more calories than adult dogs since they're still growing and senior canines often require other types of nutrients to keep their joints and brains healthy.”
Nascimento adds, “It is recommended to change the diet, if your pet has health issues, such as allergies, diabetes, heart problems, and etc. Or if the diet is not adequate for their nutritional needs."
“Sometimes a food switch can be prompted by changes in the dog's appearance, digestion, activity or health,” says Janisse. She adds, “Allergies are a very common reason for switching foods, but not always the most effective. Many ‘food allergies’ are related to poor digestion, so removing ingredients from their diet is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. The results are temporary, and the underlying problem is still going to rear its ugly head. Finding food that better supports digestion, using digestive supplements like probiotics, and talking to your vet about potential health concerns are much more likely to resolve the problem.”
If you do notice any changes in your dog’s appetite, appearance, or health, always contact a specialist to see if a change in food could improve your dog’s health, digestion, and happiness.