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Hi! My puppy, Jesse, is about 7 months old and after originally being on Natural Balance fish and sweet potato when he came home from the breeder, was switched to Innova Large Breed Puppy. He loved the food and has done well on it. The problem is that now he seems bored with it and doesn't seem all that eager when I feed him. I mentioned this at the pet food place I go to and the manager told me that I might want to alternate foods(gradually), and he gave me a few samples to use as treats. I think one was California Naturals and the other was Fromm. Well, Jesse could of devoured each bag whole if I had let him. I remember reading how some of the people on this forum do alternate their foods and change up the protein source with older dogs. My question is if that is advisable to do with puppies? If I do change it up a little, what would I alternate between?
 

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First, at 7 mos, I'd switch him to an adult formula. I'm not a fan of switching foods back and forth. For dogs, it's all about the smell, as they have a very week sense of taste due to there being very few taste buds in their mouths. Once I find a food that they do well on, that's pretty much what they get. If a dog is being fussy and I know it's not because they don't feel well, I practice the 15 minute rule - food goes down for 15, if they don't eat it, up it comes until next meal. They learn to eat it when it is offered in short order.
 

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I would switch to an adult food and keep him on the same food. Switching around will make him picky with food and harder to find one he likes. Anytime you give a new sample of a food to him it will seem good and then when you buy the food they jsut arent as interested. He is getting to the age where he wont be eating as much as when he was a puppy. When my Bama was around 5-6 months he went from three times a day to twice.
 

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I'll chime in and offer a totally different perspective. A lot of people "rotate" feed their dogs (as I do), because they believe it can be a healthier approach to dog nutrition. It's not about trying to please a dog with variety.

No one brand or formula of kibble, no matter how good we think it is, is a perfect and complete food for the total life of a dog. Each formula has its strengths, weaknesses and differences. Although the formulas are made according to AAFCO standards, the standards are pretty broad. Food A may be very high in vitamin A but low in vitamin E; while food B could be just the opposite. The same can be true for many vitamins and minerals. Add to that the differences in types of meat proteins and carbs. Rotating foods, wether it's every few weeks or every several months, helps balance it all out.

If you or I ate an apple, broccoli, a serving of rice and a chicken breast for a meal; we would say that's a pretty healthy meal. If we ate it for every meal, we know we'd be losing out on healthy benefits from other types of protein, carbs and vegetables. Or even reduce the analogy more accurately to breakfast cereal - the human equivalent of kibble. Eating the same cereal for every meal for life would leave us shortchanged in some aspect while eating a variety would fill in the gaps.

Aside from the nutrition angle, there is the practical side. If the one food your dog eats has its formula changed, is part of a recall, or the company goes out of business; all of a sudden you're out of luck with nothing new to feed that you know your dog does well on. The dog's system would have a more difficult time adjusting to something new, because it's only ever been exposed to one set of ingredients, vitamins and minerals.

To establish a rotation for your dog, first try one kibble for 3 months to evaluate how well it does for your dog's energy level, coat and skin, etc. Then try a 2nd kibble of similar quality and maybe change from a mostly chicken based formula to a lamb base; or to a chicken-base formula by another company. There can be a tendency for a company to use the same vitamin pre-mix for many of its formulas; so sometimes changing companies will provide more diversity. Finding 3 different kibbles that work for your dog is a good number.

Some things to remember: I would not recommend switching back and forth between formulas high in grain and carbs, such as Nutro Natural Choice, with high protein low carb foods like EVO. The first time you try a new food, transition over a period of a week at least. Once you know they do well with it, you can usually rotate it in again over a few days. Some dogs can switch cold turkey; others can't.

I've had a number of dogs in the past that I fed one food to for their entire lives. I now have my senior Bentley who for the last 3 years has been on a rotation and is so much healthier in any number of ways; and I have my 2 year old lab who I began rotating at 9 months and I couldn't be happier with how its going. My former dogs had good lives, but I believe my current dogs have good and even healthier lives.

Just wanted to add, I think the California Natural and Fromm foods you mention are both well thought of - as are many others.
 

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I'll chime in and offer a totally different perspective. A lot of people "rotate" feed their dogs (as I do), because they believe it can be a healthier approach to dog nutrition. It's not about trying to please a dog with variety.

No one brand or formula of kibble, no matter how good we think it is, is a perfect and complete food for the total life of a dog. Each formula has its strengths, weaknesses and differences. Although the formulas are made according to AAFCO standards, the standards are pretty broad. Food A may be very high in vitamin A but low in vitamin E; while food B could be just the opposite. The same can be true for many vitamins and minerals. Add to that the differences in types of meat proteins and carbs. Rotating foods, wether it's every few weeks or every several months, helps balance it all out.

If you or I ate an apple, broccoli, a serving of rice and a chicken breast for a meal; we would say that's a pretty healthy meal. If we ate it for every meal, we know we'd be losing out on healthy benefits from other types of protein, carbs and vegetables. Or even reduce the analogy more accurately to breakfast cereal - the human equivalent of kibble. Eating the same cereal for every meal for life would leave us shortchanged in some aspect while eating a variety would fill in the gaps.

Aside from the nutrition angle, there is the practical side. If the one food your dog eats has its formula changed, is part of a recall, or the company goes out of business; all of a sudden you're out of luck with nothing new to feed that you know your dog does well on. The dog's system would have a more difficult time adjusting to something new, because it's only ever been exposed to one set of ingredients, vitamins and minerals.

To establish a rotation for your dog, first try one kibble for 3 months to evaluate how well it does for your dog's energy level, coat and skin, etc. Then try a 2nd kibble of similar quality and maybe change from a mostly chicken based formula to a lamb base; or to a chicken-base formula by another company. There can be a tendency for a company to use the same vitamin pre-mix for many of its formulas; so sometimes changing companies will provide more diversity. Finding 3 different kibbles that work for your dog is a good number.

Some things to remember: I would not recommend switching back and forth between formulas high in grain and carbs, such as Nutro Natural Choice, with high protein low carb foods like EVO. The first time you try a new food, transition over a period of a week at least. Once you know they do well with it, you can usually rotate it in again over a few days. Some dogs can switch cold turkey; others can't.

I've had a number of dogs in the past that I fed one food to for their entire lives. I now have my senior Bentley who for the last 3 years has been on a rotation and is so much healthier in any number of ways; and I have my 2 year old lab who I began rotating at 9 months and I couldn't be happier with how its going. My former dogs had good lives, but I believe my current dogs have good and even healthier lives.

Just wanted to add, I think the California Natural and Fromm foods you mention are both well thought of - as are many others.
What foods were you feeding when you did not rotate, out of curiousity?
I have never, and my dogs enjoy excellent longevity, are extremely healthy, in have great coats and good condition.
 

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First, at 7 mos, I'd switch him to an adult formula. I'm not a fan of switching foods back and forth. For dogs, it's all about the smell, as they have a very week sense of taste due to there being very few taste buds in their mouths. Once I find a food that they do well on, that's pretty much what they get. If a dog is being fussy and I know it's not because they don't feel well, I practice the 15 minute rule - food goes down for 15, if they don't eat it, up it comes until next meal. They learn to eat it when it is offered in short order.
Thats pretty well the advice I would give as well.
 

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I've been debating this myself the last few weeks. So very interested to hear more opinions and reasonings.
 

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What foods were you feeding when you did not rotate, out of curiousity?
I have never, and my dogs enjoy excellent longevity, are extremely healthy, in have great coats and good condition.
Science Diet
IAMS
Nutro

These were formulas made from 3 years ago and longer. I don't know what changes might have been made to these formulas since then.

But my rationale would remain the same no matter what brands and formulas were named. For example, Acana Prairie Harvest is one of the kibbles in my dog's rotation now and I think highly of the company and like how my dogs do on it. But I still think I'm maximizing their long-term health (and covering my basis from recalls, formula changes, etc.) by also feeding several other foods. But, if I was forced to feed only one food for my dog's entire life, I'd certainly pick the Acana over the Science Diet.
 

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Science Diet
IAMS
Nutro

These were formulas made from 3 years ago and longer. I don't know what changes might have been made to these formulas since then.

But my rationale would remain the same no matter what brands and formulas were named. For example, Acana Prairie Harvest is one of the kibbles in my dog's rotation now and I think highly of the company and like how my dogs do on it. But I still think I'm maximizing their long-term health (and covering my basis from recalls, formula changes, etc.) by also feeding several other foods. But, if I was forced to feed only one food for my dog's entire life, I'd certainly pick the Acana over the Science Diet.

I asked, because I wonder if, rather than the rotating of foods now, it is the fact that you are feeding better quality foods than when your were not, and that is why your dogs are doing better.
 

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I asked, because I wonder if, rather than the rotating of foods now, it is the fact that you are feeding better quality foods than when your were not, and that is why your dogs are doing better.
I see where your questioning is coming from, but the whole concept is a continuum of sorts, IMO.

At one end would be feeding only one food of not very good quality. More in the middle would be feeding one food of better quality (people define "better" in different ways). At the other end of the continuum is feeding a variety of better quality foods. This view of nutrition is held by some but not all. I'm sure the dog food manufacturers prefer that dogs eat only one food their whole lives - and that would be whatever their product is.
 

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I'd take the advice of transitioning to an adult food at this time (over rotating to another puppy food) and also the 15 minute rule enforcement.

To the general concept of rotating foods, I like to do so (a few times a year through a few choice foods) for dogs that tolerate rotation well (as Bentley says, different foods offer different nutrients perhaps creating a better nutritional balance over time - plus it does offer the dog a bit of variety for their sniffers :)). Some dogs however can only tolerate a certain food(s) due to sensitive tummies, ingredient sensitivities, and the like - in those cases it may be contraindicated to change up the food. As with so many feeding questions, it is highly individual to the dog.
 

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I'd take the advice of transitioning to an adult food at this time (over rotating to another puppy food) and also the 15 minute rule enforcement.

To the general concept of rotating foods, I like to do so (a few times a year through a few choice foods) for dogs that tolerate rotation well (as Bentley says, different foods offer different nutrients perhaps creating a better nutritional balance over time - plus it does offer the dog a bit of variety for their sniffers :)). Some dogs however can only tolerate a certain food(s) due to sensitive tummies, ingredient sensitivities, and the like - in those cases it may be contraindicated to change up the food. As with so many feeding questions, it is highly individual to the dog.
I totally agree that some dogs that have true food allergies/intolerances or specific medical conditions may not be able to rotate foods as easily if at all.

At the same time, we may unwittingly create intolerances to some ingredients if they are never introduced in the early years of a dog's life. A dog that ate the same chicken and rice formula for 5 years may have a much more difficult time being transitioned to a lamb and oatmeal formula than a dog that was exposed to multiple ingredients at a younger age. Also, we may try one specific fish-based formula our dog doesn't do well on and jump to the conclusion he is intolerant to fish - whereas a different brand of fish formula might work very well for the dog. It takes a commitment to the concept and benefits of rotation to find those several formulas that work well for a dog.

I should clarify that I do a kibble rotation for breakfast; then feed a dehydrated food for dinner.
 

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I'm of the KISS school. I've been feeding the same food for so many years because, quite simply, they do fabulously on it. All the dogs that I feed do. Whether I bred them or bought them.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 

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I'm of the KISS school. I've been feeding the same food for so many years because, quite simply, they do fabulously on it. All the dogs that I feed do. Whether I bred them or bought them.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
We each find a nutritional approach and method that makes sense to us. My rationale for rotational feeding for my dogs stems not from "fixing something that is broken", but from trying to "enhance" what may already may be pretty good. I never rotated foods before almost 4 years ago. I'm always reading to find out about new ideas in dog nutrition, training, etc. Rotation feeding was one new idea to me that made sense conceptually; so I decided to give it a try. I can relate it all to my own eating habits - I eat and live pretty healthfully and have no chronic problems as I approach age 60 in the next few years. But I'm under no illusion that there aren't other things I could do nutritionally to boost my odds of continued good health.
 

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And that's all good. But I cannot equate how we eat to how our dogs eat. So, again, feed your dogs whatever/however they do the best.
 

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With my other dogs, I have bought two of the same brand bags just two different flavors (Lamb/Chicken or Fish/Chicken and mixed them together for something different once in a while. I don't think it matters, I just do it to mix it up once in a while.
 

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We're feeding our 6 month old pup Blue Buffalo large breed puppy food. We have a 1/2 forty pound bag - should we skip using that up and get an adult bag? Do you have to transition from puppy to adult food even if using the same brand?
 

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We're feeding our 6 month old pup Blue Buffalo large breed puppy food. We have a 1/2 forty pound bag - should we skip using that up and get an adult bag? Do you have to transition from puppy to adult food even if using the same brand?
I'd finish the bag and then switch. I have never made the transitionfrom puppy to adult gradually, just switched.

Man, I am a terrible dog owner...
 

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We're feeding our 6 month old pup Blue Buffalo large breed puppy food. We have a 1/2 forty pound bag - should we skip using that up and get an adult bag? Do you have to transition from puppy to adult food even if using the same brand?
In the case of Blue Buffalo, transitioning probably isn't necessary since the ingredients list reads virtually the same and the protein and fat % are very close (puppy: protein 28%, fat 12%; adult: protein 25%, fat 14%).

That isn't necessarily true within all brand lines; so my general suggestion is that people should read the labels and make their decision from there. Also, some dogs are sensitive and others have cast iron stomachs
 
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