Changing Things Up: Benefits of Rotational Feeding
Let's be honest, the monotony of the same old, same old kibble routine doesn’t provide enough of a variety to meet a dogs’ nutritional needs. Enter, the rotational diet. Rotational feeding involves varying the menu on a periodic basis so dogs can broaden their palates and experience a wider range of nutrients and ingredients, giving them a full and balanced diet.
Variety is the Spice of Life!
Imagine eating the same meal, day in, day out...Even if it was your favorite food... let's say pizza (who doesn't love pizza amiright?), even though you LOVE it the shine would eventually wear off.
At first, you’d be excited: "Pizza for breakfast! Woo hoo!" But give it a week or two. The novelty would get old and you wouldn't want to touch another piece of pizza for a long time.
This same idea is why you should be recommending your customers incorporate rotational feeding as part of their dog’s regular diet. It also helps pets from becoming a finicky eaters. Getting them used to a variety of foods, will stop them from preferring one over the other.
Rotation feeding involves varying a dog’s menu on a daily, weekly, or other routine basis. Most pet owners opt for a conventional feeding plan for their dog, so chances are your customers have never even considered this as an option!
Show them you are an expert on the subject by sharing this information with them freely.
Now, every dog is different, which means their dietary needs are different. Each brand of kibble features their own variety of ingredients and dogs may be nutrient-deficient if they are eating that same food day after day.
Though many pet foods are “complete and balanced”, there is no single perfect food. It’s more beneficial to switch it up and offer a variety of formulas that that will better meet the dog’s nutritional needs.
Think about it... do wolves eat the same prey and only that prey day after day in the wild? No. Although they might prefer Elk over Buffalo, (heck, who doesn't?)they vary their meals.
They have even been seen eating plants to help fill in any gaps in their nutrition. This is also may be why pet owners often see their dog eating grass, although that is up for debate.
If you use this as an example with your customers it is sure to hit home.
Ease Them in Slowwwwwly...
For some dogs, changing a dog’s diet can lead to an upset stomach. When you are used to eating the same thing everyday, introducing something new can often shock the system.
When starting a rotational diet the key is to ease them in slowly. Dog parents who properly introduce a feeding schedule, will experience little to no tummy troubles. Those who fill the bowl to the brim with a new food on day one are playing a game of tummy roulette.
Warn your customers of this risk ahead of time, maybe recommend one of the many over the counter remedies for upset tummies (a great add-on sale!). If GI issues do develop, have them use these preventatives to make their pets feel better. Or, if all else fails you can also recommend they feed their pet a mixture of bland white rice and plain cooked hamburg until the problem subsides.
A smooth transition between foods is the best way to approach rotational feeding: Recommend they slowly increase the amount of new food while decreasing the old over the course of about a week. This helps acclimate the dogs stomach.
Tell customers to repeat this process every time there is a new rotation added and in no time the dog will have an iron clad stomach, as nature intended.
A New Tasty Adventure with Every Meal
Not only will dogs reap the benefits of a constant rotation of nutritionally-packed foods, this will also help create increased excitement at mealtime.
Some dogs (and especially cats!) become uninterested, in their food once they are accustomed to it, just like we would if we kept on eating pizza.
"Awww... mom pizza aggggainnn!?"
Eating a variety of foods not only balances their diet, but also introduces them to the plethora of tasty meals. Even a topper rotation with a new, exciting flavor at each feeding will make pets feel like they have a new tasty adventure waiting in their bowl.
How do you encourage rotational feeding with your customers?
About Stacy Wood
Stacy joined the Pet Food Experts team in 2008 as their first full-time marketing employee and has been working in the pet industry for nearly 11 years. You can often find her geeking out over the latest in marketing technology, and looking for ways it can empower independent pet retailers everywhere. She currently lives on a large property in rural Massachusetts with her family where you can find her taking a hike in the woods with her rescue dog (and pet product tester) Ripley, or in her garden flexing her green thumb.