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Is There Any Reason To Switch Foods?


gracegirl
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I have been feeding Fenway Nutro Venision and Brown Rice for about 4 years now. I always had a hard time finding a food that would work for both Grace and Fen, this one was magic.

 

There have been several times before that I have tried to switch and the results were "squishy". I'd ideally love to have him on the same food as Jackson, which is currently Blue Buffalo Lamb.

 

Is it a good idea to switch up foods (proteins) every few years? Or should I just stick with what's working and be happy I have good poops?

Introducing Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Jackson the Airedale 12/12/05
Forever missing Grace 2/18/03 - 1/19/13 (RT's Grace, 18156/23B) and Fenway 10/10/06 - 9/25/16 (not registered)

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I wouldn't switch if the dog is doing well.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest Giselle

The more we as a scientific community learn about the gut microbiome, the more I'm convinced that omnivorous creatures (humans, especially) need to eat a diverse and variable diet to support a diverse microbiome. For example, several high profile studies have tied low gut microbiome diversity with chronic diseases and metabolic dysfunction. It's more complicated than that, of course, but it's an important concept. Now, whether or not this translates directly to domestic dogs... I'm not so sure. I do, however, understand that dogs are omnivorous creatures and have developed a remarkable ability to digest and obtain nutrients from a wide range of foodstuffs. So, my intuitive inclination is to believe that dogs, like people, will benefit from a diverse and frequently changing diet to best support health.

 

IF your dog can tolerate it, I think there is certainly a benefit to periodically changing foods, whether it be changing formulas or brands or whatever. I also think it's best to include frequent fresh add-ins, like fresh meat, eggs, fish, and the like. That said, dogs who struggle to produce normal firm poops may not benefit from frequent switching of foods... Or maybe they will? Maybe they would do well with a varied fresh-ingredients based diet (i.e. homecooked)? Who knows. This is a seriously under-studied arena of animal health, and it is unfortunately funded mostly by big companies whose goals are to produce one-formula-bags of kibble so their philosophy is fundamentally different. But my opinion is that dogs would probably benefit from a varied and diverse diet. I rotate my dog's food. We change between several different brands and several different formulas. Her poops stay pretty consistent throughout it all, so I figure this works for her.

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Thanks Giselle. I had "heard somewhere" you should switch up their protein source, but of course wasn't sure where it came from or if it is true. It's been so long since I tried switching things up that I can't recall how the output was last time. I know that was before Grace passed, so I can't remember if it was her or Fen that made me decide to stick with the "purple bag".

Introducing Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Jackson the Airedale 12/12/05
Forever missing Grace 2/18/03 - 1/19/13 (RT's Grace, 18156/23B) and Fenway 10/10/06 - 9/25/16 (not registered)

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I do switch kibbles. I just can't fathom that anyone has patented the "perfect" blend - so I switch every few months between a few trusted brands, with a different main protein. I also supplement with the occasional raw, occasional sardines, occasional Jack-Mack, occasional leftovers - etc. I just try to switch it up to "hopefully" cover all the nutritional bases - without getting rocket-scientist about it.

 

That said - I've never had a grey with digestive issues - so that's not something I know much about first-hand. I've read a lot of posts from people who couldn't do what I do - because they're dog's tummy would be a wreck. I also know - a lot of greys could eat roadkill or flat tires and never have an issue. I guess I just get the rot-gut ones! LOL!

 

My greys also have a fenced yard for "out's" so I'm probably not as cognizant of every little shift in poo quality as someone that picks it up on a walk.

 

I WILL tell you that when I picked a BAD food - one that didn't agree - I KNEW.

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If you wanted to foster diversity in gut bacteria, changing the protein source among different meats probably wouldn't buy you much. What you'd want to change would be the types of carbohydrates and fibers you gave.

 

Note, though, that diversity isn't necessarily a more wonderful thing than what you have. AFAIK we don't know what the ideal dog gut looks like, assuming there is such a thing.

 

Feeding something different now and then won't do much, if anything, for the bacterial communities in the gut.

 

If your dog is doing well -- healthy, hearty, no ongoing digestive distress -- that would be a sign that his/her gut bacteria is doing just fine, and there would be no reason to change.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Thanks guys. The Airedale is currently eating Blue Buffalo lamb and brown rice. Apparently it's more delicious than venison since Fenway's refusing his food, but will eat it with a little Blue Buffalo added in. So I guess were changing it up slightly due to pickiness. I know some people won't give in to pickiness, but if Fenway doesn't eat every meal his tummy gets gurgly and we'll often have big D as a result.

Introducing Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Jackson the Airedale 12/12/05
Forever missing Grace 2/18/03 - 1/19/13 (RT's Grace, 18156/23B) and Fenway 10/10/06 - 9/25/16 (not registered)

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For what it's worth, George has a cast iron gut, and Blue Buffalo gave him the runs!!! I'm glad your Airedale is doing well on it, but I wouldn't switch Fenny if you have no other reason to.


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fen has been refusing his food lately. :( I grabbed a small bad oh Iams healthy something-or-other lamb today (not the green bag). I'm going to slowly add it in, very slowly, to see if it encourages better eating. Maybe if this woks for Fen we can switch Jackson to the same thing. Why can't it be easier? These sensitive tummy greys sure give their momma's extra worry!

Introducing Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Jackson the Airedale 12/12/05
Forever missing Grace 2/18/03 - 1/19/13 (RT's Grace, 18156/23B) and Fenway 10/10/06 - 9/25/16 (not registered)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest FreeholdHound

I do switch up Harry's food. I believe rotating between brands brings variety in the vitamin/mineral formulas. I change about every 3rd bag. Hary has multiple "avoid" ingredients so that eliminates 90% of kibbles available. I've only been able to find 2 different brands. But his PM meal is usually a raw grind, or raw chopped meat w/ a premix added. Every dog is different - it took 1 1/2 yrs to find anything that worked with him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Iams Lamb Healthy Naturals seems to be doing the trick. I've mixed the old and new 50/50 with lots of the old food left so we'll keep the mix as is for the next few weeks. Output is great so that makes me happy. And he's mostly finishing his meals now too. :)

Introducing Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Jackson the Airedale 12/12/05
Forever missing Grace 2/18/03 - 1/19/13 (RT's Grace, 18156/23B) and Fenway 10/10/06 - 9/25/16 (not registered)

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