Some of our favorite bloggers like Tucker the Crestie, Southern Fried Pugs, and Kol's Notes have detailed their super healthy diets prey model raw, home cooked, and raw respectively. I've tried a bunch of different diets with my guys from the Iams I fed Norbert and Tubby when I first got them (shudder) to pre-made raw and home cooked.
I personally believe that fresh raw food is the healthiest choice for dogs. However, I have to consider cost and practicality too. The hounds dad has an aversion to raw feeding and we split care of the dogs 50/50 so when we did try raw it had to be pre-made and with 5 dogs that was a bit of a cost no-no, though we tried it for awhile. When I tried all home cooking I became a bit of a crazy lady boiling up pots of meats and veggies and struggling with tables and calculators in an attempt to balance the meals. The last straw broke when I spilled a 2 lb bag of bone meal on the kitchen floor.
So in an effort to feed my dogs a healthy diet and save my sanity I've settled on the rotation diet. The basic concept of the rotation diet is that we all living things need variety in their food and that no commercial food is 100% complete. By rotating through a variety of high quality kibbles you get a range of ingredients and help balance out flaws. For years vetrinarianas told clients to avoid changing their dogs food as it might cause stomach upset, but eating the same diet for years is not natural and Ive found that with my dogs as long as I switch to grain free formulas there is no tummy upset when we start a new bag. Plus, the rotation diet is believed to help prevent allergies as overly limited diets can be a factor in food sensitivities.
You can customize the rotation diet to your own needs easily, some people switch foods daily or weekly or monthly and some mix foods together. We order grain free foods from Mr. Chewy
and use brands from the Whole Dog Journal's list of approved dried foods, including Orijen, Wellness, and Solid Gold. Since we have five dogs we order the largest bags and freshness is still not an issue (we always store the food in the bag as that helps retain the nutrients). We make sure to rotate through protein sources alternating primarily chicken, fish, and beef based kibble.
In order to give the kibble an additional healthy boost I make sure to add some fresh foods. I regularly add yogurt, cooked eggs, sardines, cooked ground meat and fresh fruits and veggies. In a few minutes I can cook up ground turkey with a nutrient rich vegetable such as kale and some antioxidant filled berries and make a kibble topper much healthier then canned food, and for less.
I also add plenty of supplements (we have a whole counter full). I rotate the supplements too, but I always give salmon oil, Glucosamine, digestive enzymes, a green food supplement, milk thistle for the liver, and usually Curcumin for its antioxidant benefits.
This diet isn't appropriate for ever pup but it keeps us smiling!