This post is sponsored by Open Farm. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Open Farm's ethically produced pet food, but Rubicon Days only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Open Farm is not responsible for the content of this article.
Previously, I introduced Open Farm dry dog food with its dedication to humane treatment of farm animals and support of small, local farms and discussed why it was a great choice for me as someone concerned about animal welfare and who chooses to reduce the amount of meat in her own diet. Today I want to highlight why my dogs are on a rotation diet, and how Open Farm fits perfectly into that plan.
I don't want to eat the same thing every day - why should my dogs? Before adopting Ruby it had never occurred to me to change dog food brands or even formulas once I found something that worked. If it isn't broken, don't fix it, right? Between having a picky eater, educating myself about canine nutrition and shopping at local stores that carried higher quality foods, I started to change the way I looked at my dogs' diet. The Ginger Sisters have been on a varied rotation diet for as long as I've had them. We humans ascribe a great deal of meaning to meals, and feeding our pets is one of the most concrete ways we can show them affection. I change brands, recipes and formats regularly so that they eat a little bit of everything. If I have squash or broccoli for dinner I steam some unseasoned for them and set it aside to add through the week. Simply put, it makes me feel good to feed my dogs what they enjoy and what I believe to be good for them. I see their eyes light up when they try something new or get a special treat mixed in with their breakfast or dinner. We have been feeding Open Farm's Pork and Root Vegetable formula for about three weeks now and I seldom see them clean their plates so quickly. Its first five ingredients are humanely raised pork, garbanzo beans, ocean-caught whitefish meal, field peas and green lentils. I'm extremely comfortable with the rest of the ingredients (things like sweet potato, pumpkin and salmon oil) and the girls have been gobbling it up with relish. Even eating out of puzzle bowls, they are sure to hunt down every last morsel. With no food sensitivities, I love that they are getting a variety of proteins and Open Farm uses only fish meal prepared in small batches using seasonal and sustainable fish harvests. I most often feed chicken or turkey for breakfast so I make sure their evening meal contains something different.
Rotation feeding allows me to make improvements and try new things for my dogs. If not for rotational feeding I would not be continually researching dog food brands and wouldn't know when fantastic new options like Open Farm appear on the market. Right now it is the only Certified Humane brand of kibble available in the U.S. It received a four-and-a-half star rating on Dog Food Advisor. It still has somewhat limited availability, but I'm betting that will change as I know I'm not the only one concerned with feeding locally sourced ingredients and thoughtfully formulated food which also makes an effort to improve conditions for farm animals and encourage family farms. While Open Farm's protein is partially plant derived, this is going to be the case for most dry dog foods, and since I supplement with freeze-dried raw I believe my darling carnivores are getting plenty of meat in their diets. One of the things that is so great about this model of feeding is that it allows me to provide them with higher quality foods than I might be able to feed if I was feeding one thing exclusively. If you are just starting out with the rotation diet it's recommended that you make changes gradually; however, Ruby and Boca are well-accustomed to a diverse diet and I rotate by the box or bag with no issues whatsoever. If I think of it I might pour the last of a bag into the top of a new bag, but generally I make the switch cold turkey (or cold pork or cold venison as might be the case...). Even if you want to stick to one brand, you can rotate between proteins to keep things interesting, such as Open Farm's three recipes: Farmer's Market Pork & Root Vegetable, Homestead Turkey & Chicken and Catch of the Day Whitefish & Green Lentil.
Rotation feeding gives me flexibility in my dogs' routine. Because the girls eat dehydrated raw food for breakfast, their evening kibble meal gives me more options for how I feed. They may eat out of their puzzle bowls, with the kibble mixed with leftover veggies, supplemental oils or goat milk, or I may take the opportunity to feed their kibble portion as rewards in a training session. They especially loved our first samples of Open Farm's three recipes as training treats, and I know that Kimberly at Keep the Tail Wagging uses it the same way even though she is a raw feeder. If the weather is bad and our walk has been abbreviated so that I feel they need a little extra enrichment, I'll break out the frozen Kongs stuffed with canned food. When we travel, I can take sample packs of a new flavor, or a familiar favorite to make eating in an unfamiliar environment a little more enticing. Rotation feeding allows me to mix up not only what I feed, but how I feed.
Rotation feeding is budget-friendly and lets me take advantage of sales. I am a self-proclaimed dog food nerd (there's a support group for that) and I'm also a recovering shopaholic who loves a bargain. Where I used to spend money on bags and shoes I would now much rather fill the dogs' pantry. Seriously, my dad even built me extra shelves in the downstairs coat closet for this purpose. Goodbye, storage for more coats than one person needs - hello, storage for everything The Ginger Sisters need! I love opening the door and gazing at the lovely, organized rows of food, treats and toys. Since I feed a variety of brands, I can stock up when something I use is on sale or try something for the first time. I subscribe to local retailer's email lists and keep tabs on online discount codes. I join loyalty programs and pick up coupons at pet fairs. When an online pet food store offers a flat discount on an order I will pounce on brands I might not be able to get locally, such as Open Farm. As much as The Ginger Sisters love this food, I will be looking for every opportunity to keep it in our lineup. (Already between my first post and now there are two more Colorado stores that have popped up on Open Farm's "Find Retailers" map!)
Open Farm is most assuredly going to be a part of The Ginger Sister's regular rotation from now on. I am excited for more people to know about this ethically sourced dog food and to see it on more stores' shelves. You can visit Open Farm at their website, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.