Have you ever thought about adding fiber to your dog’s diet? You’ve probably heard of all the benefits of fiber to us humans and wondered if the same applies to your dog. Fiber is often an overlooked nutrient in dog foods, but it’s very beneficial to our pups. However, there are certain rules and conditions to follow since it is already present in many dog foods.
But if fiber is so important to dogs, why don’t many pet owners know more about it? Well we certainly think you should know, as it has several benefits for our pups. In this article, we will explain in detail why your dog needs fiber and how to include it in their daily diet.
The Benefits of Fiber for Your Dog
Fiber plays an essential and necessary role for our dog’s overall health. Not only does fiber support the proper function of the digestive system, but it can also provide other surprising health benefits for your dog as well. Here are some advantages of adding fiber to your dog’s diet.
1. Aids in Digestion
As with us humans, fiber is a great nutrient for a dog’s digestive tract. Fiber is fermented into fatty acids by beneficial bacteria that is naturally found in your dog’s intestine. Those fatty acids help prevent the overgrowth of any bad bacteria and also helps the colon recover from injury.
Furthermore, fiber can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer in dogs because it reduces exposure of any harmful toxins your dog has consumed. Lastly, fiber can also reduce diarrhea and constipation symptoms if your dog is suffering from either.
2. Manages A Healthy Weight
If your dog is on a weight management program or needs to lose a few pounds, fiber is an excellent nutrient to do so. Obesity is a leading cause of many illnesses in dogs, but many pet owners don’t know how to control and maintain their dog’s weight. Fiber allows dogs to feel full while consuming less calories, so high fiber diets are often great for those trying to take weight off their dogs.
If your worried about switching your pup’s food, you can add healthy sources of fiber such as sweet potatoes, to your dog’s food, but provide less than normal portions. This will give them a healthy meal while consuming fewer calories and still feel full.
3. Improvement in Diabetes
Certain fibers slow digestion, which helps keeps blood-sugar levels from rising. This causes fewer fluctuations in the blood sugar of dogs who eat high fiber diets. This will help them maintain better management of their diabetes. Furthermore, veterinarians have found that fibers can reduce a dog’s sensitivity to insulin. In fact, most veterinarians put diabetic dogs on high-fiber diets.
4. Prevents Anal Gland Disease
Increasing fiber in your dog’s diet will also help to prevent anal gland disease. A way to tell if your pup is suffering from anal gland disease is to see if they are continuously dragging their rear on the floor, such as coarse surfaces. This is your dog trying to alleviate the pain they are experiencing. Adding more fiber to their diet causes larger stool, which helps to unclog their anal glands.
The Different Types of Fiber
To get all of the benefits fiber has to offer, dogs needs the two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both come from plants are forms of carbohydrates. As fiber moves through your dog’s body, it slows down digestion and makes your stools softer and easier to pass. Most foods contain both insoluble and soluble fibers but usually contain more in one type than the other.
1. Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber absorbs water, turning into a gel-like mush (think of oatmeal). Foods rich in soluble fiber such as nuts, beans, apples, carrots, oatmeal, and blueberries provide many health benefits, which include:
- Heart protection
- Diabetes protection
- Weight loss
- Healthy bowel movements
Soluble fiber helps soften stool so it can slide through dog’s GI tract more easily. It also binds to substances such as cholesterol and sugar, which prevents or slows their absorption into the blood. Additionally, soluble fiber boosts the population of good bacteria in the guy, which is proven to boost their immunity, provide anti-inflammatory effects, and even enhance their mood.
2. Insoluble Fiber
Insoluble fibers are found in whole grains, nuts, and fruits and vegetables. It can’t be broken down by the gut and absorbed into the bloodstream. It also adds bulk to their waste, which helps to keep them regular and prevent bathroom problems. Benefits of insoluble fiber include:
- Preventing constipation
- Lowering the risk of diverticular disease
- Reduces hemorrhoid pain and discomfort
Does My Dog Need Additional Fiber?
Most pet owners feed their dogs commercial pet foods, so the amount of fiber they ingest depends on the type of food your feeding them. There have been several brands of commercially food diets that lack fiber. A fiber-deficient diet will cause your pup to suffer from multiple symptoms. These can include:
- Constipation:If your pup is having trouble with their bowel movements, or the stools are dry and hard, your dog may be constipated. This can cause pain and discomfort for your dog.
- Weight Gain:Without fiber, dogs may not feel satisfied from their meal and possibly eat more than their bodies need. This will cause them to gain weight and possibly become obese.
- Blood Sugar Fluctuations:If your dog has diabetes, it may be hard to control and regulate their blood sugar. Fiber will help to delay the absorption of sugar.
- Nausea and Tiredness:Dogs who eat pet foods that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fiber, it may lead to tiredness, weakness, and nausea. Dogs need dietary fibers to feel energized.
If your pup is suffering from any of these symptoms they may need more fiber to their diet. However, it is important to know that too much fiber can also cause effects to their bodies. A small amount of fiber is very essential. If your pet is easily producing small, firm stools, they are getting the right amount their bodies need. Here are some helpful tips when adding more fiber to their diet:
Human Fiber is Not Equal to Dog Fiber
Humans can easily add fiber to their diet with foods like grains and corn. However, these foods are not good for dogs. Dogs have shorter intestinal tracts than humans, so these types of foods can cause gas and bloat. There are plenty of foods that are safe for dogs and will add more fiber to their diet. For example, carrots, apples, oats, beet pulp, flaxseed, whole grains, and legumes.
Next, you should always test a small amount of a new dog food on your dog before purchasing in bulk. Mix a tiny bit of the new food with the old food and observe how your dog reacts to it. Some dogs react poorly to a new dog food or simply don’t like the taste and will not eat it.
Your dog’s body needs time to adjust any food changes, so it’s best to work a new dog food in gradually. Start by feeding your dog their original food and add a little bit each day of the new food to their bowl.
Potential Side Effects of a High Fiber Diet
Even though a diet with fiber is very important for your dog’s health, there is such a thing as too much fiber. Additionally, a sudden change from a low fiber diet to an extremely high fiber diet may cause dogs to suffer from:
The 3 Best High-Fiber Dog Foods
If you feel your dog needs more fiber added to their diet, you should start by checking their current food to see the levels of fiber already provided. Most pet foods contain about 5% crude fiber, and this is often good for the average healthy dog. However, if your pup is suffering from fiber deficiency symptoms, here are some helpful dog foods that can add more fiber to their diet.
Wellness CORE dog foods are one of the best products for a grain free, reduced fat recipe. This recipe features a ton of nutritious ingredients that is a great option for dogs who need a high-fiber diet. Not only is it great to add more fiber, but it also helps manage dog’s weight by using real meat.
- Resolves food-allergy problems
- Contains only premium all-natural ingredients
- No artificial flavors or preservatives
- High in fiber to reduce deficiency
- A very small number of consumers say there were large amounts of crumbs mixed with kibble, but this could be related to shipping difficulties
NUTRO’s Weight Loss Recipe is packed with fiber foods and is made with real chicken and real lamb. It is formulated to help dogs lose weight in a safe healthy way without cutting out essential nutrients.
- Helps with digestive issues
- Improvement in coat and skin
- Low-calories, high-fiber
- Contain the right levels of protein to help dogs feel full
- Many complaints were the result of shipping problems or random manufacturing issues that can occur with any dog food
Lastly, Blue Wilderness recipes are formulated to provide your dog with the type of nutrition dogs need to stay healthy and happy. The Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe provides high-fiber nutrients while also maintaining their body weight.
- Resolves intestinal issues
- Improved coat and skin health
- L-Carnitine for lean muscles
- Wholesome fruits and veggies
- Since it contains high levels of fiber and protein, some dogs experienced excessive defecation. However, this can happen with any change in diets, so it is important to slowly introduce new food to your dog.