Just like humans, our furry friends need adequate fiber in their meals. The nutrient provides multiple benefits to your dog’s health, including boosting its immune system and maintaining proper digestive health.
Two common types of fibers commonly found in vegetables and fruits are soluble and insoluble fibers.
Soluble fibers (digestible fibers) are responsible for various health processes in a dog’s life. The fiber can dissolve in water and other fluids, forming a gel-like material. It can protect your furry friend from conditions such as diabetes.
Insoluble fibers (non-digestible fibers) help prevent gastrointestinal issues such as constipation and diarrhea. This is done by regulating intestinal transit time; there is a decrease in speed during diarrhea and increased speed during constipation.
Insoluble fibers have no nutritional value in a diet, and too many of them can diminish your pup’s diet nutrient value. Nevertheless, the fibers are helpful to a dog undergoing a weight management program.
The Fiber In A Dog’s Diet
The fiber content in a dog’s commercial food varies. Regular dog food brands commonly have a fiber content below 5%. The high fiber variety of dog food contains 5% to 16% fiber.
Most dog food fiber supplement brands do not stipulate the type of fiber they use. The typical list on the packaging label is crude fiber and does not consider soluble fiber. Crude fiber is an insoluble fiber composed of cellulose. It has no nutritional value as it mainly consists of sawdust or shredded paper.
Benefits Of Fiber To Your Dog
Fiber is a complex carb and is not easily broken down into sugar during digestion, just like typical carbohydrates. Dogs process it through fermentation, producing short-chain fatty acids. Friendly bacteria, found in a dog’s intestines, aid the process.
Common benefits of fiber to dogs include:
1. Bowel Regulation
Fiber assists in healthy bowel movement. If your dog is suffering from constipation, it can speed up muscle contractions to allow feces to pass. If it’s diarrhea, it can slow down the contractions that push the food away from the intestines.
2. Weight Loss
Most vets recommend high-fiber diets for dogs suffering from obesity. Foods that contain lots of fiber make them feel full for a long time. As a result, it reduces their overall calorie intake.
3. Gut Cleaning
Though insoluble fiber has no nutritional value to a dog, it is essential to its body’s ecosystem. The fiber can bind with toxins in the gut as it passes and eliminate them via stool. It can also reduce your dog’s inflammation by cleaning the mucus membrane.
4. Boost Immune System
One of the most crucial uses of fiber is the promotion of the growth of healthy bacteria. Fiber feeds the bacteria producing butyrate, a type of short-chain fatty acid. The fatty acid assists in the production of T cells in your dog’s immune system, which assists in reducing chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is a significant contributor to canine health issues. You will help your dog live a healthy life if you prevent inflammation. Additionally, fiber can help increase acid levels in your dog’s colon, consequently reducing the growth of harmful bacteria.
5. Antioxidant Properties
We can find fibers with high levels of antioxidants in vegetables and fruits. Antioxidants boost a dog’s immunity by fighting off free radicals, protecting your dog from various cancers.
Best Fiber Sources For Dogs
Various foods contain high fiber content. If your dog requires high-fiber foods and has an underlying health condition, consult your vet to determine what will be the best option.
The following are food sources with high fiber content:
It is a byproduct of processing sugar beet. Beet pulp is a common ingredient in many commercial dog meals due to its high fiber content and is considered a filler product in a dog’s nutrition.
It is considered a highly nutritious meal associated with growth and strength. Broccoli benefits not only humans but also pups. The vegetable packs the most nutritional content in the cabbage family and has high fiber levels, which can be great for your furry friend.
These are natural treats that your dog will fall in love with. The fruit is rich in fiber, vitamins A and C, and is low in fat. When offering apples to your pooch, remove the seeds and cut the flesh into small bite-size pieces to prevent a choking hazard.
It is not only a festive decoration to use in your home. You can use pumpkin to prepare a sumptuous meal to eat with your pooch.
Pumpkins provide many fibers and nutrients that benefit your dog’s health. You can blend some of it, refrigerate and give it to your dog as a cool summer treat.
Though there is a rise in the popularity of grain-free diets, grains are still essential in providing fiber to your canine. Brown rice has high fiber and is present in multiple commercial dog food brands.
The Best Fiber Supplements For Dogs
Fiber supplements are an excellent temporary solution for a dog with gastrointestinal issues. The supplements not only assist their bowel movements but also add nutritional value to their diet.
Some of the best fiber supplements include:
Kin+Kind Pumpkin Fiber Stomach and Bowel Support
The supplement contains no chemicals or additives that can harm your dog. It is made from 100% natural ingredients such as organic coconut, pumpkin, organic flaxseed, and slippery elm back.
The supplement’s formula is free from chemical processing; thus, it is safe and healthy for your furry friend.
Glandex Fiber Supplement
The supplement is produced by Vetnique Labs and is specially formulated for your dog’s anal gland support. It is an excellent source of fiber for your dog, and they might easily mistake it for a treat as it is a soft chew.
The Glandex supplement is loaded with fibers from sources such as
- Granulated pumpkin seeds
- Flaxseed oil
- Potato starch
- Dehydrated peanut butter
Related: How To Deal With Dog Anal Gland Smell?
Royal Canin veterinary gastrointestinal high-fiber dog food contains a minimum of 8.5% fiber and a maximum of 12.5%. Its cost is relatively high but worth it considering its benefits to your furry friend’s diet.
Wellness Core Grain-Free Reduced Fat
The dog food supplement contains up to 12% crude fiber. It is also loaded with sufficient nutrients to ensure your dog has no nutrient deficiencies. Some of the health-boosting nutrients in it include:
- Omega fatty acids
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Dog Food
This dog food is economically priced compared to many dog fiber supplements on the market. It contains up to 12% fiber making the blend an excellent source for regular feeding. The popular ingredients in the supplement include a chicken meal and deboned lamb, thus providing a complete nutritional profile for your dog.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dog Dry Food
It contains generous levels of fiber to keep your furry friend’s digestive system functioning perfectly. The dog food supplement contains 10% crude fiber and 30% crude protein. This blend can keep your dog healthy for years.
If your dog suffers from fiber deficiencies, you will notice unhealthy bowel movements. To combat the problem, changing your dog’s regular diet to meals with high fiber content will be best. Fiber-rich foods and supplements will go a long way in keeping your pooch healthy and happy.
Before introducing any high-fiber diets or supplements to your dog, you must consult your vet first.