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Your dog’s diet should include high-fiber dog food, but it’s not always easy to navigate the best ways to include it. As a dog owner, you want to know what the best ingredients are to get fiber in dog food, what the best high-fiber dog foods are, and how much of it they should be eating. Fiber comes from plants and is a type of carb that doesn’t get digested. Rather, it helps dogs digest other foods and serves several other important functions for your dog’s health.
Different Types of Fiber Dogs Need
Fiber can be soluble or insoluble, and it’s important that dogs should get both from their diets. Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water, so when it reaches your dog’s colon, it helps digestion by serving as food for the good bacteria that live there. That’s why soluble fibers are called “prebiotics,” because they stimulate the growth of these good bacteria.
Insoluble fiber on the other hand doesn’t dissolve. It bulks up poop as it moves through the colon, promoting regularity. It also gives dogs a feeling of fullness, which makes it easier for them to remain satisfied while staying at a healthy weight.
Fiber that ferments in a dog’s gut is beneficial for colon health and can guard against issues like cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Not all fiber can be fermented, but soluble fiber tends to be more fermentable. Despite the crucial health benefits that fermentation has, it’s all about balance. Too much fermentation can lead to problems like flatulence in dogs.
Fiber and Bowel Regularity in Dogs
Fiber can help regulate your dog’s bowels, preventing constipation and loosening poop. When they aren’t getting enough fiber, dogs have trouble pooping, and adding the right amount of fiber can help them poop regularly. When dogs’ bowels are better regulated, they will feel less discomfort, and it can also help avoid problems like anal gland inflammation in dogs.
It may sound strange that fiber can both speed up bowel movements and at the same time, stop diarrhea in dogs. It’s also true that loose poop can be a result of too much fiber. Soluble fiber actually soaks up excess water, making watery bowel movements less likely. Noticing any irregularity in your dog’s poop should prompt a visit to the vet for an examination.
Where Should Dogs Get Fiber From?
Fiber, whether soluble or insoluble, will help your dog have smoother bowel movements and is essential to their diets. Adding fiber to your dog’s diet is important, and most kibble contains a fiber called cellulose, which is also in some human foods. For example, it stops your shredded cheese from caking. But cellulose is an insoluble fiber, so your dog shouldn’t get too much of it. You also need a mix of soluble fiber in your dog’s food, otherwise, they will miss key benefits of a well-rounded, fibrous diet.
Fresh food that includes vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, and green beans help dogs get the fiber that they need. The Farmer’s Dog uses these and other fiber-rich vegetables in their recipes for dog food.
Adding the Right Amount of Fiber to Your Dog’s Diet
While the most reliable way to make sure that your dog gets the right amount of fiber is to choose a complete and balanced food that meets their nutritional needs, dogs who require an extra boost can get it from various places. You may have heard of pureed pumpkin to help your dog get fiber, just make sure that it’s plain, with no added sugar, spices, or other ingredients. Your dog can have various fruits and vegetables too, and certain supplements for dogs can also help. Before you decide to add any of these to your dog’s diet, discuss with your vet how to go about it, and whether your dog needs more fiber. It’s possible for dogs to have too much fiber, so you don’t want to overdo it.
Fiber is an important part of your dog’s diet, but more is not necessarily better. Be careful not to overdo it; dogs who eat too much fiber can experience weight loss, flatulence, bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting. That’s why humans should consult with a veterinarian when adding more fiber to their pup’s diet and do so a little bit at a time, monitoring the impact the changes have on their friend.
Getting Senior Dogs the Fiber They Need
Like humans, dogs’ bodies change as they get older, and some senior dogs may benefit from having more fiber if they’re experiencing constipation. Because fiber can make a dog feel fuller without consuming as many calories, it could also help prevent obesity in an older dog who’s less active.
This isn’t the case for every senior dog. Sometimes vets will recommend diets with less fiber for senior dogs if they’re having trouble absorbing nutrients. Figuring out what works for your dog will involve paying close attention to them and discussing their specific needs with a vet.
About The Farmer’s Dog
Founded on the radical idea that heavily processed pellets aren’t the best way to feed and sustain the health of our pets, The Farmer’s Dog has been making fresh, human-grade dog food since 2014. Made for the love and health of dogs, The Farmer’s Dog food is shipped direct to customers’ doors in precisely portioned packs. To date, the company has delivered over 300 million meals nationwide, and continues to apply technology, empathy, and common sense to reimagining how we care for our pets. #LongLiveDogs