A fur parent wants nothing for his fur baby but a good diet. There are a growing number of food options these days, like those that have a limited number of ingredients for allergy prevention. Also, as more and more fur parents become part of a balanced or vegetarian lifestyle, it is no wonder that there are also dog foods that contain no meat or so-called vegan dog food. Nevertheless, some overlook this particular ingredient and this is the fiber in the food of the dog. In this article, I’m going to shed light on the benefits your dog can get if you give your dog high-fiber dog foods.
It is a misconception that your pooch gets its daily requirement of fiber from its regular diet. Unfortunately, that is not the case and this is the reason why it is important that you start to include in your dog’s diet a very important nutrient which is fiber.
1) What Is Fiber, Anyway?
Dietary fiber is present in plant-based nutrients like fruits and veggies. Fiber is referred to as roughage in the layman’s language, which cleans the intestines. It can be likened to a sweeper, or just say a vacuum cleaner that gets rid of all the stomach dirt.
In fact, fiber is a form of carbohydrate unless it can be broken down into sugar. In short, fiber-rich foods such as pineapple can be described as ‘ indigestible ‘ that contributes to a regular bowel movement, cholesterol management, and blood sugar control.
Now, fiber can be classified into two:
- Soluble Fibers:
The fiber type can absorb water and, while undergoing the colon fermentation process, can produce short-chain fatty acids as well as gas. Simply put, if a large quantity of soluble fiber is given to your dog, your dog may have diarrhea. This is why soluble fiber is added gradually into the diet of a dog.
- Insoluble Fibers:
This type of fiber does not cause gas pain in the stomach. All it does is that it increases the bulk of the contents that will undergo digestion in the digestive tract, thus, increasing the size of the feces. Take note, however, that too many insoluble fibers can lead to a slight decrease in nutrient absorption, resulting in poor quality coat and weight loss.
2) The Benefits of High Fiber Dog Foods:
The benefits that your pooch can get from a high fiber diet are pretty much similar as we, humans, get from eating foods that are rich in fiber.
Have you had a weekend glut of carbs and protein? Then your tummy is highly likely not to be happy about it. It is not healthy for you to ignore fresh fruits and veggies, which is also applicable to your pooch. Grain-based dog foods can make them feel full quickly, but they also need fiber to help them digest. Yes, lack of fiber in your dog’s diet can cause it to suffer from various types of illnesses, but this can be avoided if you just add fiber to its diet.
- Fiber Aids in Digestion:
Both the soluble and the insoluble fibers help regulate the digestive tract and thus, prevents the problem of constipation and diarrhea.
- Fiber Helps Your Dog In Maintaining a Healthy Colon:
Not all bacteria are dangerous, yet some bacteria are beneficial to the well-being of your dog Such bacteria are found in the stomach resulting in the fermentation of the fiber and gradually converting it into fatty acids. Fatty acids ‘ function is to halt growth and multiplication of bad bacteria in the stomach.
Moreover, there are studies that conclude that fiber helps in the prevention of colon cancer not just in humans but in dogs, as well. How? By giving your pooch high fiber dog foods, elimination is sped up and thus, stops the exposure to carcinogens that it may have ingested.
- Fiber Maintains the Ideal Weight:
It can not be denied that the number of dogs suffering from obesity is increasing. Unfortunately, being overweight is one of the major causes of dog disorders. While many fur parents understand that their dogs need to lose weight, unfortunately, not much is being done to achieve the ideal weight.
But, by adding fiber to a dog’s diet will do so much. Fiber can make your pooch feel full without consuming too much food. If your Vet advises you to make your dog lose weight by shifting to a new diet, you will see in the table that the ingredients are mostly fiber.
- Fiber is Good For Diabetic Dogs:
There are some kinds of fiber that slow down digestion which prevents blood sugar from rising. Such fibers control the amount of sugar, thereby preventing the harmful sugar problem from either rising or falling dangerously.
3) Sources of High Fiber Dog Foods:
Now that you are aware of the benefits of fiber-rich foods, you are most likely thinking about which foods are high in fiber and yet very safe for your pooch. Many parents of fur aren’t sure about shifting to high-fiber dog food or just offer fiber supplements. Unfortunately, that question really does not have a definite answer.
I recommend that you try to move slowly to high-fiber dog food. You can also change their regular food, for example, you can give dog food high in fiber three times a week only. Or, you can add a fiber substitute slowly.
Regardless of your choice, what you have to remember is to add fiber to its diet slowly until its tummy gets used to it.
Here are some of the examples of high fiber dog foods ( wet and dry):
If you are seriously considering feeding your pooch with high-fiber dog food, whether it is dry or wet, dog foods without corn and other types of fillers are the important things to look for. Read the label as a fur parent and be aware of the ingredient list to be avoided. For instance, If you see cellulose, be careful because cellulose comes from unhealthy ingredients like shredded paper. If uncertain, seek a Vet’s help or you can consider these high-fiber dog foods:
- Grandma Lucy’s Artisan Lamb Freeze-Dried Dog Food: Aside from lamb, the other high in fiber ingredients are fruits like cranberries and blueberries. Veggies like potatoes, carrots, and celery are also added to make this dog food delicious and loaded with fiber.
- Hill’s Science Diet Canned Wet Dog Food: This is perfect if you are trying to make your pooch lose excess pounds. It is rich in flavor and at the same time, it has prebiotic fiber for good digestion.
- Orijen Fit & Trim Dry Dog Food: A combination of chicken, fish, eggs, and turkey, this dog food is the perfect choice for overweight dogs. It comes with soluble fiber for the health of your dog.
- Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend with Probiotics: With chicken as its main ingredient, it also comes with live probiotics for a healthy digestive system.
Now, if you would rather give your pooch fiber supplements, then there is nothing wrong with that. Consult a Vet regarding the correct dosage based on the weight of your dog.
Here is a list of safe and effective fiber supplements for dogs:
- Fiber for Dogs Psyllium Seed Husk Powder: The ingredients are all-natural and recommended by Vets. This supplement is devoid of preservatives and artificial flavors.
- Stewarts Fiber Formula Dog Biscuits: Low in sodium, tasty, and loaded with both soluble and insoluble fibers.
- Vetri-Science Express Ease Fiber Stool Supplement: This is made from a pumpkin that improves the quality of your dog’s stool. To make it more palatable, a natural duck flavor is added.
High fiber dog foods don’t necessarily mean buying from the store. If you prefer to serve your pooch with something fresh and delicious, go ahead and go straight to the fresh produce section of the grocery store.
Here is a list of fresh fruits and veggies that are rich in fiber:
- Sweet Potatoes: A medium-sized contains an average of 3 grams of fiber. You can boil and then mash the sweet potato and for sure, your pooch will love its sweet taste.
- Canned Pumpkin: This veggie is a good source of vitamins A & C, fiber and potassium. If you buy canned pumpkin for your fido, make sure it’s not the one used to fill the pie Choose the one that uses pumpkin as its main ingredient. Try Nunny Tum Tum Pure Pumpkin for Pets. Pumpkin Super Blend Digestive Supplement Fruitables may also be desired.
- Green Beans
4) How to Transition to High Fiber Dog Foods:
When you’re going to transform your dog’s food into a high fiber diet, there are some things you need to understand before you do so. First of all, read more about the current diet of your dog. If you see that it does not contain any fiber like vegetables and fruits, check the food label, then the transition should be slow. If not, some temporary health issues like diarrhea and vomiting will negatively affect your dog.
How do you do it? Add some high fiber dog food to its current diet. If you don’t see any improvements in its health, add more after feeding days until a high fiber dog food has been thoroughly accepted. Typically, it would take about two weeks or less for the transition process.
Now if you will just add a fiber supplement, observe your pooch and if there are no changes in its behavior, then continue with the fiber supplement.
5) Specific Dietary Needs:
Several studies have proven the health benefits of adding fiber to a dog’s diet. However, in some cases, fiber might be prescribed to help with some health problems like obesity. There are the following:
- A Low-fat diet, high in fiber:
This is highly recommended for obese dogs and senior dogs. High fiber diet makes a dog feel full with less food. When dogs feel fuller with limited portions of food, it follows that weight loss will occur in the near future. The same applies to senior dogs because they no longer move as much and therefore need to eat less. Dr. Tim’s Metabolite Weight Management Formula (8%).
- Grain-free dog food:
This is best suited for dogs that are susceptible to allergies. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Dry Food contains veggies like sweet potato and peas for dog’s fiber requirements.
6) What To Look for In High Fiber Dog Foods?
- Fiber content between 6% and 10%
- Foods that contain fruits and vegetables. Examples are pumpkin, sweet potato and berries
- Whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice
- Supplemental sources like psyllium husk and flaxseed
7) How Much Fiber Is Needed?
Factors like age and size of a dog are some of the determining factors as to how much is needed. It is your Vet who can prescribe the appropriate amount of fiber needed by your dog.
8) The Bottom Line with High Fiber Dog Foods:
It’s you who know what’s good at the end of the day and what’s missing in the diet of your dog. When you notice that your dog is always constipated, then it’s time to consider if it’s time to make a move to high-fiber dog food. There are some signs that your pooch wants more fiber, to help you further:
- If your pooch has pencil-like stool appearance