Fibre in the dogs diet is probably good for overall gastrointestinal health and may help some dogs keep their weight down. The typical dogs diet of normal adult dog contains between 2.5 and 4.5% fibre. However, the fibre content of some “diet” dog foods may be higher. Diets high in fibre also may help in the management of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and may improve large intestine function. On the other hand, too much fibre in the dogs diet can decrease the digestibility of other important nutrients and result in loose stools, frequent defecation, and reduced palatability of the dog food. Wheat bran and barley products are high in fibre. Conversely, dog food ingredients high in starch, including rice and dried potatoes, have less fibre.
The Importance of Fibre for Dogs
Dietary fiber includes the parts of plant foods that the body can’t digest or absorb and it comes in two forms soluble and insoluble fiber;
Dissolves in water, whereas insoluble does not. Soluble fibre attracts water and forms a gel, which slows down digestion, delays emptying of the stomach, and makes the animal feel full to help control weight. Delayed stomach emptying may also stabilise blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity to assist in controlling diabetes. Common dietary sources of soluble fibre include oatmeal/oats/oat bran, flax seeds and psyllium.
These fibre have a laxative effect and adds bulk to the dogs diet, helping to prevent constipation. These fibres are unable to dissolve in water, so they can pass the GIT and speeding the passage of food & waste through the GIT and aiding in GI detoxification. Insoluble is mainly found in whole grains and vegetables, including seeds, nuts, barley, brown rice, and most leafy and “steamy” vegetables and fruits.
Fibre has many benefits; you may not know that it isn’t actually considered an essential nutrient in a dogs diet. It is, however, included in most commercial dogs diets and provides certain benefits:
Improves colon health and reduces the risk of colon cancer
- Supports dog health, weight loss and weight management
- Relieves diarrhoea, constipation, and loose stools
- Improves blood sugar management to prevent diabetes
What to Look for in High Fibre Dog Food
Changing your dogs diet is tricky business and it needs to be done slowly for the best results. Not only can changing your dogs diet too quickly cause digestive upset but suddenly increasing his fiber intake can lead to some messy results.
Check out the following things having high-fiber dog food:
- Increased fiber content (between 6% and 10%)
- High-fiber fruits and vegetables (like apples, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes)
- Whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal
- Supplemental sources of fiber like flaxseed and psyllium husk
When shopping for high-fibre dog food, make sure the fibre comes from nutritious sources like whole grains and fresh produce rather than refined grains like corn and wheat. You also need to make sure that the product still meets your dog’s basic nutritional requirements by providing the right balance of high-quality animal protein and healthy fats. See also Tips for Adapting an Older Cat