How to Add Fiber to Your Dog’s Diet
June 13, 2022
When it comes to nutrition, your dog needs a well-balanced diet in order for them to live a happy, healthy life. Fiber offers many benefits for the health of your pup, so it is critical to ensure they are getting what they need. Here is everything you need to know about fiber and your dog’s diet.
What is Fiber?
At its root, fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be digested. While the majority of carbohydrates are broken down and converted into glucose, fiber cannot be broken down in this way. When your pup eats fiber, it simply passes through their body, undigested. There are several types of fiber, but we will focus on the two main categories.
Different Types of Fiber
When we look at fiber, there are two key types: soluble and insoluble. Both forms of fiber are beneficial to your dog’s health for different reasons.
Soluble fiber is a fiber that dissolves in water. As this fiber moves through the digestive tract, it absorbs water and creates a thick substance that slows down digestion. So, that’s why this form of fiber assists in lowering glucose levels.
Healthy blood sugar levels are important for all dogs, and some may experience blood sugar issues more than others depending on a variety of reasons (weight, activity level, genetics). A great treat to give your dog that contains soluble fiber is pumpkin!
Insoluble fiber is the opposite of soluble fiber and does not dissolve in water. This helps keep digestion moving and prevents things like constipation. This keeps your dog’s digestive system regular and comfortable. Brown rice is a great source of insoluble fiber for you to try with your dog.
Why Your Dog Needs Fiber
Fiber is a nutrient that all dogs need but isn’t often talked about. It keeps your pet’s digestive system moving which can lower their chance of developing diarrhea or colon cancer. Aside from digestion, there are several other benefits of making sure your dog is getting all the fiber they need.
Obesity is a common factor in dogs with illnesses ranging from heart disease to liver problems. A dog that gets the proper amount of fiber in their diet will eat less food and consume fewer calories overall. That’s because fiber helps keep your dog feeling full. Many dog foods focused on weight management have more fiber than the average food.
Blood Sugar Control
Dogs who eat high-fiber diets can have better control over their blood sugar levels. The slowing of digestion speed has been found to help dogs with diabetes mellitus. It can help decrease a dog’s resistance to insulin.
How to Add Fiber to Your Dog’s Diet
Without changing your dog’s food, the easiest way to increase their dietary fiber intake is to add a topping, like canned pumpkin or brown rice. When adding something like canned pumpkin, make sure there aren’t any other ingredients than pumpkin. Also, avoid sugar-free canned pumpkin which can contain xylitol, a deadly artificial sweetener for dogs.
Aside from toppings, you can try a new brand of dog food, like Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Skin and Stomach. This food contains prebiotic fibers that keep your dog regular and is easy on the stomach. These high-fiber foods will keep your dog feeling full longer and improve any digestion issues they may be having.
Consult Your Veterinarian
Every dog is different so their fiber intake may vary. The safest way to find out the best way to add fiber to your dog’s diet is to consult your veterinarian. At Care First Animal Hospital, our veterinarians provide nutritional services to help balance your pet’s diet.Back to Blog