The Benefits of High-Fiber Dog Foods


Fiber may not be categorized as an essential ingredient, but you should not underestimate the many benefits of feeding Fido a fiber-rich diet.

Although you can only find fiber in plant-based ingredients, there are many options like sweet potatoes and green beans that are easy to work into your furball’s diet.

Now, not all fiber is created equal. The source and quality of the fiber counts. This is where unhealthy fillers and bulking ingredients in cheap dog food deliver poor quality fiber.

There are two types of fiber, each offering distinct benefits:

  • Soluble fiber
  • Insoluble fiber

Soluble fiber ferments in the colon, creating gases.

Insoluble fiber, by contract, sucks in water as it passes through the digestive tract. Inert, insoluble fiber does not produce intestinal gas.

If you introduce too much soluble fiber too quickly into your dog’s diet, gas and diarrhea are likely to follow. Sidestep this by introducing fiber gradually.

Since insoluble fiber helps to regulate intestinal transit time, it can work to alleviate both diarrhea and constipation.

When you’re looking at the ingredients label on high-fiber dog food, you’ll often find dietary fiber listed as crude fiber. This standard but antiquated method of measuring fiber means it can be tough to determine how much insoluble fiber these foods contain.

We’ll glimpse next at a handful of the primary advantages of giving your dog a diet dense in the right types of fiber.

I. 5 Core Benefits of a Fiber-Rich Diet for Dogs

  1. Helping with digestion while reducing constipation and diarrhea
  2. Weight management
  3. Reducing your dog’s risk of colon cancer
  4. Some potential improvements for diabetic dogs
  5. Alleviating inflamed anal glands

1) Helping with digestion while reducing constipation and diarrhea

Just like your intestines, your dog’s intestines are also home to healthy bacteria. These beneficial bacteria help to ferment fiber into vital fatty acids. Not only do fatty acids promote skin and cat health, but they also help to stop bad bacteria from growing. Fatty acids also promote healing in the colon if it’s injured.

Fiber – insoluble fiber, specifically – can help to soothe the symptoms of both constipation and diarrhea.

2) Weight management

Fiber can play a valuable role in a canine weight management program. When your dog eats foods rich in fiber, he’ll feel fuller for longer without taking more calories onboard.

Obesity is one of the leading causes for a variety of canine health conditions. By switching to a high-fiber dog food, you might find your furball starts to shed a few pounds while still being filled with energy.

Even if you don’t want to switch your dog’s food up completely, you could incorporate some healthy sources of fiber into his food – we’ll give you 7 great examples below.

3) Reducing your dog’s risk of colon cancer

By accelerating the process of elimination, fiber-rich foods can reduce your dog’s exposure to carcinogens consumed.

Beyond this, fiber in a dog’s gut ferments to create short-chain fatty acids. These promote colon repair and reduce Rover’s chance of getting cancer.

4) Some potential improvements for diabetic dogs

Fiber slows digestion, which in turn prevents any spikes in blood sugar levels. With more balanced levels, diabetic dogs mat find some relief from eating foods packed with dietary fiber.

It’s also believed that fiber can reduce a dog’s insulin sensitivity. The reason for this is not fully understood.

5) Alleviating inflamed anal glands

If you’ve noticed your dog scooting – trailing his butt along the floor, seemingly in distress – he could have blocked anal glands.

Fiber absorbs water will adding bulk. By enlarging the stools your dog produces, extra pressure will be placed on the anal sacs, draining the swollen glands and relieving your pooch.

To round out today, we’ll highlight some of the best ways to introduce more fiber into your furball’s daily diet.

II. 7 Best Sources of Fiber for Dogs

  1. Pumpkin
  2. Ground flaxseed
  3. Beet pulp
  4. Carrots
  5. Apples
  6. Leafy greens
  7. Brown rice

1) Pumpkin

Add some pumpkin puree to your dog’s food as a topper. This will deliver over 7g of dietary fiber per cup.

Try adding just a spoonful at first until you’re confident your dog’s digestive system tolerates pumpkin.

2) Ground flaxseed

Ground flaxseed is packed with omega-3s, healthy fatty acids ideal for skin and coat health in your pup. These fatty acids also deliver powerful benefits to canine brains and nervous systems.

Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2g of fiber. Sprinkle some on your dog’s food, mix some up with peanut butter, or roll it into a ball for a nutrient-laden treat.

3) Beet pulp

Many of the best high-fiber dog foods contain beet pulp, easily digestible and boasting a fiber content of up to 19%.

4) Carrots

Baby carrots pack 3g of fiber each and also help promote liver and kidney function. Work some into Rover’s food.

5) Apples

Throw a few thin slices of apple into your dog’s food bowl to give him some added fiber. Apples are also great for cleaning your dog’s teeth.

Make sure never to feed your dog the seeds or core, though.

6) Leafy greens

Dark leafy greens are high in fiber but low in calories, perfect for pup’s on a weight management program.

7) Brown rice

Although many dog owners swear by grain-free food, grains are a solid source of fiber. Brown rice in particular is a common ingredient in dog food for this reason.

III. Conclusion

We hope today’s brief guide to the benefits of high-fiber dog foods has cleared up why it’s useful to give your furball foods dense in both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Take a moment to bookmark BarkVA before you head off. We bring you fresh content daily on all aspects of pet ownership, so don’t miss out and come back soon!

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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