It's widely known that fiber is an important part of our diet. A healthy fiber intake helps to regulate our digestion, blood sugar, and many other vital systems.
The role of fiber in dog diets is a little more confusing. After all, dogs eat meat, and fiber mostly comes from plants, right?
In fact, both in the wild and in our homes, the canine body needs fiber. As much as 20% of the diets of wolves and wild dogs comes from foraged berries, grasses, and other vegetable matter which is high in fiber. Dogs' noses and tastebuds have even evolved to seek out these important nutrients, which is why many dogs enjoy eating them!
Dogs need fiber for many of the same reasons we do. The beneficial bacteria which help to protect your dog's digestive system and break down foods need soluble fiber to survive and flourish, and insoluble fiber absorbs moisture and toxins from your dog's intestinal system for regular, healthy stools, so getting plenty of both kinds of fiber is just as important as getting enough fiber overall.
Every dog is different, especially with fiber intake, and some may require more than others. That's why it's important to know the signs of of fiber imbalance in your dog's diet.
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Frequent Pooping (more than twice a day)
- Weight Gain
- Poor Coat Health
Since fiber imbalance can lead to more severe health problems long-term, if you see your dog experiencing these issues, it may be a good time to supplement their diet with some healthy fiber. That's not too hard, because it's very common in a lot of foods that are safe for dogs to eat, like grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Of course, because your dog's diet should consist mostly of protein, it's important to select a fiber source that adds plenty of fiber without a lot of extra calories or sugar. This list contains some of the best natural sources of fiber for your dog's diet.
Sweet potato and Pumpkin contain lots of fiber, as well as vitamin A, C, B6, potassium, and more
Flaxseed is an incredible superfood that isn't just packed with fiber, but also contains omega fatty acids and natural anti-oxidants
Blackberries, Blueberries, and Strawberries are another healthy source of fiber that are full of anti-oxidants, and tons of vitamin C
Kelp isn't just a great source of fiber, it's also one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, containing 60 different vitamins and minerals and 21 amino acids
Carrots are low-calorie and full of fiber, as well as beta carotene and other vitamins - and if your dog likes them raw, the crunch helps clean their teeth
- Kale has plenty of fiber and hardly any calories, and also includes many essential minerals like iron, riboflavin, and thiamin
While your dog's current food may already contain some of these fiber-rich ingredients, keep in mind that the high temperatures that most commercial dog foods are exposed to can destroy the nutrients naturally present in those ingredients.
That's why I highly recommend serving these foods fresh and raw, only lightly cooked, or freeze-dried, so all that good natural fiber isn't lost in the cooking process.
All of the products at Canine Sciences contain multiple healthy, natural sources of fiber, including many of the foods noted above. For more information on our veterinarian-designed healthy dog food, treats, and nutritional supplements, click on the products below.