When to Choose High Fiber Dog Food
We all know that getting enough fiber is important for humans but how necessary is it to find a quality high fiber dog food? Do dogs really need extra fiber and how do you know if you are providing too much of a good thing? These are important questions to answer before running out and buying a high fiber food for dogs. In some cases your dog may need more fiber but in other cases he may be getting just enough.
Why is High Fiber Dog Food so Important for Dogs
Fiber provides necessary bulk that will help to move the food he eats through his intestines. If your dog gets constipated he will start to get bloated and gain weight. As well, his anal glands can become impacted and smell bad. For this reason, fiber can be found in just about all dog foods.
If your dog has been gaining extra weight lately, you veterinarian may suggest adding extra fiber to his diet. If your dog eats more fiber he’ll feel fuller and thus consumes fewer calories. He’ll feel completely satisfied after his meal. In this type of scenario it’s best to find the proper balance, however, since too much fiber can ferment and cause a buildup of gas or diarrhea.
If you’ve noticed your dog scooching around the house against the floor or carpet, it’s a good sign that he is having a problem with his anal glands. When a high-fiber dog food is introduced the stools get more bulky and as a result the anal glands get more pressure put on them when your dog is straining. This will help the glands express themselves without any extra help from you, you veterinarian or your personal dog groomer. A maintenance level of fiber should be kept in place to avoid impacted, abscessed or infected anal glands.
How to Add Fiber to Your Dog’s Diet
You have 2 choices when it comes to adding fiber to your dog’s diet. You can either choose to introduce a new high-fiber dog food or you can simply supplement his existing food with fiber. You’ll need to make sure that you introduce either of these choices slowly so that your dog is able to handle the changes easily. If you see increased diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating or any other signs of physical suffering, you’ll know that you have been adding too much.
How Much Fiber Is “Too Much”?
Just because introducing a lot of fiber into your diet is usually beneficial, it doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea for your dog. A dog has a shorter digestive tract than humans and too much fiber can make it stressed. A high level of fiber can cause problems with digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Generally speaking, a dog’s system can cope better with meat products than it can with food from plants.
Supplementing with Fiber
If your dog has been doing very well on his current food you may not be excited about trying him on a new high-fiber dog food. Here are some suggestions for fiber supplements for dogs and most of them you may already have right on your kitchen shelves.
- Shredded Wheat
- Bran Flakes
- Glandex Fiber Tablets
- Canned pumpkin (make sure that you don’t select pie filling)
- Whole oats
- Beet pulp
- Rice bran
- Oat bran
The Best Dry High-Fiber Dog Food
There are quite a few different high-fiber foods for dogs. Part of the trick is going to be finding the one that offers the right amount of fiber for your dog, fits within your budget and one that your dog loves. Here are a few high-fiber food choices that outrank many of the others.
This dog food provides chicken as its top ingredient and is completely grain-free. It contains a small amount of sweet potato and pumpkin bites as added fiber in the easily-digested formula. It has added antioxidants and vitamins as well to help keep your dog healthy and active.
This high-fiber canine food offers its added fiber in the form of sweet potatoes, carrots, brown rice and ground barley. Many dog owners have noted that digestive problems are not a concern with this brand. The Wellness Complete Health, Healthy Weight Deboned Chicken and Peas Recipe provides 6% fiber, which is a good amount to start with. Some of the other high-fiber foods contain as much as 12% fiber, which would be too high a gradient to introduce to most dogs.
If you veterinarian has recommended that you step up on the fiber and you have already introduced a high-fiber dog food, you may want to consider adding a small amount of this ROYAL CANIN canned food to the dry dog food that you’re already serving. Veterinarians often recommend this product especially for dogs with a serious weight problem.
About Canned Dog Food
The problem with high-fiber canned dog food is it may have a lot of additives and chemicals in it that can cause digestive problems. Carrageenan from seaweed can be found in many canned varieties and it’s hard on a doggy’s tummy. It’s best to avoid any type of canned dog food unless it has been specifically recommended by your veterinarian.
If your vet has recommended that you step up on the fiber and you have already introduced a high-fiber dog food, you may want to consider adding a small amount of this ROYAL CANIN Gastro Intestinal Fiber Response canned food to the dry dog food that you’re already serving. Veterinarians often recommend this product especially for dogs with a serious weight problem.
You’ll Have to Be the Ultimate Judge
Who knows your dog better than you do? Nobody! Especially when it comes to using a pooper scooper and understanding the type of stools that are normal for your dog. When you start introducing fiber you will see changes and you’ll want to see small changes and then move forward from there. If your dog has been suffering from diarrhea, for example, and adding new fiber has slightly hardened his stools, that’s a great starting point. Continue to gradually add more fiber until you see his stools return to normal. Less is always more when it comes to changing your dog’s diet and especially so when you are introducing a new high-fiber dog food.
I started newdogowners.com for one simple reason, to help prepare new dog owners for owning a new puppy. My goal is to help stop the passing around of dogs. The forever home, should be a dog's first home.
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