Fiber plays an intricate and necessary role in a dog’s diet. Not only is fiber an essential nutrient that supports the proper function of the digestive system, but it can provide other surprising health benefits for your pup as well. With the right balance, you can avoid having to deal with dog diarrhea or ending up with a constipated dog.
Breaking Down Fiber
Fiber can only be acquired by ingesting plant-based foods like grains and vegetables. This is because fiber is found in cell walls, which animals do not have. There are actually two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. The difference between the two is that soluble fibers dissolve in water, making them digestible. Insoluble fibers absorb water and are not digested.
Dr. Tim Hunt, DVM and CEO of Dr. Tim’s Premium All Natural Pet Foods, explains the importance of insoluble fiber for dogs and how dog food with fiber can support your dog’s digestive health.
Fiber Normalizes Dog Stool
Fiber can be considered the “normalizer” when it comes to your pup’s digestive track and poop production. Dog food with fiber does this by helping to regulate your dog’s digestive track. Dr. Tim explains, “It can aid in digestion by allowing a slower ‘transit time,’ so there is more of a chance for the nutrients to be absorbed properly. Fiber can also be used as an energy source for some helpful bacteria. Fiber also allows different parts of the gastrointestinal tracts to function properly, such as the colon.”
One of the best ways to tell if your dog is getting enough fiber is by looking at their stool, because fiber plays an integral role in stool formation within your dog’s digestive tract. Insoluble fiber absorbs water, so it can attract moisture from outside the colon in order to soften up a dog’s stool. It can also combat dog diarrhea by absorbing excess water inside the colon.
Insoluble fiber can also act as prebiotic in the large intestine. As Dr. Tim explains, “Different types of fiber will have different impacts as well. You can classify fibers as soluble or insoluble and fermentable or non-fermentable. For instance, a moderately fermentable fiber and a moderately soluble fiber such as beet pulp can play a dual role in the health of the gastrointestinal tract. It soaks up water and can be used for fuel. Other fibers such as cellulose are not fermentable but provide bulk to help solidify stool and also allow the dog to feel full, which it is used in weight-loss diets.” For these reasons, fiber for dogs can help bring balance to their digestive tract, so that you don’t end up with dog diarrhea or constipated dogs—it’s no wonder it is called the “normalizer.”
Dog Food With Fiber Keep Dogs Satiated
So, at the end of the day, fiber plays some key roles in the maintenance and overall health of a dog’s digestive tract. It is also useful when it comes to dealing with weight management. As Dr. Tim explains, the use of certain fibers can help dogs feel full even when their caloric intake and actual amount of food are being restricted for weight loss. This means that your pup can be on a diet but still feel satiated after his meals.
Tips for Adding Fiber to Your Dog’s Diet
Dr. Tim explains, “I build a food based on lifestyle; that is, what the dog is going to be doing for a living, and then I adjust the fiber types and amounts based on our experience in creating a successfully performing food.” So it is important to know your pup’s activity level when deciding on which dog food with fiber to get your canine companion.
Dr. Tim’s offers a few different dog foods that are all nutritionally balanced based on the activity level of its intended canine consumers. His Dr. Tim’s Pursuit Active Dog Pursuit Formula Dry Dog Food has been formulated for dogs with a moderate to energetic activity level, and contains a unique fiber blend that has been specifically designed to support an active dog’s gastrointestinal health. This diet is perfect for dogs that are on the move, like herding dogs or dogs that go running with their owners on a regular basis.
He also offers dog food formulas intended for the everyday dog who may not be super active. These are the dogs whose daily activities include running around the backyard, enjoying car rides, and going on casual walks or occasional hikes. He offers the Dr. Tim’s Kinesis Formula Dry Dog Food and the grain-free alternative, Dr. Tim’s Grain-Free Kinesis Formula Dry Dog Food, that caters to the health of your dog through all their life stages—from puppy to golden years. For dogs that may have more sensitive stomachs, Dr. Tim’s offers Dr. Tim’s Salmon & Pork Grain-Free RPM Formula Dry Dog Food, which features non-traditional protein sources and non-grain carbohydrates. This pet food will support your sensitive pup’s casual lifestyle by working with their natural metabolism to help keep them fit and happy.
For the huskier pup, Dr. Tim’s offers Dr. Tim’s Weight Management Metabolite Formula Dry Dog Food. This food has been specifically designed to provide your pup with the necessary nutrients and proteins they need to lose weight without leaving them feeling hungry all the time.
So, “How do you know the food is right? The poop,” says Dr. Tim. The best way to make sure your pup is getting the right dog food with fiber in the right amount is to keep an eye on their poop. Runny stool and bouts of dog diarrhea can mean there is not enough fiber in their diet, while small, hard stool from constipated dogs can mean there is too much. Consult your veterinarian to help you find the best balance for your pup.
Kendall Curley, Pet Central Editorial Assistant
As a former Connecticut resident, Kendall is coming to terms with the lack of seasons in Florida by gaining an appreciation for all the activities that the Florida climate allows year-round. When she is not hard at work at Chewy, she can be found going on adventures with her dog, Pip, or going horseback riding with her friends. She is an avid fosterer of dogs and spends an inordinate amount of time picking dog hair off of her clothes and belongings.