Do You Need to Include Fiber in Your Dog's Diet?
Fiber is one of those nutrients you'll find listed on all sorts of dog food. As this article explains, fiber can have many health benefits for your dog. The type of fiber determines its role in the digestive process. There is even proof that choosing a fiber to help in the treatment of some common medical conditions may be a good adjunct to traditional therapies.
Some simple background: Fiber is made up of several different compounds all of which are carbohydrates. Some of the most common fibers are cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, lignin, and gums. Fiber can be classified according to their structure, the rate at which they are fermented, their digestibility, solubility in water, and other criteria. The different properties of fiber determine its function within the body.
How can your pup get fiber? Fiber is found in a variety of sources, but in dog foods, it comes primarily from the cell walls of plants and grains present in the food. Almost all carbohydrate sources will contain some fiber. Some of the most common sources of fiber in dog foods include rice hulls, soybean hulls, beet pulp, bran, peanut hulls, and pectin. However, an easy way to insert fiber into your dogs diet is to feed them one of our Sweet Potato Treats!
What's the benefit of fiber? Dogs do not derive any energy from fiber, however, improved colon health is a major benefit of having fiber in the diet, and therefore, its presence in dog food is often considered beneficial. There are several medical conditions that are greatly improved by the addition of fiber. In fact we have a great case study video that one of our customers discuss how our treats helped their pup become more mobile!
How does it work? The function of fiber in the diet is to increase both bulk and water in the intestinal contents. Fiber will lengthen intestinal transit time (that is, slow down the rate at which food moves through the digestive tract) in pets with fast transit times, and speed up the transit times in animals with slow transit times. What this means is that fiber will help treat both diarrhea and constipation. Fiber absorbs extra water in diarrheic stools, and it helps hold onto water, which prevents constipation. Some fiber is broken down in the intestine into fatty acids. These fatty acids will aid in preventing the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. They will also help the colon cells to recover from injury and possibly help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
The conclusion: A healthy intake of fiber will help your pup live a longer, happier life.
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