Many people do not know that fiber is an essential ingredient in a dog's diet. Most of the commercial dog food contains some amount of fiber. Fiber is always recommended by doctors to human beings as it is helpful in cleansing the digestive track. However, it is also crucial for a dog's good health.
What is Fiber?
Fiber is present in the cell walls of grains and plants and is basically made up of carbohydrates. It is known as the insoluble carbohydrates which prevent enzymatic digestion from occurring in the small intestine. Some of the fibrous food sources include resistant starches, pectin, cellulose, gums, and hemicellulose.
Why is Food High in Fiber Important?
A fiber rich diet can help in preventing as well as controlling a number of dog health problems such as obesity, diabetes, constipation, colon cancer etc. Some of them are listed below.
Obesity: Giving your dog food that is high in fiber can help control weight gain. Nowadays, obesity has become a serious health issue among canines because they are fed foods that are high in fat, leading them to gain extra calories. To avoid dog obesity, it is important to feed your pet with fibrous foods. As fibrous foods are bulky, dogs feel that their stomach is full even if they eat moderately. This is a good way of giving them essential nutrients and keeping them healthy and fit.
Colon Cancer: Another advantage is to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria in the body which can lead to some diseases. The fibrous food is turned into fatty acids by the good bacteria present in the dog's body. Eating this food can also aid in preventing the risk of colon cancer.
Constipation: The most important function of low-fat and high-fiber food is to cure stomach and gastrointestinal problems in the dog. Constipation in dogs can be treated by giving foods high in fiber along with an adequate amount of water. It is also said to be beneficial for treating diarrhea as fiber absorbs the excess water present in the feces.
Diabetes: Dogs suffering from diabetes mellitus can benefit from the foods that are high in fiber. Just like in human beings, the secretion of insulin is stopped by the pancreas, leading to increased blood sugar levels. Fibrous dog foods can help to control and maintain the level of blood glucose.
Anal Gland Disease: Canines have anal glands at either sides of the anal opening and when they become infected or abscessed, it is known as anal gland disease. You may come to know about the disease when the dog starts scouting and licking the anal area very frequently. Though this disease needs proper medical attention, putting the dog on a fiber diet would aid in the recovery process.
What Foods are High in Fiber?
One of the easiest way of feeding fibrous food to your dog is to buy fiber-fortified canned food. Other such foods that you can include in your dog's diet include citrus and beet pulp, wheat, oat bran, tomato and apple pomace, rice, soy and soybean hulls, etc. You should also feed protein-rich food to your pet because protein is very essential for a strong immune system and healthy growth and structural makeup. However, if your dog is affected by a urinary tract infection, kidney ailments, or kidney failure, it is very important that you feed it low-protein food.
Though fiber is essential for the dog, it is very important to remember that it should not be given in excess amounts. When the quantity of fiber intake exceeds the required amount, it can cause loose stools as well as gas trouble in canines. Feeding your dog with adequate amount of food would help to prevent several illnesses and keep it healthy and playful.