All good pet owners want to ensure that their dogs are healthy on the inside and outside. A contributing factor in helping a dog to achieve this is by ensuring that they acquire enough fibre in their diets.
This article will explore what fibre is and its role in dog food – examining the different types of fibre a dog requires and the benefits of this fantastic ingredient to a dog’s health and well-being.
What is Fibre?
Fibre is one of three types of carbohydrates (the other two being sugars and starches). This essential ingredient helps a dog to absorb other nutrients and keeps them feeling fuller for longer. It also helps a dog to form healthy faeces.
The role of fibre in a dog’s diet is essential and critical for looking after the overall health of the digestive system; however, it is often overlooked. Fibre primarily comes from plant cell walls, fruit and vegetable sources. Some of the common sources in dog feed include beet pulp, chicory and legumes.
Types of Fibres
There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble, which are beneficial in maintaining a dog’s health.
This type of fibre is not digested and passes through the gut unchanged. A few examples of insoluble fibre are cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignins. Insoluble fibres stimulate movement within the large intestines, aiding the formation and passing of faeces – preventing constipation. A dog’s digestive system can usually tolerate high levels of insoluble fibre. However, if too much insoluble fibre is present in a diet, this can potentially result in constipation or have a laxative effect.
Soluble fibres dissolve in water, forming into a gel-like substance and acting as a food source for the gut bacteria that aids digestion. Examples of soluble fibre include inulin, fructooligosaccharides, and pectins. Soluble fibre has also been linked to glycaemic control.
The Benefits of Fibre in Dog Food
Including fibre in a dog’s food is a great way to improve metabolism and aid faecal movement through the digestive system.
Fibre is a fantastic resource for the digestive tract of a dog. It is usually fermented into fatty acid by the bacteria that is naturally found in a dog’s intestine. These fatty acids can then be used for energy production.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Fibre is a great nutrient to help maintain a dog’s weight. Obesity is a growing concern amongst vets and pet experts. A recent survey by the PDSA revealed that 52% of veterinary professionals identify obesity as one of the top five welfare issues that need to be addressed in the UK Dog Population.
The inclusion of fibre in a dog’s diet is a great way to allow dogs to feel full whilst consuming fewer calories, and often higher levels can be found in ‘light’ diets.
Healthy dogs should eat high-quality foods containing both insoluble and soluble fibres to ensure they receive all of the correct nutritional benefits. To find out information about what food you should feed your dog, click here.
Article written by Kate Steele