Just like their human counterparts, fiber is an essential nutrient for the health of canines. Unfortunately, as with the dog's owner, the daily diet may be lacking in this important ingredient. Many high-fiber dog foods can help dog owners alleviate any concerns and confusion regarding their canine's nutritional needs by offering complete and balanced diets.
The Importance of Fiber
While fiber was once seen as a simple filler, especially in dog food, it is now viewed as an important component to a canine's health. Weight control and minimizing constipation are two reasons dog owners may choose to turn to high-fiber diets for their four-legged friends. Fiber helps overweight dogs feel full longer, leading to a decrease in overeating. As with humans, high-fiber diets can help alleviate constipation by aiding in appropriate digestion and elimination. Another related benefit from high-fiber foods is the bulking of waste, which can aid in swollen anal glands. This problem, common in smaller dogs, occurs when anal glands become impacted. The bulkier stool helps "milk" the swollen glands, bringing some relief though this will not rid a dog of the condition entirely.
Requiring Veterinary Approval
While some pet owners may choose to add more vegetables and fruits to their dog's diet, some situations call for specific dietary fiber needs. Whether through veterinary suggestion or through online research and purchase, a few high-fiber dog foods will require a veterinarian's prescription. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Calorie Control CC 26 is a higher end dog food that is often prescribed by animal experts and a choice of breeders. Hill's Canine W/D also requires a veterinarian's approval but is also a good choice for owners concerned about their dog's fat and sugar intake.
Available without Veterinary Approval
Foods that do not necessitate a veterinarian's approval include those promoting a healthy diet for overweight canines. It's important to note that these foods are safe for all dogs and simply include high fiber to help obese dogs feel full longer. Hill's Science Diet Adult Light Dog Food and Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food Allergy Formula are two examples of popular kibbles available without veterinary approval.
Find Supplimental Fiber in the Kitchen
In addition to high-fiber dog food, some dog owners choose to supplement their dog's fiber intake with items available in the average kitchen. Rice, oat bran and rice bran can easily be added to the diet as can the pulps of beets and oranges. Apple and tomato pomace can also be used to bulk up a canine's fiber. Pomace is the leftover material after tomatoes and apples are processed and available through some bulk feed stores.
Items Are Toxic to Dogs
While it is possible to offer dogs some fruits and vegetables for fiber, but it is important to know which items pose a potentially fatal risk. Aloe, avocado, macadamia nut, mushrooms, prunes, raisins, grapes, onions and cherries are toxic to dogs. In addition, broccoli can cause intestinal upsets in canines and should be avoided.
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Vivian Nelson Melle is a freelance writer with experience working and writing in the fields of travel, mental health, education, holistic health, body image and beauty. Vivian has a Master's in Community Counseling from University of Phoenix and a Bachelor's in Special Education from Arizona State University. She worked in both fields before becoming a writer.