While adding fiber to your dog’s diet isn’t necessarily a requirement, doing so can introduce a host of health benefits which include a reduced chance your pet will become obese, improved colon health and the prevention of constipation and even diabetes.
You may be thinking “I’m not changing my dog’s food or diet, it’s hard on their system.” Relax – you won’t need to. Adding fiber to your dog’s diet isn’t as difficult as it sounds and can be done by adding foods you have right in your kitchen like brown rice, canned pumpkin and fresh fruit and vegetables, making the whole experience quite pleasant for your pooch.
Foods to Help Increase Fiber Intake
One of the easiest ways to increase your dog’s fiber content is with brown rice. It’s true, white rice can provide fiber, but brown rice has roughly three times more fiber content. Because of this increased content, however, you want to add this to your dog’s diet gradually. Brown rice is considered a “neutral” food and is easily digested by most dogs. It can be given alone or mixed with raw or cooked ground beef. A reminder, carbohydrates should only make up 10-30% of your dog’s diet.
Another good source of fiber for your dog’s diet is canned pumpkin. Take note – we said canned pumpkin – NOT pumpkin pie filling. Plain canned pumpkin can be added (1 Tablespoon’s worth) to your dog’s food each day; canned pumpkin pie filling contains sugars and spices, like nutmeg, which can be fatal to your dog.
Moving on, fresh vegetables are yet another great source of fiber. Adding these to your dog’s diet may take a little extra work as you determine which ones are your dog’s favorite and which he could do without. Fresh vegetables are the ideal choice here, but canned vegetables will also do the trick as long as the sodium content is low. A tip, most dogs like peas, carrots and green beans; for smaller breeds, simply puree 1/8 to 1/4 cup and add to his food at feeding time. Your larger dog probably can most likely tolerate the larger chunks so you won’t need the added step of pureeing.
One last good source of fiber for your dog is apples. Apples are a great snack for you and your canine companion – so if you’re feeling hungry, split an apple with him. Not all fruits add fiber and not all are good for your dog. Bananas and apples are good, for example, but just seven grapes can be fatal. A tip: apples are also a great way to help keep those canine chompers clean!
As you can see from this post, adding fiber to your dog’s diet isn’t a stretch. Keep in mind that adding fiber is a good thing, but adding TOO much can cause problems, such as diarrhea which can in turn lead to dehydration. As you increase your dog’s fiber intake, keep an eye on his bowel movements – if they become too soft or runny, decrease the fiber-rich foods by half until things are back to normal.