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Fibre in Dog Food

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Dog Food Dangers Feeding dogs fibre either in their daily dog food rations, or in any other way is something which is important and needs knowledge to get right.

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that isn’t digested by enzymes inside the gastrointestinal tract.

It provides bulk to move the contents of the intestines along on their journey through the dog's digestive system. Bacteria can break down some types of fibre, (fermentation) This creates short chain fatty acids, (SCFA) an important energy source for the cells of the intestinal tract. Insoluble fibre is non-fermentable.

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As humans we are aware of the importance of fibre in our diets, and are encouraged to use the “five a day rule” to include at least five portions of vegetables and fruit daily. All pet foods will contain some form of fibre but often manufacturers apply the recommendations for humans as a guideline for the addition of fibre in dog foods. Dogs have a much shorter digestive system than humans and in the main they are best fed as carnivores, (their nutritional needs are obtained from meat).

Fibre is needed to cleanse the intestinal walls of digested food residue. Fibre helps regulate water, mineral, taurine, and sugar absorption from the intestines. In cases of diarrhoea, both types of fibre are used to control the problem. Soluble fibre will reduce water in the stools and insoluble fibre will slow intestinal movements. In dog food that is designed to help reduce obesity, fibre is added to dilute the calories in a serving.

The optimal crude fibre levels for a healthy dog ranges from 1.4 to 3.5%, for at these levels, nutrient digestibility is maximised. Be advised that the cheaper dog foods use high levels of poorly fermentable fibre. Fibre normally comes in the form of beet pulp.

You can introduce extra fibre into your dog’s diet by offering him raw vegetables. The fibre found in vegetables is different from those found in heat processed pet foods. The dog’s digestive system however cannot break down the cellulose cell walls of plants so to get maximum benefits it is best to juice or crush the vegetables first. There is no harm in giving the dog small pieces of fruit or vegetables as a treat such as, a carrot, piece of apple, piece of melon, and so on. Other excellent sources of fibre and vitamins are, kale, spinach, parsley, cauliflower, squash, celery, beets, beans and peas. Try to vary the colour of the vegetables and fruit. The addition of nuts and seeds not only adds fibre but also minerals, vitamin E and fatty acids.

Your dog's general health will improve, which will show in a gleaming coat and shiny white teeth.

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