High Fiber Diet for Dogs

Your veterinarian may recommend a high fiber diet for your dog if he suffers from frequent bouts of constipation or has anal gland issues. High fiber diets may also help older dogs maintain their health. Let’s look at how a high fiber diet can help your dog stay healthy and how you can easily add fiber to your pet’s existing diet.

Canine Health Conditions that a High Fiber Diet Can Help

Among the conditions that a high fiber diet can help manage in your dog are

  • anal gland impaction
  • colon health
  • constipation
  • diabetes
  • diarrhea
  • weight control

Let’s look at each in more detail. Your dog’s anal glands, which are located on your dog’s rear end, can become abscessed, impacted or infected. This can cause your dog to drag or scoot his rear on the ground, or he may lick his anal glands repeatedly. Adding fiber to your dog’s diet if he has anal gland problems can help clear up the problem by causing the glands to express themselves when your dog eliminates a bulkier stool.

Next, let’s talk about your dog’s colon. Under normal conditions, your dog’s colon will change dietary fiber into fatty acids your dog’s body needs to remain healthy. These fatty acids can help your dog’s colon heal from damage, and they may also help protect your pet against colon cancer.

Now let’s consider constipation and diarrhea as they relate to your dog’s colon health. Dogs with healthy colons are less likely to experience bouts of constipation or diarrhea since they eliminate regularly. A high-fiber diet helps absorb excess liquid in the intestines, which makes diarrhea less likely, and the fiber's bulk helps a dog have regular bowel movements, which makes constipation less likely as well.

Finally, let’s consider diabetes and canine weight control. Diabetic dogs that consume a high fiber diet experience fewer episodes of fluctuating blood sugar, and dogs have a better chance of controlling their weight on a high-fiber diet since they eat less food because the high-fiber diet makes them feel fuller sooner.

How To Add Fiber to Your Dog’s Diet

If your veterinarian recommends a high-fiber diet for your dog, you can purchase a commercially prepared diet at your veterinarian’s office or pet supply store. Read the ingredients label, and be on the lookout for fiber-rich ingredients such as beet pulp, corn, oat bran, rice bran, soybean or wheat bran. Check the guaranteed analysis portion of the food label, and select foods with crude fiber contents above 4.5 percent.

You can also easily add fiber to your dog’s current diet by including certain fruits or vegetables in his food. For example,

  • You can give your dog sections of a peeled, cored apple.
  • You can offer him carrot sticks or green beans as treats.
  • You can add a half-teaspoon to a teaspoon of pureed pumpkin to your dog’s food each week.

All of these foods contain fiber, as do brown rice, oatmeal or bran. If your dog doesn’t enjoy vegetables or fruit, you can give him fiber-rich treats or snacks from the pet supply store. 

Whatever fiber source you choose, provide only a small amount of fiber until you know how much your dog requires. Providing too much fiber can set your dog up to bloat, or it may leave him more prone to gas and flatulence.