Very often, those who have a dog and decide to use a fresh diet come across these Hamletic doubts. How can I add more fiber to my dog diet? How many vegetables are necessary? Which vegetables to give? Cooked, raw, whole, or pureed? What changes? Here you go.
Which fiber to choose
By fiber, we mean the edible portion of plants or other similar carbohydrates (e.g. also the chitin that forms the exoskeleton of some insects or other arthropods). These compounds are resistant to digestion and absorption in the small intestine. Hence, they are food for microflora residing in both the small and large intestines of the dog.
Most of the fibers are polysaccharides, i.e. complex sugars, structural carbohydrates. In other words, these are the useful ingredients of the plant cell scaffold. The rest is only waste that goes through from one end to the other.
The definition of fiber depends on an organism’s ability to use these ingredients. That is, it depends on the animal species that eat them. For example, what is fiber for a dog will not be fiber for the cow. Therefore, be careful whenever you come across human medicine terms when we actually need to look at veterinary medicine.
Some of the most common sources of fiber contained in commercial dog food are:
- Whole grains
- Psyllium peel
- Beetroot pulp
Brown rice is better than white rice. Whole grains are better than their processed counterparts.
How much fiber should you give?
When we prepare the bowl for our dogs, we must remember that they are carnivores. Bowls that contain too many vegetables will do more harm than good. Just a few vegetables are more than enough.
There is no nutritional need for dietary fiber for dogs. No vitamins, nor minerals are present in this or that vegetable, precisely because they are not the ideal source of nutrients for our beloved carnivores.
Despite this, a small amount of fiber is necessary for the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Fibers are only food for microorganisms known as microbiota, which produces metabolites. These substances will feed the cells of the intestinal mucosa and contribute to the well-being of the whole organism.
Tips for adding more fiber to your dog diet
You need to cook carbohydrate and fiber sources for them to be digestible. Otherwise, they can cause diarrhea and gas. Here are some tips on how to add fiber foods to your dog:
- Always cook the vegetables. Pumpkins, green beans, peas, and potatoes are all excellent sources of fiber. Peel the potatoes and do not feed the green or sprouted ones. It is forbidden to add salt.
- Add some fruit. Apples, melon, pears, cranberries add fiber and nutrients. You must remove all the seeds, peel, and the kernel of the fruit. Never give your dog grapes or raisins.
- Avoid foods with artificial colors or flavors. Dyes and artificial flavors are neither necessary nor nourishing for dogs. Your dog does not care what color the food is, but only if it tastes good. Besides, artificial colors or flavors can cause food allergies.