by Elise Rogers
As humans become increasingly aware of the many benefits of fiber, they may begin to wonder if fiber has any health benefits or adverse effects on their pet's health system. Most people know that fiber aids the gastrointestinal system with the passing on of digested food out of the body. So, how does it help dogs?
So, what exactly is fiber? Fiber is composed of several different kinds of compounds, all of which are forms of carbohydrates. Popular sources of fiber found in dog food include some of the following: rice hulls, corn-based products,soybean hulls, cellulose, beet pulp, bran, peanut hulls, pectin, and citrus pulp, to name a few. Almost all carbohydrates provide some sources of fiber.
Though most dog food providers do not intentionally put extra dietary fiber into their food, they are there in the form of carbohydrates. Fiber, in moderation, can prove to be beneficial to your pet. Fiber is known for promoting colon health, it can aid in weight management for heavy dogs, it aids in diarrhea and constipation, and it is also known to benefit dogs with diabetes mellitus.
If your dog is becoming increasingly pudgy or heavy, you may want to consider slightly increasing their fiber intake. Fiber is known to act as a "filler"; that is, it gives dogs the feeling of fullness after eating. If you are trying to help your dog lose a bit of excess weight, try feeding them smaller portions and slightly increasing their fiber intake. Before you attempt this though, it is always best to contact your local veterinarian to discuss the proper weight loss plan for your pet; too much fiber has proved to be more harmful than helpful in dogs if it is used improperly or in excess.
Fiber can also help dogs with diabetes mellitus. This common metabolic disease is present when the pancreas stops producing insulin, thus inhibiting the proper production and fluctuation of blood sugar levels. Research has shown that dogs that are given diets that intentionally incorporate fiber are prone to experience less blood sugar fluctuation.
Most people are aware that fiber aids in the prevention of constipation. Fiber is water absorbent, thus it adds bulk to digested contents in the intestinal tracts. This encourages movement in the intestinal tract and aids in returning regularity to the digestive system and the elimination of waste.
It is important to remember, though fiber has many benefits to people and pets, it also has a few downsides. Fiber may cause flatulence, increased stool quantity or size, or a loosening of stool consistency.
Awareness of fiber has raised questions in pet owners about the benefits of fiber for their pets. When considering changing your pet's diet to one that contains more fiber, it is important to be familiar with fiber itself, its uses, its benefits, and its unpleasant effects. If you have any questions about your dog's diet, contact your veterinarian. They will be more than happy to help you find the best diet for your pet!
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