Choosing the best dog food with high fiber can be challenging. Not only is there a number of brands, but also an abundance of options to choose from. To help you narrow down your search and choose the right dog food for your pup I’ve compiled an extensive list of high fiber vegetables for dogs. So, how much fiber do dogs need?
At the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to find the best high fiber foods for dogs and the benefits of fiber rich foods for dog foods.
Best Dog Food With High Fiber
If I didn’t know better, I’d think that dietary fiber had the best lobbying apparatus in the civilized world!
Everywhere you look, you see studies explaining the health benefits of fiber for one bodily system or another. And as it turns out, our dogs enjoy many of these same benefits!
This leads many owners to seek out a high-fiber food for their pooch. Before you click-and-pay for the first high-fiber food you see, take a moment to educate yourself about high-fiber dog foods (don’t worry, we’ll explain everything you need to know).
We’ll even recommend five great choices for you, and explain why they’re among the best options. Read on!
High Fiber Dog Food Quick Picks
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight (10% fiber) | Grain-free, chicken-based recipe with a hefty fiber count. No poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Available from Chewy or Amazon
- Wellness Core Reduced Fat (8.5% fiber) | Grain-free, turkey-based, low-fat recipe with high fiber. Made in the USA with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Available from Chewy or Amazon
- Nutro Lite Weight Management (11%)| Pasture-fed lamb & brown rice recipe. No chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy protein, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Available from Chewy or Amazon
What Is Fiber, Anyway?
Without delving into a biochemistry discussion, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that can’t be digested by the body (note that some animals digest carbohydrates more effectively than others – dogs aren’t especially good at it, but they get by). Fibers are more-or-less passed through the digestive system intact.
So if fiber can’t be digested by the body, why is it good for us?
Well, moderate amounts of fiber influence your dog’s biology in a number of beneficial ways while making its way from the entrance to the exit. For example, fiber helps to regulate intestinal function, promote colon health, slows the absorption of glucose into the blood and support healthy gut flora.
But not all fibers are created equal, and they differ in several important ways. The most important distinction that the average dog owner should know concerns the fiber’s ability to absorb water.
You may have heard this distinction characterized as soluble or insoluble fiber.
- Soluble fiber absorb lots of water
- Insoluble fibers absorb relatively little water
This small distinction alters the way fiber interacts with your dog’s body. While both are clearly beneficial, soluble fiber is usually preferable because it absorbs water in your dog’s digestive tract and passes relatively easy her digestive system.
How Much Fiber Is in Dog Food?
Most regular dog foods have fiber contents in the 2% to 5% range. So, while there is no governing body that establishes rules for the term “high fiber,” we’ll consider any food with more than 5% fiber content to be a “high fiber food.”
Because fiber contents in excess of 10% or 12% are potentially problematic “high fiber” dog foods typically have between 6% and 10% fiber content.
While fiber values can vary quite a bit in dog food, fiber is relatively inexpensive, so manufacturers are generally eager to provide as much as owners are interested in (this isn’t just for your dog’s benefit, as some manufacturers may try to reduce the amount of expensive protein or fat in your dog’s formula in favor of fiber).
High Fiber Vegetables for Dogs
A few of the most common sources of fiber in commercial dog foods include (in no particular order):
You’ll generally want your dog’s food to be based off high-fiber carbohydrates, as opposed to carbs that provide a ton of calories and relatively little fiber, such as refined grains.
Brown rice is better than white, whole grains are better than their processed counterparts.
How Much Fiber Do Dogs Need?
This is where it gets tricky because not every dog needs fiber added to their diets. “A dog doesn’t need a diet loaded with fiber unless they have a lot of gastrointestinal problems,” says Boehme.
According to Dr. Jeff Feinman of Holistic Actions, most dogs get their necessary fiber from their diets. But dogs with digestive problems like diarrhea may benefit from fiber supplementation. “My rescue pup has colitis, which causes diarrhea and even tinges of blood in the [stool]. He does quite well with a little fiber,” Feinman says. “Some dogs need it and some don’t.”
Adding fiber to a dog’s diet isn’t difficult if they do need additional sources. However, it’s good to know that overeating fiber can also upset the gastrointestinal tract. Before adding additional fiber to a dog’s diet, it’s best to consult your veterinarian.
Understanding Fiber in Dog Food
Visit any pet retailer, and you’ll find shelves of high-fiber dog food. Many of the commercial dog foods designed for weight loss are high in fiber, says Boehm, because fiber helps keep pets fuller longer—so they eat less.
She says there are also fiber-rich foods designed for dogs with colitis or chronic diarrhea, including specialty prescription foods. “These foods are specially formulated by veterinarian nutritionists.”
If you read the label on a high-fiber dog food, you might find beet pulp listed along with things like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. You can also feed some of those things as high-fiber treats in addition to your dog’s regular diet. Just make sure to discuss these additions with your veterinarians before giving them to your pup.
High Fiber Foods For Dogs
If you’re like many people, you know fiber is important for a healthy digestive tract and overall wellness. It helps keep you regular, controls blood pressure, and can even regulate blood-sugar levels.
But what about your dog? Does your dog need fiber? Are there natural sources of fiber for dogs? To find out, we asked three veterinarians about their thoughts on fiber for dogs and some of the top sources of this plant-based nutrients for pups.
Do Dogs Need Fiber?
Fiber is a carbohydrate that plays a beneficial role in gut health. It comes in both soluble (digestible) and insoluble (not digestible) forms, and both have their place in the body’s ecosystem.
“Digestible fiber refers to the fiber that can be broken down into simple molecules that can be eaten by bacteria in the pet’s gut,” says Dr. Sam Kovac of Southern Cross Vet. “Indigestible fiber can be thought of as carbohydrates that offer little nutritional value but massage the gut to reduce inflammation and clean the mucous membranes.”
Basically, fiber helps your dog maintain a healthy balance in the gut, which regulates the bowels and keeps the colon healthy, too.
“The colon loves fiber,” adds Dr. Kathy Boehme of The Drake Center. “Fiber is kind of magical because it can aid in both diarrhea and constipation. There are a lot of puppies with chronic diarrhea, and they respond beautifully to fiber.”
Fiber for Dogs: 10 Healthy Sources
Whether your pet has some mild digestive issues, your vet suggests a fiber boost, or you just want to provide some occasional fiber-focused snacks to keep your dog full and focused, there are lots of sources to consider.
Let’s look at some of the most popular sources of fiber for dogs that are easy to add to your dog’s diet.
Beet pulp has been characterized as a filler product in some pet nutrition circles. But it’s a great source of fiber for dogs. Beet pulp is a colorless and stringy byproduct of sugar beet processing and easily digested. “Beet pulp is common in many pet foods,” says Boehme. You’ll find it in many high-fiber dog foods.
Turns out, this fall favorite is a tasty source of healthy fiber for dogs. You can find it year-round in grocery stores—just be sure you buy plain pureed pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. You can feed fresh pumpkin, too.
When feeding pumpkin to dogs, it’s better to start small and see how they react. Feinman recommends “a teaspoon or less.”
Flaxseed is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, which means it’s good for your dog’s skin, coat, brain, and overall nervous system. Flaxseed is also a great source of dietary fiber and antioxidants and can help intestinal health, according to the Flax Council of Canada.
There are many ways you can add flaxseed meal or ground flaxseeds to your dog’s diet. You can sprinkle it on your dog’s food, mix it with peanut butter and roll into balls for treats, or mix with a bit of plain, organic yogurt. It’s best if the flaxseeds are ground right before using. As with any new food, start with a small amount—a teaspoon is plenty as a starting point.
If you’re a sushi-fan, you might think of kelp as the seaweed wrapped around your sushi rolls. Of course, the Japanese have long known of its health benefits. Kelp is high in iron, and as it turns out, it’s also a high-fiber food that’s safe for pups.
If your dog likes green lettuce, then it can be a good source of fiber—even if its high water content doesn’t provide a lot of additional nutrients. You’ll want to chop it up so it’s easier to eat and make sure it doesn’t have any dressing or other elements that could be harmful to your pup. Iceberg lettuce might taste good, but it has very little fiber.
Many dogs love chomping on apple slices as a high-fiber treat. As a bonus, apples are low in calories and help clean canine teeth too. Try offering your pup a slice of apple and see how they like it. As always, keep the pieces proportionate with your dog’s size and never give your dog the seeds or core.
Many pet parents buy bags of baby carrots to feed as treats. Like apples, they’re low in calories, which is perfect for pups who’d benefit from a bit of weight loss and are high in fiber to keep your pup fuller longer. A study also revealed that feeding dogs raw carrots can help improve a dog’s liver and kidney function.
Consider green beans as another addition to the veggie selection for your pet. They’re also low calorie and full of fiber for a healthy, high-fiber dog treat.
Recent grain-free trends aside, brown rice turns up in many high-fiber dog foods because it’s a great fiber source, according to a 2016 research study. It also mixes well with veggies like carrots and green beans.
Strawberries and Blueberries
Got fresh berries? Your pup can enjoy fresh strawberries and blueberries along with you. Just rinse them and eat. These natural sources of fiber for dogs can also give your pet an antioxidant boost. A study of sled dogs who were fed blueberries after exercise had elevated antioxidant levels in their blood compared to a control group that was not fed berries.
Just don’t overdo the berries, since fruits like strawberries and blueberries have natural sugar content. Too much won’t be good for your dog.
Fiber Supplements for Dogs
Adding fruits, veggies, or brown rice to your dog’s diet may not provide them with all the fiber they need—especially if they have digestive problems. If your pup has irregular bowels, is obese, or has diabetes, they may need more fiber than can be found in fresh food.
“I like the idea of feeding fiber in the form of fruits and veggies, but the amount should not comprise more than 10 percent of the diet so that you do not unbalance the diet,” says Boehme. “If it is not possible to do this, then they would need an additional supplement.”
Fiber Supplements for Dogs: Our Favorite Picks
All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.
List of High Fiber Dog Foods
The following brands offer varying levels of high fiber formulas, but that doesn’t guarantee the complete quality of all the ingredients. Consult your vet about the overall quality of any formula before switching your pet to a high fiber diet.
- Satiety Support by Royal Canin supports weight loss with a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber to make a dog feel fuller while consuming fewer calories overall. The guaranteed crude fiber analysis is 18.20 percent maximum.
- Innova Senior offers a higher fiber content derived from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The guaranteed crude fiber analysis is 5.5 percent maximum.
- Pro Plan Chicken & Rice Formula for Weight Management uses wheat bran to promote a healthy digestive system. The guaranteed crude fiber analysis is 5.5 percent maximum.
- Science Diet Adult Light Small Bites combines a low-fat formula high in fiber to help control a dog’s weight. According to Petco, this formula has a crude fiber maximum of percent.
- Nutro Ultra Weight Management is rich in fiber and contains superfoods such as salmon and flaxseed. The guaranteed crude fiber analysis is 6.00 percent maximum.
Other Ways to Add Fiber to Your Pet’s Diet
If you have difficulty finding a high fiber formula locally and you don’t want to incur the cost of shipping, there are other ways to increase your pet’s fiber intake. You can add a little of one of the following foods to your dog’s regular diet, but it’s best to consult your vet about the proper amount to add according to your dog’s weight, as well as how often to add it.
- Plain, canned pumpkin
- Cooked sweet potato
- Oat bran
Reasons a High Fiber Diet May Be Needed
Fiber can be as important in your dog’s diet as it is in yours. According to Drs. Foster and Smith, fiber can help address a number of health concerns.
- Reduces obesity – A diet that’s higher in fiber can help a dog feel fuller without taking in additional calories, so he can eat the usual amount and still lose excess weight.
- Stabilizes blood sugar – A high fiber diet is often recommended for diabetic dogs to prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
- Reduces anal gland issues – Since insoluble fiber makes stools firmer, they express the anal glands more efficiently when a dog passes stools.
- Improves digestive health – Some types of fiber are fermented into fatty acids which aid digestion.
- May help prevent colon cancer – These same fatty acids may help repair injured colon cells.
- Treats diarrhea – The extra fiber helps firm watery stools.
- Treats constipation – The fiber helps move hardened stool through the digestive tract.
Let Your Vet Make a Recommendation
A high fiber diet can benefit some dogs, but it’s best to let your vet decide whether your dog needs a change in diet. Too much fiber can cause gastric upset, so rely on your vet’s expertise and ask for a specific recommendation about which high fiber formula might be best for your pet.
Benefits of Fiber Rich Foods
Fiber provides many of the same benefits for dogs that it does for their owners. Some of the most noteworthy include:
1.Improved Digestive Function
Fiber demonstrates an amazing ability to regulate digestive function. It can help draw water into the intestine when necessary to combat constipation, and it can help absorb water from within the intestine, to help combat diarrhea. It also provides additional bulk to your dog’s stools, which can help further ensure smooth intestinal function.
Yup, fiber is pretty awesome for your dog! If your dog’s stool has any irregularities, chances are fiber can help.
Beware though: Too much fiber in your dog’s food will cause her to poop way too much, and it can also cause horrifyingly foul-smelling gas. It is always important to increase the fiber content of your dog’s food slowly.
2.Improved Blood Sugar Levels
Fiber helps to keep your dog’s blood sugar levels within a more consistent range, which can help prevent obesity and canine diabetes. In fact, is often packed with fiber. It has similar effects in humans, who are also advised to consume plenty of fiber to keep blood sugar levels stable.
3.Satiation from Fewer Calories
Fiber takes up a bunch of space in your dog’s stomach, and because it isn’t digested by the body, this is essentially a calorie-free way of helping your dog feel full and satisfied.
Obviously, your dog still needs plenty of protein, fat and digestible carbohydrates, but by mixing in a few high-fiber ingredients, your dog will feel full, while ingesting fewer calories.
This is why fiber is often a major ingredient for dog foods designed to help your dog lose weight. For dogs who are struggling with obesity, it may be smart to replace your dog’s standard treats with high-fiber dog treats for a while too!