7 Foods That Add Fibre To Your Dog’s Diet

March 21, 2022

Fibre is a super important addition to your dog’s diet for a range of reasons, but where can we get it from?  We’ve popped together 7 of our favourite foods to add to the bowl!

Let’s get cracking.

What is Fibre?

Fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate and it boasts a range of health benefits, for us, and our dogs.

As fibre makes its way through the digestive tract, it can slow glucose absorption, which helps modulate blood sugar levels. 

It can also form a gel like substance which can trap potentially harmful pathogens.

Fermentable fibres produce short chain fatty acids which have unique roles throughout the body. Not only do they contribute to maintaining a healthy gut barrier, but they are also precursors to many neurotransmitters, which directly affect mood and behaviour.

Fibre is seen to modulate insulin production, blood pressure and thought to affect cholesterol and fatty acid absorption too.

And last but not least, fibre can be a great way to modulate transit time in the gut too.  Diarrhoea often results when transit time is too fast.  Constipation often results when transit time is too slow.  The perfect stool is a result of “just right” transit time.  In addition, when this occurs, we support healthy anal gland expression.  For a full expression, the faeces should be firm, and pick-up-able.  This is why poor bowel movements can contribute to anal glands becoming impacted. 

3 Top Tips for Anal Gland Health in Dogs

Although fibre is generally an umbrella term, there are fibres within fibres, and we often hear more about the supplemental fibres when we are talking about our canine companions.

Psyllium husk: Psyllium husk is a form of soluble fibre, it contains mucilage which swells when in contact with fluid, forming a gel. Psyllium can help to improve faecal consistency.

Slippery Elm: An insoluble fibre with mucilage properties where it creates a film, soothes, protects, and helps to heal the entire gastric system, modulating gut function.  The inner bark of the Slippery Elm is not only packed with nutrients like vitamins A, B complex, C, K, Calcium, magnesium, and sodium, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties. 

But we can get the benefits associated with fibre from a food first approach too!

Fibrous Food Sources

1.   Broccoli

Not only is broccoli a great source of fibre but it is packed full of vitamins and minerals. You will find vitamins A, C and E, fibre and antioxidants in these little green trees!  

Vitamin A helps maintain structural and functional integrity of mucosal cells in innate barriers (skin, respiratory tract etc).

Broccoli also contains a phytochemical called Indole-3-Carbinol. This compound is formed from a substance called glucobrassicin found in broccoli and other brasscia vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens and turnips. Indole-3-carbinol is formed when these vegetables are cut, chewed, or lightly cooked and show some promise in their anti-cancer effect.

To Serve: chop and lightly steam or blend.

2.  Berries

We generally love berries because they contain anthocyanins (Greek anthos =flower and kyáneos = blue).  Many studies have linked these compounds with antioxidant, anti‐inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties, along with protection against both heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduction in the risk of diabetes and cognitive function disorders. In addition, they have also demonstrated antimicrobial properties, specifically in cranberries and blueberries.

But berries also pack a fair punch in terms of fibre content.  Great berries to include are raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries. 

3.   Apples

Another snack or training treat, apples pack a fair fibre punch!  Chop into slices, just remember to avoid the seeds.

Apples contain a range of antioxidants meaning they can help protect against oxidative stress.  Apples are also a source of vitamin C and potassium. 

4.  Mushrooms

There are literally thousands of species of mushrooms on the planet, so it can be a challenge to know where to start. But they are incredible in terms of the benefits they can provide.  

Mushrooms can be involved in the prevention of certain disease, the regeneration of damaged cells, the protection of tissues and cells and used during treatment of existing conditions.  

The bioactive compounds of mushrooms include polysaccharides, proteins, fats, ash, glycosides, alkaloids, volatile oils, tocopherols, phenolics, flavonoids, carotenoids, folates, ascorbic acid enzymes, and organic acids.  

Reishi mushrooms are adored for their immunomodulating benefits.  Maiitike mushrooms have been used for their antibacterial function and cordyceps have been seen to inhibit inflammatory responses throughout the body.

Mushrooms have been seen to be:

-       Anti-inflammatory

-       Anti-microbial

-       Antioxidant

-       Prebiotic

-       Anti-diabetic

And they are a great source of fibre for our dogs. 

If you are looking to add mushrooms to the bowl, cook them fully, lightly sauteed is fine.

5.   Leafy greens

Green leafy vegetables include spinach, kale, watercress and broccoli. In green leafy vegetables you will find vitamins A, C, E and K along with many of the B-vitamins. These vegetables also contain carotenoids. Carotenoids act as an antioxidant, deactivating free-radicals and limiting the damage they can cause. There are two broad classifications of carotenoids: carotenes and xanthophylls. The latter containing oxygen, whilst the former do not.  

Xanthophylls include lutein and zeaxanthin, which are both primarily associated with eye health.

Beta-carotene one of the carotenes is turned into Vitamin A and is found in those green leafy veg like spinach and kale. Vitamin A is important in maintaining healthy skin, mucous membranes and supporting a functioning immune system.

Green leafy vegetables also contain a rich source of folate, this is after all, where the name came from.  Folate functions as a coenzyme in many processes in the body, it helps tissues grow and makes cells work. Folate is also involved in neurotransmitter synthesis, so it is implicated in mood and subsequently behaviour.

To Serve: Lightly steam your kale or spinach, or blitz it up in a blender, pop it in a freezer mould and add them to your dog’s bowl!  

6.   Carrots 

You’ll notice the fibre content if you’ve ever fed these to your dog and noticed an orange tinted poop afterwards.  Raw carrots can be fed as snacks or training treats, but you can also feed them cooked!  A great source of carotenoids and vitamin C, carrots can support immune function and promote healthy mucosal membranes throughout the body.  Carrots are a great source of prebiotic fibre. 

7.       Pumpkin

One of the foods all dog owners should have in!  We know the benefits of feeding pumpkin when our dogs are a little under the weather, but we don’t always talk about the fibre content.  Pumpkin also contains vitamins A, C, and E, as well as minerals like iron, copper and potassium.  Offering pumpkin to your dog is a great way to support their digestive health.

If you’d like to learn more about why fibre is important to your dog’s health, then check out our blogs below:

5 Reason’s Fibre is Your Dog’s Best Friend

Do Dogs Need Fibre?

If you are concerned about your dog’s digestive health, then please check out our services to see how we can help.

Thanks for reading,

MPN Team 

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