The Benefits of Dog Food Fiber (Part 1)


By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about the benefits of dietary fiber. And if you haven’t… you really need to.
Dog Food Fiber Does All That?
Because fiber might just be one of the most amazing (and overlooked) nutrients in dog food.

You simply won’t believe what it can do for your dog.

Now, before we talk about fiber’s many talents, what exactly is it?

Well, dietary fiber represents that part of edible plants that can’t be digested1.

Because fiber is only found in the wall of a cell… and since animal cells don’t have cell walls… fiber can only come from vegetables and grains.  Never from meat.

Basically, dietary fiber includes the carbohydrate remnants of plant cells… after digestion.

There are two kinds…

  • Soluble fiber
  • Insoluble fiber

In a nutshell, one dissolves in water and the other doesn’t.  That’s why each contributes different benefits to a dog food recipe.

Fiber Helps Prevent Constipation… and Diarrhea

Yes, you heard that right.  It can do both!

That’s because insoluble fiber absorbs water… like a sponge  So, it can attract moisture from outside the colon and into a dog’s stools… to help promote regular bowel movements.

And in certain conditions… it can also absorb excess water from inside the colon… to help control diarrhea, too.

Fiber is a stool “normalizer”.  It’s the perfect solution to many canine regularity problems.

Imagine… help for both constipation and diarrhea… from the same nutrient.

Fiber May Help Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer

In a dog’s gut, good bacteria ferment fiber to create special “short chain fatty acids” that can help a dog’s colon repair itself… and prevent cancer.

But fiber can help in another way, too.

As water is absorbed into the colon, fecal matter swells against the colon wall.  This pressure causes muscle contractions… which can speed food faster through the digestive tract.

This faster “transit” time allows less contact between the colon wall and dangerous cancer-causing substances.

Fiber Helps Promote Weight Loss

Adding fiber to any dog food “dilutes” its caloric content.  So, there are fewer calories per serving.  And that can significantly aid in weight loss.

As fiber absorbs water, it expands… causing a dog to stop eating sooner.  That’s because (in dog’s) a full stomach signals “satiety”… or hunger satisfaction2 .

So, dogs feel fuller… and consume less energy… fewer calories… per meal3.

A recent study showed that dogs fed a high fiber diet lost more than five times the fat mass of dogs fed a low fiber diet4.

As a matter of fact, trying to bring about canine weight loss without using dietary fiber makes the whole process needlessly more difficult.

Continue on to Part 2 and discover…

  • How to help your dog avoid the misery of uncontrolled diabetes
  • The one valuable detail most dog food shoppers innocently overlook
  • The ideal fiber content to look for on a dog food label

Continue on to read The Amazing Benefits of Dog Food Fiber (Part 2).

  1. National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, “Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats”, 2006 Edition, National Academies Press, Washington, DC, p. 50
  2. Pappas et al, Gastric distension is a physiologic satiety signal in the dog, Digestive Diseases and Sciences 1989 34:1489-1493
  3. Brown RG, Current topics in nutrition, Canadian Veterinary Journal 199031:308-309
  4. Jewell et al, Satiety reduces adiposity in dogs, Veterinary Therapeutics 2000 1:17-23
  • Veronika

    Would the chickpeas in with the Ziwi canned foods be as bad as I dunno kibbled ones? Rusty started on a brand new just bought Ziwi can and so far so good, his breath was bloody awful today though.

    I have two other Ziwi cans after this one and like two K9 ones, plus that venison mini can I never used, I hope he doesn’t react to any of the foods with chickpeas or I guess I’ll know what to blame.
    I also got Ziwi beef treats, 3 shampoos and kangaroo jerky from WAG in hopes of having something the dogs can chew without been sick, so far so good except Angel she swallowed a big piece before I could stop her and had severe pain all day yesterday, she’s fine today thank goodness it didn’t stay stuck.

  • Susan

    Anon, your dogs DON’T have any digestive problems & can probably eat anything, so chickpeas wouldn’t bother them, they’d be fine, unless all of a sudden they have digestive problems now?, you may think chickpeas are fine but when you ask a stomach/bowel Vet Specialist, Dr or talk with someone who suffers with IBS or IBD they all say they can’t eat chickpeas or do not feed chickpeas to your dog, chickpeas can cause bad gas & wind pain, diarrhea, Intestinal stress & are very hard to digest…Chickpeas are the new cheap filler in grain free foods, it’s cheaper & easier to add chickpeas then to buy sweet potatoes & potatoes …

    I have NEVER seen Chickpeas in any Intestinal Health or Skin & Stomach vet formula’s, even the grain free vet diets do not have any chickpeas, these Intestinal type vet diets either have potato, whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, corn starch, brewers rice, whole grain sorghum, there’s NO chickpeas..
    If chickpeas were so good & didn’t cause wind/gas sloppy/diarrhea then how come there’s no chickpeas in any vet diet??

  • Karin S

    Thanks, am trying the ProPlan large breed puppy kibble now, no beet pulp and has corn fiber. So it will take a while but we’ll see. I had a mastiff 10 yr ago who loved taste of the wild, but she had dinosaur sized poop and I don’t remember that she ever had any digestive problems.

  • Susan

    Hi, Canidae Life Stages formula has way tooo MANY ingredients, it has 4 different meat proteins & way too many different grain ingredients, I wonder if you tried one of “Canidae’s Pure” limited ingredient formula’s like Pure Wild, Pure Land or another brand that has NO grains or corn….
    Yes you are right about Beet Pulp, stay away from any formula’s that have beet pulp, it ferments in the stomach & can cause acid reflux, my boy cannot eat a kibble that has Beet Pulp or fermentable carbs like rice, barley, oats, rice bran, I looked into foods that ferment, soluble fibers a couple of years ago & yes stay away from fermentable foods with soluble fibers like rice, barley, oats, rice bran etc they sit & ferment in the stomach & don’t move on quickly, if you need to slow the dogs digestion down YES they’re great but some dogs do not do well on fermantable fibers, dogs have a short digest tract made to digest meat proteins & move onto the small bowel quickly before any bad bacteria starts breeding….
    Try a grain free formula with limited ingredients, only 1 meat protein & sweet potato potatoes & peas, you’ll see a big difference, my boy does the best on “Taste Of The Wild”, Sierra Mountain, Roasted Lamb, it just has lamb, sweet potato, potato, peas egg, blueberries, it has no chickpeas.. The Protein isnt high or low at 25%, fat-15% & the fiber is under 4% if you contact TOTW they will give you the accurate fiber % their Pacific Stream Smoked Salmon is under 3% in fiber my boy also did really well on this formual as well….at least give a limited grain free formula a go after you do try the Purina……Have you looked at Hills Ideal Balance Large breed puppy formula, it has 4 stars & made DFA top large breed list…. Also once you have tried a few different brands & they work, it’s best to rotate between a few different brands & not feed the same dry food 24/7….

  • Pitlove

    Glad my experience could be of some help. I have gone through hell and high water finding a food that worked for the dog in my avatar. Pro Plan has been a god send.

  • anon101

    My dogs do well on Zignature. I don’t think chickpeas are bad.
    I recently tried one of the Natural Balance kibbles (loaded with potatoes)
    and all hell broke loose!
    Back on Zignature as a base, on average, 2 bowel movements a day.
    No free feeding (leaving food out) measured amounts twice a day.

  • Karin S

    He is on Canidae all life stages and has been since I got him. I am thinking of trying a food with corn based fiber with is less fermentable.

  • Karin S

    You know there is one article that discusses how fiber that ferments like beet pulp increases the transit time in the bowel and in large or giant breeds which already have an over sized bowel can cause excessive fermentation leading to the very loose stools so common in these dogs. I may try the Proplan with its corn which is a less fermentable fiber. I got confused because another article divided corn into different components some of which are fermentable and I threw up
    My hands in the air. Your experience is great help. Thanks.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Karin-

    I find that for my dogs personally they do much better on a corn based diet. Grain free does not work for us. Even the diets with the so called healthier grains produces larger more messy stool for them.

    I would recommend Pro Plan large breed puppy. Whatever food you choose though, do a slow introduction over 7-10 days.

  • Susan

    Hi Karin, how high is the protein & fat % in the formula you’re feeding at the moment?, also is there chickpeas in the ingredient list?? which brand/formula are you feeding??
    Your dog might do better on a kibble that has a few healthy grains & sweet potato that’s lower in protein…
    My boy has IBD due to food intolerances he’s a rescue & was feed a kibble he couldnt eat & owner just kept feeding it or another kibble with the same ingredients he was sensitive too for 4yrs causing his IBD, he does heaps better on a low fiber kibble “Taste Of the Wild” Sierra Mountain, Roasted Lamb, the fiber is under 4% & the TOTW Pacific Stream Smoked Salmon is under 3%-fiber, alot of dogs with EPI, IBD & IBS do really well on these formula’s. Look at “California Natural” Lamb Meal & Rice or Chicken Meal & Rice Puppy,both only have 4 ingredients, change the protein source what he’s eating at the moment..
    You need to experiment with a few different brands, “Eagle Pack” has a Large/Gaint puppy breed so does “Holistic Select” has a new Large/Gaint breed formula, “Canidae” also has a new Turkey Meal Brown Rice large breed puppy, it seem the large/gaint breed puppy formula’s have grains maybe grains work better for large breed pups??? email the manufacter for any info on the formula your interested in they can give you the max percentages…also feeding 3 smaller meals a day might help as well.

  • Karin S

    You need to update this section. New research is discussing not just fermentable vs nonfermentable fiber in dog food, but the possible connection between giant dog breed nutrition and fermentable fiber. Trying hard here to find the right food for giant breed pup with very loose stool who has no parasites. Am going to investigate dog foods with low fermentable fiber content, but it is very confusing because for example some corn is good some not. What’s a girl to do? Please do some new research and update your recommendations.

  • haleycookie

    There are plenty foods that are pea free. The majority of merricks grain free food is. Chickapeas are actually beans so those most likely don’t count if you’re just avoiding green type peas. I would go for a food that has maybe sweet potatoes or if you wanted to go the grain route look for grains like barley, brown rice, etc. and avoid corn, white rice, wheat as they have no nutritional value. There are many pea free good quality foods out there so if that’s something you must avoid don’t be to discouraged.

  • Susan

    Hi are you 100% sure your dog cant eat green peas, have you done a proper food elimination diet cause this is the only real way to know if a dog has food intolerances to certain ingredients? If he’s sensitive to peas then I’d say he can’t eat any type of peas & pet food companies normally use the cheapest of ingredients, I cant see pet food companies using English peas or snow peas…..
    Most of the grain free dry foods have peas, peas, chickpeas, tapioca are the new fillers in grain free foods… in a few years there might be kibbles that are pea & chick pea free but I doubt it as they are a cheap binder….
    “Canidae’s” other brand “Under The Sun” formula’s writes what type of peas they use in their formula’s, Yellow Peas & Green peas.. Canidae grows their veggies, I think it’s best to email the pet food companies & ask them which peas are they using, there has to be grain free kibbles that are pea free.

  • Margaret McCann Webster

    My dog is allergic to “green Peas”. I would like a more definitive description ie crowder peas. black-eyed peas, field peas, green peas or English peas. Thank you for any information. MMW

  • Krista

    Hi, I just started adding a tbsp. of pumpkin in the am. And a tbsp. of pureed greens in the pm. I also give carrot chips as snacks (about 8) My dog is getting loose stools. Is this to much fiber for her? She is on Orijen six fish currently but also gets Acana and Fromm regularly. I’m thinking of just cutting out the pumpkin, greens and carrots and see how she does. Anyone have and suggestions?

  • Mary L.

    Insoluble fiber is whole grain, brown rice, certain veggies. Soluble fiber is potato, sweet potato, white rice, pumpkin, butternut squash, and certain other veggies. Several websites address this, esp. for people with IBS. Avocado is an insoluble fiber but can be toxic to dogs.

  • LanaKaneBitches

    pumpkin has unreliable results

  • Suzie

    Try Acana singles lamb & apple or pork & squash. I also feed a total raw diet with raw chicken bones every day and beef, pork, chicken and duck .No veggies , no carbs or grains. Only Acana when in a pinch or at the kennel. Dogs allergic to chicken usually are not allergic to raw chicken as the protein is different in raw feeding Go to a raw feeding web site to see what you were doing wrong! Hill’s is garbage and only supported by vets because they have no training in diets and their knowledge comes from kibble companies only.

  • Suzie

    try Acana singles lamb or pork . My cocker has anal issues and fibre is the key .If she has to much protein in kibble she has anal gland problems. She eats a raw diet and has to have bones every day for fibre or if it’s all meat she has anal gland problems. I express her anal glands myself but 2 times she’s had abscess

  • Sugar Ray

    And the chicken in Blue products is processed in China. That could be the problem too.

  • Susan

    Have you tasted Tylan powder ? it taste awful & needs to be put in empty capsules so dogs aren’t turn off their meal, you shouldn’t be adding Tylan to any dogs meal without a vet looking at the dog first….Tylan is used for dogs with IBD & EPI real bad dirrahea problems….

  • Susan

    Why not boil some pumkin & freeze sections & add fresh boiled pumkin with the meal, pumkin is high in fiber…

  • Leslie DeJohn Melton

    Okay I have read the article twice and if I am understanding it correctly a dog should have soluble fiber. I have been adding Benefiber which is like Metamucil to his food. Should I be dissolving this first? I usually just mix it in with some wet food. Also what would a insoluble type of fiber be? Thanks!

  • Mark

    My Pleasure. Anything I can ever do to help I’m always available!

  • CVM

    Thanks for the info!!

  • Crazy4dogs

    Fiber should help. You could try starting with a small teaspoon of pumpkin added to his food. What is he eating currently?
    Why is he taking both Rimadyl and Tramadol? Rimadyl is an anti-inflamatory, but both are pain relievers.

  • Alice Church

    I have a two year old Japanese Chin,he has been plagued with anal gland problems since he was about five months old. He has to have his glands expressed every month. He had them done last week,and had to go back to vet yesterday,they were full,and had some infection. He’s taking an antibiotic and Rimadhl . Also taking Tramadol for pain. I want to know if high fiber diet would help keep him from filling up so often . Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you

  • Mark

    This should be given based on weight. I use the capsules you can buy at any health food or vitamin shop. The dosages on the bottle are usually for a 150 lb person at the “adult age” (listed in the children 12 years and up to adult dosage they say up to 5 capsules 1-3 times daily) so you can adjust based on the weight of your dog. I would start slowly and slowly increase over time. I give a dog that is 55# 1 capsule with both of his two daily meals and he does fine. So if your target is say 1 capsule per day, start with 1/2 capsule for 3-4 days and see how the animal responds. Then increase to 3/4, and hold for several days and then go to the full capsule. This gives the animals system time to adjust to the added fiber. So depending on the weight of the dog and your target follow this general ramping up protocol. It is best to give to the animal with plenty of water so I recommend adding to their food if feeding kibble add warm water to their kibble.

  • CVM

    How much psyllium husk to add to a dogs food?

  • Susanne Willis

    I have a diabetic dog what do you feed your dog.

  • Shawna

    I have an intolerance/sensitivity to the casein protein in dairy. I went over 30 years without a diagnosis. I’ve known now for a little over eight years but have had a very hard time completely giving up dairy — or I buy something (like powdered coconut milk) that has added casein and I have an unexpected reaction that leads me to figure out what caused it.

    The interesting, in my opinion, thing about my reactions is that they are extremely diverse. I never experienced bowel issues till I hit my 40’s. Sometimes, often actually, my scalp is so itchy that I make it bleed from scratching while asleep. Sometimes my jaw is inflamed. One whole summer I spent on crutches because the inflammation would jump from knee to knee (this was before diagnosis). In my teens and early twenties I would go completely blind for a minute or two. This is a symptom of gluten intolerance gluten ataxia and more recently I discovered dairy can cause this as well. For about the last three months my right ear becomes extremely inflamed with an exposure. My symptoms are quite diverse and although diarrhea is one of them it is off again on again.

    My exposures are now fewer and further between but they do still happen (on purpose and accidentally). And the reaction to the exposure is usually worse two to five days after the exposure.

    Villous atrophy, which lead to malnutrition, is another of my early on symptoms. I’ve been borderline iron deficient my whole life. I have had iodine deficiency hypothyroid as well as was diagnosed with b12 deficiency pernicious anemia (diagnosed in my mid twenties – if memory serves). I had to get b12 shots to stop the symptoms.

    What I learned, diarrhea was the least of my problems due to the casein intolerance. By taking an antibiotic you may resolve the diarrhea but if the offending food is still being consumed (even in small amounts) you are setting the body up to react much more severely in other areas — autoimmunity being one of those. Beneficial bacteria, which we all know are killed by antibiotics, produce IgA and mucin. IgA and mucin bind to lectins which are, from everything I’ve learned, the offenders in an intolerance. Thus protecting the entire body from the offending lectin. A food that has any amounts of beneficial bacteria (that survive) could cause a temporary, and even long term, improvement but once the body is deficient in IgA again (possibly a minor bacterial infection) the symptoms will return.

    If the original poster hasn’t already done an elimination diet, that would be a very beneficial first step in my opinion.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Yes, it does sound like the dog may have a food intolerance rather than an allergy, but that does not necessarily mean that the dog has environmental allergies. Allergy testing is the standard to diagnose environmental allergies, and I don’t think a dog should be treated for something without a confirmed diagnoses.

  • Mark E Rogers

    The fact that the animals symptoms are relieved briefly by a dietary change is an indication – Not Proof – that the animal is having dietary intolerance not allergies. It is much more likely that it has an allergy to something in the environment. This may be causing internal inflammation which may be why it continues to get diarrhea after a short duration of relief from the diet change. Unfortunately there are no good ways to treat environmental allergies in dogs or cats. Steroids are very dangerous especially if used long term. Cyclosporine A can be used (trade name Atopica) but it is an immune suppressant and while the dosages are low and it can have remarkable outcomes, it too has a set of possible side effects some of which are very nasty. Pfiser recently came out with a new drug (Apoquel) but again side effects are an issue as is cost. Additionally, these drugs are for atopic dermatosis which may also cause internal inflammation and may therefore help with IBS type symptoms, or they may not. They are expensive and have many risks. Tylan has been shown to be very safe even in long term use.
    See for example
    Alternative to immunosuppression: using diet,
    probiotics, and other therapeutic approaches

    Jörg M. Steiner

    Proceedings of the International SCIVAC Congress 2010 – Rimini, Italy

    From page 222 of this report

    “Tylosin is uniquely effective in many dogs and cats
    with chronic gastrointestinal disease, so much so, that
    recently the term of tylosin-responsive diarrhea has been

    It was a suggestion especially based on the recurrent diarrhea shortly after a diet change. Allergies generally do not develop so quickly. See reference below for a good review on the difference between food allergy and food intolerance.

    A. Verlinden, M. Hesta, S. Millet & G. P.J. Janssens (2006): Food Allergy in Dogs and Cats: A Review,

    Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 46:3, 259-273

  • Dori

    You are counseling someone to add an antibiotic (small amounts or otherwise) to every single meal they feed their dog instead of getting to the bottom of the problem. Sabrina needs to do a true elimination diet to get to the root cause of her dogs problem not feed him antibiotics.

  • Mark E Rogers

    One thing that has been found to be of great benefit to many dogs and cats is the use of small amounts of Tylan™ (tylosin) included with every meal. It is very safe, can actually boost the immune system and can relieve IBS symptoms. It can be purchased online without a prescription. Check out this page

    Anther beneficial additive is Metamucil or psyllium husk. Dose according to weight of the animal. It works great on people and pets too and is completely safe. It is a good fiber source that does not add carbs like pumpkin does.

  • Mark E Rogers

    ALL intact proteins have the potential to be allergens. Unless you feed a food made entirely of hydrolyzed proteins that are too small to bind to antibodies and other immunoglobulins there is the potential for allergic reactions.

  • Julie Knowles

    I buy blue buffalo blue free….no allergens in the food and I use pumpkin puree on top its worked great for my dog with allergies and for my dog that get diarrhea so he needs high fiber

  • Meagan

    Talk to your vet about it, of course, but pumpkin has been working great for our dog’s constipation issues. We just give him a spoonful or two after every meal. He thinks it’s a treat!

  • Meagan

    Have you tried giving him canned pumpkin puree? Our friend’s dog has had similar issues and they give her some pumpkin with every meal. Our pup has the opposite problem! And the same thing works for him. It also happens to be good for upset puppy tummies to!

  • Happy Human

    Sometimes worms and other parasites can cause diarrhea. If your dog continues to have diarrhea, then take it to a veterinarian.

  • theBCnut

    Sounds like you are still feeding him something that he is reacting to. All Blue Wilderness varieties have chicken in them. Have you done an elimination diet to make sure he isn’t allergic to anything else?

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Sabrina, have you ever tried Victor? Here’s their Yukon River Formula. If you’re interested in trying Victor, check their dealer locator at the top of their page. I’ve heard from some people on this site that it works for their sensitive stomach/IBS dogs. I think it’s the Montmorillonite clay that clears up these issues. It’s worth a shot. 🙂

  • Sabrina H

    Hello- We have a sweet Boston Terrier who has IBS and is allergic to chicken. We have had him on quality dog food–Hill’s Science diet, Blue Wilderness Natural Evolutionary diet, raw food. and many others. We also add a small amount of flax seed to each serving. This works for a while and then–after a few months, his diarrhea returns. Any suggestions to help our sweet dog would be much appreciated.

  • texangirl64

    Put a large Ball in his Dog Bowl so he will have to eat around it or get a bowl that is made for fast eaters.

  • Crazy4cats

    Have you tried Nutrisca? Also, you could always add some fiber such as psyllium or chia seed. Who would have thought that feeding our dogs would be so complicated? LOL! Good luck.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Grain free foos are usually higher calorie and more digestable so the dog actually gets to keep more of the calories in it so when you feed a grain free food you have to really cut back on the amount feed. And free feeding with a grain free is always a big mistake too because they are often very tasty to dogs and the dog will overeat even more.
    Many dog foods express fiber as a percentage rather than as a weight since everyone feeds their dogs a different amount of food. I would consider any thing over 5% to be a high fiber food and Orijen easily falls in that category, but it has way more calories than perscription weight loss foods.

  • Honestly? The best HIGH FIBER FOOD we have ever used was Science Diet R/D with Chicken. Not only did my dog lose weight (he has thyroid disease so gains weight rapidly), but the fiber was a life saver for him as he also suffers from colitis. When I take him off the food for a break (cost & a change up on protein source) – he’ll start to get very small stools that are soft, and he goes OFTEN. He goes a lot as well on high fiber, but not nearly as much – and his stools are NORMAL, well formed, and he doesn’t strain. My poor dog has a lot of issues – but as much as people want to attack S.D. products – R/D has extended his life and keeps him comfortable and happy. Just had blood panels done recently – and for a dog with thyroid, colitis, and kidney disease – his blood work looked GREAT (while on R/D). I would speak to your vet about this product – maybe just to lightly incorporate into his present food just to fiber-it-up? Again – speak to your vet. 🙂

  • Natural Choice Lite (weight loss) food has 10 g of fiber. The highest I’ve found yet, next to prescription weight loss food which typically has around 30g.

  • The article states “Because fiber is only found in the wall of a cell… and since animal
    cells don’t have cell walls… fiber can only come from vegetables and
    grains. Never from meat.” So if the grain free food has a lot of veggies – then it MIGHT have a high fiber content… but as I have a dog that MUST be on a high fiber diet, I have yet to find a single grain free dog food that has adequate fiber. The highest fiber food I’ve found are prescription weight loss foods – which have as much as 30 g of fiber. Without that – my dog could not have lost 13 lbs – or keep it off, for that matter. I take him off the prescrip. food for awhile, though, and then put him back on it – so that he can have a variety in protein source. I found that both of my dogs gained weight rapidly on grain free diets (even though they loved the foods).

  • InkedMarie

    I don’t think you’re going to get an email. It is your job to look for low fat & fiber foods.

    By the way, stop hand feeding him. Look for a bowl like this:

  • Sue66b

    You said that there’s a lot of low fibers out there, could u please email me on [email protected] with dry kibbles that are low in fiber & fat.. my boy is on Intestinal Eukanuba but this is very crumby the bottom of the bag is full of crumbs & so are my fingers as I have to hand feed as he gulps his feed.. this also makes him do stinky farts at nights He cannot have more then 2% Fiber & must also have no more then 10% fat.. Ive looked & looked & cannot find another brand that is low residue kibble low in fat & low in fiber, my boy has IBS he’s a 20kilo English Staffy also suffer from skin itching..

  • Shawna

    I agree with Patty.. “Smelly” gas is caused by the protein in the food not being thoroughly digested as well as by the wrong type of bacteria in the gut (anaerobic bacteria).

    Changing the bacterial population of the gut to beneficial bacteria by feeding foods with probiotics and giving probiotics. Adding a digestive enzyme will help with digestion of the protein.

  • Pattyvaughn

    It is not necessarily “excess” protein so much as the body not having what it needs to digest all the protein. Adding digestive enzymes and probiotics gives the dog what they need to digest the protein and reduce the odor of the gas.

  • Michelle Maxwell

    This is often caused by an excess of protein in the diet that is not being digested. I would highly recommend discussing it with a veterinarian to choose a more balanced food. The trouble with Wellness and other foods like that is the quality control is infrequent, so proportions of ingredients are unpredictable.

    Hence puppy farts.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Since rotating dog foods is healthier for their gut, yes, it would make since to switch and then switch again and again. Talk to your vet about what the recommended amount of fiber is, because you may still need to add a bit of fiber. There are certain vitamins and minerals that are not absorbed as well on high fiber diets, so you may need to ask about what else you should be supplementing with as well.

  • Jennifer

    We will be adopting a dog that has had perineal hernia surgery and history of blocked stools. The rescue org that has him is feeding him a combo of dry and canned dog food – Holistic Select and adds stool softener. I would imagine having more fiber will help with this. Any thoughts on this? I’ve seen other posts by folks of other dog food that has higher fiber content, would it make sense to switch to one?

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  • Pattyvaughn

    Yes, fiber comes from many sources besides grains.

  • Lori

    can grain-free dog food be high in fiber?

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  • guest

    Some owners have said that the Instinct LID diets made their dog’s poop quite firm if you read through the old posts on that review (Instinct LID).

  • Jcdesignstudio2002

    same situation here with one of our male chows.  Needed high fiber limited ingredient food.  Vet has prescribed Royal Canin Satiety Support….it’s pricey but has solved all Duke’s issues.  Good luck!

  • Dogswell Nutrisca, Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Core Ocean and Core Reduced Fat are around 7.

  • Any good grain-free, 4-5 star, dry kibble with 5-10 of fiber?

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  • Hey Mike, where is part 2?

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  • David Valenta

    interesting quandry:
    Akita-Shepherd mix; allergy test (ELISA) showed that he’s allergic to all grains, white potatoes, chicken, beef, dairy.. -took over a year to get that sorted out: he’s on a raw meat diet (Nature’s Variety) and a grain free kibble alternated in there.
    Now: latest vet visit shows his anal glands aren’t getting purged sufficiently, so, Dr. advises “Fiber”, ie: veg’s that have been cooked down and add 15-20% replacement of current meat portion (also to help reduce his weight).
    *catch: when resolving constant diahrea, white rice&meat, and pumpkin, didn’t work; it made it worse. I consulted w/ another vet and she had the reverse issue: “binding” fiber had the opposite effect on her own dog.
    He needs the ‘bulk’ for his glands, but can’t have most fiber sources.(psyllium works through / ends up with soft-ish “bouncy” byproduct/ not firm enough to empty his glands (and yes, it actually bounces when it hits the ground).
    Any suggestions or others’ experiences?

  • Mybirds12

    Hi my pitbull has this same problem and always has it is getting worse as she gets older and I do not know what to do about it.

  • What is the kilo calorie content per cup of Healthy Weight my vet says it is too high but doesn’t say how many calories

  • Bonnie

    Didn’t you say your dog was doing OK on the Primal raw diet?

    Why not go back to feeding him raw?

    He may have developed an allergy to beef due to ‘leaky gut’ brought on buy feeding too much grain/white potato before because they feed Candida and when it becomes a fungus it can get into the blood stream and become ‘systemic’.

    I believe the major reason that more ‘allergies’ are attributed to something other than food is because by the time they look at the symptoms of the problem they can be far removed from the original cause. If you feed your dog grain/potato and Candida takes over – it can cause ‘leaky gut’ and the fungus can get into the blood stream where it can cause multiple problems that masquerade as other things. For instance, under normal circumstances, if your ‘healthy’ dog gets bitten by a mosquito he might be fine but if he’s got systemic Candida then not only is his entire immune system compromised but he will be HIGHLY sensitive to something (like a mosquito bite) that otherwise his system would not react to. The body is a ‘system’ that is composed of many interrelated subsystems.

    In our store over the years we have learned to treat almost every dog that is over 2 years old “as if” it had Candida overgrowth and the results have been nothing short of eye opening. The therapy is basically two pronged. FIRST you must remove any grain/potato/soy or sugar in any form from the diet (pay close attention to ingredients in treats if you use them). SECOND it is highly advisable to add digestive enzymes to the food each meal to help reduce the stress on the Pancreas and reduce the possibility of partially digested protein getting into the blood stream through the ‘leaky gut’ and causing a food allergy. Also add probiotics to aid in the repair of the mucosal lining of the gut. This will also help the immune system since the majority of T Lymphocytes and IgA Immunoglobulin sites are in the colon.

    Feeding raw will do the trick – just add the digestive enzymes and probiotics or if you don’t wan to feed raw for some reason then use a food like Brothers Complete Allergy formula that has all that in it. The main thing is get all grain/potato/ sugar out of the diet for at least 6 months – then, in my humble opinion, continue on that path for the rest of your dogs healthy, happy life.

  • Hi Bonnie… A dog’s food is only the third leading cause of allergy (far behind environment and insects). You may be able to benefit from reading more about this topic on my FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Dog Food Allergies”.

    Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian and due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Bonnie

    I have a Puggle (3 yrs young) Tucker. He’s been itching, of course I have taken him to our Vet. Vet checked him and said he could be alergic to many, many things, gave him a shot of cortisone, told me to bath him twice a week, siad, you cannot over bath an allergic dog, but you could underbath! And keep him on an an organic dog food and no (people food). Also, sold me a $20.00 dollar bottle of shampoo!! I followed the Vets directions. To no avail. I stopped bathing my Tucker twice per week. This was probably 4 or 5 mos. ago. I’ve since got Tucker on some Primal frozen lamb cubes, that seemed to work out fine. I ran out, and the store was out of the Primal Lamb, so I purchased the “beef” cubes. After a few days, he itching like crazy! Now someone recommended ZiwiPeak lamb formula Grain free! He is still itching! not quite as badly, but still. He’s up all night last night scratching. No hot spots on his skin, no fleas, nothing!! How can I make him comfortable?? I also vacuum, wash his bed. I try what I know. then I found this site. Help please. Any suggestions.

  • Christina Dizon

    I have been feeding my 10 month old pit bull terrier “Wellness” puppy kibble and she has a terrible flatulence problem with a stinky rotten egg-like odor. She will pass gas all evening and night after she eats. What could be causing this problem? Any suggestions?

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  • Cheryl

    A note about beet pulp. I’m a horse person as well as a dog person. I took an equine nutrition course with Dr Eleanor Kellon DVM in 2009 and learned some facts about beet pulp as it relates to horses and thought I’d share as it may be helpful for those who are afraid of it for their dogs. It’s a byproduct of the sugar beet industry after all the sugar is squeezed and washed out. Don’t be afraid of all “byproducts” as they often do have nutritive and other value, often a filler or fiber value. Nutritionally BP is high in plant protein and calcium and for horses it’s easily digestible soluble fiber. Now horses digest large amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber in their cecum or hind gut by way of the rich bacteria present there so I wouldn’t know how digestible this fiber is for dogs who’s digestion is like ours. But I can only assume it’s a good source of soluble fiber, a good filler. Beet Pulp is a large part of an emergency diet for horses diagnosed with Insulin Resistance, like Type II Diabetes in humans, because it is, for the horse, easily digested, does not have carbohydrates, and is nearly absent in sugar. FYI, high sugar/carb content of some hays and green pasture are a huge no no for IR horses. Bottom line is I think I’d much rather have my dogs have BP in their dry kibble as a fiber source than most high carb grains.
    Thanks so much for this great resource website. Dr Eleanor Kellon is now offering a nutrition course for feeding dogs and cats. I have not taken this course yet but can’t say enough about her equine nutrition courses. Just google her name for more.

  • Hi Devon… I’m personally not aware of any ingredients scientifically linked to seizures in dogs. In any case, since I’m not a veterinarian, I cannot provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Devon Kytola

    My dog has Epilepsy and I’m concerned about his dog food I give him since there are some additives that can cause sezures. What wood be a good food to give him?

  • Hi Donna… I hope you’re not getting the impression that dangerous substances are products of the digestive system itself. For cancer causing substances (called carcinogens) can be found everywhere in today’s environment. Drinking water, the air we breathe and (of course) our food. So, the undigested food you speak of is commonly contaminated with these substances, too.

  • Donna

    The article states that a benefit of fiber is that food travels through the digestive system faster and “this faster “transit” time allows less contact btween the colon wall and dangerous cancer-causng substances”. What are the dangerous cancer-causing substances? This is something about which I would like to learn more. Can you point me to some some sources where I can research the chemistry of the digestive system and how it forms dangeous substances through the process of digestion? I was under the impression that what was in the colon was the indigestible part of food.

  • Dan

    Thank you, Jonathan and Mike, for your comments and suggestions. Bear is temporarily on a chicken and rice diet per the vet and he has improved to the point where I will need to add/change over to dry food so he can get better nutrition. I’ll look at the Wellness Core Ocean. Thanks again.

  • Jonathan

    Dan, take a look at Wellness Core Ocean formula. 7% fiber… and grain free! BTW, you can add a binder to a dog’s food like canned pumpkin.

  • Dan

    Thanks, Mike. Should I look for a 4 or 5 Star dry food with a high fiber content? Most of the dry foods seem to have the same percentages and do not seem to distinguish between soluble and insoluble fiber. Also, what do you think about moistening it (not soupy)? We have always been very concerned about bloat since poodles and mastiffs have some history there and we have had several very bad experiences with our previous St. Bernards. By the way, Einstein was absolutely correct and it is clear that my variations on the diet while retaining the base ingredient (FRR) is not working well so his definition could well fit.


  • Hi Dan… Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” It looks like it might be time to try something else. So, find another good food and follow the instructions for transitioning in our FAQ page and look for the topic, “How to Feed a Dog”. Hope this helps.

  • Dan

    I have an 8 year old standard poodle (44 lbs) and an 11 month old mastiff mix (120 lbs). The poodle has been on FRR since day one, and the puppy has been on it since August when my daughter brought him home. The puppy has loose/soft stool with occasional frank diarrhea, and has had a number of overnight accidents in the house despite walks at 11p.m. I also am sprinkling dry probiotics powder before mixing evening feeding with some water, to no apparent effect. I started yesterday to add just a little Harmony Farms to their food. Help! The vet says the puppy is healthy and growing well (at 120 lbs I wish he would now stop) but the stool problem worries me since it can’t be good for him and I certainly am not fond of cleanup in the house. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


  • Hi Pam… Sorry to hear about your dog’s diagnosis. Since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be misleading for me to assure you a particular dog food would be best for treating your pet’s diabetes. However, I believe it would be most helpful for you to find a dog food with a low glycemic index. This would be a product that doesn’t raise your dog’s blood sugar levels too quickly.

    At the top of each page on my website’s navigation bar, you’ll see a tab labeled “Tags”. Click on it and select the “low glycemic” link. This will generate a list of dog foods I’ve tagged as containing low glycemic recipes. Some of them (Merrick, Orijen, Dogswell Nutrisca) are certified by the Glycemic Research Institute in Washington, DC.

    By the way, our veterinary consultant, Dr. Donna Spector is planning to publish an article on this website about feeding the diabetic dog. I think you’ll find that article most helpful. But unfortunately, it could be a while longer before that information is posted. Hope this helps.

  • Pam

    My toy poodle was just diagnosed with diabetes. I have been mixing dry and wet dog food together but I do not have a clue what dog food would be best. I started with mixing Blue Wilderness dry with his regular Alpo canned food. He seems to love it but I still question if this is good for him.

  • Hi Teresa… There are many low fiber dog foods out there. We’re planning to add an article about this subject and intend to list some of our favorites. Unfortunately, due to our current backlog of dog foods to review, it might be a while before we tackle this topic. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Teresa

    Where can I go to find low fiber dog foods, I was in pet smart and looking at several bags of dog food, trying to figure out what was the lowest fiber food I could find, This is all new to me, not sure where to start or even what kind of foods to purchase, got any ideas?

  • Jeffrey A

    Thank you Mike! It does help me know what to look for.

  • Hi Jeffrey… There are a number of potential dog food fiber ingredients. The most common (but not the only ones) include rice hulls, soybean hulls, beet pulp, bran, peanut hulls and to a lesser degree natural “whole” grains, fruits and veggies. Hope this helps.

  • Jeffrey A.

    So far from reading your column and the comments, I have seen only beet pulp and powdered cellulose as materials that are used for fiber. What are the other materials that are commonly used? (Both in high and low quality dog foods)

  • Sapphire

    Thanks for the info.

    Hmm I wonder if there’s something else that my puppy is sensible or allergic in the other food? he is doing better in the other food.

    But I see the formulas of the royal canin mini puppy in the us is different from the one I got, I’m in latin america.

  • Hi Sapphire… Actually, it’s a rumor. That’s because there’s no red pigment in the type of beet pulp used to make pet food. The ingredient itself is a whitish color. So, contrary to what many of us have heard, beet pulp is not the cause of tear stains.

  • Sapphire

    About beet pulp I want to know if is true the rumor that it can increase tear stains?

    My toy poodle pup was on Royal Canin junior when we got him, he had a lot more tear stains when he was on this food and this has beet pulp.

    Now his current food is pro plan puppy for small breed mixed with pro pac puppy lamb and they doesn’t have beet pulp and his tear staining has reduced a lot, he still have them but not like before.

  • Hi Margery… Try using a limited ingredient diet. These are special hypoallergenic dog foods with very short ingredient lists. This way you’ll have a better chance at isolating the offending allergens.

    Look at our navigation tab near the top of our website labeled Tag Cloud and click on the link that says “Hypoallergenic”. This will give you a list of brands that contain at least one limited ingredients dog food. Hope this helps in your detective work.

  • Hi Matt… We consider beet pulp a controversial ingredient because many denounce the raw material as an inexpensive filler… plus some believe it can “stain” a dog’s coat.

    However, others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

    We only call our readers’ attention to beet pulp due to the controversy surrounding it and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

  • matt

    Why is dried beets a controversial ingredient.



  • Hi Chris… even primitive canines ate some carbs via wild plant material (although minimal). Much of the carb content of a carnivore’s diet probably came from the stomach contents of its prey. The most “unnatural” source of carbs are obtained from grains (the major component of today’s kibbles). Even primitive humans ate littler (if any) carbs. It was not until the invention of refining (milling) that significant cereal grains were added to the human diet.

  • Chris S

    First off, thank you for all of the information you’ve provide through this website, it is very helpful.
    You frequently refer to dog’s ancestors and their biological adaptation to a primarily carnivorous diet; thus making carbs unnecessary. However, you’ve shown the benefits of fiber in a dog’s diet and simultaneously informed us that it is only attainable through eating plants. How then do wolves, dog’s ancestors, obtain fiber?

  • Bob

    Thanks Mike, for the answer to my question. This is a great website……

  • Hi Bob… the Food and Drug Adminstration classifies powdered cellulose as “GRAS”… which means “generally recognized as safe” for use in human foods (as a thickening agent, etc.) and in pharmaceuticals (to make tablets). Raw cellulose comes from the cell walls of all plants… and, yes… even trees.

    Cellulose is used in the human food industry to make breads and other edibles. And it has the ability to “dilute” the calorie content of certain foods… including dog foods.

    Even though it does sound rather unappetizing (to say the least)… it has no real nutrient value (other than the normal benefits of dietary fiber).

    I am not personally aware of any significant health issues caused by its use in dog food. Our software has been programmed to highlight powdered cellulose in red only to call your attention to its controversial nature.

  • Bob

    Just a question on fiber. I had asked a question on a food that contains powered cellulose on the Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul Weight management formula, and you pointed out that the fiber was there to reduce the calories.

    I have read so many warnings on different websites to avoid at all costs, any dog food that contains powdered cellulose which they always refer to as ” sawdust”. This leaves me with the impression that if I feed my dog food containing powdered cellulose, it is like giving her a ground up 2 x 4 as part of her meal. My question is, does this ingredient have the potential for causing any negative problems with the dog’s health? I would like to use this food, since my dog does lose weight when eating this food and it seems to work better than some of the other weight lose foods that I have tried. The Chicken Soup brand also does have the lowest calories per cup of almost all the foods I have looked at.

  • Hi Michael… I’m planning to add a list of high fiber foods (as well as other specific lists) in the future. Until then, why not choose from our 3, 4 and 5-star foods and look at the bottom of the yellow “dashboard” on each review.

    In our current database, dry matter fiber content averages about 4 to 5 percent. So, products with fiber content over 4% or so should help you achieve the results you’re looking for. Hope this helps.

  • Michael Dix

    So, which are the high fiber foods? I tried searching on “high fiber” on your site, to no avail.

    Our dog’s stools were loose — formed but soft and squishy –on a high quality diet*, so our vet recommended substituting some Science Diet w/d, which is some 15% fiber. This worked great: his stools now are firm and easy to pick up. But I’d rather not have to buy dog food from the vet during his office hours, so I’m looking for alternatives. Rather than go to every feed store in town, reading labels, I’d like to just be able to find the information here.

    *Another issue: He did great, other than the stool, on Eagle Pack Holistic. Is it the same food now that a new company owns it? I see “Now with Canola Oil!” on some of the new packages.