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The Benefits of Dog Food Fiber (Part 2)

Mike Sagman


Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman


Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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Updated: September 27, 2023

OK. In Part 1 we talked about what fiber really is… and why it’s only found in vegetables and grains.  And never in meat.

We also talked about…
The Benefits of Fiber in Dog Food

  • A simple way to reduce the risk of canine colon cancer
  • How to use fiber to prevent both constipation and diarrhea
  • A clever way to “dilute” a dog food’s caloric content… and achieve sure-fire weight loss

And then there’s that important difference between the two kinds of fiber… soluble and insoluble.

Now, here are still more amazing benefits of dog food fiber…

Helping Your Dog Avoid the Debilitating
Consequences of Uncontrolled Diabetes

In the intestine, water-holding fiber creates a barrier that can slow the absorption of nutrients1.  And it can also delay the time it takes for the stomach to empty2.

That’s why fiber is so effective at managing the wild swings in blood sugar often associated with canine diabetes.  This seems especially true for dog food recipes containing higher amounts of insoluble fiber3.

It’s easy to see why high fiber diets are a standard recommendation for dogs diagnosed with this debilitating disease.

Preventing the Agony of Inflamed Anal Glands

Many have watched in utter bewilderment as their dogs dragged their backsides curiously against the floor… in obvious distress.

This not-so-unusual practice is known to veterinarians as “scooting”.  And it’s caused by a blocked glands found on either side of a dog’s anus.

Dog food fiber can provide a solution to this familiar problem.

As you know, fiber can absorb water and produce added bulk.  These enlarged stools place pressure on the anal sacs during defecation… and can induce natural drainage of these swollen glands.

And welcome relief for your pet.

How to Take Advantage of
the Amazing Benefits of Dog Food Fiber

Sp, when choosing dog food it’s important to become keenly aware of the one thing most shoppers innocently overlook… dietary fiber.

Here’s what to look for…

The Guaranteed Analysis part of a dog food label lists crude fiber on its standard info panel.  The word “crude” (as it’s used here) refers only to the method of measuring the fiber… not to its quality.

Today, the average dry dog food shows crude fiber at 2.5 to 4.5 percent.  But its concentration in many reduced-calorie products may be as high as 9 or 10 percent 4.

And yes… it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.  That’s because excess fiber can decrease the digestibility of other important nutrients.

Not to mention the fact that different fiber ingredients produce different results.  Beet pulp, for example, has been shown to provide good stool characteristics… without compromising the digestibility of a dog food’s other nutrients5.

So, What’s the Bottom Line?

Even though fiber is not considered an essential nutrient, its remarkable benefits make dog foods containing a reasonable amount of it worthy of your consideration.

Likewise, products with fiber content anywhere near or below the lower end of this range… may not be as desirable.

And it’s probably a good idea to stay away from dog foods where crude fiber exceeds 10 percent.

Of course, be sure to check with your vet if there’s any question about specific health issues before trying to treat them yourself.

If you missed Part1 of this article… be sure to read The Amazing Benefits of Dog Food Fiber (Part 1).


1: Eastwood MA, The physiological effect of dietary fiber: An update, Annual Review of Nutrition 1992 12:19-35

2: Annison et al, Nutritional role of resistant starch: Chemical structure vs physiological function, Annual Review of Nutrition 1994 14:297-320

3: Kimmel et al, Effects of insoluble and soluble dietary fiber on glycemic control in dogs with naturally occurring insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000 Apr 1;216(7):1076-81

4: National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, “Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats”, 2006 Edition, National Academies Press, Washington, DC, p. 72

5: Fahey GC, Practical considerations in feeding dietary fibers to companion animals, Petfood Forum Proceedings, 1995, Watt Publishing, Mount Morris, IL, pp 44-54

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