Roughage For Dogs

wheat field on a clear day

Your dog requires a complete diet to remain healthy, strong and vibrant. There are many elements that combine to create this ideal meal. Protein is an essential part of any dog’s meal plan. Other dietary necessities include carbohydrates, fats vitamins, minerals and water. One of the most under rated components of your dog’s diet is fiber.

What is roughage?

Fiber or roughage is not a glamorous substance. Most of it sits in the digestive system tract of your dog. This is important because around 70% of a canine’s immune system is found in the stomach and intestines. Fiber is required to maintain the well-being of the digestive system. Its purpose is to help keep the system functioning smoothly. Fiber also provides energy to the cells within the intestine. These 2 different but interrelated tasks are performed by the 2 types of fiber.

There are 2 basic types of fiber: water soluble (or fermentable) and insoluble (or non fermentable). Non fermentable fiber remains in the gut, undigested. It is non nutritive in nature. This means that it has no nutritional value. Its purpose is not to feed the canine. Water insoluble fiber provides the bulk needed to help move any waste through the stomach into the intestines and beyond.

Water soluble is different. As its name indicates, it is dissolved in water. This type of fermentable fiber is digested in the stomach. It then provides the cells lining the intestine with energy.

Fiber is also recognized as abetting weight loss in dogs. If you feed your companion animal more fiber, he or she will feel fuller. This decreases the amount of food desired. Fiber also helps with various health issues. These include hypoglycemia, intestinal diverticulosis and diabetes.

How to provide your dog with enough fiber

Your dog can obtain the required amount of fiber by ingesting his or her dog food. Most commercial dog food contains sufficient amounts of fiber. This is true of both dry and moist food. You know there is fiber when you see vegetables, grains or fruit listed. Sources provided on can and bag labels include rice, corn oats and other grains or their by-products.

Fiber is also supplied in extra amounts or supplements. Some common forms include wheat bran, sesame seeds, ground flax seeds and buck wheat. Some owners sprinkle the extra fiber on the regular serving of dog food. Vegetables and fruits are another option. One of the most common types of roughage recommended is canned pumpkin. This is the type without the spices. Metamucil is another kind of ready-made fiber you can add to your favorite pet’s dog food.

There are some precautions to take into consideration. Before you decide to increase the amount of fiber in your dog’s diet, talk to your vet. He or she can provide you with a professional opinion on the need to do so. He will help you make sure the amount is correct for your pet. You do not want to give your canine too much fiber. This, too, can cause problems.

Remember some animals are allergic to wheat and corn. If your pet has trouble with this type of fiber, you will have to use another source. Finally, remember you will have to provide your dog with extra water. Fiber must have water to help it push through the system.

(Credits: article written by Amanda Cooper and photo by Michal Janek on Unsplash)