How to Add Fiber to a Canine Diet

by Stevie Donald
Green beans add fiber to a dog's diet.

Green beans add fiber to a dog's diet.

Bushel of Green Beans image by Tracey Loftis from Fotolia.com

You veterinarian may want you to add some fiber to your dog's diet to help slim down an overweight canine, help with diabetes or calm diarrhea, constipation or other gastrointestinal woes. Carbohydrate and fiber sources must be cooked to be digestible, according to the Merck Veterinary manual. Uncooked fiber sources can cause diarrhea and gas. While there is no dietary requirement for carbohydrates in a dog's diet, carbs and fiber can provide energy and keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy, according to Merck.

Step 1

Cook vegetables for your dog. Summer or winter squash, green beans, peas and white or sweet potatoes are all good sources of fiber. Peel potatoes, and don't feed any green or sprouted ones. You can also use low-sodium canned, or frozen, cooked vegetables.

Step 2

Add a little fruit. Apples and apple sauce, melon, pears, blueberries and cranberries all add fiber and nutrients. As with vegetables, they need to be cooked first. Remove all seeds and pits from fruit, and never feed grapes or raisins. They can be poisonous to some dogs.

Step 3

Serve your dog a little oatmeal, rice or whole-grain pasta. If your dog already eats a kibbled dry food diet, don't feed much of these; it's already getting a lot of grain. However, if you want to add fiber to a raw or home-cooked diet, grains add both carbohydrates and fiber.

Step 4

Mix some wheat bran into your dog's food. Bran is very high in fiber, so just use a sprinkle at first. As with any diet change, watch your dog's stool and back off amounts if it starts getting loose stool or flatulence.

Step 5

Add a small amount of low-sodium chicken or beef broth or meaty canned dog food to fiber sources if you dog is unwilling to eat them.

Tips

  • Dogs will have differing individual tolerances for fiber. A type or amount that may work well for one dog, can give another similar dog diarrhea. Start with small amounts, such as a spoonful, and increase it gradually wih each meal. If your dog starts to get flatulent or develops loose stool, reduce the amount.
  • Work with your veterinarian on dietary management of any chronic condition.

Warnings

  • Never feed your dogs onions, or foods containing onion powder.
  • A spoonful of canned or cooked pumpkin is a good regulator for both constipation and diarrhea, but too much can cause loose stool.

Photo Credits

  • Bushel of Green Beans image by Tracey Loftis from Fotolia.com

About the Author

Stevie Donald has been an online writer since 2004, producing articles for numerous websites and magazines. Her writing chops include three books on dog care and training, one of which won a prestigious national award in 2003. Donald has also been a painting contractor since 1979, painting interiors and exteriors.

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