Fiber works like a sponge, absorbing water. For dogs who suffer from constipation, the fiber can draw moisture into the digestive tract, helping to soften the stool. For dogs suffering from diarrhea, fiber can absorb excess moisture already in the digestive tract, helping to solidify stools. Adding fiber to the diet is also an effective way to help your dog lose weight if he needs to, as fiber has fewer calories per serving than many other types of food. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to add fiber to your dog's diet.
Prescription High Fiber Food
If your veterinarian recommends adding fiber to your dog's diet, he may discuss using a prescription dog food that is higher in fiber than the food your dog is currently eating. The benefit to this is that you can be sure of exactly what your dog is eating, and that his diet is balanced. Prescription dog foods can be pricey however, and may be less convenient to purchase than the food your dog is currently eating.
There are a variety of food products that can be added to your dog's current diet to increase his fiber intake. Rice bran, flax seed, psyllium husks and oat bran are all excellent sources of fiber. These additions are powdery, so you may need to mix in a spoonful of canned food or pour a little water or broth over your dog's dry food to help the products stick and minimize waste. The benefit of adding these products are that it doesn't take much to add a beneficial amount of fiber to the diet, they are easy to store and are readily available.
High Fiber Foods
There are plenty of high fiber treats you can give your dog to increase his fiber intake. Most dogs like the taste of canned pumpkin; a spoonful added to his food daily is a high fiber addition. Fruits and vegetables fed as treats or added to your dog's meal are a great way to increase his fiber intake and add some variety to his diet. Offer your dog sweet potatoes, green beans and apples, without the core; all are high fiber and safe choices. If you regularly eat oatmeal in the morning, consider making a little extra for your dog, as this is another high fiber food.
Make Changes Slowly
Regardless of how you choose to add fiber to your dog's diet, it is important to make the addition slowly and only after consulting with your vet. If you decide to switch to a high fiber food, gradually replace a small amount of your dog's normal food with the high fiber choice over the course of a week or so. If you are adding supplements or real food, start slowly, and make only one new addition to his diet at a time. This will minimize the chance of him developing an upset stomach, and if he does experience digestive issues, you will know what food was to blame.