Fibre supplements for dogs
Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet for both humans and animals. So, Can I give my dog a fibre supplement? Dogs need fibre in their diets to help them stay regular and to maintain a healthy digestive system. While some dogs get enough fibre from their regular diet, some may need additional fibre in the form of a fibre supplement for dogs. But can you give your dog a fibre supplement? The answer is yes, but there are some things you should know before doing so.
Benefits of Fibre for Dogs
Fibre is an essential part of any balanced diet, including that of your dog. It helps keep your dog’s digestive system running smoothly by providing bulk and helping move food through the intestines. Fibre also helps keep your dog’s blood sugar levels stable, which can help prevent diabetes and other health problems associated with poor nutrition. Additionally, fibre can help reduce the risk of obesity in dogs by making them feel fuller for longer and helping them absorb fewer calories from their food. Fibre improves the gut microbiome which is essential to optimal health and well-being.
Gut-Brain Axis in Dogs
Recent research has revealed how the gut and brain are so closely connected via the Vagus nerve and this is referred to as the gut-brain axis. What happens in the gut has been shown to have a positive or negative effect on the brain of dogs and people. A healthy functioning gut microbiome has tremendous positive effects not only in the gut but also in the brain. A good fibre supplement for dogs supports the gut-brain axis. The complex community of bacteria and other microorganisms in the gut is referred to as the microbiome. These beneficial bacteria in the microbiome are essential for optimal health and well-being because they aid digestion, and stimulate the immune system, the gut produces 90% of the body’s serotonin, produces Vitamin K and B Vitamins, crowds out harmful bacteria, and produce short-chain fatty acids such as Butyrate and produce enzymes.
Fibre for dogs contains probiotics that are beneficial bacteria in the gut bacteria such as Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Prebiotics are the fibres such as Galacto-oligosaccharides and Fructo-oligosaccharides that provide nourishment to these good bacteria, thus maintaining their levels.
A clear link has been established between a healthy gut microbiome and amount of the good bacteria in the gut and the effect this has on the brain and therefore, how the brain functions optimally. A healthy functioning gut microbiome and its effects on the brain are being increasingly studied in science, especially in relation to the production of Serotonin. It is estimated that up to 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut and it reduces anxiety, helps with sleep, and improves stabilizes mood, and improves happiness and well-being.
Another important natural supplement for the gut is bentonite clay which is a natural clay with a fine, soft texture. It helps deal with intestinal toxins and water - helping with diarrhoea and poisoning. It acts as a binding agent to firm up faeces for healthy firm motions and it improves gut integrity.
Finally, fibre may help reduce bad breath and improve dental health by removing plaque from teeth.
Types of Fibre Supplements for Dogs
There are several types of fibre supplements for dogs, including psyllium husk powder, oat bran, wheat bran, ground flaxseed meal, and pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin. Each type has its own unique benefits and drawbacks so it's important to do some research before deciding which one is best for your pet. For example, psyllium husk powder is high in soluble fibre which helps promote regularity but it can also cause gas if not used properly. Oat bran is high in insoluble fibre which helps with digestion but it can also be difficult to digest if not cooked properly. Wheat bran is another popular choice because it's high in both soluble and insoluble fibres but it can be hard on sensitive stomachs if not given in moderation. Ground flaxseed meal is high in omega 3 fatty acids which are beneficial for skin and coat health but it should be used sparingly as too much can cause diarrhoea or other digestive issues. Finally, pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin is high in both soluble and insoluble fibres as well as vitamins A & C which are beneficial for overall health but too much can cause diarrhoea or vomiting if not used properly.
How Much Fibre Should I Give My Dog?
Most experts recommend that adult dogs get between 1-4 grams of dietary fibre per day depending on their size and activity level while puppies should get between 0-2 grams per day depending on their age and size. It's important to note that these amounts are just guidelines since every dog's needs may vary depending on individual factors such as age, weight, activity level, etc. At JP Holistic Nutrition we have formulated our own fibre supplement for dogs called Doggie Fibre which contains probiotics, prebiotics and Bentonite clay.
In conclusion, yes you can give your dog a fibre supplement if they need additional dietary fibre beyond what they're getting from their regular diet. However, it's important to do some research first so you know which type of supplement would be best for your pet as well as how much they should be getting each day based on their individual needs.
Dr Paul Boland BVSc MRCVS
JP Holistic Nutrition