Humans tend to make a little effort each day to include fiber into our diets. But a lot of people don’t know that fiber has health benefits for most animals, including dogs. Because of this, many can benefit by being on a diet that assists with their regularity. This means finding the best high fiber dog food is a must for your pup.
The world of nutrition is a bit of a minefield. Many companies will mislabel their products simply so that you buy their product, regardless of quality. So, it is really important to educate yourself on your pup’s nutritional needs. So, whether you’re here because your Veterinarian has told your pup to lose the love handles, or you want to part ways with his foul-smelling flatulence, a high fiber diet can definitely help!
Below you’ll find out why fiber is important and how it’s beneficial for your pup. You’ll also learn what ingredients to look out for, all summarized into this comprehensive analysis. We’ve also included reviews of our favorite fibrous dog foods for your beloved pup. Let’s jump in!
At A Glance: Our Favorite High Fiber Dog Foods
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- 1 Fiber Overview
- 2 Types Of Fiber
- 3 Recommended Fiber Content
- 4 Health Benefits
- 5 Best High Fiber Dog Foods
- 6 Transitioning Diets
- 7 Picky Eaters
- 8 Check In With Your Vet
- 9 Final Thoughts
It’s all well and good to look at the ingredient list and the percentage breakdown of your dog’s food. But if you don’t really understand it then it isn’t going to mean that much to you. So, to really understand fiber and its benefits first we need to know exactly what it is.
To keep it as simple as possible, fiber comes from plants, and it is a form of complex carbohydrates that can’t be digested by the body. Protein, such as meat and eggs, has no fiber content, and it only comes from vegetables and fruit, like pineapple.
Just like humans, dogs do not gain any nutrients or energy from fiber and it is more or less passed straight through the digestive system intact, and therefore it almost has zero calories. While it holds no real nutritional value, it’s extremely important to the digestive system. It will help your dog remove waste from their body that otherwise may be harmful.
For breeds that are active and have slowed down, it’s especially important to manage fiber intake. Picking the right food for breeds like Boxers or the right food for a Husky are examples of dog breeds that require careful food management due to being less active later in life.
Types Of Fiber
There are actually two different types of fiber. There’s soluble and insoluble. They both have different purposes. Both are an important part of your dog’s diet, so it’s good to get an understanding of each. Let’s take a deeper look at what they are, and what function they serve.
Soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach which creates a sticky substance. This substance traps certain foods like sugar and fat which slows the absorption process down. It also lowers cholesterol. Sugars are then absorbed much slower. This keeps your dog feeling fuller, longer, and keeps blood sugar levels are kept steady throughout the day.
Absorption of water also means that it helps to create well-formed bulkier stools. This reduces the chance of diarrhea. Additionally, some soluble sources are also prebiotics. This increases good bacteria in your dog’s gut which is broken down into short-chain fatty acids. These are an important energy source for the cells that line his digestive tract. Examples of soluble fibers are oats, barley, peas, beans, apples, and other fruits.
This fiber absorbs little water and it passes through the digestive tract unchanged and undigested. Insoluble fiber not only adds bulk to his food that keeps him feeling fuller for longer while adding no calories or energy, but it also adds bulk to your dog’s feces. This means that it stimulates regular movement in the gastrointestinal tract for a healthy poop routine.
It also puts pressure on his anal glands. This means that they release their oil and fluid as they should, and in-turn this decreases the chances of anal gland impaction. Examples of insoluble fiber include whole-wheat or bran products, beans, sweet potatoes, and green beans. Some ingredients can actually be both soluble and insoluble. Both are valuable and essential for your dog’s diet.
Recommended Fiber Content
Generally, most standard dog kibble offers a fiber content of 2% to 5%. There is not a specific guideline about what a high fiber diet is. But, it is generally accepted by canine nutritionists that it’s anywhere between 6% and 12%. Every recommendation that’s on our list contains at least this amount.
Before you rush to the cupboard and stuff your pup with extra potatoes and beans, you need to know that giving him too much fiber can also cause problems. A diet consisting of a fiber content above 12% generally is too much for a dog. So, unless directed by your Veterinarian stick to a formula with content between 6% and 12%.
It’s possible your veterinarian will prescribe a higher fiber content than this. It’s not a cause for alarm if they do. It just means that your dog’s body needs just a bit more than the average dog. So, rather than adding a bunch of random vegetables to his bowl and creating a homemade fibrous concoction, we suggest sticking to a higher quality kibble that has the right content of fiber as calculated by the professionals.
Most dog foods with increased fiber content will contain parts of green veggies, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, beet pulp, apples, peaches, whole grains, oats, psyllium husk, legumes, and flaxseed. Some foods also contain brown rice which helps aid in digestion.
So now we know what fiber is and briefly what it does for your dog’s digestive system, we can look at exactly how it benefits your pup. There are multiple reasons to look at a higher fiber diet. But, you should always discuss with your vet before making any dietary adjustments. Fiber itself has many benefits, but the five main health benefits you’ll see in your pup are the following.
If your pup is overweight this is not an issue you should take lightly! Jokes aside, this can be a serious health condition that adds pressure to his bones and joints. It can also raise cholesterol, which impacts cardiovascular health. Both of these can contribute to decreasing your dog’s lifespan significantly. So while his pudgy rolls might be cute, change his diet, and get him moving!
We already know that fiber helps to fill your dog up and satisfy his appetite without any extra calories. So, including fibrous foods in his diet will stop him from always feeling hungry. While you can add vegetables like sweet potatoes and green beans to his dog food under the direction of your Veterinarian, good quality kibble will already have the perfect amount included.
Additionally, it also helps to avoid obesity, because it supports a healthy intestinal flora which accelerates weight loss, and again helps him to maintain a healthy weight. It’s worth noting that most “healthy weight” kibbles are higher in fiber than other formulas.
High fiber diets can help to decrease the risk of diabetes (especially in older dogs). It can also help manage it if your pup already has it. It helps slow down digestion and the absorption process of sugar and carbohydrates. This helps your pup process carbohydrates evenly throughout the day rather than all at once.
Studies into diabetes and canines are very much ongoing. It’s currently thought by nutritionists and Veterinarians that the nutrient L-Carnitine shows blood sugar benefits. This means we can “guesstimate” that it’s beneficial for dogs suffering from Diabetes. L-Carnitine is a nutrient that occurs naturally in the body, and it is essential for turning fat into energy. L-Carnitine is often included in weight-management and other specialty formulas.
Digestion & Regulation
Fiber can absorb excess liquid which surprisingly helps with both constipation and diarrhea. Firstly, the absorption of liquid creates larger and firmer stools. This stimulates the muscles in the colon which prevents constipation. Secondly, absorbing excess liquid in his colon means that his stools become larger and firmer.
This means you’ll have a decreased chance of diarrhea. Of course, long periods of chronic constipation or diarrhea might signal that there is something else going on. So, if extra fibrous nutrients do not toughen his poop up after a while, then get him to the Veterinarian.
Ultimately, fiber helps the overall intestinal function. Not only will your pup poop normally, but it will also decrease flatulence. A high fiber diet will likely benefit your dog’s digestive system, but it will also benefit the whole family and their nostrils!
Anal Gland Health
No one likes to talk about anal glands, but here goes. Dogs have anal glands that sit at the 4oclock and 8oclock position around their anus, and they produce a smelly oily fluid. This fluid helps dogs to poop easier, but it also helps them identify each other. This is why dogs sniff each other’s butts.
When they poop this fluid is squeezed out from the glands. But, when the fluid is not pushed out it dries up and over time the glands become blocked and impacted. Often dogs will scoot their butts across the floor because their anal glands are irritated.
Fiber in your dog’s stools helps to put pressure on their glands which squeezes out the fluid. Basically, higher fiber foods will help support normal poop function. So, to save his glands from becoming infected and having to express his glands yourself, feed him more fibrous foods. This helps promote healthy anal glands and also reduces the chances of them being impacted which can create a very smelly mess.
Best High Fiber Dog Foods
Now you know a bit more about fiber and how it can help your dog’s health, the final task now is to find the perfect kibble for your pup. It’s worth noting that without a prescription, you’ll need to select a “healthy weight” formula if you want a higher fiber percentage.
With that being said, any one of the formulas from our list below ensures your pup will be eating one of the best high fiber foods available on the market. Because of their ingredients, these formulas can also be popular for dogs with bad breath. So if your dog suffers from stinky breath, you’ll be solving two problems with one food!
We have selected the kibbles below by ensuring that the fiber content falls within the 6% to 12% recommendation. We’ve also ensured that at least the first ingredient is a rich protein of some sort. Not only is each recommendation made with natural ingredients, but they are also tried and tested by many dog owners across America and the rest of the world. So in no particular order, here are our top recommended high fiber kibbles.
Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight
- Budget-friendly formula.
- Contains high-quality protein.
- L-Carnitine for muscle retention.
- Glucosamine supports your pup’s joints.
- No corn, wheat, or soy.
- 326 Calories per cup.
- 20% Protein, 9% Fat, 10% Fiber.
Blue Buffalo’s healthy weight recipe is full of natural goodness. It provides a fiber content of 10%. This means it will keep your pup feeling fuller for much longer compared to most other dog kibbles. The first two ingredients are still rich in chicken protein. This means your canine companion will still get the protein content that he needs to maintain his muscle mass and energy levels, without the need to rely on carbohydrates.
It is packed full of their exclusive ‘Lifesource Bits’ which are full of other antioxidants and nutrients. These nutrients are fulfilled through real cranberries, blueberries, and other fruits and vegetables. The grain used is brown rice, which means that it’s going to be gentler on your pup’s stomach.
We love that the fiber content in this food is 10% and that three of the first five ingredients include deboned chicken, pea protein, and peas.
Earthborn Holistic Weight Control
- Grain-free formula.
- Gluten-free formula.
- Low-fat content.
- L-Carnitine for muscle retention.
- Made with healthy vegetables and fruits.
- 325 Calories per cup.
- 25% Protein, 7% Fat, 9% Fiber.
Earthborn Holistic’s recipe have created this low calorie and low fat formula by removing all the fat and calorie rich ingredients, and replacing them with fibrous ingredients instead. They have also maintained their protein content by listing chicken meal as their number one ingredient.
This recipe is grain and gluten free too, so again, it is suited to those dogs with grain allergies. This recipe includes blueberries, spinach and apples that provide him with the other nutrients he needs for a healthy oxidative balance.
We love that the fiber content in this food is 9%. Three of the first five ingredients are fibrous, like peas, tapioca, and pea fiber.
Science Diet Perfect Weight
- Veterinarian endorsed brand.
- Kibble supports muscle retention.
- Made with all-natural ingredients.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Made in the United States.
- 291 Calories per cup.
- 24% Protein, 9% Fat, 13% Fiber.
Hill’s Science Diet claim that their recipe, with their fiber content of 10.4%, is clinically proven to help dogs lose weight in just 10 weeks. It still provides a high level of protein, with chicken being the first ingredient, but with lower calories.
This recipe is not grain-free, as it includes ingredients such as barley and corn, but this makes it a great option for those owners who do not wish to feed their dog a grain-free diet. It’s made with all natural ingredients. Science Diet is a well-known dog food brand that’s trusted by both veterinarians and pet owners alike.
We love that the fiber content of this food is 10.4% and that the first few ingredients are all fibrous ingredients. They include Brown Rice, Pea Fiber, and Cracked Barley.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
- Grain-free formula.
- Doesn’t sacrifice protein content.
- Promotes an ideal body weight.
- Free of corn, soy, wheat, or by-products.
- 353 Calories per cup.
- 30% Protein, 10% Fat, 10% Fiber.
Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness product is already well thought of, so it only makes sense to add a grain-free higher fiber dog food to their lineup. The primary sources of protein from this high fiber formula are chicken, and chicken meal. It also contains Pea protein, and real peas. There’s also fish meal, which adds omega fatty acids to help boost your dog’s skin and coat health.
Like other higher fiber formulas, this dog food contains a lower calorie count than standard dog food formulas. This recipe is also grain free, and doesn’t use any corn, soy, wheat, or any meat by-products in the recipe. It’s also fairly budget-friendly, which is great for dog owners on a budget.
We love that the fiber content of this food is 10% and the first few ingredients include plenty of it. This formula is also grain-free, which is great for pups that may have a grain intolerance.
Royal Canin Weight Care
- Helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Supports muscle retention.
- L-Carnitine boosts metabolism.
- Fiber blend is easily digestible.
- High fiber ratio compared to other brands.
- 261 Calories per cup.
- 25% Protein, 9% Fat, 11.7% Fiber.
Often compared with Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin have created a recipe with a fiber content of 12%, so if your Veterinarian has suggested opting for a kibble with the highest fiber content ratio, then this may be your best bet.
It is packed full of both soluble and insoluble nutrients which provides your dog with the balance he needs, while still including a high protein content of 25%. The ingredients include beet pulp and pea fiber, and it provides him with 15% less energy while still giving him the same volume of food, so he will feel just as satisfied, which is great for those scavenger pooches.
We love that the fiber content of this food is 12% and that the first few ingredients include barley, brewer’s rice and wheat. All of these grains are essential for digestion and make this a great pick.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials
- Non-GMO formula.
- Balanced blend of protein & fiber.
- Essential antioxidants for immune health.
- No chicken by-products.
- Made in the United States.
- 225 Calories per cup.
- 24% Protein, 7% Fat, 12% Fiber.
Farm-raised chicken is the first two ingredients on the list so the protein content is still Nutro’s first priority for your dog, which is what it should be. It is packed full of wholesome essentials with extra vitamins and minerals for your dog’s nutrients and healthy oxidative state.
Peas, sweet potato, dried beet pulp, apples and carrots are a few of the natural ingredients in this recipe that help support his healthy digestion. NUTRO is one of our favorite brands for many breeds, including this food pick for English Mastiff seniors.
We love that the fiber content of this food is 11.5% and that the first few ingredients include Whole Grain Sorghum, Split Peas and Rice Bran. Each of these ingredients is high in fiber and will help your pup stay regular.
Nulo Adult Trim
- Made from 74% animal protein.
- L-carnitine for muscle retention.
- Probiotics for gut health.
- Grain-free formula.
- Chicken and egg-free.
- 368 Calories per cup.
- 30% Protein, 7% Fat, 6% Fiber.
This option is great for those dogs who need slightly more fiber than the average high-quality dog kibble, but on the lower end of the scale, and with a fiber content of 6% this recipe offers just that. It is also grain-free for those dogs with a sensitive stomach or grain allergies.
With the first three ingredients being rich in protein, it has a high meat and low carbohydrate ratio, which will help to keep your dog trim. It also has a unique blend of probiotics which helps to support a healthy gut flora to aid his digestion.
We like that the fiber count for this food is 6%, and that the first few ingredients are Lentils and Yellow peas. Both of these ingredients contain fiber, which makes this food a safe pick.
So now you are convinced that you want to put your pup on a high fiber diet, but you can’t just jump straight in. You will need to transition him over to his new diet slowly, after all, you are trying to improve his digestive system, and a quick switch will only upset his stomach even more!
Below is our transitional chart that you should follow for any food changes, whatever the reason for the change. Be patient and don’t be tempted to rush the transitional process, otherwise, you will have a poorly dog tummy on your hands.
25% New Food
50% New Food
75% New Food
We know that feeding your dog a healthy and more fibrous diet might be like trying to get your kid to eat more greens. Ultimately, it’s still something that your pup might have to do. If you find that your pooch is turning his nose up at his healthier food, adding a splash of water might be enough to release the smells of the kibble. This will in turn, encourage him to eat it. Although it might take a while, don’t give up on the fibrous food!
Check In With Your Vet
Just remember that good quality nutrition is not the only answer here, and it is important to keep up with your pup’s regular Veterinarian checkups. If your dog is experiencing chronic constipation, diarrhea, or you suspect that there is something that is not quite right in regards to his food intolerance or digestion, then it is important to see your Veterinarian straight away.
While a high fiber diet is very beneficial to your dog’s health, he may have a deeper-rooted issue that requires medication or tailored diet advice which only your Veterinarian can provide. But despite this, when it comes to nutrition, every little helps! It’s also possible your vet may prescribe a food with higher glucosamine content as your pet ages.
You might not think your pup needs a high fiber diet, but there’s a good chance that by doing so, you’ll be giving your dog’s digestive system what it needs to stay healthy. If your pup is healthy on the inside he, is more likely to be happy on the outside. Picking the best high fiber dog food for your pup will not only aid in digestion but will help your dog avoid more costly health problems later in life.
There are plenty of options when picking the perfect dog food. However, all of the above brands are higher in fiber, and will likely satisfy your pup’s nutritional needs. Our beloved best friends deserve the very best when it comes to their nutrition. Finding the perfect dog food with a higher fiber content will help them get well on their way.