Why Is Fiber in Your Dog's Food?
Why Is Fiber in Your Dog's Food?

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Why Is Fiber in Your Dog's Food?

Fiber is important to your dog's health, providing bulk to move food through his intestinal tract. Some types of fiber can be fermented (broken down by bacteria) in the intestinal tract. This process creates short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which are a key energy source for the cells lining the intestinal tract.

 

 

What's Good for You Might Not Be Good for Your Dog

Most people are aware of fiber and its role in their diet. The beneficial effects of higher fiber levels in humans influence the way many people think about their own food—and their pets’ food. As a result, some pet-food manufacturers began to think like human nutritionists and make high-fiber diets for dogs. But high-fiber diets and the shorter digestive tracts of dogs don't always mix well. High fiber levels in dogs can cause digestive problems and interfere with proper nutrient absorption. Unlike humans, dogs are carnivorous, meaning their nutritional needs are better satisfied with meat rather than with plant materials.

 

 

Fiber Levels and Fermentability

For more than 60 years, pet nutritionists at IAMS™ have been studying diets to better meet the special nutritional needs of dogs. IAMS research shows that the optimal crude-fiber level for healthy dogs ranges from 1.4 to 3.5%. At these levels, nutrient digestibility is maximized.
 

An important characteristic of fiber is its fermentability, or how well it can be broken down by the bacteria that normally reside in the dog's intestine. This breakdown of dietary fiber produces SCFAs that provide energy to the cells lining the intestines. Different types of fiber vary in fermentability.
 

Fiber sources used in pet foods include cellulose, which is poorly fermentable; beet pulp, which is moderately fermentable; and gums and pectin, which can be highly fermentable.
 

Research has shown that moderate levels of moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, provide the benefits of energy for the intestinal lining and bulk without the negative effects of excessive stool or gas.

 

 

High Fiber and Weight Loss

High levels of poorly fermentable fiber are used in some weight-reduction pet foods to dilute the calories in a serving. IAMS research found that this is not a good practice because high fiber levels can decrease the digestibility of other nutrients in the food and, therefore, can reduce the nutritional quality of the diet. You might also see more poop piles in the yard because of the indigestible fiber.

 

 

Fiber in IAMS Dog Foods

The key thing to remember about dietary fiber is that your dog's needs are not the same as yours. A moderate level of moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, provides proven nutritional benefits for dogs. Diets containing high levels of poorly fermentable fiber to dilute calorie content do not provide these nutritional benefits.
 

All IAMS products, including IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks, are formulated with optimal levels of moderately fermentable fiber to promote a healthy intestinal tract and enhance the well-being of your dog.

  • Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On
    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

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    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

    Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active

    It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health

    At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite

    Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines

    Continue to use preventive medicines.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Dental Health

    Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Exercise

    Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Diet

    Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.

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