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.