Dietary fiber is classified as both fermentable and non-fermentable. Natural sources of fiber contain a combination of both fermentable and non-fermentable fibers to help regulate the digestive tract and maintain the functional environment for optimal digestive health within the large intestine.
Non-fermentable fiber (i.e., insoluble fiber) helps ensure the efficient absorption of dietary nutrients in the small intestine by normalizing intestinal transit time. Food moving too quickly through the intestines can result in diarrhea and poor nutrient absorption. Food travelling too slowly can lead to constipation.
Non-fermentable fiber also absorbs water from the intestines which can help ease defecation. Thus, the appropriate balance of non-fermentable fiber in dog food can help avoid undesirable stools.
The large intestine absorbs water and electrolytes from undigested food and stores waste for elimination. Large quantities of beneficial bacteria called microflora live in the large intestine and feed off of undigested food.
Bacterial digestion of fermentable fiber (i.e., soluble fiber) produces short-chain fatty acids which can be absorbed by the large intestine and are utilized as energy by the body.
A healthy population of “good” bacteria in the colon can also reduce the likelihood of harmful bacteria invading the hospitable environment of the large intestine, decreasing the susceptibility to infection.
Natural sources of dietary fiber, including chicory root, tomato pomace, alfalfa and pumpkin, are used in Vetdiet® natural dog food. Although fiber is not considered an essential nutrient, it is beneficial to dogs by promoting digestive health, just like in humans.
Many myths have circulated about the nutritional benefits of fiber sources and their value as viable ingredients in dog food.
For example, because they are not fully digestible, fiber sources like tomato pomace and alfalfa have been labeled controversial ingredients, considered to be “just fillers,” with no benefit for digestive health. This is not true.
Natural sources of fiber are important in maintaining digestive regularity, promoting a healthy digestive tract environment and helping dogs feel full after a meal. They are generally considered to contain an optimal balance of fermentable and non-fermentable fiber, which helps support your dog’s digestive and overall health.
Added glucosamine and chondroitin help maintain joint health.
Omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed and fish oil help maintain skin and coat health.
Added prebiotics help support digestive health.