Best High Fiber Dog Food For A Healthy Digestive System (2020 Reviewed)
Let's kick this one off talking about a popular dinner time topic, poo, constipation and a few more! Then we'll get in into the good stuff on best high fiber dog food.
OUR #1 PICK
The best value for money
BLUE Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food
Does your dog have digestive problems like loose stools or constipation? Perhaps you are working to get their weight down? Or, maybe you have been taking your pooch to the vet for regular anal gland expression?
Alright, glad we got through that quick and painlessly.
Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa | Doctor Of Veterinary Medicine
Sara is Wileypup’s Veterinarian Adviser and helped compose this article to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. For more information on Sara click here
It is possible that adding dietary fiber to your canine companion’s diet may help with these issues.
We will first look over the basics of fiber and how it works in a dog’s digestive system. Stay tuned, because below that brief informational section we offer a review of the top products to increase the fiber in their diet.
There are three main ways to add fiber to your pal’s diet:
1. High fiber dog food
This review will look at our top 5 high fiber dog foods, our top 5 high fiber dog treats, and our top 5 fiber supplements for dogs.
Consider this your one-stop source for information on fiber for dogs whether you’re going for a new diet, treats or supplements.
Fiber as Part of a Balanced Canine Diet
Did you know?
The typical range of fiber content in dog food is about 1-10%, however, many veterinarians and experts in dog nutrition would set 5% as the maximum for ideal nutrition for most dogs. In fact, if a commercial dog food goes over that amount, it is considered a high fiber content food.
Not all canines need more fiber than standard commercial kibble offers.
Moreover, all fiber is not the same….
Insoluble fiber is not actually digested, rather, it adds bulk to food without adding many calories. It can improve regularity of stools by adding some bulk which stimulates bowel movements. Examples include hemicellulose, cellulose and lignins.
Obviously, more bulk with less calories is a good idea for most dogs with weight issues. It will help them feel full between meals, just like it does with humans.
That's not all...
Since insoluble fiber increases the bulk of stools without hardening them, it is sometimes recommended for dogs with chronic constipation. Make sure to consult with your vet before switching to dog food with high fiber since this can be an indicator of conditions that require medical treatment.
In addition, bulkier stool means that anal glands are put under more pressure, causing them to express normally. In some cases, your vet may recommend adding insoluble fiber to your canine’s diet as a proactive measure if they regularly have impacted anal glands.
Soluble fiber is not only digested by your canine, it performs a vital role in digestive health and by extension the immunity system of your pet. Examples include pectins, psyllium, oats, barley, beet pulp, chicory, fruits and vegetables, flaxseed, rice bran and inulin.
It gets better...
Soluble fiber feeds the “good” bacteria in the digestive tract. These bacteria play a critical role in breaking down soluble fiber into short chain fatty acids that make up a primary source of energy for the cells that do the digestive work in the large intestine. If the diet lacks enough soluble fiber, these bacteria will not reproduce at numbers that are high enough for strong digestive health.
When the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract is off, one of the consequences is often diarrhea. This is why your vet will sometimes recommend the addition of more soluble fiber for those with chronic diarrhea. It is critical that you consult with a vet if your dog is experiencing diarrhea for more than a day, or if there is blood in the stool. These are potentially life-threatening conditions that require a consultation.
Another condition often treated with the addition of soluble fiber is Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI). This is a condition where digestion is compromised to the point that it is potentially life-threatening.
The addition of soluble fiber is only part of the treatment, and, it goes without saying that this needs to be carefully supervised by a vet. Note that insoluble fiber can actually exacerbate this condition.
So what's the answer?
Both soluble and insoluble fiber may be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes in dogs. It can slow the absorption of glucose which helps regulate the insulin cycle. There are also some complex metabolic and hormonal processes that may be related to diabetes that are improved by fiber, although these processes are not completely understood at this time.
Myths About Fiber
Let's dig deep...
There are a lot of myths out there about dog diets. One is that since there is very little fiber in the ancestor of the domestic dog there is therefore no need for fiber in the diet of modern day domestic dogs. Let’s set down the fact that there is little to no logic being applied here, just assumptions that wolves and domestic dogs are the same. They aren’t, and neither are their diets.
Domestic dog diets are, frankly, different than the diet of wild dogs and wolves and have been for thousands of years. And, since digestion is shaped by the gut flora that is needed for specific diets, it turns out that digestion is shaped by diet just as diet is shaped by digestion. The assumption that wolves and modern domestic dogs have the same digestive system is therefore not so true.
The truth is that fiber is a part of a healthy diet for your domesticated dog. And, it is already added to most commercial dog food as a result.
The problem may be that the balance of soluble and insoluble fiber in any specific dog food may not be right for your dog. This is where you may have to work with your vet to find a high fiber dog food, treat or supplement that brings your canines digestive system into balance.
Best High Fiber Dog Food
This is what you've come for.
There has been a proliferation of specialty dog foods in the last decade as consumers have become more educated on pet health and begun to advocate more fiercely for a more holistic approach to dog nutrition. However, it can be hard to tell the difference between gimmick and the real deal.
That is where our review comes in. We have done the comparison shopping for you. Our top 5 dog foods high in fiber are selected with quality, balance and reputation in mind.
BLUE Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food
NUTRO Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food, Small Breed Formula
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food, Focus, Adult Weight Management Formula
Blue Buffalo BLUE Senior Dog Chicken & Brown Rice
#1 BLUE Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult Dry Dog Food
BLUE is a well trusted dog food manufacturer that has a strong reputation among canine enthusiasts. This is not a food that adds fiber at the expense of important nutritional balance and high-quality ingredients.
Instead, the first ingredient is deboned chicken. No chicken (or poultry) by product, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives are used to make this very palatable kibble.
The extra fiber in this food is from natural sources: whole ground brown rice, whole ground barley, oatmeal, rye, rice bran, peas, spinach, pumpkin, flax seed, alfalfa meal, kelp and other fruits, whole grains and vegetables.
The crude fiber content is a whopping 10% which is on the high end of what is found in commercial dog food.
#2 NUTRO Weight Management Adult Dry Dog Food, Small Breed Formula
If you have a small or toy breed then you probably already know that it is important to select kibble that is formulated with those breeds in mind for optimal development. This is a great choice if you have a small breed dog that can use extra fiber in their regular diet.
The fiber in this formula comes from natural ingredients including: whole brown rice, lentils, rice bran, cellulose, peas, barley, beet pulp, sweet potato, alfalfa, carrots, apples and a few other fruits and veggies.
A trusted name in dog food, Nutro offers nutritionally balanced food from high quality ingredients.
The additional attention to added sources of fiber in this recipe makes it a great choice for weight control and/or high fiber needs.
For more small breed dog food options check out our guides below:
#3 Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food
This is a low fat high fiber dog food that also happens to be grain free. The high amount of fiber in this kibble comes from natural ingredients including peas, additional pea fiber, ground flaxseed, spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, kale and apples.
The fat has also been reduced, making this a high fiber dog food with low fat, perfect for many of the diets vets recommend for weight loss and some other health conditions. The price is fairly reasonable as well, making this a top choice for some looking for the right diet on a budget.
This is a product that is guaranteed to be made in the USA, something that dog enthusiasts are becoming more and more picky about.
It is hard to assess the source of ingredients that are not regulated by the FDA or U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can trust these are top shelf ingredients!
#4 Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food, Focus, Adult Weight Management Formula
This is one of the most reasonably priced dog foods that are on the higher end of the fiber scale. It also comes from a very well-known brand, Purina, which can translate into fresher food due to the higher demand for popular brand name kibble.
It is honestly not as high as our first two selections when it comes to the total amount of crude fiber. However, it is higher than the average commercial kibble for sure, and it may well be in the range your vet recommends for treating minor levels of weight control or other conditions with the addition of a low fat high fiber dog food.
The first ingredient is chicken, but this food does contain poultry by-product meal as well, which some folks like to avoid so we wanted to be sure you are aware (that is part of the reason for the lower price too).
It also contains corn, wheat and soy…which is a problem for some dogs that have grain allergies to these commonly used grains. However, if your dog does not have an issue digesting these ingredients, you may well not need to pay extra for those foods that do not contain them.
The primary source of fiber in this formula is from wheat bran which is a natural prebiotic fiber known to promote digestive health. There is also plenty of Vitamin A, linoleic acid, and Omega 6 for skin and coat health.
Also, Purina has weight management formulas designed specifically for large breeds if you have a large breed like Great Danes or Mastifs.
#5 Blue Buffalo BLUE Senior Dog Chicken & Brown Rice
We wanted to be sure to get a high fiber dog food for senior dogs on our list. If your dog is getting up in years, your vet may have recommended that a kibble high in fiber would help them stay regular and strain less when it is time for a bowel movement.
This formula includes 7% crude fiber which is significantly higher than the average commercial feed. Plus, it has the commitment to high quality ingredients Blue Buffalo is well known for. Deboned chicken is the number one ingredient, and there is no corn, wheat or soy.
The added fiber in this dog kibble comes from natural sources including: ground brown rice, oatmeal, whole ground barley, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, flaxseed, chicory root, and apples. You can feel good about feeding your dog this high-end food.
Best High Fiber Dog Treats
Dog treats that are naturally fibrous are a way to add to your canine’s diet in ways that can be gentler than supplements, and less permanent than a complete diet change.
Since they have these advantages, some vets might recommend these treats as a first course of action for mild digestive problems once dangerous or progressive conditions have been ruled out.
In fact, it is not a bad idea to have some of these treats on hand in the freezer if your pet has the occasional digestive issue that might be arrested quickly with a few of these treats a day.
Our list of the top 5 high fiber treats for dogs have high quality ingredients, and are low in fats and calories. We also looked for treats that are easy on the budget and from brands you can trust. Let’s take a look:
NUTRO ULTRA Dog Biscuits
Fruitables Pumpkin Dog Treats
Get Naked Grain Free Digestive Health Dental Chew Sticks
NUTRO Natural Choice Health Benefit Dog Treats
Fruitables Skinny Minis Pumpkin & Berry Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
#1 NUTRO ULTRA Dog Biscuits
These snacks are made with Oatmeal & Pumpkin to take advantage of naturally fibrous sources. Additional ingredients include flaxseed, inulin, along with dried blueberry, pomegranate, spinach, carrot and cranberry. These superfoods are nutrient dense and help to support the immune system.
Dogs with sensitive stomachs may benefit from these gentle snacks. They contain no wheat, corn, soy or artificial colors or flavors. Although not technically grain free, they do avoid the most common grain allergens as well as gluten.
#2 Fruitables Pumpkin Dog Treats
These fun snacks are a fibrous and fun addition to your dog’s diet. You get 5 different flavors in this collection which keeps things interesting for your pooch. Apple, Banana, Blueberry, Cranberry, and Sweet Potato & Pecan.
I know! They sound almost good enough to try yourself!
An added benefit of this formula is that Fruitables contain no wheat, corn, or soy. Although not technically fully grain free (oats are one of the ingredients) they do avoid the most common grains associated with food allergies and sensitivities for dogs.
Finally, these little supplement treats for dogs are probably #1 when it comes to flavor. They are only 9 calories per treat too, which means your pooch can enjoy them while sticking to a strict weight management plan.
#3 Get Naked Grain Free Digestive Health Dental Chew Sticks
We love these nutritional treats because they serve as a two-in-one supplement. Both fibrous and sturdy enough to knock some plaque off during chewing, these are a great addition to the diet of dogs that need a little help in both departments.
Another added bonus of these tasty chews are that they are completely grain free for those dogs that have sensitive stomachs. They also include the additional digestive support of BC30 Probiotics from Chicory Root.
These low-calorie snacks are completely made in the USA so you can rely on the quality. If your vet has recommended additional fiber and some extra attention to your pup’s teeth, this may be your best choice.
#4 NUTRO Natural Choice Health Benefit Dog Treats
These treats are marketed for sensitive stomachs, but they include a focus on high quality protein and naturally fibrous sources. They include fiber from whole wheat, whole brown rice, oatmeal, pumpkin, flaxseed, coconut meal and chicory pulp.
Another great feature of this low fat high fiber dog treat is that it contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. They also have a taste dogs love so you won’t get “The Look” when you take them out of the package!
#5 Fruitables Skinny Minis Pumpkin & Berry Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
Last but not least, these tasty low calorie treats also rank high on flavor. Your dog will love them!
These treats are very small, perfect for training sessions. The natural fibrous sources include pumpkin, oatmeal, ground brown rice and ground potatoes. They are also gluten free for canines with wheat sensitivities.
Weighing in at only 3.5 calories each, these are a good choice for pups on a diet. You won’t have to feel guilty about these fiber-rich treats. They are also made in the USA, assuring that only high-quality ingredients have been used.
Best High Fiber Dog Supplements
Supplements are sometimes recommended by veterinarians because they are less of a shock to a canine’s system than a full diet change. Particularly in cases where the condition is likely to be temporary, a supplement might be recommended to add the right kind of fiber in a controlled dose to your pet’s diet.
It cannot be over emphasized that consulting with your vet before and during treatment with supplements is critical. Treating symptoms on your own is dangerous because it can mask underlying conditions that are potentially life threatening.
Diggin Your Dog Firm Up Pumpkin Supplement
Dog Care 8.5” Leather Dog Lead
Virbac Vetasyl Fiber Capsules
Vet Classics No Scoot
#1 Diggin Your Dog Firm Up Pumpkin Supplement
With just two ingredients, this all-natural formula could not be simpler. Pumpkin and apple fiber. Period. It is shelf stable for up to 24 months, and it is dehydrated so it is light and convenient to take with you for travel.
This supplement is easy to use. Just dose according to the instructions on the back and add to wet food or rehydrate and feed directly.
Another reason we love this product is that it is 100% American made from farm to package. You can rely on the quality of ingredients and processing with this supplement.
Finally, considering the high quality of this fiber supplement for dogs, the price is very reasonable. This is one of the most economical ways to add fiber to your canine’s diet.
#2 Metamucil Daily Fiber Supplement
If your vet recommends that your dog should have more insoluble AND soluble fiber added to their diet, this is one option they may well suggest. It is sometimes used to treat temporary constipation or for longer term use in the treatment of anal glands.
Metamucil is a human grade supplement that is made from 100% Psyllium Husk. It acts to increase the bulk of stool because it absorbs a great deal of water. It is thus crucial that dogs given this supplement have free access to water because otherwise the increased bulk can get hard and actually obstruct the bowels.
For dosing information, it is best to consult with your veterinarian as different dosing is appropriate for the treatment of different conditions. In addition, individual dogs may experience the addition of this supplement differently, thus close monitoring in consultation with a vet is strongly advised.
#3 Virbac Vetasyl Fiber Capsules
Don’t let the old-timey packaging that is half in french fool you, this is a long-recommended brand among veterinary professionals. It is basically the same active ingredient as Metamucil with the addition of some barley. It is formulated specifically for dog dosages and it is about half as expensive as Metamucil.
There are no artificial colors or preservatives in Virbac, either. It is just basic fiber formulated for dogs with no frills. We though you might appreciate knowing about this little-known secret!
For those looking for a fiber supplement specifically formulated for the treatment of chronically impacted anal glands, Glandex may be the best choice. Developed by veterinarians, you can feel confident in the safety of this supplement for your canine companion.
The ingredients are all natural and blended to protect digestive health on multiple fronts. The formula contains pumpkin seeds, apple pectin cellulose, natural anti-inflammatories, and digestive enzymes as well as probiotics.
The dosing is straightforward since the formula is manufactured into soft chews. Just administer once a day according to the package instructions which are on the back with different weight ranges for your dog.
#5 Vet Classics No Scoot
This veterinary formulated supplement comes in tasty soft chews that are easy and fast to administer to your canine. Flaxseed, pumpkin and psyllium are the top ingredients, providing both soluble and insoluble fiber sources.
The primary purpose of No Scoot is obviously to help express anal glands with bulkier bowel movements. However, since it achieves that through additional high-quality fiberous sources, your vet may recommend this product for other uses as well.
Conclusion: Lots of Options!
As you can see, there are lots of options to choose from when it comes to high fiber dog food. The first decision you will need to make, along with some help from your vet, is whether you should go for a complete diet change, add some high fiber dog treats, or use high fiber supplements for dogs.
No matter what you choose, WileyPup has you covered!
If you found this article informative, consider sharing with your dog loving friends. We want to get this important information out there.
If you have some experience with some of the products we reviewed here, or other wisdom you would like to share with our readers, please leave a comment below.
Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer
Sharon is a professional dog trainer with over 10 years experience. She is also a professional writer that received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.
For more info on Sharon click here