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Fitting Fiber into Fido's Food Bowl

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Supporting Your Pet's Good Digestion?

Pets need fiber in their food bowls to support and help with proper digestion.  Soluble fiber can help your pet feel full without taking in unnecessary extra calories and suffering from weight gain.

Fiber that is "soluble" is contained in foods such as beans, legumes, barley, oatmeal and oats, oat bran, citrus fruits and other fruits.  Remember to introduce your pet to fiber-rich foods slowly.  You want your pet to feel comfortable with this new addition at mealtime.

Discomfort can occur when too much fiber is added quickly.  Loose stools, watery bowel movements and diarrhea will not be pleasant for you or your pet.

Fiber is important because it helps dogs feel full, supports natural, healthy digestion and aids in moving material through their digestive tract.  Is there fiber in your pet's food bowl with each meal?  Does your pet need fiber, or more fiber?  Grains like wheat, barley, corn and rice contribute small amounts of fiber to pet foods.  Pets require adequate amounts of fiber in their foods.

What Should I Feed My Dog by veterinarian Ron Hines, discusses the importance of supplying fiber for your pet during feeding.  "The diet of normal adult dogs should contain between 2.5 and 4.5 percent fiber. However, the fiber content of some "diet" dog foods is between nine and 10 percent. This may allow the dog to feel full without consuming too many calories for effective weight control. Diets high in fiber also help in the management of blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and the prevention of such disorders as intestinal diverticulosis and diabetes.  Too much fiber in your pet's diet can interfere with the digestion of other important nutrients in the food and result in loose stools, frequent defecation, and reduced palatability of the dog food."

As a whole, dogs eat less frequently than cats and they also usually eat larger meals.  Feeding adult dogs twice or once daily can be alright, but remember that pups require feeding often.  Dogs in homes with free-feeding practices should be fine if the dog is not gaining weight.  Ask your veterinarian at each visit about your free-feeding pet's weight to be sure it's on track, healthy and providing them the best health benefits.  "What and when you feed your dog early in life will shape its preferences when it is older. This applies to time of day, odor, texture, taste and meal temperature," advises Dr. Hines.

James Glover's Sources of Dietary Fiber for Dogs suggests that fiber be introduced gradually to avoid any tummy troubles that could result from adding large quantities of bulk quickly.  He suggests replacing some your current regular food with carrot, pear, banana, non-spicy pepper or high-quality bran.  Glover notes that owners must be alert to the fact that everyday foods like onions, raisins, fruit pith and grapes can be "highly toxic" to dogs.

As Dr. Hines suggests, avoid adding too much fiber too fast.  You may add in a one-inch chopped slice of apple or pear, cooked sweet potato, cooked yam or baked turnip to the food bowl, after several such meals, add in a chopped two-inch slice of the above.  Remember that you can mix and match the fiber sources you feed your pet after its tummy has become accustomed to receiving more fiber each day.

Keep in mind that you don't want your pet to experience loose bowel movements, watery stool or diarrhea.  What you do want is for the stool to be firm, moist and have good shape.  When your dog has the proper amount of fiber, you'll notice that the pooch doesn't strain while leaving a "present" in your backyard.  Bowel evacuation will be natural, pleasant and smooth for your pet.  It is critical that you always have fresh water available in multiple locations for your dog.  Water helps route nutrients through a dog's body, push out toxins and release substances that are no longer needed by your dog's body.

Veterinarian Jan Becker suggests that dog and cat owners be aware of the benefits of both soluble and insoluble fiber in their pet's food diet.  Soluble fiber, she suggests, is "mainly for bulk and helps push through such digested particles as hair" ingested during animal grooming.  Soluble fiber can increase stool bulk and contributes to preventing that unhappy experience of constipation.  Insoluble fiber contributes these - and more.  The insoluble fiber you provide for your pet helps maintain the proper balance of natural, healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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