Fibre

Dietary fiber also known as roughage is the part of a plant that cannot be completely broken down by digestive enzymes.

Fibre is very important for the digestive system because they provide energy (food) to the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.

When I formulate balanced recipes, I usually always have to add more fibre sources as fresh food diets can be rather low in fibre even when feeding up to 25% plant matter - different plants have different amounts of fibre.

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My aim is 3-4% of the diet is fibre so we have enough to make a poo big enough to express the anal glands and to feed that beneficial bacteria. If the poo isn't big enough then it can't place pressure on the anal glands to perform their function.

Fresh food feeders can get a bit obsessed with small poo size - now, we do not want the massive piles of steaming, stinky poos that kibble-fed dogs often have but we do need a reasonable size poo.

Dogs with anal gland challenges will usually always have inflammation as the underlying cause (commonly allergies) which needs to be addressed but there are many variables for dogs who constantly suffer from anal gland issues such as faulty anal glands that simply are positioned incorrectly or don't function the way they are meant to, this means no matter what you do nutritionally, nothing will help and the pet parent may need to consider removal which is a bigger discussion to have with their Vet.

 

 

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Chia Seeds
Fiber content: 34.4 grams per 100 grams
I love adding chia seeds to my dog's diet, not only are they are an awesome form of fibre but they're a great form of plant-based omega-3.  You can provide them to your dogs whole, ground, or soaked - if you offer them whole, they are likely to come out the same way they went in which is fine if you're just wanting to create stool bulk but to ground or soak in a little water is an awesome way of unleashing those incredible nutrients as well as providing fibre.

 

 

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Sunflower Seeds
Fiber content: 11.1 grams per 100 grams
You'll need to ground these like any other seeds with hard coatings.  I use a $20 coffee grinder. 1/4th of a teaspoon per 5 kilos of body weight is an approx guide.

 

 

Almonds

Almonds
Fiber content: 13.3 grams per 100 grams
Awesome healthy fat!  In fact, most nuts are a great form of healthy fat and fibre but stay away from Macadamia, some dogs can get very sick by eating them.

You'll need to ground these like any other nuts. Some people like to soak them overnight first to "activate" them aka make them more bio-available.  I use a $20 coffee grinder. There really isn't a guideline for nuts, start off grounding say 1 for a medium dog and see how they react, too much fat even healthy fat can upset tummies and some dogs don't digest fats well - you'll find by large, fresh food fed dogs won't have issues.  If you have a dog with pancretitis then your dogs fat intake has to be closely monitored.  When I'm formulating recipes, I generally add 10g to 1 kilo of food.

 

 

Rolled oats or oat flakes in wooden bowl and golden wheat ears on stone background. Top vi

Oats
Fiber content: 10.1 grams per 100 grams
Some fresh food feeders get a bit twitchy at the recommendation of a grain but we have to take a moment and just take in some facts rather than scaremongering that we face as pet parents. Click here to learn about the potential benefits of oats.

Oats have been successfully used to offer roughage for dogs with anal glands forever in a day, they do a good job.

You can mix small amounts of oats in a dry format into wet food and watch the poos to see how they go but don't add too many dry oats as you could create constipation.  You can also cook the oats in the same way you would for yourself and add to your dog's diet. Some pet parents also like to soak them overnight instead of cooking. How much to give is a bit of experimentation.  

 

 

Sliced Avocado

Avocado
Fiber content: 6.7 grams per 100 grams
Ok, before you freak out, Avocado has been proven safe to consume! Click here to read the study. Obviously, you're just feeding the flesh, the same part you would eat!

Avocado is all kinds of awesome, it's a beautiful healthy fat!  See my comments on Nuts in relation to any cautions you may need to take with foods that are high in healthy fats.

There are no rules here as to how much to give, just a common-sense approach, start with a little and see if their poos stay happy and then build it up from there i.e. a medium dog would probably cope fine with 1-2 teaspoons 1-2 times per week ot just as an every now and then thing.

 

Image by Artie Kostenko

Peas
Fiber content: 8 grams per 100 grams
Peas are an interesting creature, they're a good source of Zinc! Zinc is a hard to find nutrient in the fresh food diet and we often have to turn to shellfish to get it such as Oysters.  Just 5 grams per kilo of food balances the Zinc!!!  I usually add around 20g per kilo of food if I'm not obtaining Zinc from another source.

Be sure to smoosh them so they are bioavailable.  I think the best way to prepare peas is to boil and then smoosh.

 

Heap of psyllium husk in wooden spoon and bowl on table. Psyllium husk also called isabgol

Psyllium Husks 
Fiber content: 89.1 grams per 100 grams
Psyllium Husks are one of the most common forms of fibre humans use when they get a bit blocked up but it can be used simply to maintain a healthy digestive system. Your local supermarket and health food store will stock psyllium husks. 

Click here to learn about how much to give, look under 'fibre' - start low!

 

Image by Iñigo De la Maza

Variety
We recommend feeding a variety of fruit and vegetables on rotation and not just the above listed higher in fibre foods - this way, not only does your dog get a range of different types of fibre but they get different nutrients and tastes :)