Why is fibre so important for dogs?

Find out how fibre for dogs affects everything from their poo to weight management, plus how to know if your dog is getting enough fibre

Why is fibre so important for dogs?

Quick facts

  • Fibre can help to keep your dog’s digestive system healthy.
  • A lack of fibre in your dog’s diet can cause both constipation and diarrhoea.
  • Changes in poo consistency can lead to anal gland problems and other issues.


We all know that fibre plays a vital role in a healthy diet for humans. Also known as roughage, this complex carb is essential for good digestion. And, eating the right amount of it in our diet equals a happy and healthy gut.

But, did you know that a small amount of healthy fibre can be beneficial for your dog, too? Fibre can help to keep their digestive system in check – and getting the balance right is important.

Too much may lead to runny poos. Whereas, too little may cause constipation and anal gland issues.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of fibre for dogs, plus how to strike the right balance in your pet’s diet.


Dietary fibre explained

So, dietary fibre is a type of complex carbohydrate found naturally in the parts of plants that we – and our dogs – eat.

Fibres known as insoluble fibre, don't get digested in our small intestine like other starches. Instead, it’s partially broken down by bacteria in our large intestine before passing through in our poo.


Why should dogs have fibre in their diets?

Including the right amount of fibre in your dog’s diet can bring lots of benefits. These include:


1. Good gut health

Eating enough fibre can help to create a healthy balance of bacteria in your dog’s intestines, preventing the growth of bad bacteria.

It can even help to protect against diseases like colon cancer, according to a review published in Vet Times.


2. Fully formed poos

Fibre both increases bulk and absorbs excess water, which helps to keep your dog’s poos regular, firm and fully formed. And what dog owner wouldn’t want that?


3. Lower risk of diabetes

Fibre can help to prevent and manage diabetes in dogs, as it helps to regulate their blood glucose levels


4. Better weight management

Because fibre takes longer to pass through our digestive system than other parts of our food, it can help to prevent us – and our dogs – from overeating.


What are the different types of fibre that my dog needs?

Fibre can be classed as both soluble and insoluble, and both types are important for your dog’s digestive system.

  • Soluble fibre – this helps to improve blood glucose control, which can lower the risk of diabetes. It also helps to give poos more bulk and is found in foods like oats, beans, apples and carrots.

  • Insoluble fibre – this helps to add water to poo, making it softer and helping to prevent constipation. This is found in foods like whole grains and starchy veg like cauliflower and potato.

How can I tell if my dog isn’t getting enough fibre?

Common signs include:

1. Bowel issues

If your dog is experiencing problems when they poo, a lack of fibre could be the cause.

The most common complaint is constipation, but not getting enough fibre can also cause diarrhoea due to a lack of bulk in your dog’s poo.

Bloody stools and straining are other tell-tale signs. Always talk to your vet if you’re concerned.


2. Scooting

Is your dog rubbing or dragging their bottom across the floor? Bowel issues due to a lack of fibre can lead to anal gland problems, and one of the signs that something’s up is your dog scooting.

This can point to other issues, too, so always get recurrent scooting checked out by a vet.


3. Eating grass

While there are many reasons why your dog could be eating grass, a lack of fibre in their diet could be one of them.

Your pooch might be instinctively eating grass – the most readily available source of fibre they can get their paws on – to help regulate their poos.


4. Overeating

If your dog is always begging for more food and is gaining too much weight as a result, it may be that the balance of fibre in their diet is off-kilter.

Fibre hangs around in your dog’s system for longer, helping them to feel full and satiated – just like it does for humans.


What’s the link between fibre and my dog’s poo?

Fibre is considered a ‘normaliser’ when it comes to your dog’s poo. The right amount of it can help keep them regular. Too much can cause runny poos, and too little can cause hard poos that are difficult to pass.

It all comes down to the structure of fibre and the balance of soluble and insoluble elements, which are perfectly designed to pass through the digestive system at the right speed.

Most complete raw dog foods like Natures Menu's nuggets contain the right balance so you don’t need to worry.


Can more fibre help with my dog’s anal glands?

Yes, adding the right amount of fibre to your dog’s diet can help with anal gland issues – as adding too much can cause problems, too.

Your dog’s anal glands empty when they pass a well-formed poo, so if they’re straining or experiencing diarrhoea, the glands can remain full.

Getting the right balance of fibre in their diet will help regulate their bowel movements, and prevent or remedy anal gland issues.

Always get any suspected anal gland issues checked out by a vet, as your dog could also have a gland abscess or another more serious problem.


Where should dogs get their fibre from?

Foods like oats, wholegrains and brown rice are a great source of fibre for dogs – as are vegetables like broccoli and carrots.

Find out how to add more fibre to your dog’s diet with these tips.


Which dog foods are high in fibre?

Most kibble contains a fibre called cellulose, which is also in some human food.

All dog food that’s labelled as ‘complete’ – like Natures Menu Complete & Balanced raw dog food range – is legally obliged to include all the essential nutrients, and it often includes enough fibre.

If your dog needs a high-fibre diet – for example for anal gland issues or constipation – it’s worth considering a tailored meal plan that’s personalised to their needs.


Do older dogs need more fibre?

Often, yes. More senior dogs are prone to constipation, so dog food designed for older dogs usually includes more fibre.

Older dogs can also be less active, so a fibre-rich diet can help them maintain a healthy weight more easily by feeling full for longer.


Dog fibre FAQs

Are fibre supplements a good idea for dogs?

Fibre supplements can help a dog with constipation that hasn’t responded to dietary changes.

They work by bulking out the poo, which stimulates bowel movements. Always speak to your vet before adding supplements as this should be secondary to dietary changes.


Is high-fibre dog food good for diabetes?

Yes, dog food that’s high in fibre can help to regulate blood glucose levels in diabetic dogs.


Is fibre good for diarrhea?

Because fibre helps to absorb excess water from inside the colon and bulk out your dog’s poo, it can help to get diarrhea under control.

Having said that, too much fibre can have the opposite effect and worsen symptoms.


Is fibre good for anal gland issues?

Yes, it certainly can be – as anal gland issues are often caused by irregular poos, increasing the fibre in your dog’s food can help to regulate your dog’s bowel movements and allow their anal glands to empty properly.

Want to kickstart a healthier diet for your dog? Try our personalised meal plans with high-quality raw ingredients – including fresh fruits and vegetables.