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PostSubject: Fiber   Fiber Icon_minitimeWed Nov 18, 2009 6:12 pm

Fiber is one of the nutrients listed on every bag of pet food, but its importance has occasionally been questioned. As this article explains, fiber can have many health benefits for your pet. The type of fiber determines its role in the digestive process. Choosing a fiber to help in the treatment of some common medical conditions can be a good alternative or adjunct to traditional drug therapy.


Fiber is made up of several different compounds all of which are carbohydrates. While fiber is essentially a carbohydrate for most nutritional discussions, the term 'soluble carbohydrates' is used to describe easily digested carbohydrates like starch, and the term 'fiber' is used to describe the 'insoluble carbohydrates' that resist enzymatic digestion in the small intestine. The most common fibers are cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, gums, and resistant starches.


Fiber is found in a variety of sources, but in pet foods, it comes primarily from the cell walls of plants and grains present in the food. Almost all carbohydrate sources will contain some fiber. Some of the most common sources of fiber in pet foods include rice hulls, corn and corn by-products, soybean hulls, beet pulp, bran, peanut hulls, and pectin.

Requirements and function

Fiber is not considered an essential nutrient in the diets of cats and dogs, but it is present in almost every commercial pet diet. Dogs and cats do not derive any energy from fiber, however, improved colon health is a benefit of having fiber in the diet, and therefore, its presence in pet food is often considered beneficial. There are several medical conditions that are greatly improved by the addition of fiber in the diet and they will be discussed in depth later in the article.

The function of fiber in the diet is to increase both bulk and water in the intestinal contents. Fiber will shorten intestinal transit time in pets with fast transit times, and speed up the transit times in animals with slow transit times. What this means is that fiber will help treat both diarrhea and constipation. Fiber absorbs extra water in diarrheic stools, and it helps hold onto water, which prevents constipation. Some fiber is broken down in the intestine into fatty acids. These fatty acids will aid in preventing the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. They will also help the colon cells to recover from injury and possibly help reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Read rest of article at: http://peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1659+1661&aid=656

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