Health & Nutrition | Dogs | Cats | October 1, 2015

Fiber in Pet Food

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Fiber is considered the non-digestible portion of any food, and is responsible for firm stool formation, as well as digestive motility. As an example fiber consists of cellulose, lignins, inulin, and others. With the exception of chitosan, fiber comes from plants and whole grains. Although it is a type of carbohydrate, enzymes are unable to break down this carbohydrate, therefore making it a fiber.
There are two different types of fiber, soluble, and insoluble, and if you imagined a skin on a fruit, that would be the insoluble portion, while the soluble portion lives inside. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. They are therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies. Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber does not. Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and when it comes into contact with water in the digestive tract, a thick gel is produced. Some dog foods use a higher fiber level, as this may produce a feeling of satiety (fullness) in some animals, however higher fiber means more stool formation, and more to pick up in the yard. Some cat foods use a higher fiber level such as pea fiber, as this may produce a feeling of satiety (fullness) in some animals, or aid in hairball reduction.