Study Shows Dog Weight Loss With High Fiber Diets

Jan 31, 2022

A new recent study of overweight dogs showed that when fed high-protein, high-fiber diets for almost half a year, their body composition and inflammation markers changed in positive ways. In other words, adding fiber to dogs’ diets can make a difference in their weight and their overall health!

Dr. Kelly Swanson is an animal sciences professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and led the research. He said that the dogs in the study achieved healthier weights in changes over time that were parallel to the positive changes in humans when on similar diets.

Prior research shows that when dogs are overweight and obese, they have a lower quality of life and shorter lifespan–as do humans, typically.  Dr. Swanson said that some problems we see in humans also occur in overweight dogs–stress on joints, intolerance for heat and/or exercise and often there are issues with blood sugar and glucose tolerance/insulin resistance. He went on further to say that pet insurance claims indicate obesity is a huge factor in issues in our pets.”

This study looked at the changes in the dogs over time and found that the dogs got to healthier weights without losing too much muscle mass. Additionally, with weight loss, their serum triglycerides, insulin and inflammatory markers went down too.

What was really unique about this study is that it also looked at the dogs’ poop!

Yep, perfect poop is important to researchers too, and in this study, the dogs’ fecal microbiota was analyzed for changes as the dogs lost weight. According to Dr. Swanson, dogs and humans have different species of microbes that are in our guts, BUT they perform in similar ways. Not only do they metabolize carbs, proteins and other molecules that come from food, but they also break fiber down to create short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These are important for glucose and appetite regulation, as well as for giving a boost to the immune system and reducing inflammation while giving energy to colon cells.

Dr. Swanson said that they noted a reduction in fecal ammonia–likely because they ate less protein on a calorie-restricted diet. This was beneficial, as high concentrations of ammonia are toxic (not to mention smelly). The dogs also had increases in the bacteria from the genus Allobaculum. These higher Allobaculum populations were correlated with an increase in the short-chain fatty acid fecal butyrate. This is a byproduct of dietary fiber when it ferments, and has been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic qualities in the gut!

So many studies focus on the gut microbiome of humans, so this new research not only shows the similarities in dogs and humans and their guts, but how we respond to higher fiber and weight loss as well. Dr. Swanson says there’s a need for more research to continue to clarify findings.

Still the research continues to support what we at Bernie’s stand behind too–high quality fiber is beneficial for our dogs, and particularly when we’re looking to help them lose weight! Fiber keeps food moving through your dog’s digestive tract as it should so he can absorb all the nutrients he should, and helps him feel ‘fuller’ while also keeping his microbiome happy and well-fed.

But not all fiber is the same, and often fiber ‘supplements’ or fiber in dog foods is just used for filler. With those fibers, you may see increased gasconstipationdiarrhea and higher-stool volume. But quality fiber–like the Miscanthus grass we use in Perfect Poop–used in effective dosages boosts his immune system and also helps him keep at healthy weight.

And that’s why adding Bernie’s Perfect Poop is the best way to ensure your dog gets quality fiber with every meal.  Combined with pre- and probiotics and digestive enzymes, it’s the perfect supplement to give for better health and vitality and weight management. Good health begins in the gut, and since research continues to connect quality fiber and healthy traits, you can make sure your furry family member is getting what he needs to live his best life with every scoop!

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