How to Choose the Best Low Residue Dog Foods
The best low residue dog foods apply their focus to crafting a diet that contains only ingredients that are easy for dogs to digest thus greatly reducing their amount of fecal output. The ideal purpose of this type of food is to create a formula that is full of nutrients that are easily absorbed to provide maximum nutritional benefits to the dog. This naturally translates to smaller stools since the food contains very little waste.
Though low residue dog foods do contain dietary fiber, they focus on soluble fiber which is easier for dogs to break down and utilize effectively. When compared to other types of dog foods, their fiber content may appear as less; however, it is simply concentrated on fiber-rich ingredients that are easy to process.
One of the most common purposes for low residue dog foods is to assist dogs suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. The ingredient profile of these types of diets makes them amenable to helping alleviate both nausea and diarrhea in dogs.
Since dogs suffering from IBD commonly have inflamed digestive tracts, low residue dog foods soothe the digestive system through ingredients that are easy to process and that yield very little output, helping to reduce digestive strain on the dog’s body.
It is always a good idea for owners to assess the quality of their dog’s stool to understand if the food they are receiving is adequate to meet the dog’s needs. Stools that are excessive in size, poorly formed, watery, or extremely odorous indicate that the dog is struggling to properly process its nutrition, and a dietary change may be in order.
In addition to this; if a dog has bowel movements that yield small bits of excrement that are very dense and hard, constipation may be an issue.
Low residue dog food has been specifically formulated with the intent of providing relief on overtaxed bowels and to restore proper stool quality. It ideally should help reduce the size of bowel movements and eliminate any overreaching odors.
One of the most critical elements of any low residue dog food is its emphasis on ingredients that are easy to digest. The overall focus is developing a formula comprised of ingredients that are 85-90% digestible. Other important hallmarks of low residue diets include moderate amounts of fat and a low fiber content.
Dogs gain many health benefits from transitioning to a low residue diet. Among the greatest advantages a low residue dog food may include:
- Support for proper pancreas function
- Alleviates diarrhea or constipation
- Improves digestion
- Promotes colon health
- Eliminates excess gas
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Low Residue Dog Foods
Overeating can be a major cause of gastrointestinal distress in dogs and can also lead to obesity. To prevent this, it is very important for dog owners to determine precisely how much of the best low residue food to feed their dog.
The bag of food selected will offer suggested serving sizes. This is the recommended place to start. Use this as a baseline measure, increasing or decreasing amounts according to the dog’s weight and appetite until the correct portion size is found.
For adult dogs, it is best to select a dog food that contains a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. Puppies require a diet that is comprised of 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat. It is also important to choose a food that has only moderate amounts of fat and that is relatively low in fiber in order to soothe inflamed digestive tracts and improve the dog’s stool quality.
Dietary Requirements for Low Residue Dog Foods
Of primary importance in any of the best low residue dog foods is the diet’s emphasis on ingredients that are easy for dogs to digest well. The formula should be comprised of foods that make the overall diet 85-90% digestible.
For dogs suffering from digestive issues, high protein content from exceptional quality meats is critical. Novel protein sources are an excellent choice as they are unlikely to trigger skin or stomach sensitivities in dogs whose digestive problems may be related to allergies.
A meat-based protein should be the first ingredient in any low residue dog food of good quality. Meat meals are acceptable, but by-products and plant-based proteins may inflame an irritated digestive tract further, and thus, should be avoided.
Healthy fats are very important to any well-balanced diet for dogs. These are best derived from animal origins such as chicken fat or oily fish. However, the fat content should be moderate at best as too much fat can interfere with good stool quality. As a general rule of thumb, between 6-15% is the preferred amount.
Any carbohydrates included in a low residue food should be selected for their low fiber and antioxidant rich profile. Though gluten-free items are recommended, whole grains are also acceptable so long as they are easy to process and soothing to the digestive tract.
Supplements are always an excellent idea to boost the nutritional benefits dogs receive from their diet. Among the best to consider are prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives should be avoided as they are often culprits in poor digestion and even the development of sensitivities to certain foods.
For dogs with digestive issues, it is recommended that owners choose a dry kibble over wet food as it offers higher nutritional content.
Things to Look for in the Best Low Residue Dog Foods
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a low residue dog food:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list (in non-veterinary diets)
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Contains healthy amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health
- Contains low fiber, easily digestible ingredients