Beet Pulp for Dogs
Dried beet pulp is used as a beneficial addition to a range of animal foods. It is a by-product of beet processing that is typically included in animal feed as it is calorically dense, low in sugar, and a good substitute for other fibre-rich foods like oats or other grains. In particular, it is an important aspect of many horses’ diets, and is used in other types of farm animal feed. Some dog owners and pet food makers have begun including beet pulp into their dog’s food as well. While beet pulp is known for being high in fibre and being gentle on the stomach, its use in foods for smaller pets like cats and dogs is somewhat controversial.
Before including beet pulp in your pet’s diet, it’s important to look at the evidence. If you are wondering whether beet pulp is good or bad for your dog, read on.
What is Dried Beet Pulp?
Dried beet pulp is made from the fibrous residue of processed sugar beets. It is a by-product that is removed in the process of extracting sugar from the beet, meaning the pulp is very low in sugar. Beet pulp is used widely in horse and livestock feeds as an alternative to other fibrous foods like grain or hay, and is excellent for horses with dental and digestive sensitivities.
In recent years, some manufacturers of pet foods, including Hypro Premium, have started using beet pulp for dog food products. Sugar beets are typically grown in cooler or temperate regions. While some farmers in Australia grow sugar beets, they are more commonly grown and used to produce sugar in many European countries.
While beet pulp is derived from sugar beets, it is not laden with sugars and starches. Most of the sugar is removed during processing, leaving only the fibrous pulp behind. Beet pulp contains as much sugar as other root vegetables like carrots, which can be an issue for dogs or other pets with glucose intolerances or diabetes if beet pulp becomes a main part of their diets. Aside from the natural sugar, beet pulp contains plenty of insoluble fibre, which helps keep your pet’s bowel movements regular. The fibre in beet pulp is unique, as it not only helps maintain your pup’s digestive health, but is also a great source of energy. Contrary to urban legend, beet pulp cannot turn your dog’s coat red – while the inside of some beets might be red in colour, the pulp is not.
What are the Benefits of Beet Pulp?
Beet pulp is low in sugar, yet rich in dietary fibre, which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Fibre, often referred to as roughage or bulk, is essentially indigestible plant material that cannot be broken down inside your pet’s small intestine, and cannot, therefore, be absorbed into the body. While this may not sound like a very beneficial contribution, it is actually beneficial and even essential for healthy digestion.
Fibre that is not broken down, called insoluble fibre, ensures that your pet’s stools are firm and regular by helping food move through the digestive tract. It is an excellent source of roughage, which contributes to colon health by helping to repair damaged cells in the colon and reducing stress on the colon walls.
Sugar beet fibre also provides a source of energy. Without fibre to do this essential job, your pet can end up with health problems like diarrhoea or unhealthy weight gain. Fibre can also reduce your pet’s risk of developing chronic illnesses like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and digestive system cancers.
In dog food, beet pulp is a moderately fermentable fibre, meaning it will absorb excess water and remove excess waste from a dog’s intestinal tract, while also providing a source of energy. While all sources of fibre contribute to digestive health, absorbing more water and acting as a source of energy are unique features of moderately fermentable fibre sources like beet pulp. This is a bonus for pets that are prone to diarrhoea as it may help to improve digestion and gut health.
Is Beet Pulp Good For Dogs?
Like everything, beet pulp should be fed in moderation. The reason for this is that, while it serves as an excellent source of natural fibre, if too much is added to your pup’s food it will not provide your dog with all the essential nutrients they need to be healthy.
Beet pulp is sometimes used as a filler in low quality pet foods, so if you feed your dog certain brands of pet food that use too much beet pulp, your dog could miss out on the fats and protein that are necessary for overall good health. Also, some dogs with dysfunctional gastrointestinal systems may have a negative reaction to excess fibre in their diet. If fed in moderation, dried beet pulp is a healthy source of fibre that offers several digestive health benefits to dogs.
Some have cited the levels of taurine in beet pulp as a cause for concern. Taurine is an amino acid that is found in meat, and is essential for the heart and eye health of dogs. Taurine deficiency can cause dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which can be fatal. Beet pulp, like many other fibrous grains and vegetables, is naturally low in taurine. Feeding your dog on an all grain diet can put them at risk of developing DCM. However, if you are combining fibre sources like beet pulp with taurine rich foods, then the risk of your pet developing DCM is greatly reduced.
Beet Pulp in Hypro Premium Dog Food
Dried beet pulp is not commonly used in commercially prepared dog foods – however, a few premium dog food brands, such as Hypro Premium, have noted the benefits and have started to include it under strict guidance from nutritionists. Hypro Premium grain-free dry dog food is made from at least 98% Australian ingredients and manufactured by an Australian family owned and operated business. Our specially formulated dog foods contain dried beet pulp to aid in healthy digestion, prevent chronic illness, and boost your dog’s energy levels and immune system. Our foods also contain a range of other delicious ingredients to give your pup perfectly balanced meals for every meal.