Clicky

Beet Pulp in Dog Food

If you’re a new dog owner doing research on dog food ingredients, you may be wondering what beet pulp is. Beet pulp is a byproduct of the sugar beet industry that is high in fiber and nutrients. It is used as an ingredient in many commercial dog foods. Here we will discuss the nutritional profile, benefits and drawbacks of using beet pulp as a dog food ingredient.

What is beet and beet pulp?

Beet is a root vegetable called beetroot that is high in sugar and nutrients. What’s left after sugar beets are refined is fibrous beet pulp that is commonly used as livestock and pet food.

Beet pulp(Beta vulgaris var. altissima)  is a dried and ground-up form of the beet plant that is used as an ingredient in many commercial dog foods.

The main reason beet pulp is used in dog food is that it is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Beet pulp contains both soluble and insoluble fibers which can promote a healthy digestive system. Additionally, beet pulp is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium.

So is beetroot powder better?

Beetroot powder is a popular supplement for humans and dogs alike. It is made from dried and ground-up beetroots and is rich in nutrients. Many people believe that beetroot powder is more beneficial than beet pulp because it contains more vitamins and minerals. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

It is an important source of fiber:

The main reason beet pulp is used in dog food is that it is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Beet pulp contains both soluble and insoluble fibers which can promote a healthy digestive system.

Soluble fiber can help to regulate the digestion process and can also help to control blood sugar levels. Additionally, soluble fiber can bind to toxins and cholesterol in the gut and help to remove them from the body.

Insoluble fiber is important for promoting regularity and preventing constipation. Additionally, insoluble fiber can help to keep the colon healthy by adding bulk to the stool and promoting peristalsis (the natural movement of the intestines).

Beet pulp is also a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Nutritional Profile of Beet pulps:

  1. Low protein content (8%): Beet pulp is a by-product of the sugar beet industry and as such, it is not a good source of protein containing about 7% to 8% of protein on a dry-matter-basis.
  2. High fiber content (11.1%): As we mentioned before, the main reason beet pulp is used in dog food is its high dietary fiber content. Beet pulp contains both soluble and insoluble fibers which can promote a healthy digestive system.
  3. Low-fat content (1.3%): Beet pulp is a relatively low-fat ingredient and is unlikely to contribute to weight gain or obesity in dogs.
  4. High carbohydrate content: Beet pulp is mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of protein and fat. The unextracted carbs contribute the majority of the calories in beet pulp.
  5. Essential vitamins: Beet pulp is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium.
  6. Calcium:(0.85 %)
  7. Phosphorus (0.1%):

Benefits of beet pulp for dogs

There are many benefits of feeding your dog food that contains beet pulp. Beet pulp can help to promote a healthy digestive system, control blood sugar levels, and bind to toxins and cholesterol in the gut. Additionally, beet pulp is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals.

Excellent source of roughage:

Beet pulp is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is important for promoting a healthy digestive system. Soluble fiber can help to regulate the digestion process and can also help to control blood sugar levels. Additionally, soluble fiber can bind to toxins and cholesterol in the gut and help to remove them from the body. Insoluble fiber is important for promoting regularity and preventing constipation. Additionally, insoluble fiber can help to keep the colon healthy by adding bulk to the stool and promoting peristalsis (the natural movement of the intestines).

Helps control blood sugar levels:

Beet pulp can help to control blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This is due to the soluble fiber content of beet pulp.

Binds to toxins and cholesterol in the gut:

Beet pulp can help to bind to toxins and cholesterol in the gut and remove them from the body. This is due to the soluble fiber content of beet pulp.

Good source of essential vitamins and minerals:

Beet pulp is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Higher energy than alfalfa, slightly lower than oats:

Dogs need energy to live and perform their daily activities. The calories in beet pulp come from the carbohydrates it contains. Beet pulp is a relatively high-carbohydrate ingredient and is a good source of energy for dogs.

Low potassium:

Beet pulp is a low potassium ingredient, which is important for dogs with kidney disease.

Drawbacks of beet pulp for dogs

A diet primarily consisting of sugar beet pulp might cause serious problems in dogs. Sugar-beet pulp contains around 50% non-fermentable and 20% fermentable fibers. The fermentable fibers are resistant to the dog’s digestive enzymes, but they are broken down by bacteria in the lower intestinal tract. Dry dog food with added beet pulp usually have less than 5%.

Why is beet pulp bad for your pup?

 It impairs your dog’s digestion:

A diet primarily consisting of sugar beet pulp might cause serious problems in dogs. The fermentable fibers are resistant to the dog’s digestive enzymes and a study found that an average inclusion rate of 3.1% beet pulp raised daily feces output by 14%. Dietary beet pulp increased the rate at which alimentary tract contents moved toward the anus, as well as the number of defecations per day.

The undigested nonfermentable fiber passes through a dog’s intestines, giving bulk to aid in the removal of waste. Cellulose is an example of a nonfermentable fiber

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM):

Another reason why we do not recommend beet pulp is that it has been linked to DCM in dogs. DCM is a serious heart condition that can lead to death and is caused by decreased taurine levels. A study found that dogs who were fed diets containing beet pulp were more likely to develop DCM than dogs who were not fed diets containing beet pulp.

Beet pulp is poorly digestible:

Beet pulp is also a poor source of nutrients for your dog. A study found that beet pulp is only about 40% digestible. This means that your dog will not be able to absorb all of the nutrients from the beet pulp and will likely excrete most of it in his stool.

Not good for dogs with sensitive stomachs:

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, beet pulp may not be the best ingredient for him. Many dogs are allergic to beet pulp or develop gastrointestinal upset when they eat it. If your dog is prone to gas, bloating, or diarrhea, you should avoid feeding him food that contains beet pulp.

Increase gut function:

Studies have found that beet pulp increased the rate of gut functions. The mean gastrointestinal retention time of chromium-mordanted fiber was reduced from 25 to 21 hours in dogs fed diets containing beet pulp (2, 6, 17, 18). Digestion rate may be decreased as a result of faster intestinal transit. Instead of defecating twice every day, dogs fed beet pulp had to evacuate three times per day.

Weight gain:

A high-carbohydrate diet can lead to weight gain in dogs. If your dog is overweight or obese, you should avoid feeding him food that contains beet pulp.

Alternatives to beet pulp

There are many alternative ingredients that can be used in place of beet pulp. Some of these include:

-Pumpkin

– sweet potato

– carrots

– green beans

– spinach

– kale

– chia seeds

– flaxseeds

– psyllium husk

– oat bran

– rice bran

– barley bran

– wheat bran

All of these ingredients are more nutrient-dense than beet pulp and are better for your dog’s health.

How much beet pulp should you feed your dog?

The general rule of thumb is to feed your dog no more than 5% beet pulp. This means that if you are feeding your dog a cup of food per day, no more than 1/4 cup of that food should be beet pulp.

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.standleeforage.com/files/nutritional-webinars/Beet+Pulp11.15.2017+FINAL.PDF
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26589793_Nutritional_Value_of_Alfalfa_Varieties_for_Ruminants_with_Emphasis_on_Different_Measuring_Methods_A_Review
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303812927_The_Nutritive_Value_of_Sugar_Beet_Pulp-substituted_Corn_for_Barki_Lambs
  4. https://www.mcness.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Beet-Pulp-Pellets-Nutrient-Profile-Sheet-US-C18.pdf
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/355406731_Dried_Sugar_Beet_Pulp_as_a_Source_of_Soluble_Dietary_Fibre_in_Equine_Nutrition_A_Review