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Chicory is a plant with bright blue flowers that grows wild across Europe and North America. Various forms are cultivated for their leaves or their buds but the form most often used in dog food is grown for its large tuberous roots.
Chicory root is rich in simple sugars and the polysaccharide inulin. Studies suggest that inulin can have a beneficial effect on the gut's 'good bacteria' which is making it increasingly popular as a prebiotic and as a source of soluble dietary fibre. Inulin is also fairly sweet making it a popular natural dog food flavour enhancer.
Inulin is often extracted from the chicory root and may therefore be listed as chicory extract, chicory root extract or occasionally as chicory syrup.
It has also been suggested that some of the oils naturally found in chicory can help to eliminate a dog's intestinal worms.