Thanks to technological advances, pet parents have the option to conveniently feed their pups pre-packaged food rather than having them hunt for meals themselves. While this makes life easier for us and our domesticated friends, there’s one small issue: prepared foods don’t contain all the digestive enzymes that they need for a balanced and healthy gut.
What are digestive enzymes?
According to Dr. Karen Becker in an article by Mercola Healthy Pets, these are the four major digestive enzymes:
- Protease – helps break down and digest protein
- Amylase – helps break down and digest carbohydrates and starches
- Lipase – helps break down and digest fat
- Cellulase – helps break down fiber
Where do digestive enzymes come from?
Our dogs’ bodies produce some of these enzymes naturally, but it’s not enough; wolves, their ancestors, get them from the fresh prey that they killed and consumed. Since most of the digestion-boosting “good stuff” is in an animal’s entrails, most domesticated dogs, even raw-fed ones, don’t have as many of these enzymes as they truly need; any enzymes that may have been in our pets’ packaged foods have most likely killed during processing. What’s more, our environments take their toll on our pups’ health, with things like medicines, antibiotics, pollution, stress — and more — killing the delicate enzymes that they do have in their systems.
Although feeding your pup a species-appropriate diet may be the best way for your pooch to take in these enzymes, in today’s day and age, it’s not always possible. Dogs Naturally Magazine also explains that certain foods, like melon, raw honey, raw dairy, papaya flesh, (plain) kefir, and fermented, dog-safe vegetables can do the job. (Consult with a holistic veterinary before introducing these items into your dog’s diet.)
RELATED: Which digestive enzyme supplement does iHeartDogs recommend?
But if all this seems daunting, or nearly impossible, the simplest way for pet parents to help their pups replenish these enzymes is to add a digestive supplement to their diet. After all, you can feed your dog the healthiest food available, but what good does it do if the nutrients aren’t being absorbed properly?
What are the signs that my dog might be lacking in digestive enzymes?
Your four-legged friend may be showing signs that she’s lacking digestive enzymes, but the symptoms are so subtle, or they just seem like the “norm,” that you haven’t even realized it.
In this video, Dr. Becker explains some common signs that your dog’s gut could use an extra does of digestion enzymes:
- Acid reflux
- Abdominal pain / cramping
- Tummy gurgling
- Vomiting up undigested food
- Foul smelling stool
- Undigested food in stool
- Undigested fat in stool (light tan, greasy, foul smelling)
(Watch the entire video here:)
What are the benefits of supplementing my dog’s diet with digestive enzymes?
Now, on to the good news. By simply adding a digestive supplement to your dog’s diet, you can help them absorb the nutrients you’re feeding them, which leads to a host of wonderful health benefits! (As always, consult with your vet before changing anything in your dog’s diet.)
Dogs Naturally Magazine explains that giving your companion a boost of digestive enzymes to help with nutrient absorption can:
- Improve immune function
- Reduce inflammation
- Remove toxins and waste from the body
- Regulation hormones
- Slow the rate of aging.
If you could help improve your dog’s overall health with a simple change in her daily routine, wouldn’t you? You may carefully feed your beloved dog the best food on the market — or, maybe you make it yourself! — but it’s not fully benefitting her if she isn’t absorbing nutrients the way that she should. Talk with your vet about adding a digestive enzyme supplement to your pup’s daily routine to see if it can help her live a longer, healthier life!
An Easy Solution for Getting Your Dog the Digestive Enzymes They Need (+ Probiotics too)
If you’d like to learn more about digestive enzymes, and the product that iHeartDogs recommends, click here.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.
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