What Every Dog Parent Should Know
Sometimes, it’s difficult to figure out what’s going on with your dog and more challenging to know what your dog
because…well, dogs can’t tell us. Take Digestive Enzymes for dogs, for instance. If your dog could talk, he’d probably tell you how much better they make him feel. Since our furry friends can’t tell us, as pet parents we have to depend on our own research and gut instincts to determine if we should (or shouldn’t) give them digestive enzymes.
How Do I Know if I Should Give My Dog Digestive Enzymes?
Digestive enzymes are vital to your dog’s health. They boost his natural digestion process. Digestive enzymes are naturally occurring proteins that help your dog break down his food. They speed up the chemical reactions that help turn the complex nutrients in his food into substances his digestive tract is able to absorb and utilize.
There three primary digestive enzymes present in pets: lipase, protease, and amylase. Lipase breaks down fat molecules. Protease which breaks down proteins such as eggs and meat. Amylase has plays the role of breaking apart carbohydrates which is a tough process for a dog’s system that is complicated by the fact that dog’s only produce a limited amount of it. Cellulase is an enzyme that is beneficial to your dog’s digestion of fiber, plants, and grains but that is not produced naturally in his body. A number of premium canine digestive enzyme products include this enzyme in their formulation.
Saliva and other organs (like his pancreas, liver, and gallbladder) release digestive enzymes that are released into the intestines following a meal. While healthy dogs have systems that properly produce and process digestive enzymes, some don’t. There are a number of canine medical conditions that hinder the natural digestive enzyme process.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, or EPI, is a condition that interferes with the pancreas’ production of enzymes. The issue is common to certain breeds such as German Shepherds but can be found in any dog. Symptoms of the disease include being ravishingly hungry much of the time, having exceptionally stinky diarrhea frequently, and running considerably underweight. A blood test can confirm if your dog has EPI or not. Supplemental digestive enzymes have been proven to be very successful in dramatically helping this condition.
Other digestive problems may be improved by digestive enzymes too like malabsorption disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, and pancreatitis. Just because none of those conditions have been diagnosed in your dog doesn’t mean he doesn’t suffer from them. Many digestive issues come with little or no symptoms. Furthermore, natural supplies of the enzymes decrease as your dog ages.
Some believe there is no point in giving a healthy dog digestive enzymes but many authorities on canine health feel any dog can benefit from them. Most dogs tend to gulp their food down without properly chewing well which can prevent the proper release of an adequate amount of saliva to accompany the food to the intestines. Plus, even the best dog foods and snacks often come up short in providing optimal nutritious meals which may indicate additional digestive enzymes are useful to break the products down. Not only do digestive enzymes help with digestive relief, they also promote health immune systems which supports the fact that even healthy dogs can benefit from digestive enzymes.
The Importance of Choosing Organic Digestive Enzymes
What good is any supplement if it is laden with chemicals and other unwanted ingredients? The difference between organic and non-organic digestive enzymes for dogs is night and day. When a product is certified as being organic, it is deemed to be free from chemicals (such as those used in many fertilizers), GMOs, toxins, and many other harmful substances.
In order to ensure the digestive enzyme you give your dog is not capable of doing more harm than good, be sure to choose a brand that is certified organic.
Digestive Enzymes for Dogs 101
The more you know about digestive enzymes for dogs, the better able you will be to decide if your dog could benefit from them. Here are some important considerations:
Many people think probiotics and digestive enzymes are the same. They are not. Digestive enzymes are molecules that assist the digestive system by breaking down food. Probiotics are live micro-organisms that reside in the gut to help your dog’s digestive process. Prebiotics are healthy carb’s that your dog’s body cannot use so they are sent to the lower area of his digestive tract and serve as food for his gut’s healthy bacteria.
Each of the three aids are vital in your dog’s digestion system. An absence or imbalance of any one of them spells trouble. The saddest thing is unless there are outward symptoms, like diarrhea, you may not even be aware that your dog has an insufficiency. That is why supplemental digestive enzymes and other digestive aids are so imperative to your dog’s health.
What’s in Digestive Enzyme Supplements for Dogs?
Ideally, digestive enzymes for dogs should contain ample amounts of digestive enzymes along with bonus ingredients such as prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins and minerals, and natural flavors. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Some manufacturers throw in fillers and other unwanted ingredients to stretch their profits at the expense of our four-legged fur balls. It is extremely important to conduct extensive research any digestive enzyme supplement (or any other product) you intend to give your dog.
How Much Digestive Enzymes Should I Give My Dog?
Each brand comes with instructions for the precise dosage of digestive enzymes to give your pooch. Many supplements come in powdered form and can be added to wet or dry dog food. Water can be added to the mix if desired but digestive enzymes lose their effectiveness when they reach temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher so never use hot water.
Some come in the form of chews. This method of delivery is great providing your dog will take them. If he has stomach issues that affect his appetite or is picky, he may not take them well.
Initially, you may need to experiment with which is best for your dog, adding the supplement to his food or giving him a chew.
Best Brands of Organic Digestive Enzymes for Dogs
When it comes to what we give our dogs, we are picky on our picks. After all, our pets are totally dependent on us, their pet parents, to make the best decisions possible when it comes to their health and well-being. Here are the organic digestive enzymes for dogs that made our top 10 list:
- Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites: We love that these tasty morsels have natural digestive enzymes. They come is yummy flavors like pumpkin and chicken (in the advanced formula) that dogs are crazy about, thus eliminating all the coaxing that sometimes goes along with giving pups something that’s good for them.
- ProVitalityPro Probiotics for Dogs with Natural Digestive Enzymes: This formulation has a whopping 20 active ingredients that help your dog’s digestion and boosts his immune system.
- Coco and Luna Probiotics and Enzymes: If you are looking for a powder supplement, this brand is one of the best. Loaded with all good ingredients without the bad, this formulation boosts good gut health, aids digestion, and also helps with bloating and gas.
- Nusentia Enzymes for Dogs and Cats: This supplement is a vegetarian-based broad-spectrum supplement that is great for dogs and cats of all ages.
- Houston Enzymes TriEnza: Invented and formulated by an enzyme biochemist with over 30 years of experience, this supplement is an excellent combination of digestive enzymes and other digestive aids. The line contains a number of specialized products to meet the needs of multiple issues.
- Mercola Digestive Enzymes for Pets: Ideal for those who have both dogs and cats, this natural supplement contains a goldmine of beneficial ingredients. Digestive enzymes, mycrocrystaline cellulose, papaya, pineapple stems, betaine hydrochloride, and procine pancreas are some of the powerful ingredients in this high-quality mix.
- JustThrive JustPets: This blend of digestive enzymes and other digestive aids comes in capsule form so you can give it to your dog in a tasty pill pocket or mix it in his food.
- PetHonesty Probiotic Chews: If you are wanting to give your dog a high-quality formulation of digestive enzymes with other beneficial ingredients, like probiotics, this brand is very good. The manufacture of the product is a dog-loving family who have earned the trust of many pet parents over the years.
- Wonder Paws Probiotic: These chews are overflowing with digestive enzymes and a tons of other natural aids that help dogs with a myriad of issues. Dogs tend to love the yummy taste of this brand.
- Wholistic Pet Digest-All: If you’re picky about what you give your dog, you’ll love this product. Oozing with plant-based enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics too, this brand is one you can count on to deliver certified organic products that are second to none.
If only our dogs could talk, we believe they would tell us how much better they feel when they are taking digestive enzymes. We’re pretty sure they would thank us for making proactive decisions about their health too. Dogs can’t talk. But in every tail wag and other tell-tale signs, we believe that they can and they do…in their own special ways.