Digestive enzymes for dogs are becoming increasingly popular.
Because more and more people are now realizing how much these enzymes could benefit their pooch.
Wondering what digestive enzymes actually are, as well as whether or not your dog needs them?
Here is everything you need to know:
What are Digestive Enzymes?
Enzymes in general are tiny molecules made from protein, and they can be found in every single living cell. They play key roles in millions of functions within the body, from metabolism to energy production to detoxification.
When it comes to digestion…
Enzymes are absolutely crucial. Without these, your dog would not be able to break down and absorb nutrients from food.
Your dog makes use of four main digestive enzymes:
- Protease – this helps your pooch to digest proteins
- Lipase – this is for fat digestion
- Amylase – necessary for carbohydrate digestion
- Cellulase – for digesting
Usually, a dog’s body will produce all of these necessary enzymes itself, but everything from pollution to UV rays to smoke can destroy the enzymes in your dog’s body.
Your dog’s food will also contain these enzymes, but if you are feeding a commercial dog food, the high temperatures used to process the food will again destroy the enzymes.
This means that many dogs end up needing a little extra help when it comes to digestion…
When does my dog need digestive enzymes?
What are the symptoms of poor digestion?
- Occasional loose stools
- Occasional constipation
- Undigested food in stools
- Gas and belching
- Bad breath
- Vomiting undigested food a few hours after eating
So long as these issues are not too severe, they can all often be dealt with through the use of digestive enzymes.
How to give your dog digestive enzymes
When it comes to choosing a supplement…
Digestive enzymes will come from one of three sources:
Which digestive enzyme should I give my dog?
Animal-based enzymes are usually the most beneficial, since these are more biologically-suited for a dog. Plant-based enzymes are not as effective in dogs and cats, but are suitable for rabbits and other herbivore pets.
Wondering how much to give?
The supplement you purchase will come with instructions. If you are doubtful, start off with a lower dose, and then slowly work your way up to the recommended amount.
Another way to increase the amount of enzymes your dog is consuming is…
By making dietary changes.
On the other hand, a raw food diet will contain a much higher amount of digestive enzymes, as well as other nutrients.
Think your dog won’t need digestive enzyme supplements because you already feed a raw food diet?
Well, unless your dog’s diet consists mainly of whole prey (otherwise known as eating nose-to-tail), then it is likely that your pooch would still benefit from some additional digestive enzymes.
Are there any dogs that shouldn’t have digestive enzymes?
Yes. If your dog is being treated for a GI ulcer, or has recently undergone surgery in that area, you are best waiting until your pooch has fully recovered before beginning a digestive enzyme supplement.
There are so many different supplements for dogs out there that it can be difficult to know which ones your pooch actually needs.
When it comes to digestive enzymes, these can significantly help to deal with digestive problems, but it is important to remember to only supplement with these if your dog actually needs them.
For further reading, we suggest you check out this article by Dr.Karen Becker.
If you are unsure, it is always worthwhile speaking to your vet before beginning a supplement.
Have digestive enzymes helped your dog?