The world of pet food is drastically conflicting, and there can be a lot of controversy about what to feed your dog, but no one talks enough about the process of how it's made and how that can affect your pet. While the pet food processing industry must follow standards, those guidelines are sadly only met at a minimum with most foods.
Our pets, dogs, and cats alike, naturally would get their digestive enzymes from their food. Even the fur that their wild ancestors ate contained some of these essential enzymes. Now that our pets don't have to hunt for their own food, we as their caretakers have crafted a synthetic diet for them.
While pet foods on the market contain some essential nutrients, the high heat during the cooking process kills off the essential enzymes in carb-heavy kibble. Our pets cannot naturally produce enough to maintain those diets, which can lead to an overworked pancreas and other health issues.
What are digestive enzymes?
Enzymes in Your Pet's Diet
"For a food to maintain its natural enzymes, it must be uncooked and unpasteurized, non-irradiated, and untreated with any source of heat. To be frank, today's commercial pet foods lack healthy natural enzymes. In essence, the food is dead, over-processed and in-organic.
Production of both canned food and dried kibble require very high temperatures, which destroy any live enzymes present in the food. If the manufacturer adds enzymes, they often break down when exposed to air, light, and the processing needed for the food's long shelf life. Additionally, pet food processing can cause food nutrients to become chemically trapped, which can cause them to pass through your pet's digestive system unutilized. Enzymes are needed to help unlock these food nutrients and aid in digestion."
Dr. Karen Becker, DVM
The dry kibble that we have been feeding our pets for years provides nutrition to sustain life, but it doesn't provide full, balanced nutrition for your pet to thrive and live their best life.
Enzymes are most commonly found in fresh food, and some can only be found in particular parts of the animals, like fur, bone, and soft tissue organs. Modern processing procedures easily destroy those delicate enzymes, and chemicals used in processing can strip the food's benefits. Herbicides, colors, and added preservatives only further the breakdown, causing deficiencies in the final product.
This is why feeding fresh food is better for your pet, yet it's not the only answer. It all goes back to the way the food is processed. Even fresh foods might be stripped of their enzymes in exchange for preservatives. That's why supplements are essential for your pet to live their best life.
Types of Enzymes
Metabolic Enzymes are defined as a class of enzymes that regulate metabolic pathways in the formation of energy. These enzymes are essential for new cell growth and the maintenance of already existing cells. Some of these enzymes include (but are not limited to) glucose, lipid, and amino acid metabolisms.
Digestive enzymes are the more commonly thought of enzyme. These are gastrointestinal enzymes that help to break down your pet's food. They are produced by the pancreas and are essential in your pets' diet.
The four basic classes of digestive enzymes are:
- Amylase - aids to break down and digest carbohydrates
- Cellulase - breaks down the fiber in food
- Lipase - breaks down and aids in the digestion of fats
- Protease - breaks down proteins in meat and digest them
Why you should give your dog digestive enzymes
Adding enzyme supplements to your pet's diet means that their bodies don't have to over-manufacture their own metabolic enzymes, putting less strain on their bodies. By boosting their supply of enzymes allows for:
- New cell growth support.
- Supports immune function
- Supports complete digestion
- Cleanses tissues at a cellular level
Some other benefits of adding extra enzymes to your dog's current diet include improving digestion problems like gas, bloating, and constipation, as well as better absorption of vitamins and minerals. Some dogs have seen a reduction of food sensitivities and fewer flare up's of skin irritations. It can even help reduce excessive shedding.
Long term benefits of adding the extra enzymes include joint health improvement and better mobility. Improved respiratory well-being. Healthy teeth and gums. The lack of excessive strain on your pet's body also gives them an overall better quality of life and can extend their good health even into their senior years.
Supplementing with Enzymes
While some supplements can help, not all are made the same. Pet products are under different regulations than human-grade supplements. The manufacturing and production process is self-regulated. When you supplement your pet, you don't want to put just anything into their body.
Flora BiologicVET is National Animal Supplement Certified (NASC) in the USA and Canada Veterinary Health Product (VHP) regulated. That means their raw material suppliers follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
When should I give my dog enzymes?
It sounds like a broken record, but it can't be stressed enough that, in general, dog food isn't optimized for your pets’ best health. Your dry brand is a great start, but it would be like a human eating boiled chicken and rice for their entire life. Would they survive? Most likely. Would they be happy? Most likely not. Would their bodies thrive? That's a strong no.
There are some cases where a dog needs a supplement, as their very life depends on it. Dogs with pancreatitis - and inflammation of the pancreas - will need the addition of the supplements because their biological system is already at a disadvantage. Other diseases like EPI or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency damages the pancreas to the point that it can no longer produce any enzymes and a supplement is needed.
Outside of cases of illness where enzymes are not being made, every pet out there could benefit from a quality supplement. And while quality enzymes add to the health of your pet, if you suspect a problem with your pet's digestion, we recommend talking with your vet. Serious conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal lymphoma, or insulinoma are not in conjunction with digestive enzymes, and a supplement will not fix the problem.
Natural Sources of Enzymes
Flora believes that enzymes from fresh food and supplements are essential to your pet's health. Since the beginning of Flora, the company believed in this and developed Flora Udo's Choice Enzymes and probiotics back in the early 2000s.
Some natural fresh options of digestive enzymes are:
- Chicory root
- Raw honey/Bee pollen
- Raw dairy products
- Coconut water
Probiotic for your pets
What are probiotics
Considered to be "good" or "helpful" bacteria, these live microorganisms are bacteria and yeasts found in the digestive system. These bacteria are promoted with claims that they provide gut health benefits.
Caution: Some probiotic species require refrigeration to survive. Be sure to follow the label for storage recommendations.
- Improves aid digestion
- Aids in the immune system by preventing tissue damage from excessive responses
- Provides gastrointestinal benefits by producing short-chain fatty acids, which inhibit harmful bacteria
- Aids in the treatment of diarrhea, irritable bowel, and intestinal inflammation
- Helps prevent urinary tract infections
- Reduces allergic reactions due to digestion inflammation
Just like with humans, adding probiotics to your pets' supplements can really go a long way into excelling their quality of life. However, while dogs can take human-grade probiotics, they won't have the same effect as pet standard probiotics.
In fact most probiotics at all won’t work due to the high acid content in your pets stomach. Naturally an animal's stomach is built to handle raw food and bone and is able to break down most bacteria. Including most probiotics. If you ask most manufactures at what pH will the strains survive, most don’t know the answer.
The strain Biologic Vet uses is from a natural grass that can survive for longer at the higher acidic levels of your pets stomach.
Some natural pet safe sources of probiotics are:
- Other fermented vegetables
These sources of probiotics tend to hold up in the lower pH levels that are in your pets stomach. In the wild a carnivore's body can break down fresh meat in 8-12 hours. Herbivores on the other hand can take 3-5 days to break down vegetable material. So the slowed down process can benefit the probiotic bacteria.
Are probiotics the same as enzymes
While both probiotics and enzymes aid in the digestive process, they are not the same. A digestive enzyme helps break down the foods that your pet eats, whereas a probiotic is a living microorganism. Both of these play a part in overall health, both mentally and physically.
The two, however, do complement one another, and you will sometimes see the two paired together in supplements. They work well together and help optimize your pet's health.
The other main difference between the two is that your pet's body doesn't produce its own probiotics, making the addition of the microorganisms a great health benefit.
Are the benefits worth it?
A long, happy life for your pet is always worth it. That's why it matters what supplements that you put into their bodies. Animals have different ways to show us their health, so it’s important to take a proactive measure to give them the best quality of life.
We highly recommend a high-quality supplement. Sometimes they might cost more, but the quality more than makes up for it, and dosing quality product normally means needing less.
How do I give my pet everything they need?
There are many options out there, and some are always better than none, so do what you can. BiologicVET is proud to provide your dogs and cats with the best that nutritional science and nature’s wholeness has to offer. Flora emphasize quality, so that makes dosing your pet easier than ever. They are safe for dogs and cats of any age and can help keep them in peak condition. With BioFIBRE for optimal absorption to help maintain a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system. Their no-pill formula makes BioVITES the easy choice for optimal pet health.
Is your pet ready to live their best life? Buy Flora BioVITES.