Are You Providing Your Pet With the Right Digestive Help?

No matter what type of food you feed, your pet can only be as healthy as what she can digest. While enzymes can help, they aren’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. For the best results, you must match them to your pet’s diet.

  • An enzyme product should be selected based on diet. Diets high in carbohydrates – like highly processed kibble – require more carb-digesting enzymes, while meat-based diets with few to no carbohydrates require more fat- and protein-digesting enzymes.
  • Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes for Kibble Diet provides additional enzymes for digesting carbs and starches, like Alpha-amylase, Cellulose and Xylanase, as well as lower levels of Pancreatin for pets with sensitive stomachs.
  • Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes for Meat Based Diet contains a higher concentration of fat- and protein-digesting enzymes such as Trypsin and Pancreatin, which are more suited to a meat-based, fresh food diet.

Without enzymes, digestion simply can’t happen.

When your cat or dog eats a meal, the enzymes needed for digestion come from two sources – your pet’s body and the food itself.

Even though your pet’s body makes some of the needed enzymes, it also relies on naturally occurring enzymes in food for optimal digestion.

Once food enters your pet’s mouth, various enzymes work together to break it down into smaller units so they can be absorbed. Four different types aid in the process:

  1. Protease breaks down long protein chains into digestible amino acids.

  2. Amylase breaks down carbohydrates and starches into simple sugars for the body to use as fuel but is only produced in small amounts in dogs and cats.

  3. Lipase breaks down fats into free fatty acids so they can pass through the intestinal wall.

  4. Cellulase, an enzyme not naturally produced by cats and dogs, breaks down the fibers in fruits and vegetables, including grains, to release the nutrients stored inside the cell walls.

These enzymes help unlock vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other important nutrients in the food so your pet’s body can absorb and assimilate them.

Properly absorbed nutrients benefit your pet in multiple ways – from feeling more satisfied after meals to having increased energy.

However, enzymes play a much larger role than just aiding digestion. Found in every living cell, these tiny protein molecules are a vital force of life throughout your pet’s body.

Dog and Cat

What Can Happen If Your Pet Runs Low on Enzymes?

Digestive enzymes are produced mostly in your pet’s pancreas and are released into his duodenum to help digest food coming from the stomach. Your pet’s intestines can also secrete amylase and other digestive enzymes.

Because the digestion of food is a high priority task for survival, your pet’s body will do almost anything to provide the enzymes needed for that important function. If her food contains few of its own enzymes, her pancreas must work harder to supply more.

Many holistic veterinarians recognize that a lack of enzymes may be a major factor in less-than-optimal health.

Too few enzymes for digestion can affect your pet’s regularity and lead to occasional bloating and gas.

A lack of digestive enzymes may also result in incomplete digestion, allowing partially digested food particles to enter her bloodstream directly from her large intestine. When this happens, less-than-optimal health may result.

When your pet’s diet contains sufficient enzymes to digest the food, there is sufficient nutrient digestion, assimilation and absorption, and less digestive and pancreatic stress.

Who Can Benefit Most From Digestive Enzymes?

Dogs and cats of all ages may benefit from supplemental digestive enzymes, especially if they have any type of pancreatic or gastrointestinal issue.

Plus, certain breeds of dogs don’t naturally produce enough digestive enzymes, which can leave their bodies in short supply.

As your pet ages, his body’s production of enzymes declines. So, older pets can often benefit from the addition of digestive enzymes.

Sometimes, you’ll notice physical clues that your pet may be low in enzymes, and could benefit from more. These signs include:

  • Occasional abdominal discomfort, gas, bad breath or vomiting.
  • Irregularity.
  • Minor food sensitivities.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Itchy and irritated skin.

Some conventional veterinarians insist that supplemental digestive enzymes aren’t needed because pets, and dogs in particular, can adapt to eating high-carb diets without them.

Here’s why I disagree…

While other species of mammals produce salivary amylase, dogs and cats don’t, so a dog’s or cat’s pancreas must produce large amounts of amylase to deal with the refined and heat-processed starch, cellulose and carbohydrates, something it's not designed to do.

Research shows substances called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) are produced when starch in foods are high-heat processed. In humans, AGEs have been shown to have an adverse effect on the pancreas.

The pancreas serves many important roles in the body, including the production and secretion of digestive enzymes. When the pancreas is adversely affected, it can compromise this vital process, so supplementation can be incredibly beneficial for animals eating highly processed, carb-based pet food.

Supplemental enzymes can help take the load off your pet's body to produce enzymes as well as promote optimal health and cellular function throughout her body.

So, here’s what we need to ask… Is your pet’s diet supplying the enzymes he needs for optimal digestion?

Raw dog food

Does Your Pet’s Diet Provide Adequate Enzymes?

Because dogs and cats have evolved through eating raw foods, their bodies aren’t naturally adapted to producing massive amounts of enzymes – the amounts needed to adequately digest cooked and processed foods.

So, in an ideal situation, the food you feed your pet would be teeming with enzymes, just waiting to aid in the digestive process.

While raw, fresh food – sourced from plant or animal – usually contains the proper types of enzymes in the right proportions to help with digestion, foods like kibble and canned food do not.

If your pet consumes mostly processed or cooked food, she likely receives few or no enzymes. Why is that?

Enzymes are fragile and easily destroyed or denatured by temperatures starting at around 104º F. The ingredients in canned food and kibble are repeatedly exposed to very high temperatures during processing, effectively killing off the naturally occurring enzymes found in the unprocessed, raw materials.

Studies suggest that microwaving pet food may destroy the enzymes, so it’s best not to warm your pet’s food in the microwave.

Pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, additives, artificial colorings and even flavor enhancers – all commonly found in processed foods – can also destroy the natural enzymes in the food.

For a food to maintain its natural enzymes, it must be uncooked and unpasteurized, non-irradiated and untreated with any source of heat.

Even if the manufacturer claims to add enzymes, they often break down when exposed to air, light and the processing needed to maintain shelf life.

The processing of pet food may also chemically “trap” food nutrients, and cause them to pass through your pet's digestive system unutilized. Enzymes are needed to help unlock these food nutrients and aid in digestion.

As we’ve seen, when enzymes aren’t present in the food in adequate amounts, your pet’s body must produce them.

Your pet's pancreas can produce protease, amylase and lipase but usually not enough to completely digest a plate of processed food.

Pottenger’s Cats Prove Enzymes Promote Optimal Health

About a half century ago, Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., a California physician, studied the effects of heat-treated, cooked diets on the health of cats.

During his ten-year study with more than 900 cats, Dr. Pottenger discovered that feeding raw meat and raw, unpasteurized milk resulted in optimal health, including optimal bone structure and density, shiny fur and successful reproduction.

When groups of cats received cooked meat and pasteurized milk instead of raw foods, they did not show the same signs of vibrant health.

Instead, the groups receiving cooked foods exhibited these general traits:

  • Less-than-optimal physical function and reproductive health, worsening with each generation
  • Less-than-optimal bone health
  • Less-than-optimal thyroid function
  • Adverse personality and behavioral changes

Why such pronounced changes in those animals receiving heat-treated foods?

Dr. Pottenger attributed these negative changes, at least partially, to the absence of naturally occurring enzymes in the cooked diets.

Avoid This Common Mistake When Providing Enzymes

I believe enzymes are one of the best-kept secrets for helping your pet stay healthy.

By adding in supplemental digestive enzymes, you can assure your pet is getting all the enzymes necessary to thoroughly break down and assimilate her food – and even other supplements – which can reduce digestive stress and optimize nutrient utilization.

However, when it comes to digestive enzyme supplements, it’s a mistake to think that “one size fits all,” or one digestive enzyme product works for every type of pet food.

What you feed your pet should dictate what type of enzymes he needs. In other words, enzymes should match the diet.

For highly processed diets like kibble that are also high in starches and carbohydrates (including rice, ancient grains, potatoes and legumes), your pet needs a digestive enzyme with plenty of the right enzymes that can break down and digest carbs and starches, like amylase, cellulase and xylanase.

Giving a pet that’s eating a diet high in carbs or starch an enzyme that helps break down fats isn’t going to translate into better digestive health. So, it’s vitally important to match the right enzyme formula to what you’re feeding.

If your dog or cat eats a meat-based, fresh food diet, either raw or cooked, she needs more enzymes to help break down and digest fats and proteins, including lipase, protease and trypsin.

While raw and fresh foods naturally supply more digestive enzymes than processed kibble and canned food, many animals consuming raw and fresh foods can still benefit from enzymes. Whether you feed your pet a healthy homemade or frozen species-specific diet, a canned or kibble diet, she will likely benefit from supplemental enzymes.

Changing your pet’s diet is easy with this system. Simply match the food you want to feed with the appropriate enzymes.

Meat dog food

How to Choose the Right Enzymes for Your Pet

So, how do you decide which digestive enzyme formula is best for your pet?

The carbohydrate content of the food you are feeding will determine what type of supplemental enzymes is best suited to your cat or dog. If the carb content is 20% or greater, choose an enzyme supplement designed for carb-based diets (kibble).

You’ll need to calculate the carbohydrate content yourself, as you’re not likely to find it on product labels. Because so many pet foods – even grain-free diets – are high in sugar (in the form of carbohydrates), manufacturers tend to hide this information.

It’s a simple calculation, so grab your calculator and follow these two steps:

  1. Add up the totals for protein, fat, moisture and ash (estimate 6% for ash if it is not listed).

  2. Subtract that total from 100 to get the percentage of carbs (or sugar) in your pet’s food.

If the food you are feeding has more than 20% carbs, use a digestive enzyme that is specifically formulated to process carbs. If the percent is less than 20%, use an enzyme formulated to process protein and fat.

Matching the right set of enzymes to what your pet is eating will go a long way to helping your pet not only survive, but thrive.

Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes for Kibble Diet – Perfect for Kibble Diets or Pets With Sensitive Stomachs

Digestive Enzymes

For highly processed diets like kibble that are high in starches and carbohydrates, your pet needs a specialized digestive enzyme formula that can handle a heavy carb load.

The same is true for pets eating fresh diets that contain rice, ancient grains, potatoes or legumes.

An abundant supply of the right enzymes, such as amylase, cellulase and xylanase, can break down and digest carbs and starches.

Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes for Kibble Diet contains the following enzymes:

  • Papain (from Papaya) is a natural plant-sourced enzyme that works together with bromelain to digest protein.
  • Alpha-Amylase (from Porcine Pancreas) helps split and break down long-chain carbohydrates, including starch and glycogen (the energy-storage molecule in animal tissue) for digestion in the small intestine.
  • Protease (from Porcine Pancreas) helps break down proteins into amino acids for digestion.
  • Alpha-Amylase (from Aspergillus oryzae) breaks down carbohydrates and starches into simple sugars for the body to use as fuel.
  • Lipase (from Porcine Pancreas) breaks down and digests fats.
  • Cellulase (from Trichoderma longibrachiatum) breaks down the fibers in fruits and vegetables to release the nutrients stored inside the cell walls.
  • Hemicellulase (from Aspergillus niger) is a group of resistant enzymes that help break down carbohydrates, including glucose, xylose, mannose, arabinose and galactose.
  • Xylanase (from Trichoderma longibrachiatum) is an enzyme, not normally produced in mammals, that breaks down xylan, a type of hemicellulose found in plant cell walls.
  • Bromelain (from Pineapple) breaks down and digests protein, plus it supports an already normal inflammatory response.
  • Betaine Hydrochloride breaks down proteins into peptides and amino acids, and fats into triglycerides.

Why do I recommend this formula for pets with sensitive stomachs?

Typically found in formulas designed for meat-based diets, pancreatin – an animal-based pancreatic enzyme – can boost stomach acid in the absence of abundant protein.

Therefore, formulas with lower levels of pancreatin may be easier on some pets’ stomachs who are consuming diets with lower levels of protein.

Bark & Whiskers Kibble Diet Digestive Enzymes is naturally lower in pancreatin.

Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes for Meat Based Diet – Perfect For Raw or Fresh Food Diets Low in Carbs

Digestive Enzymes

Pets eating a raw or gently cooked fresh food diet with few grains, potatoes or legumes, or those eating prey-based canned diets, need more enzymes for protein and fat digestion.

Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes for Meat Based Diet provides a selection of seven enzymes targeted to help support healthy digestion for pets on this type of diet.

It contains four of the same enzymes included in my enzymes for kibble diet, but in different amounts calculated specifically for pets on meat based diets.

In addition to Bromelain and almost six times the Lipase, Protease and Alpha-Amylase from porcine pancreas, this formulation also includes:

  • Trypsin (from Porcine Pancreas), which helps break down proteins in your pet’s small intestine by breaking long chains of amino acids into smaller pieces.

  • Lipase (from Rhizopus oryzae, Aspergillus niger) for additional support in breaking down fats.

  • Protease (from Aspergillus oryzae) for additional support in breaking down proteins.

This formula supplies plenty of pancreatin – which is made of a combination of amylase, lipase and protease – to help digest the abundant protein in a prey-based diet.

Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes for Meat Based Diets brings a proactive approach to pet wellness, providing your cat or dog with the digestive support she needs to thrive.

7 Reasons Why You’ll Love Our Digestive Enzymes

When selecting any enzyme – for human consumption or for use with your pets – you want to ensure the source of the enzymes is pure and from a reliable source.

I have selected a manufacturer that I wholeheartedly trust. This manufacturer exceeds the highest industry quality standards, testing and retesting the original raw food sources from which the products are made to make sure they conform to their rigorous standards.

Unlike so many animal supplements available today, the ingredients used in Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes are human-grade, meaning they're not any different from those you or I would take.

Most importantly, they're manufactured by a human supplement company in their own human products facility.

These are the same enzymes I recommend to my patients' owners – and the enzymes I feed to my own pets. In my opinion, you simply can't find an enzyme supplement better suited to or safer for your pet's needs.

Here are seven additional reasons why you’re sure to approve of our formula:

  1. You're likely to see fast results with Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes. As digestion symptoms improve, you'll feel confident knowing you're providing what your pet needs for optimal cellular function and overall well-being.

  2. Your pet may feel more satisfied after eating, and that can reduce begging.

  3. The ingredients get the job done. The finest animal-based and fungal-based enzymes are hand-selected to match the diet.

  4. Our enzyme sources are tested and re-tested, and our enzymes are manufactured under high quality standards to help ensure purity.

  5. They’re easy to use - just sprinkle the specified amount for your pet over his food.

  6. They’re well tolerated by most cats and dogs.

  7. They may even save you money. Because your pet will be getting optimal nutrition out of her food, you may be able to feed less.

Help ease the load on your pet’s digestive system by safeguarding his delicate enzyme stores, with enzymes designed specifically for his diet.

Get your pet started on the road to good health with this proactive approach to pet wellness, and order Bark & Whiskers Digestive Enzymes today.

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  1. 1. I've heard that some animals can be allergic to certain animal proteins. Since some of the enzymes in these formulas are from porcine (pig) sources, should I be concerned?

    Quite honestly, in my practice, I've never seen one case of an allergy to porcine derived enzymes – it's that rare. However, if your pet has a known allergy to pork products, then they shouldn't take this product. Moreover, if your pet displays any kind of reaction to this or any enzyme product, you should immediately stop feeding them the product and contact your veterinarian.

  2. 2. Can digestive enzymes cause diarrhea and vomiting?

    It's important to realize that any enzyme supplement can cause vomiting and diarrhea if given in too high a dose. If your pet has digestive issues, an enzyme with less protein and fat enzymes may be better tolerated. That’s why I created this special enzymes formula specifically for pets on a kibble diet or with sensitive stomachs.

    With any enzyme product, I advise you to start slowly. Begin with very small amounts and work up to the recommended amount over time, according to your pet's tolerance.

  3. 3. Which is better – enzymes from plants or animals?

    It depends upon what you are feeding your pet. Animal-based enzymes, like pancreatin, are preferred for dogs and cats who eat meat-based diets. Pets who eat kibble and other ultra-processed foods containing sugars and starches require additional enzymes to break down the carbs, like cellulase and xylanase. Because these enzymes aren't available from animal sources, they must be obtained from plant or fungal sources. Enzymes from fungal sources can be better for some pets as they tend to resist digestion and function in a wider range of pH.

  4. 4. My pet eats a diet of raw meat, vegetables and fruits. Do I need to give him supplemental enzymes?

    Congratulations for making the switch to a real food diet. Even if your pet consumes a raw diet, he may benefit from supplemental enzymes. Any time you can spare your pet from dipping into his enzyme stores, you're supporting his other metabolic functions and good health.

  5. 5. My pet eats a home-cooked diet. Which enzyme is right for her?

    Congratulations for making the switch to a real food diet. If the food you lovingly cook for your pet contains more than 20% carbohydrates – such as grains, potatoes and legumes – we recommend giving her our Digestive Enzymes for Kibble Diet, which contains higher levels of enzymes that digest carbohydrates and plant material. If her diet contains less than 20% carbs, we recommend Digestive Enzymes for Meat Based Diet.

    You can use the directions above, in the section “How to Choose the Right Enzymes for Your Pet,” to calculate the percentage of carbohydrates in your pet’s diet.

  6. 6. I've heard that stomach acid destroys pancreatic enzymes. Isn't that a problem if I sprinkle this on my pet's food?

    Because our pancreatic enzymes are animal-sourced, their ability to withstand stomach acidity on their way to the small intestine is naturally much greater than with plant enzymes.

  7. 7. Is there ever a time you don't recommend enzymes for pets?

    Yes. If your pet has recently undergone GI surgery or is currently being treated for a GI ulcer, I recommend you wait until your pet has recovered before instituting enzyme supplementation. If your pet has other health conditions or is on medications you are concerned about, I always recommend consulting your veterinarian before beginning a new supplement regimen.

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