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:
- Protease breaks down long protein chains into digestible amino acids.
- 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.
- Lipase breaks down fats into free fatty acids so they can pass through the intestinal wall.
- 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 one of the vital forces of life.
The Many Roles Enzymes Play in Your Pet’s Body
Your pet’s body produces thousands of enzymes that aid in a vast array of chemical reactions involving energy production, metabolism, detoxification, muscle movement and so much more.
There are two major types of enzymes: digestive and metabolic 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.
Metabolic enzymes work throughout your pet's body to help build and maintain every cell, tissue, and organ. Here are just some of the many functions other than those involved with digestion that enzymes assist with:
- Support the immune system
- Help reduce minor food sensitivities
- Support healthy teeth and gums
- Promote normal cell growth
- Help maintain healthy cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range
- Promote healthy skin and helps reduce excessive shedding
- Support the body’s detoxification processes
What Can Happen If Your Pet Runs Low on Enzymes?
While there are many different types, your pet’s body doesn’t produce unlimited 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 the food contains little or none of its own enzymes, the pancreas must supply more.
Many holistic veterinarians recognize that a lack of enzymes – both digestive and metabolic – 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. Inadequate metabolic enzymes can impact the health of your pet’s cells, tissues and organs, and speed up the aging process.
A lack of digestive enzymes may also result in incomplete digestion, allowing partially digested food particles to enter the bloodstream directly from the 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.
- Minor food sensitivities.
- Lack of energy.
- Itchy and irritated skin.
Some conventional veterinarians insist that supplemental digestive enzymes aren’t needed because, 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 she needs for optimal digestion?
Does Your Pet’s Diet Provide Adequate Enzymes?
Because dogs and cats have evolved from 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.
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:
- Add up the totals for protein, fat, moisture and ash (estimate 6% for ash if it is not listed).
- 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.
Introducing Digestive Enzymes for Cats & Dogs – Perfect for Kibble Diets or Pets With Sensitive Stomachs
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. This includes diets containing 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.
Digestive Enzymes for Cats & Dogs on Kibble Diets or Pets with Sensitive Stomachs 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 a natural- occurring 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.
Digestive Enzymes for Cats & Dogs on Kibble Diets or Pets with Sensitive Stomachs is naturally lower in pancreatin.
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. Not only do they exceed the highest industry quality standards, but they also test and retest the original raw food sources from which the product is made to make sure they conform to their rigorous standards.
Unlike so many animal supplements available today, the ingredients used in Digestive Enzymes for Cats & Dogs 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:
- You're likely to see fast results with Digestive Enzymes for Cats & Dogs. As digestion symptoms improve, you'll feel confident knowing you're providing what your pet needs for optimal cellular function and overall well-being.
- Your pet may feel more satisfied after eating, and that can reduce begging.
- The ingredients get the job done. The finest animal-based and fungal-based enzymes are hand-selected to match the diet.
- Our enzyme sources are tested and re-tested, and our enzymes are manufactured under high quality standards to help ensure purity.
- They’re easy to use - just sprinkle the specified amount for your pet over his food.
- They’re well tolerated by most cats and dogs.
- 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.
Imagine the peace of mind you'll enjoy knowing you're safeguarding your pet's delicate enzyme stores and helping to promote the best health possible.
Help your pet get started on the road to good health, and order Digestive Enzymes for Cats & Dogs on Kibble Diets or Pets with Sensitive Stomachs today.