When you hear the term “gut health” your mind probably reflects on several diet plans or products that are gaining major popularity among people these days.
Probiotics, digestive enzymes, and the benefits that surround them are making a boom recently. Not to mention the positive effects they are causing in the healthcare world!
So wouldn’t the same be true for man’s (or woman’s!) best friend? You betcha!
No matter what stage of life, almost all dogs can greatly benefit from probiotics and digestive enzyme supplements.
So how do you know if they’re for your dog? Let’s find out!
What Are Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes?
Probiotics and digestive enzymes…are they the same thing?
Well, not quite. While they do work hand in hand, and even toward the same goal of ideal digestion, they are quite different. Let’s discuss!
Probiotics are the “healthy bacteria” found in the gut.
Probiotics are live bacteria that improve digestion and have other health benefits.
The medical community’s consensus is probiotics to restore the natural balance of gut bacteria, aiding digestion 24/7.
Digestive enzymes are working proteins that break down food for digestion. They also aid in metabolism and detoxification.
There are four main types of digestive enzymes: amylase, protease, lipase, and cellulase.
Each one is responsible for breaking down different foods (i.e. lipase breaks down fat and amylase breaks down starches).
They are produced naturally within the body where digestion occurs (saliva, pancreas, stomach & small intestines). Enzymes also occur naturally in raw, fresh foods.
So with enzymes being produced naturally in the body and in food, it’s hard to believe there would ever be a deficiency, huh? Here’s the catch…
How Digestive Enzyme Supplements Help Dogs
Enzymes are destroyed by heat, pesticides, food preservatives, artificial colorings, additives and flavor enhancers.
Unfortunately, at least one (but usually many) of these processes happen with our pet’s food.
So unless your pooch has reverted back to his ancestor’s ways and taken on “wolf-status” (or you feed a raw diet), commercial diets are a poor source of digestive enzymes.
So leave it to the body to produce them, right?
True, the body will continue to produce digestive enzymes. However, this may cause problems elsewhere in the body.
Because your dog’s system is using more energy to produce more enzymes, less energy is being spent on other important aspects of the body like the immune system…
…and that’s kind of a big deal!