Insufficient Digestive Enzymes in Dogs

Digestive enzymes are important to a dog's overall health, in that they are responsible for many aspects of proper digestion. Digestive enzymes help to initiate certain chemicals in the body into action and also help to repair damages inside the digestive tract. Some enzymes are produced naturally by the body, while others come from the food your dog eats. Many commercially available dog foods do not provide sufficient enzymes, and the dog's body must work harder to produce enough enzymes for good health. When this process slows or falters, many different health problems can arise.

Signs of Insufficient Enzymes

Insufficient digestive enzymes can produce many signs and symptoms, mostly involving the gastrointestinal tract. When the body becomes over-stressed from full responsibility of enzyme production, food may begin to be digested improperly. This can lead to malabsorption of important nutrients and minerals, and cause bacteria to form inside the gastrointestinal system. Symptoms of this condition can include bloating, diarrhea, excessive gas, foul body odors and lack of energy. Over time, many long-term diseases may form due to lack of nutrients. The immune system will ultimately weaken, which may lead to any number of difficult conditions, including diabetes, cancer, arthritis, hot spots and premature aging.

Food Preparation with Enzymes

In order to prevent or assist any dog health situation involving insufficient digestive enzymes, the first thing to be aware of is the type of food your dog is eating. Dietary changes may be necessary to ensure proper intake of these important organisms. Even organic or natural food (not grain-based) that has been cooked at temperatures over 118 degrees may not be providing sufficient enzymes, due to the fact that these become inactivated or destroyed at high temperatures. Recipes are available for preparing homemade meals for your dog that contain the necessary ingredients, proteins and nutrients.

Supplementing with Enzymes

If it's not possible to provide sufficient digestive enzymes with food alone, or this doesn't seem to be assisting your dog's situation, you may also find the option of supplementing with enzymes to be very helpful. In fact, all dogs can benefit from these supplements, especially those dogs who have a tendency to eat stool, are stressed, older or are taking medications for another health issue. In addition to aiding the digestion process, digestive enzyme supplements can help to strengthen the immune system, help to fight cancer, aid with obesity problems and decrease the risk of toxic build-up. Some diseases may even be prevented, such as those that cause degenerative conditions (i.e., arthritis).

Using Digestive Enzyme Supplements

Digestive enzymes are available in the form of supplements and can usually be found at your local pet store or natural foods store. Liquid form may be the easiest to use, as you can simply include the recommended dosage at meal times. Digestive enzyme supplements have been shown to produce no side effects and are very safe and effective for use with dogs of all breeds, ages and health conditions. Because digestive enzymes are all natural, they can even be given simultaneously with conventional medication and prescription drugs.