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Enzymes — The Benefits of Supplemental Enzymes for Dogs and Cats
In my opinion, supplemental digestive enzymes should always be used because although all raw, uncooked foods such as raw meat and fresh vegetables do have enzymes within them, they do not provide the same amount as fresh food.
Enzymes are said to be the vital force behind every living organism and without them life is said to have a hard time existing.
In fact, raw, unpasteurized honey is known to be high in enzymes, but after pasteurization, honey loses all of its enzymes. When pasteurized honey is fed to bees, it actually kills the bees because pasteurized honey is enzyme depleted. One might say then that pasteurized honey is missing its vital force.
Realizing that all commercial pet food is cooked beyond belief and at very high temperatures if it is dry food, we then begin to realize that when we feed commercial pet food that we are in fact feeding food that has no vital force. When feeding commercial pet food we are in fact feeding foods that are void of enzymes, the vital force, to our pets. Cooking kills enzymes and just like with the bees, our pets do better with raw foods that still retain some enzymes.
In addition to feeding raw foods, we can help our pets more by using supplemental digestive enzymes, here's why...
Digestive enzymes essentially allow the body to more fully digest foods that are eaten. Better digestion means better use of the nutrition in the foods along with other many other benefits.
Although all animals can produce their own digestive enzymes, it is more natural and better to use the enzymes found in raw foods. The enzymes found in foods allows your pet's body to work less. In turn, using the food and supplemental enzymes to your pet's advantage, you allow your pet to save its own enzymes for emergency purposes.
Saving your pet's bank account of enzymes for emergencies is extremely important.
All animals are only given a certain amount of enzymes at birth. Once your bank account of enzymes disappears, you go bankrupt. Your pet cannot make deposits to its enzyme bank account, but luckily feeding raw foods and using supplemental digestive enzymes helps slow this process.
Believe it or not, but in the wild, your pet takes supplemental enzymes to help prevent enzyme bankruptcy on a regular basis. In the wild a dog or cat would naturally get its majority of supplemental enzymes from the stomach and intestinal tract of their prey. In addition, fresh raw muscle meat has naturally occurring enzymes too! Enzymes are abundantly found in fresh raw food of prey!
Supplemental enzymes help us to simulate this natural fact!
It is really quite interesting when you think about — the role of the pancreatic and digestive juices of the prey becomes reversed. Instead of helping the prey digest its food, the digestive juices are now helping the hunter digest the prey itself. Using supplemental enzymes helps recreate the enzymes found in the prey's digestive system and throughout its body.
Additionally, friendly bacteria is eaten by your pet when it eats the prey's digestive system. The intestinal tract is loaded with probiotics. Probiotics are things like acidophilus and bifidobacterium just to name two. Probiotics are essentially defined as pro meaning
in favour of and biotic meaning
Probiotic literally means
in favour of life and this is the opposite of antibiotics.
How important are enzymes?
Well, imagine there are two bananas sitting on the table. One banana is ripe while the other is not. Both you and your friend are hungry with a capital H. Your friend grabs the ripe banana first and your stuck with the unripe one. Both of you eat them and your friend feels absolutely wonderful, you however, feel terrible.
The enzymes in the unripe banana have not fully ripened the banana yet. Therefore, your banana is not sweet and you can feel it sitting in your stomach hours after eating it. You get cramps, and worst of all, your friend is laughing. I'm sure that we've all experienced this to some degree.
Enzymes make digestion wonderfully easy!
- The enzyme amylase helps with the digestion of carbohydrates
- The enzyme protease helps with the digestion of protein
- The enzyme lipase helps with the digestion of fats
- The enzyme cellulase helps with the digestion of vegetables.
These are the four most commonly used enzymes. There are; however, thousands of enzymes all doing different jobs and reports say that enzymes are involved with every action within the body, including thinking. Hmmmm.
Enzymes can be classified also in two ways. First would be fungal derived enzymes. The second classification would be pancreatic derived enzymes.
Fungal derived enzymes are great for vegetarians and essentially are extracted from fungus. Pancreatic derived enzymes are derived from meat, more specifically the pancreas. While cats and dogs do benefit from the use of fungal (vegetarian) derived enzymes, the reality is, our pets are carnivores and therefore they need or respond best to the pancreatic derived enzymes.
Most enzyme supplements you find in health food stores are fungal derived enzymes because that's what most humans need. When given to a dog or cat, they work but not with 100% efficiency. Here's an example:
A pet has recently been switched to a wholesome raw meat diet. Every time the pet eats its wholesome raw meat, it vomits. What this indicates in most situations is that the pet's digestive system has been severely weakened by the commercial and/or cooked meat diet. Really, it's not a big deal. The body will begin creating enough acid again but right now, the body needs digestive assistance. So what better digestive assistance to give than some supplemental enzymes. Now here's the interesting thing. If you give your pet fungal derived enzymes in this situation, the vomitting will continue because it not the perfect match for our carnivore friends. But, give your pet pancreatic derived enzymes and the vomitting stops. This is why, since 1994, I have been suggesting that people use FloraZyme LP in their pet's food. It's tried and true — it's a pancreatic derived enzyme supplement specifically formulated for our carnivore friends (and is in powder form rather than tablet or capsule).
A pet that vomits once it is switched to a wholesome raw meat diet will probably need double the normal dose of the FloraZyme LP for the first 2 to 4 weeks, after which its digestive system should be fully stimulated again. At this time, all that is needed is the normal dose of enzymes. This begs the question? If after 2 to 4 weeks the vomitting stops, why continue giving the supplemental enzymes?
Well, as mentioned, our pets (and us humans) are born only with a certain amount of enzymes. Once gone, no more. Using supplemental enzymes does not replace the enzymes in the body, but it does significantly slow the depletion of enzymes in the body. It's more natural for our pets (along with all other animals including humans) to eat foods that are rich in enzymes. Giving supplemental enzymes simply simulates what Mother Nature herself says is important. There is, however, one other reason why continuing to give supplemental enzymes is important. Essentially, a dog or cat that vomits its food once it is switched to a raw meat diet obviously has a weak digestive system. It's a weak spot in the body. Realizing it is a weak spot, we want to support it is as much as possible. So if you stop giving the supplemental enzymes to a pet that especially has a weak digestive system, then essentially it is only a matter of time before the same problem happens again. Continuing with the enzymes helps our pets live a longer and healthier life by strengthening an obvious weak spot in the body.
Editor's Paw Note:
If you want to learn more about enzymes, read my article about
Hey, We're Almost Done Part 1
We're almost done part 1, can you believe it? Okay, keep reading before the bees on this page sting you!