Is it Important to add Digestive Supplements to your Dog’s Diet?

Before we get into whether or not digestive supplements are important for your pet, let’s start with what exactly are digestive supplements for dogs. Commonly acknowledged as ‘digestive enzymes’, supplements for dogs basically offer a helping hand to your pet’s digestive system.

So what are enzymes? They are minute protein molecules that are present in each living cell and are responsible for multiple functions and activities such as detoxification, energy production, and increasing metabolism. Therefore, digestive enzymes for dogs assist in proper digestion by enhancing absorption of nutrients.

If your dog is showing signs of poor digestive health (for instance abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and gas), pains or issues with joints, or minor sensitivities with certain foods, then adding digestive supplements in its food is extremely important.

Now one can question why are supplements required when dog food is supposed to provide enough enzymes to promote healthy digestion. What most people don’t know is that the enzymes present in most pet foods are unable to survive the heat process that goes into eliminating germs. That’s why the digestive enzymes present in dog food are usually not enough for proper digestion.

Your pet’s good health is credited to two important enzymes, metabolic and digestive. Metabolic enzymes function towards carrying out vital bodily functions of maintaining and building each tissue, cell, and organ. And we’ve noted before that digestive enzymes work in your pet’s stomach and intestines.

Consequences of Lack of Digestive Enzymes in your Pet’s Digestive Track

The lack of enough digestive enzymes in your pet’s diet will rob vital metabolic enzymes from performing important tasks such as immune function because its body prioritizes digestion of food as the most important activity for survival. Therefore, lack of digestive enzymes first attacks your pet’s immune system.

Not having enough digestive enzymes also pose a threat to incomplete digestion, allowing partially (or not fully) digested food particles to enter the bloodstream from the large intestine.

Benefits of Adding Digestive Supplements in your Pet’s Diet

  • Restores or/and supports immune system
  • Maintains normal body weight (without hunger cravings)
  • Promotes proper cell growth
  • Supports respiratory health and stimulates healthy teeth and gums
  • Helps greatly in reducing skin irritation
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Benefits of Adding Omega 3 Supplements to your Pet’s Diet

Our four-legged-friends are undoubtedly our best friends and playing with them is a pretty effective stress buster. But like us, they too experience health issues. Because they can’t communicate in words, we need to keep tabs on our pet’s activities, their behavior, and their physical appearance. Omega 3 is an amazing nutrient that defends pets against various health troubles.

Sometimes it becomes difficult to predict what’s wrong with our pet(s) and we rush to the vet time and again. Following are a few benefits of omega 3 supplements for pets that might just save you the recurring trips to the vet:

Builds Strong Immunity

If your pet keeps falling sick or seems to always catch some kind of illness every two to three months, this may indicate issues related to a weak immune system. Having a weak immune system inhibits your pet’s body’s ability to defend against diseases. This issue is typically faced by senior cats and dogs. Adding these supplements to your pet’s diet will help in building a stronger immunity.

Reduces Inflammation in Pets

Inflammation is often either a consequence or a reason for many diseases. Pets with diseases related to the heart, brain, kidney, or even arthritis tend to have issues with inflammation. Likewise, pets are accustomed to autoimmune diseases which also cause swelling. Omega 3 supplements for pets are a good recourse to help soothe inflammation.

Arthritis in Dogs

Usually observed in older dogs, signs include – limping, spinal troubles, difficulty in moving, irritability, and tiredness. Some pets indicate pain by licking, biting, or chewing the parts that cause them pain. Including this nutritional supplement in your dog’s diet can significantly improve its giant as well as activities that require it to move about. The same can be given to cats as well.

Osteoarthritis in Cats

Osteoarthritis is a class of arthritis that is fairly common in cats. In osteoarthritis, the normal cartilage which cushions the joint starts to atrophy, consequently exposing the bone causing immeasurable discomfort. Fish oil supplements have been found effective in alleviating the harsh consequences of this disease, not just that, it’s also proven to lessen stiffness and increase activity levels in cats.

Common Food-Related Myths That Might Be Affecting Your Pet’s Health

Health and nutrition are two topics that are highly researched and conjectured upon- it is not just about human health but also about our furry friends.
Here are a few myths about the food you feed (or do not feed) to your pets, to help you tell facts from fiction-

Prescription diets are the best

Foods that pet owners see at the veterinarians’ are not always the best choice for your pets’ health. Most of these foods are sourced from grains (or its by-products), and by-products or leftovers of poultry that are not the healthiest food choice.

Pet supplements and food must be sourced from the most organic sources of meat. The digestive systems of cats and dogs are designed by nature to function optimally when fed on animal protein.

Table foods are bad for your pet

A holistic diet for your pet should include pet supplements and nutrient-rich meals. It may include healthy human foods like steamed veggies, oatmeal, finely chopped fruits, meat and rice- junk food should never be fed. Table food you want to feed your dog or cat should be healthy for them. Moreover, it needs to be kept in mind that if you will be providing human food to your pet, the portions should be carefully measured so that it does not lead to any weight issues.

Only ‘balanced and complete’ food should be fed

This is another common food-related myth. You need not worry about meeting all the nutritional requirements of your pet at each and every meal as over the course of the day (or week), all such requirements get fulfilled. In order to stay healthy and complete all the levels of the food pyramid, wholesome meals may not suffice. This is where pet supplements come in handy to fill those gaps.

Proteins are hard to digest for old pets

Contrary to popular belief, animal proteins are essential for ageing pets, while plant-based proteins are hard to digest and assimilate for them. Their organs are forced to work double when they are fed soy- or corn-derived proteins as these are not the type of proteins their systems have been designed to digest.

Why Your Pet Dog Needs Omega-3 Supplements

Worried that your pet who was always ready to play ‘fetch’ now prefers passing its day by roaming about sluggishly? This may be due to the absence of Omega 3 in its diet. What is Omega 3 you ask? These are essential fatty acids that are present in certain cold-water fishes. The oil extracted from these fishes, therefore, contains high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids. This nutrient needs to be supplied from the diet as it is not produced by the body itself. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are the two types of this Omega 3 acids which are extremely beneficial for your pet’s health. Apart from providing an essential nutrient to your pooch, Omega 3 supplements also bring with them a host of benefits such as –

Healthy Skin

Many dogs undergo various health troubles caused by inflammation either inside their bodies or on their skin. Omega 3 fatty acids help in reducing inflammations caused by flea bites and all kinds of allergies. It also assists in easing dry skin and skin scaling disorders, which are fairly common threats with pet dogs.

Lustrous Coat

Healthy skin may not always mean a healthy coat. The good part is that adding this nutrient in your pet’s diet supports not just a flawlessly shining coat but also reduces shedding.

Enhanced Immune System for Senior Pets

Senior pets tend to have a weaker immune system which makes them more prone to catching an infection. Similarly, a weak immune system in pets also increases their odds of getting affected by diseases that cause inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids’ anti-inflammatory attribute helps in easing inflammation caused by diseases such as arthritis, degenerative brain disease, as well as heart and kidney diseases, thereby, boosting your pet’s immune system.

Other Advantages of Omega 3 Supplements for Dogs

  • Improved cognitive function
  • Reduced high cholesterol levels
  • Lowered high blood pressure
  • Enhanced heart health (by thinning blood and boosting circulation)
  • Protection from auto-immune diseases

Are Omega 3 Supplements Meant Just for Senior Pets?

While Omega 3 supplements may serve as a boon for older dogs, they’re not just meant for them. Dogs of all ages can reap the benefits of this supplement. For instance, puppies that have balanced level of DHA are easier to train – this is due to the influence of fatty acids on cognitive function.

Similarly, your pregnant dam can hugely benefit from Omega 3 supplements. It can help in keeping her blood pressure balanced and shield her from diseases by strengthening her immune system. Giving your pregnant dam Omega 3 supplements will also assist in the development of the fetus.

Tips For Using Probiotic Supplements For Dogs

For those who have dogs as pets, life revolves around them. Dogs are almost like kids who need to be taken care of in every possible manner and they love you back unconditionally for the care you shower on them. However, just food and training is not enough for dogs. They need a lot of other supplements in order for them to lead a healthy life.

Probiotic supplements work best for dogs if given with utmost care and regularity. Here are some tips and tricks for giving probiotic supplements to dogs in order to achieve the most out of them:

  • You should prefer a probiotic that is in powder or a liquid form rather than tablets. Firstly, it is easier to mix the liquid or powder in the food so that the dog does not get averse to the food. Secondly, capsules have restricting benefits to the deeper parts of the GI tract.
  • Probiotic supplements should generally be given to the dogs first thing in the morning, atleast 40 minutes before giving them their first meal. This is because it works best on empty stomach. Hydrochloric acid in empty stomach kills the good bacteria and with supplements at work, digesting food will not be a problem for your pet.
  • You should take utmost care in storing the probiotic supplements. The good bacteria in supplements can die if they are not stored as per the label. Ideally all the dog supplements need to be refrigerated, but you should read the label before buying and storing it for you your dogs.
  • You should take utmost care of the quality of probiotics. The quality plays vital role in building the health of the dog. Unlike other dog foods, poor quality and higher will not do the trick. Hence, before investing in probiotic supplements for the dog, you should take care of researching the best quality of probiotics for your pet.
  • In case the pet is on antibiotic due to some illness, you must give them probiotic supplements along with the antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy the mucus lining of the gut and work on killing the good and bad bacteria simultaneously. So with regular dosage of probiotic supplements the health of the dog can be maintained at large.

Importance of Providing Balanced Nutrition to Pets

A proper combination of nutrients is highly essential when feeding your pets. This is because, like humans, your pets too require a certain combination of carbohydrates, proteins and other minerals in order to function normally.

Certain nutritional supplements are manufactured keeping specific functions in mind. For instance, some dog foods are meant for specific stages of an animal’s life like pregnant or geriatric dogs, while others are developed for providing hypoallergenic nutrition or for keeping a check on specific health conditions which can be related to the heart, kidneys or any other part of the body.

In other words, each and every nutrient in your pet’s food serves a specific purpose, in the absence of which your pet may not be able to maintain and repair muscles, bones, teeth and fight off infection.Let’s discuss the importance of providing balanced nutrition to pets in detail.

Body Condition and Muscle Tone

Every cell in the body is made of protein which helps in building hair, muscles, organs and other tissues. It is also required in order to repair cells which have been damaged and create new ones. Protein is also important for growing and pregnant pets. The protein in diet ensures that your pet is able to build and maintain strong muscles.

Skin and Coat Health

A dog with a shinier coat is a healthy dog. This is because dogs which are provided with optimal amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in their diet will have a skin which is healthy and a coat which shines. Dry skin lead to hair breaking and patches of fur falling out very easily. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory effects which reduces itching and other irritation in pets.

Digestion and Elimination

Fiber in food helps in proper digestion and elimination in pets. The pet foods are developed by experts to make sure that the much needed nutrients are easily available and can easily be absorbed by the body of your pet. Digestibility is extremely essential so that your dog can use up all the nutrients in the food and rid the body of what is unwanted. The food provided should be such that it provides all the required nutrition but produces very minimal stools.

Tips for Providing a Balanced Meal to your Pet

The diet provided to your pet should be a balanced one, meaning it meets all the nutritional requirements.

Diets prepared at home include a variety of foods which are fed at different times. Just the way humans eat, if your pets are provided everything they need over a week or two, their diet will turn out to be complete as well as balanced.

In fact, the same approach is followed by us when feeding our families.

In other words, just as humans need variation in their diet, the same must be followed in case of dogs. Thus, so long as your pet does not suffer from health problems which require a specific diet to be fed, you can always try some variations.

You must remember that puppies are more susceptible to problems arising from nutritional deficiencies when compared to adult dogs.

A few guidelines need to be followed when feeding cooked or raw diet to dogs, a few of which are as follows –

To begin with, any single type of food (be it chicken or anything else) should not make up more than half of the dietary intake. Unless stated expressly, food being fed can either be cooked or raw. If you are providing leftovers, it needs to be ensured that they are not fatty in nature.

Meat and Animal Products:

Such foods should always make up nearly half of the diet. It needs to be understood that a number of raw diets are high in fat which can lead to obesity with regular consumption. On the other hand, if the amount of fat is too restricted, your dog might suffer from a deficiency of the required nutrients.

The best option here is to provide lean meats, i.e. meat that has, at the most, 10% fat- remove the skin from poultry and cut off separable fat.

Fish:

Fish is a great source of vitamin D. Canned fish with bones such as sardines which are packed in water, pink salmon and jack mackerel are considered to be good choices. However, raw Pacific salmon trout and related species should never be fed. Fish can be fed in small portions every day or in larger amounts twice a week.

Leafy Green and Non-Starchy Vegetables:

The best part about these is that they are low in calories and can be fed in any quantity. However, too much can cause gas and raw vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower can suppress thyroid function. They should thus be cooked if fed in large amounts.

Supplement Your Dog’s Diet with Natural Probiotics: 3 Points

Probiotic supplements provide a multitude of health benefits to pets, yet some pet owners are hesitant to use them considering the long-term consequences of synthetic probiotics on dogs.

So, if you are also among such pet parents who only want the best for their canine pals, consider the given suggestions to supplement natural probiotics in your dog’s diet.

Dairy Products

The addition of dairy products such as yogurt, soft cheeses and milk in a dog’s diet will not only attend to their calcium requirements but will also help in maintaining a healthy balance of good intestinal bacteria in dogs.

Yogurt is a natural probiotic which contains gut-friendly bacteria such as Bifidobacterium, Lactobacilli, and Streptococcus thermophiles which help in preventing gastrointestinal diseases and fungal infections in dogs. Yogurt can also counteract the effects of antibiotic therapy, especially for diarrhea, vomiting and irritable bowel syndrome. Soft cheese and buttermilk are also great sources of natural probiotics.

However, many adult dogs are lactose intolerant, and dairy products might cause intestinal issues to them. Therefore, it is recommended to supplement dairy products in your dog’s current diet in moderation while looking out for lactose intolerance symptoms. Some common symptoms of lactose intolerance in dogs are diarrhea, flatulence, nausea and stomach cramps.

Meat

Supplementing your dog’s commercial food diet with meat fulfills the nutrient requirements of your pet and reduces their susceptibility to illness and diseases. Make sure that the served meat is either ground or cut into small pieces to prevent choking. However, if you are planning to add raw meat to your dog’s diet, do it with prior consultation with a veterinarian.

Natural Probiotics

Another effective way to ensure the health and happiness of your dog is to add natural probiotic supplements in their diet. Many probiotic suppliers provide safe and natural probiotic products which do not contain any chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, thereby eliminating the possibility of side effects. In fact, these natural probiotics can also be given to dogs with food allergies or sensitivities.

However, it is suggested to give half of the recommended dose upon first administration and evaluate the pet’s response, based on which dosage can be increased to normal levels for best results.

Foods and Supplements That Can Improve Your Pet Dog’s Health

As pet-owners, we often feel the urge to share food with our canine pals. While there are plenty of human foods that can be fed to your dog, some might cause health problems for them.

If you are also a pet parent looking to improve the health of your dog, some wholesome foods and supplements are-

Fish Oil for Dogs

Veterinarians recommend fish oil for dogs to treat canine diseases and skin conditions, and many researches regarding the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil also testify the same. As per a study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine, DHA in Omega-3 improves cognitive dysfunction and causes behavioral improvements in dogs.

Fish oil for dogs is also effective in reducing the impact of inflammatory enzymes produced by body fat. Omega-6 fatty acids, commonly found in animal fat, promote inflammation which is also critical in developing cancer in dogs.

However, a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent the effects of the Omega-6 group.

Since most commercial dog foods contain low amounts of Omega-3 acids, adding fish oil in your dog’s diet can make them less prone to inflammatory disorders.

Omega-3 acids promote retinal and visual nervous system’s development in pets- hence, fish oil can be particularly important for puppies.

Carrots

Feeding raw carrots can provide a multitude of nutritional benefits to your dog. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A which promotes excellent eye health, immunity and a healthy, shiny coat. The high amounts of fiber in carrots improves digestion and bowel movement in dogs.

Moreover, carrots are low in calories and contain almost no fat, making it an incredibly healthy meal to compliment a dog’s diet, especially for the ones facing weight issues.

Oatmeal

Abundant in soluble fibre, oatmeal is probably the best human food for senior dogs with bowel irregularity issues. Soluble fibre removes cholesterol particles from the dog’s body via urine and poop, thereby, preventing heart diseases in dogs.

Moreover, soluble fibre promotes smooth digestion in dogs, reducing the chances of gastrointestinal discomforts such as bloating and food allergies and helps in maintaining a healthy weight for your pet.

Reasons to Add Probiotic Supplements to Your Pet’s Diet

Nutritional supplements like probiotics contain live microorganisms (bacteria and/or yeast) which promote the growth of gut-friendly bacteria in pets.

A depleted population of good bacteria can cause many health problems in pets. These include the spread and overgrowth of bad (pathogenic) bacteria in the intestinal tract, fungal overgrowth in internal organs and skin, and a reduction in the functionality of the digestive system, thereby making dogs (and cats) susceptible to severe gastrointestinal diseases such as septicemia (blood poisoning) and stomach inflammation.

Probiotic supplements also help to maintain the balance of good intestinal bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, hence encouraging a healthy digestive and immune system to combat health problems. Some other benefits of adding pet probiotics to your dog’s diet are –

Reduction in Gastrointestinal Ailments

Since probiotics promote healthy digestive and immune systems in dogs, it enhances the immunity of pets against viruses and diseases, and reduces the possibility of gastrointestinal ailments such as bloating.

Prevention from Fungal Overgrowth

Probiotic supplements also prevent fungal overgrowth on pet’s skin. A probiotic diet is beneficial in reducing itching and allergic reactions and in ensuring a shiny and healthier coat for dogs.

Counteracts the Side-effect of Anti-biotic Treatment

Antibiotics are unable to distinguish between gut-friendly and harmful bacteria. So, while eradicating pathogenic bacteria that are the source of several infections in dogs, they end up eliminating a large number of friendly bacteria as well.

This leaves the pets with even less of a defense, the next time they are exposed to harmful microorganisms. Probiotic supplements take care of any such deficiency by restoring the microflora balance in a dog’s digestive system to prevent recolonization of pathogens.

Protection from Harmful Effects of Free Radicals

Pets are exposed to ‘free radicals’ which are produced due to oxidation. Free radicals can damage body cells and cause many age-related conditions such as arthritis, vascular disorders and cancer in dogs. Pet probiotics act as antioxidants and prevent the degenerative effects of oxidation.