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

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.

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.

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.

Importance of Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics for Dogs

When it comes to handling and caring for pets, all they need is some time from you, lots of love and some care. While it is easy to keep a track of timely vaccinations and the food provided, the essential nutrients need to be taken care of in order to ensure your dog leads a healthy, happy and long life. Dog food alone cannot provide for all the essential enzymes and probiotics recommended for dogs.

Probiotics are nutrients that are designed to nourish and promote the growth of good bacteria in the colon. The gut of your pet consists of some bacteria that are good for their digestive system and are already present in the gut.

Some of these are –

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium breve

Lack of these bacteria can affect digestion of the dogs and hence, these are rendered important for your pet.

Food and capsules containing these bacteria are easily available. So, the next time your dog has digestion troubles or an upset tummy, you know he/she needs probiotic supplements along with a balanced diet.

Digestive enzymes are responsible for every metabolic reaction that takes place in your pet’s body, whether it is the movement of limbs or the functioning of their liver.

Apart from the enzymes present in dog food, there are certain enzymes that are part of a dog’s digestive system. These are present only in finite quantities and need to be replenished from time to time for the smooth functioning of their digestive systems.

The digestive enzymes are used up faster during some illnesses, extreme weather conditions or strenuous exercise.

Considering the fact that dogs are incapable of taking care of themselves, we should take care that probiotics and digestive enzymes are duly included as a part of their meals.

Providing them regularly and in the right dosage is essential for our canine friends to be in the best of their health.

New Year’s Resolutions That Every Pet-Owner Should Make

For pet owners, New Year provides the opportunity to reflect upon the time they spent with their pets and make resolutions towards sharing a stronger relationship than before.

If you are also looking forward to being a better pet parent in 2017, consider these New Year resolutions to ensure the health and happiness of your pet-

Pet Probiotics

Many veterinary physicians have constantly denounced table food based diet for dogs, citing it as the primary reason for weight gain and other health issues like diarrhea and pancreatitis.

So, if you have been feeding table food to your pet for a long time, your priority should be to switch to commercial dog food or raw diet.

However, several studies testing commercial dog foods have found them insufficient to cater to the nutritional requirements of pets.

The best solution to resolve this nutrient deficiency in dogs’ food is to add pet probiotics to your pet’ diet. Pet probiotics promote the growth of gut-friendly bacteria that boosts the immune system and also prevents fungus overgrowth on the skin, reducing itching and allergic reactions.

However, it is recommended to use safe and natural pet probiotic products to eliminate the possibility of any side-effects on your pet’s health.

Daily Walks

According to a research conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) in 2015, it was documented that about 58% cats and 54% dogs in the United States are either overweight or obese. This requires changes in the daily routine of pets and committing to a new diet and exercise regime.

One simple solution is to take your pet for daily walks.

Researchers have found that daily walks through the park or neighborhood not only aids in keeping pets healthy, limber and agile, but also benefits their digestive system in many ways.

Moreover, daily walks are also fundamental in building strong and trusting relationships between pets and pet-owners.

How Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics can Enrich Your Pet’s Raw Diet

Many pet owners are switching to a raw food diet for their pets on account of the numerous benefits it provides. Dogs (or cats) are primarily carnivorous animals which means that their digestive system is structured so as to extract nutrition from raw meat consumption.

Processed food might not provide ample nutrition for dogs which affects their digestive and immune system causing allergies, food intolerance, and various behavioral issues as well. Besides, dogs also have a short digestive system which limits their ability to digest fibrous plant. Cooked and processed food has been stated as the primary reason for illness and premature death of modern house pets by many veterinary physicians.

Raw food provides a multitude of benefits to dogs which include improved nutrition, healthy digestion, stronger immune system and a leaner body mass. Raw food diets are essentially grain and gluten-free which reduces the risk for allergic reaction considerably, and nutrient efficiency also aids in maintaining healthier skin.

However, it is necessary to take appropriate measures to ensure a smooth transition from dry to raw food as the consumption of processed food for a long time might restricts the growth of digestive enzymes in pet’s pancreas.

When switching to a raw food diet, dogs may experience a detoxification process causing excess shedding, dry skin, and other symptoms. A digestive enzymes deficiency in dogs might also result in malabsorption and improper digestive system, not to mention various gastrointestinal ailments such as bloating and stomach inflammation.

Therefore, in order to procure the health benefits of raw food for your pet, it is recommended to supplement your pet’s diet with digestive enzymes and probiotics.

Digestive enzymes aids in breaking down the carbohydrate, protein and fat into simple, soluble substances which allow an easy absorption of valuable nutrients contained in food.

They also play an important role in improving the metabolic functions in pets which aids in better absorptions of vitamin and minerals, and develops a healthy digestive and immune system which increases the natural efficiency of pets.

Moreover, digestive enzymes and probiotics also promote the growth of gut-friendly bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria which supports immune system and mucosal conditioning. Many veterinary physicians recommend adding digestive enzymes and probiotics in pet’s food having various irritable bowel syndrome like diarrhea and constipation.

While raw food diet provide many health benefits to pets, their consumption is limited due to their unavailability and expensive price. In case you cannot afford raw food, adding digestive enzymes and probiotics supplements to the regular diet of your pet can prove to be a healthy and cost-efficient solution. Many pharmaceutical suppliers also provide natural digestive enzymes and probiotic products to prevent any side-effects on your pet’s health, all at an affordable price.

Pet Probiotics- Ensuring a Healthy Life for Your Pet

The digestive system of the pet is structured in a way so as to maintain a healthy balance of good intestinal bacteria at all times.

But this balance could be disrupted due to a number of reasons such as antibiotic treatment, stress, diarrhea or the lack of necessary nutrients in the regular diet of the pet.

The disruption may result in the rapid growth of pathogenic bacteria, causing diseases including digestive and immune system related issues, fungal overgrowth in internal organs and many severe gastrointestinal ailments like septicemia (blood poisoning) and stomach inflammation.

To increase your pet’s ability to combat such health problems and help it live a healthy and long life, many pharmaceutical suppliers provide pet probiotics to safeguard its growth and development.

Here are some note-worthy health benefits of adding probiotics to your pet’s diet-

Pet probiotics are the products containing live microorganisms that aid in increasing the population of gut-friendly bacteria that boosts the immune system in pets.

Probiotics promote healthy digestive and immune systems that increases the natural efficiency of the pets against viruses or diseases, reducing the possibility of gastrointestinal discomforts such as bloating, gas and various irritable bowel syndrome like diarrhea and constipation.

Pet probiotics also prevent the overgrowth of fungus on the pet’s skin, reducing constant itching and preventing allergic reactions.

Moreover, probiotics also aid in the production of many useful nutrients such as Vitamin K to ensure that your pet receives ample nutrients from its diet. Some probiotics also contain antioxidants that prohibit the ill effects of oxidation.

In recent years, several studies testing the probiotic diet have reported low level of organisms. Besides, cooking and extruding also negatively affect the growth of friendly bacteria. Therefore, it is suggested to add probiotics in your pet’s food instead of buying foods that contain probiotics.

Many pet probiotic suppliers provide safe and natural probiotic products i.e. they do not contain any chemicals, artificial flavors, colors or genetically modified organisms, thus eliminating the side-effects on your pet’s health. However, it is suggested to give half of the recommended dose upon first administration and evaluate the pet’s response and then increase the dosage to normal levels for the best results.