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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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.

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.

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.

All You Need To Know About Pet Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that help the digestive system to work properly. For all of us, bacteria has been synonymous with disease and infection- contrary to that, the ones in probiotics are helpful in keeping the gut healthy. These good bacteria are naturally present in the body and can also be taken up externally by way of certain food items as well as supplements. When you lose “good” bacteria in your body (like after you take antibiotics, for example), probiotics can help replace them. They can help balance the “good” and “bad” bacteria to keep your body working the way it ideally should.

As much as these live microorganisms are good for us, they are also beneficial for our pets. Probiotics are generally given to dogs who have undergone changes in their eating habits, change of place, or to dogs facing separation anxiety from the owner or who are simply aging.

There are two kinds of bacteria that are beneficial for our pets and are available in the form of pet probiotics:

Lactobacillus:

This may be the most common probiotic. It’s the one you’ll find in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains can help with diarrhea and may help people who are intolerant towards lactose, the sugar in milk.

Bifid Bacterium:

In case your pet suffers from irritable bowel system, then you must invest in a pet probiotic with these bacteria for sure. You can also find it in some dairy products. This helps out with the movement of bowel and provides some relief from grumbling stomach too.

Pet probiotics can help in lot of ways and some of these ways have been mentioned below:

  • Improving overall immunity
  • Getting rid of irritable bowel movement
  • Improving the quality of coat for your pet
  • Relief from diarrhea
  • Healthy gut
  • Reduction in allergic reactions
  • Reduced cases of urinary tract infection in pets

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.