Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Question of the Week : Digestive Enzymes- Necessary or not??

We have a lot of clients who come in with new kittens and puppies looking to load up on supplies for the new arrival. The basics are easy; leash, collar, toys, bowls, and treats. The next question is about which food will be the best, and the last question is always: "is there anything else I'm missing?"

It is sometimes difficult to explain why supplements are a good idea for healthy animals. We are a culture so unaccustomed to preventative care that most people just say, oh when it becomes a problem, I'll deal with it then. I haven't figured out why this is exactly, but it does seem we are a lot less inclined to have this attitude with our animals than ourselves, thankfully.

There are three basics that I recommend for healthy animals. Digestive Enzymes, essential fatty acids, and multivitamins. I will talk about digestive enzymes today and will cover the other two in upcoming blogs.

First, let's start with some basic information about digestion:

When food is not properly broken down before reaching the large intestine, particles that are too large for the body to process are absorbed into the bloodstream, setting off an immune response that can lead to inflammation, allergies and chronic health problems. Nature’s way of preventing this was to endow every vegetable, fruit and animal food source with thousands of enzymes that help break it down.

The problem is this; even the very best dry foods available today are processed with heat, and heat kills these valuable enzymes. Some foods add enzymes after the heating process in an attempt to offset this depletion, but in most cases, this is not enough. And if you have a dog or cat that is genetically predisposed to a sensitive stomach, then you will know very quickly just how much they end up suffering. The ingredients in the foods you feed can be as gentle and simple as possible, but if your animal isn't getting enough enzymes to aid in natural digestion, there will be problems.

More importantly, improving digestion and utilization of nutrients can help to prevent and eliminate a host of diet related problems such as eating stools, body odor, excessive shedding, flatulence and itchy skin. At the end of the day, digestive enzyme supplements are a crucial part of improving digestion and gastrointestinal health. This is why products such as Ark Naturals Gentle Digest, and Eagle Pack's Holistic Transition or Solution, should be on the top of your must have list.

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