When we human beings eat food, it goes through a comprehensive process that begins from the swallowing process and ends in the digestion and excretion process. Like human beings, dogs also go through a similar process. When a dog eats food, the macronutrients in the form of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are broken down into soluble pieces that the body uses as its fuel. The process also begins in the mouth, with chewing. When a dog begins to chew, a release of digestive enzymes is triggered in the mouth as well as the stomach and enzymes. These enzymes come in three classes each aimed at a different nutrient. These classes are:
- Protease enzymes that are used in the digestion of proteins
- Lipase for the digestion of fats
- And for carbohydrates, there is amylase the enzyme
There are some dogs however for whom digestion does not begin in the mouth but the stomach. The reason is that for these dogs, produce their digestive enzymes in the after they have already swallowed their food.
While still small, most dogs do not produce digestive enzymes. Instead, the dogs begin to produce the enzymes once they have grown old enough and at the age when they are weaned off the milk from their mothers. The milk from their mothers is easy to digest and do not need to be procedurally digested. Once they are of age, the dogs begin to make an adequate amount of their own digestive enzymes. However, the number of enzymes made can be supplemented by the intake of foods such as fruits and vegetables. Enzyme supplements are however not paramount for dogs that are healthy and free of diseases that may hinder sufficient enzyme production in the dog.
There are some dogs that suffer imperfect digestion. For such dogs, this is how improvements can be made:
Treating digestive upsets- for such issues, it is important that veterinary help is sought after. I am well aware that some dog owners would prefer home-made treatments. Such treatments are discouraged as they may end up causing more harm than good for the dog. The right measure is to visit a vet to solve digestive upsets.
- Improving fiber intake- in cases where the digestion problems are not due to change in diets or food types, the addition of fibers may be the go-to solution.
- Probiotics- these are specific bacteria that are taken to enhance proper digestion
- Vitamin supplements and multivitamins may also go a long way in treating digestive issues in dogs.
In cases where these solutions do not do the trick, enzyme supplements should be considered and you can see the list here. They are especially considered when a dog is suffering from a condition where it is unable to digest food and get the necessary nutrients from it properly. Some dogs also suffer from a disease that prohibits their production of digestive enzymes called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency disease. Such dogs may also greatly benefit from enzyme supplements. In order to know the right solution for your pet’s digestive problems, you should seek professional advice from a vet.