Digestive Enzymes and Proper Digestive Health for Dogs and Cats

Delilah the Shiba with Rich Diet Digestive Inconsistency - by Dan Shouse

As a growing pup Delilah the Shiba had issues with gaining weight, she suffers from RDDI (Rich Diet Digestive Inconsistency)

Is you pet lacking vital enzymes for proper digestion and body health ?

   When asked most people either have not heard of enzymes or just do not understand what important functions they play in the body. Scientifically speaking and according to Wikipedia (who can resist the Wiki ?), “Enzymes are biological molecules that catalyze (i.e., increase the rates of) chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates sufficient for life. Since enzymes are selective for their substrates and speed up only a few reactions from among many possibilities, the set of enzymes made in a cell determines which metabolic pathways occur in that cell.”

That is probably an over complicated description of Enzymes so lets try to break it down into something easier to digest (pun intended thank you).

Enzymes are required by the body to break down (digest) the food eaten and facilitate the absorption of vital nutrients, which in turn fuel all cell functions and the normal body processes. The body makes enzymes for digestion through the pancreas and it also receives additional enzymes from the food eaten. As the body ages, normal enzyme production is slowed and decreased enzyme levels lead to abnormal body function thru improper digestion of food and reduced nutrient absorption. Additionally, depending on the diet that is being fed, over processed foods (such as commercially available pet food) do not help support a normal enzyme level. Cooking and processing food with high heat kills the majority of enzymes in food. If you are feeding a raw, uncooked diet then enzymes will still be present, but these types of diets can be expensive and time consuming to prepare while commercial dog food is cheap (relatively) and readily available, saving time and money. of course I am not advocating feeding your pet “cheap” food, nor am I saying that to be responsible pet owner you need to spend the time and money creating a raw or natural pet diet, instead I want to help you understand why enzymes are important and what additional options there are for making sure your pet is enzyme strong. 

Enzyme Supplementation – How much is enough or too much.

Most animals seem to be healthy on the diets we feed them. If your pet is looking healthy and behaving normally should you supplement their diet with enzymes ? The answer is probably yes. Probably yes because caring pet owners try their best to feed a healthy diet to their pets based on their ability to afford what is available to them. If you can afford to supplement enzymes (and it is not very expensive), then the answer is absolutely “yes”,  you should supplement your pets diet with digestive enzymes; but the question is how much enzymes are enough.

read about RDDI (Rich Diet Digestive Inconsistency)

Digestive enzymes come in varied strengths, from a low maintenance level for healthy animals,  to extremely high doses for pets that suffer from chronic pancreatic diseases such as EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency). Most pets do not suffer from diseases like EPI and will benefit greatly with a medium strength maintenance enzyme supplement. One of the better enzyme supplements on the market is Enzyme Pro Plus from Thomas Labs or Pet-A-Zyme Digest Pro also from Thomas Labs. These are medium strength enzyme formulas with probiotics and other healthy pet vitamins and supplements. Thomas Labs also makes Bio Case and Bio Case Pro for animals that suffer from severe and chronic digestive diseases such as EPI. These products are sprinkled over the food and are very palatable.

Enzyme Pro Plus contains the following levels of digestive enzymes :

  • Lipase – 5600 USP – Lipase breaks down the fat in food
  • Protease – 43,400 USP – Protease breaks down the protein in food
  • Amylase – 49,500 USP – Amylase breaks down the starch in food
  • and Lactobacillus Acidophilus (a Probiotic) 1 billion units

There will be more information on enzymes in future articles dealing with inflammation in the body, digestion, and overall good health. check back for regular updates.

Delilah the shiba at a healthy weight of 18lbs

Delilah the Shiba suffers from RDDI (Rich Diet Digestive Inconsistency) and is treated with a medium strength digestive enzyme and Wellness Core. Now one year old her weight has stabilized at 18 lbs.


Diatomaceous Earth for Pets.

dearth 3lb - D-Earth

What the heck is Diatomaceous Earth and why would I want to use it on, in or near my pet?

Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one celled organism of algae like plants called Diatoms. Diatomaceous Earth has many protective uses, from use on household pets as a drying agent, in pet food as a digestive aid, or applied in areas where there are pest (like ticks and fleas) as a non-chemical, safer alternative to pest control.

There are 2 types of diatomaceous earth, saltwater, and freshwater. This is why it is very important that when using on animals or near humans you choose the freshwater, food grade diatomaceous earth. Freshwater diatomaceous earth is amorphous silica. Saltwater diatomaceous earth, the type used in pool filters, is crystalline silica. Pool filter diatomaceous earth is amorphous silica that has been heat treated forming large lump crystalline silica that makes for better filtering, but not good for your lungs.


It simply won’t be effective and is dangerous because of the many harmful side effects.

For Pest Control

Unlike persistent chemicals pesticides that can be harmful to your pet and the environment, Diatomaceous Earth is an ORGANIC mechanical pesticide that treats infestation without harmful side effects. Diatomaceous Earth is truly a safe ingredient; bugs can not become immune to Diatomaceous Earth because it kills them by PHYSICAL, not chemical action. Specially processed milling makes Diatomaceous Earth into a product graded for particle size which is most effective for killing insects. This process makes it easier and less dusty to use. As the insect comes in contact with the powder, static electricity causes an attraction to the body. Once the powder attaches itself to the insect, the sharp edges of the particles cut through the waxy outer layer of the exoskeleton of the insect and absorb the body fluids, therefore, killing the parasite. It takes a day or two for the process to take place but the end results is most effective, death by dehydration.

Diatomaceous Earth is both a short and long-term non-toxic, effective, safe, organic pesticide and has a remarkable repellent factor. As long as it is present, insects tend to stay away, making a serious infestation almost impossible. Also, the more diatomaceous earth is used, the more an environment is created to repel insects. If you use diatomaceous earth on a regular basis your animal both internally and externally will have less and fewer problems with all types of troublesome parasites. Having said that, diatomaceous earth tends to be better when used lightly per application, applying more over a longer period of time instead of a big bunch all at once. For anyone that has used diatomaceous earth before you know what I am talking about. The powder form can be difficult to keep under control, getting on things you do not want it on. Imagine throwing down a bag of flour and watching the dust billow up. So use the product prudently and much like salt in food… less can be better at times.

For Digestive Health

Freshwater, food grade Diatomaceous Earth can be used for internal parasites by placing in the daily feed ration. The same mechanical effect it has on external parasite carries over to parasites in your pets digestive tract. It has been used effectively as a worming agent and to help with digestive upset. Diatomaceous earth scrubs the digestive tract of poorly digested food and cleans out the stomach and intestines.

** There are some warning that goes along with the use of Diatomaceous Earth. First, because it is a powder made of microscopic rough-edged particles it should not be inhaled to a great degree. Use of a dust mask when applying the product is recommended. Let the application settle before allowing pets or people back into an area that has been treated. We would not suggest using this product around puppies or mothers that are nursing as puppies have underdeveloped and sensitive lungs, making them more susceptible to the side effects of inhalation. These warnings sound ominous but with proper care, diatomaceous earth is no more dangerous than laying down a layer of cooking flour. Remember that less is more in the application of Diatomaceous Earth.