Digestive Enzymes for Dogs Side Effects and Benefits: Tips And Technique

Digestive Enzymes for Dogs Side Effects and Benefits: Tips And Technique

July 13, 2011 | Dog Diet And Food | Leave a Comment |

Just like in humans, digestive enzymes for dogs can help enhance metabolism and other biochemical reactions. This is very important as optimum nutrient absorption is dependent on the enzyme’s capability to speed up metabolism.

Digestive Enzymes for Dogs

  • The canine’s pancreas is responsible in the production of enzymes for digestion and other biochemical reactions.
  • There may be instances when the pancreas is not capable of producing sufficient amounts of enzymes due to several reasons such as too much stress, pancreatic disorders or genetic disorders.
  • Signs and symptoms of digestive enzyme shortage include flatulence, diarrhea, bad coat condition and flaky skin. They are a result of proper indigestion and irregular breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
  • Digestive enzyme supplements can help avoid the symptoms of indigestion.
  • It is important to check the compatibility of an enzyme supplement to a specific dog food.
  • Digestive enzymes can be easily found in natural and uncooked states of food. These enzymes are released while the food is chewed.
  • The following are the basic digestive enzymes produced by a canine’s pancreas:
  • Protease helps break protein into amino acids.
  • Cellulase breaks down vegetables and others fibers.
  • Lipase breaks fats into the essential fatty acids.
  • Complex carbohydrates are broken down to simple sugars by amylase. These simple sugars include sucrose, maltose and lactose.

Digestive Enzymes for Dogs Side Effects

  • Reported side effects of digestive enzyme supplements in dogs include mild allergic reactions such as swelling of the face, inflammation of other body parts and hives.
  • In addition to physical allergic reactions, difficulty in breathing and chest tightness were also seen in dogs receiving digestive enzymes as a supplement.
  • Digestive enzymes are not given to canines with history of recurrent fever for the past 6 months and previous allergic reactions to administration of acidophilus, lactobacillus, streptococcus thermophilus and bifidobacterium.

Digestive Enzymes for Dogs Benefits

  • Digestive enzyme supplements promote a healthier digestive tract and immune system in dogs, particularly puppies.
  • Specially formulated digestive enzymes also help increase the absorption of nutrients and reduce strong odors in urine and stools.
  • Addition benefits include less weight management problems, lesser risks of degenerative diseases, elimination of corprophagia or eating poop and an increased ability to fight cancer.
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Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in Dogs

It is also known as EPI is a common condition in found in dogs and also effect humans, it is important to treat them as soon as possible if the dog is to survive.

  • This condition is characterized by the lack of digestive enzymes
  • The enzymes missing are those that are necessary in digestion
  • It is a result of a progressive loss in pancreatic cells
  • It is usually caused by a condition called Pancreatic Acinar Atrophy

The loss of pancreatic enzymes can lead to issues with Malnutrition and Malabsorption.


  • Genetics ??” The condition is often handed down from parent to child
  • It may also be related to the presence of a lymphocytic pancreas

Susceptible Breeds

  • German shepherds are shown to be the breed most commonly affected by the condition.
  • They are also common in Rough Collies
  • Terriers
  • Chow Chows
  • Picardien Shepherds
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

The condition can also happen to other dog breeds not mentioned above.


EPI has a late presentation in dogs. The symptoms are not observed until about 85 to 90 percent of the pancreas’ cells unable to secrete hormone or have atrophied. These include:

  • Poor hair condition
  • Increased appetite
  • Inability to gain weight
  • Diarrhea
  • Coprohagia ??” consumption of own feces
  • Flatulence
  • Yellow colored or gray colored stools that are fat streaked or are oily


  • Medical history
  • Physical Examination
  • Serum Trypsin Like Immunoreactivity
  • Fecal elastase levels


  • Supplementation with dried pancreatic enzymes ??” replaces the enzymes that are no longer produced by the pancreas
  • Chopped Beef Pancreas ??” contains enzymes that can help in digestion. Pig pancreas should not be used in dogs because of certain transmittable diseases.

Symptoms are most likely going to improve during the first few days of treatment. However, treatment needs to continue for the rest of the dog’s life. It is also important to watch out for side effects of using dried pancreas.

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