Probiotics, Prebiotics, Digestive Enzymes – Oh My!

When talking about supplements and nutrition, many people bring up the use of probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes – but how many of us know exactly WHY we would use any of these things?  For years people have used things like plain yogurt added to their pet’s food and perhaps only had “sort” of an understanding why.

First, prebiotics and a definition:

“They are, by definition, non-digestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth of one of a limited number of beneficial bacterial species in the colon. Beneficial bacteria include Bifidobacteria

Prebiotics, Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes all work to help our dogs get optimal nutrition from the food that they eat

and Lactobacilli, which have the potential to improve host health, while at the same time working to inhibit the growth of pathogenic, “bad-guy” microorganisms. In other words, prebiotics are “health food” for beneficial bacteria.”

Prebiotics are integral in advancing the growth of good bacterias in the digestive tract.  They also have been shown to be anti-carcinogenic as well as a help in controlling blood glucose levels (great for diabetic dogs).  In addition to these specialized uses, they also are beneficial in helping to control diarrhea, constipation, intestinal woes and inflammatory bowel disease.  They also have been shown to have antibiotic properties as well and may even aid in dealing with skin allergies.  (

Probiotics are similar to prebiotics and work best in conjunction with them.  Probiotics are:

“beneficial bacteria and yeast, and are used to restore the normal balance of microflora (bacteria) in the gastrointestinal tract. In other words, probiotics are the “good, friendly bacteria” that are used to combat the “bad, harmful bacteria” that have grown out of proportion due to numerous reasons”

Bad bacterias can grow under particular circumstances.  One of these is the administration of antibiotics for various ailments and injuries.  Antibiotics kill off all bacterias without any discrimination which means that the good bacterias

Digestive enzymes are as important as life and death for dogs like this GSD who suffers from EPI

die along with the bad.  This can and does absolutely upset the balance of the gut itself.  Other circumstances include dietary changes, exposure to pathogens, chemicals or pollutants, inflammation of the digestive tract and stress.  (

In promoting the digestive system, probiotics will address other ailments within your dog.  The immune system will overall be healthier, it can stop chronic and acute diarrhea, help with skin issues caused by allergies and can help with yeast infections.  In addition to this, digestion itself is more efficient making sure that your dog is receiving all the optimal nutrition that he can get from his food.

Digestive enzymes are yet another substance that aid greatly in digestion.  The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes that work to digest our food but often a little extra help is needed and can be incredibly beneficial as well.  Digestive enzymes, in short, ensure that our dog’s food is digested properly and efficiently which means that they are getting the absolute most out of their food that they can get.  Think of added digestive enzymes, both from food itself and from supplementation, as bolstering that which the body already provides.  If there is a lack of bodily enzymes they can make all the difference – sometimes the difference between life and death as seen in dogs that suffer from exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.  If food isn’t digested properly by enzymes, it can result in the proliferation of bad bacterias which will gum up the entire works.  The results include higher incidences of bloat, bad breath, poor immune system health, soft stool and chronic diarrhea, lethargy, skin problems and even joint problems like arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Feeding a raw diet can go a long way towards making sure that your dog has all the most readily available nutrients that they need and foods like Raw Green Tripe can also supply good amounts of prebiotics/probiotics and digestive

Given daily, this supplemental powder can give your dog HUGE health benefits that last for a LONG lifetime

enzymes.  Truthfully though, most all dogs can benefit from the addition of each of these to their diets the result of which is enhanced health and well being.  Dogs with the plethora of problems listed above can be naturally helped by these substances and problems that seemed to have no solution, can disappear in short order.

Supplements such as DogZymes Digestive Enhancer will cover all of your bases for all three.  Containing both pro and prebiotics as well as digestive enzymes, the palatable powder is easy to add to your dog’s food and the benefits are huge.  For problems like acute diarrhea, DogZymes Canine Paste can be a quick fix and give that extra boost that your pet’s digestive system needs to fight off the problem at hand.