Why are enzymes important?

Enzymes are the building blocks of life. The functions of enzymes are the same in humans as in animals. These little proteins control essential chemical reactions inside our pets’ (and our) bodies, such as building bones, developing red blood cells, healing wounds, driving heart beats, thinking, breathing and digestion. Without enzymes, life couldn’t exist.

There are three types of enzymes: metabolic enzymes, digestive enzymes, and food enzymes. Metabolic enzymes are responsible for operating the body’s organs, tissues and cells. Digestive enzymes break down foods, allowing their nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream and used in body functions. Digestive enzymes ensure our pets get the greatest possible nutritional value from their diets. Lastly, food enzymes are those supplied directly from food.

When our dog or cat is born, he or she has an ample supply of enzymes, but stress, environmental factors, processed foods and aging all reduce the body’s ability to replenish the enzyme supply. Think of enzymes as a bank account. The body is constantly pulling from this account to maintain functions critical to life, and it’s essential to make deposits into this account to ensure the body has what it needs to “pay the bills” (stay healthy).

Digestion trumps all other functions. Think of digestion as the mortgage. This bill has to be paid before anything else, and if there aren’t enough funds to meet the need, the body will pull enzymes from other “accounts” to ensure digestion is completed.

How do we make deposits into this enzyme bank account? One way is to feed our pets raw foods. When foods are heated over 118 degrees Fahrenheit, their enzymes are destroyed. However, even raw foods only contain enough enzymes to digest that food. When considering our bank account metaphor, raw foods make a deposit that is instantly withdrawn. They don’t have any surplus to help replenish the account.

The most effective way to maintain a healthy enzyme level is through supplementation of high quality digestive enzymes.

Unlike hormone replacement therapy, the body does not become dependent on enzyme supplementation. Enzymes are already being produced in the body in response to food intake. The problem lies in the inadequate production of enzymes to meet the demands of stress factors, including denatured food, environmental toxins, physical exercise and emotional stress. Therefore, enzyme supplements help the body to simply catch up to its demands.

In Clover’s digestive aids, OptaGest and Fresh Digest, contain clinically tested levels of digestive enzymes. Just 1/4 teaspoon contains 45 mg of human-quality, plant-based enzymes in addition to 700 mg of organic prebiotic to support a healthy intestinal balance. Just sprinkle over or mix into daily meals to help maintain your pet’s enzyme bank account.

Interested in learning more about enzymes? We recommend The Healing Power of Enzymes by Dr. DicQie Fuller, PH.D., D.Sc.

Help! My pet is eating poop!

By: Rebecca Rose

The name for this is coprophagia. It is a common problem and there are ways to make it stop!

Sometimes the cause of coprophagia is behavioral. The dog must be trained that eating his feces, or the feces of other animals, is not okay. This can be accomplished by spraying bitter apple over the feces.

Another common reason for coprophagia is that the animal is not adequately digesting the nutrients in the food, leaving partially digested food in the feces. This can be stopped with an enzyme supplement such as OptaGest. Use a product with plant-based enzymes as they will work fast and be most complete. The enzymes will allow the dog or cat to digest all of the nutrients in the food and absorb them into the bloodstream. You will even notice the size and color of the stool changing. In cases like these, stool eating should cease in a few days after starting the supplement regimen.

What non-food item is your dog or cat trying to eat?

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

I heard the sound of a pan sliding on a tile floor, I quickly looked down to my side. Just as I thought, nothing there. My constant companion, a slightly overweight Golden named Floyd, was gone. Let me first explain that Floyd has always been what you might call willowy or delicate. On frequent trips to the open space, he is typically greeted with “what a pretty girl!” and he beams. A few months ago, Floyd hit middle age and his girlish figure disappeared seemingly overnight. A complete vet work up showed a very healthy dog and a recommendation for dieting.

When I heard that telltale sound of the cat food bowl scraping across the floor, I knew that Floyd had fallen to the temptation. I called his name, heard his head go up, tags jingle and then watched him avoid my gaze as he walked up the stairs and past me to the back door… with the handle of the cat food spoon protruding 4 inches out of his mouth. He obediently handed over the (compostable) spoon but not before I had the entire family gather around to see what he has stooped to. No harm, no foul with this episode but, according to Embrace Pet Insurance, gastrointestinal claims rank in the top 5 by number. See the most common items swallowed by dogs and cats.

With portion control of a very good dog food and more exercise, Floyd is watching his waistline return.  His digestive system is kept healthy with OptaGest digestive supplement and a gate around the cat food and accompanying utensils.

What has your dog or cat gotten into lately?

Is eating grass normal for my dog or cat?

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

We have a glass door at In Clover that is a perfect spot for my dog Floyd to watch the world go by. It overlooks a grassy lawn. I found him there yesterday afternoon staring nose to nose through the glass with a bunny who was chewing intently on a long blade of grass. Floyd is intrigued this time of year by both the lush green grass and the bunny. As spring is springing and you start to spend more time looking out and in your yard you may notice how much grass your dog and cat eat and wonder why. This is one of the most common questions vets are asked this time of the year. No one has a definitive answer because our furry kids can’t tell us if it is because they just like the taste, and if so, why they throw it up. Answers vary from they need to purge, to they have a dietary deficiency, to natural behavior.

There is not a problem with your pet grazing on the sweet spring greens, unless they head straight for the carpet and throw it back up. Dogs and cats have been eating grass and smaller grass-eating prey for thousands of years and there is no evidence that it is bad for them. This is not the case if the grass has been treated with chemicals or herbicides. If that is a concern, keep them satisfied with an organic, live grass or wheat grass treat like the ones available at bellrockgrowers.com. If you suspect a dietary deficiency, treat them to a digestive supplement with plant-based enzymes and prebiotics found in products like OptaGest. Since the digestive tract is 70% of the immune system, keeping their digestive system healthy and happy will pay off with a happier, healthier well pet.

Supplement Needs for Older Dogs and Cats

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

Because our senior dogs and cats are unable to make the digestive enzymes necessary to absorb and digest key nutrients, it is important to supplement their diets with a high quality digestive enzyme product. Look for a supplement with key plant based enzymes such as protease, amylase, cellulase and lipase. Make sure that your supplement does not have fillers such as lactose, rice hulls or animal digest that may cause digestive issues. If the supplement has the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) benchmark of quality seal, you can feel good about the quality that has gone into the product.  

Start supplementing your pet’s digestive system today, you will notice the difference in decreased amounts of  stool, change in stool odor, color and consistency.  Your pet will feel more vibrant!

Is salmon safe for your pet?

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

I walked into my favorite pet store right after work, hungry. I was projecting my tastes as I selected the pet food flavors. The dog food package had a beautiful stream full of jumping salmon. The cat food label had an appetizing array of seafood, I chose the salmon. But then I remembered about “salmon poisoning.” Salmon is not safe for pets, or is it?

Living inside some salmon is a parasite, a member of the trematode family that relies on the host salmon to live. Living inside some of these trematodes is another parasitic organism named Neorickettsia helminthoeca, this rickettsia is sort of like a bacteria. And this is where the problem begins. The rickettsia is what can cause infectious disease in dogs and cats who eat raw salmon. This may result in serious illness and death. However, your pet may safely eat salmon if it is prepared by cooking or freezing it first, this will kill the rickettsia. If your pet does eat an infected raw salmon, the symptoms of the disease occur about a week later. They include severe intestinal upset and inflammation. This is easily treated but you will need to give your veterinarian a history of what he has been eating since a routine blood test will look normal.

The name “salmon poisoning” is a misnomer. The salmon simply carries the rickettsia, and not by choice. So cook or freeze your pet’s salmon and bon appetit.