It is impossible to explain canine nutrition in total here, but it is essential for people to understand at least the basics in order to make sound, informed decisions concerning the health of their companion. True health is not achieved through drugs, vaccinations, or medications; it is a natural response of the body to proper nutrition. As such, it is imperative to realize that your vet is not responsible for the health of your friend, You Are. It is my goal in this article and in my business, Naturals for Animals, to help ease the burden of that responsibility for you through understanding and education, so lets get started.
There are six kinds of nutrients required by the body, animal or human, to grow and maintain maximum health; water, protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. In order for the body to utilize these nutrients properly, it needs ENZYMES. Enzymes are necessary for every chemical reaction in the body and for the normal activity of cells, tissues, fluids and organs. Enzymes digest food, and are essential for the production of energy required to run the body. Vitamins, minerals, and hormones can do nothing without enzymes. The problem that both humans and animals face is that those enzymes not produced internally by the body must be acquired through the food that we eat or feed. Unfortunately, in this day of highly processed foods, neither we nor our pets get these vital nutrients. Any processing which heats foods 118 degrees or more destroys the enzymes! The food is dead! It may contain the six vital nutrients, but not the enzymes that it takes to actually digest and use it!
Normally, plant and food enzymes act in the mouth and stomach to break down foods into their individual nutrients, which then pass into the blood to be used to perform their individual tasks. When enzymes are lacking, insufficient nutrients are released, plus small, undigested food particles may “leak” into the blood stream. The immune system identifies these particles as foreign matter called antigens. It then creates an antibody as a defense. The result is an allergic reaction. In short, a food allergy is simply the lack of the proper enzyme necessary for the body to digest that particular type of food. The ensuing skin problems are generally treated by using drugs, which in turn destroy enzymes causing further deficiencies!
A second major cause of enzyme deficiency is pesticide use. Interestingly enough, two of the major preservatives used in pet foods were originally produced as pesticides. Many of the non-pesticide preventatives work by destroying enzymes in the pest, thus killing them or their reproductive capacity, and we buy the notion that it is not harming our pet.
Another problem created by consuming dead, enzyme deficient food is the fact that the pancreas, which produces many of the enzymes (22 different kinds) which operate in the small intestine in the digestive process must now over work in order to make up for the lack of pre-digestion which food enzymes were supposed to accomplish in the mouth and stomach.
In addition to digestion, it is also the task of plant and food enzymes to enter the blood stream and assist the immune system by digesting and disposing of toxins (any substance not normally belonging in the blood stream), and to “eat” the protein coating on certain viruses, making them easier for the immune system to destroy. Each type of enzyme has a specific anti-inflammatory action and will relieve inflammatory conditions related to a deficiency in that enzyme. Since plant enzymes digest toxins rather than killing them as antibiotics do, the process involves no side effects if the digested toxins can be released through the normal waste elimination systems.
Are you beginning to get the picture? We feed ourselves and our pets “dead”, cooked and processed foods, then treat the symptoms of the problems created by the enzyme deficiencies with drugs which further destroy enzymes, instead of addressing and treating the actual cause of the problem! To me, it simply makes more sense both for the health and the finances, to treat or prevent illness through the addition of quality enzyme supplementation and a diet supported by enzyme rich raw foods.
Needless to say, the choice is up to you, but we would be happy to help once you have made your decision. May you and your loving companion enjoy a long and healthy life.
Authored by:Susan R Griffin; the founder and co-owner of Naturals for Animals, Inc. in St. Petersburg. She can be reached at 514 37th St. N. or by calling 727-327-2356. She is available for speaking engagements as well as private consultation.