Dried Aspergillus what?

Do you ever read the label of your horse or pet’s food or supplements and have no idea what half of the ingredients are?  On more than one occasion, I have heard people express their confusion over labels, and this also happens in the area of enzymes.  Some products that you are using may contain enzymes, but you don’t even know it.  Part of the difficulty comes from the fact that labeling laws vary, and that there is no true regulation of pet “supplements”, although organizations such as the National Animal Supplement Council are trying to change this.  In general, animal supplements fall under the category of “feed/pet food” when it comes to regulations.  Many manufacturers choose to follow the guidelines made by AAFCO- the American Association of Feed Control Officials.  Others do not, and this is why it can sometimes be difficult to compare enzyme products.

Scientist

Some products may list that they contain “Amylase, Cellulase, Protease, Phytase, and Xylanase.”  Most people will recognize that these are enzymes, however, this would not be sufficient for the ingredient list according to AAFCO guidelines.  AAFCO requires that the label list enzymes in the format of “Dried _____ Fermentation Extract”- where the blank would include the source organism for the enzyme.  You may recognize this format from a bag of grain or dog food.  What you are actually feeding includes enzymes!  When the ingredient is listed in this format, it resulted from extracting and precipitating the water-soluble materials from a fermentation process conducted for maximum production of enzymes.  For example, your ingredient list may say “Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Extract”, but the active enzyme may be Phytase.

I have included a link to a presentation on the AAFCO site about labeling as it relates to enzymes in feed.  If you are interested in more information about how enzymes are labeled in animal products, how to identify what is in what you are using, or anything else regarding enzymes, please feel free to e-mail me! feed@specialtyenzymes.com

More information on AAFCO Enzyme Labeling: http://www.petfood.aafco.org/Portals/1/pdf/enzyme_labeling_for_feeds.pdf

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Why Raw? Helping Digestion in Dogs and Cats

There are over 78 million owned dogs and over 84 million owned cats in the United States.  This contributes to the over $20 billion pet food industry.  If you own a dog or cat, you have surely seen the endless food choices, and there is a good chance that you may not think there is much of a difference.  Dog food is dog food, right?  Don’t they just eat meat?  Dogs are designed to eat meat, but if you look at the kibble that you buy at the store, it likely does not resemble any kind of meat you are familiar with.  This is because even if you have selected a food with a high protein content that is made of meat products, it has been highly processed.  Cooking and processing food to make it into a kibble drastically changes its properties from the state the food would be in if the dog were to eat it naturally.

There is a growing recognition in the pet food industry that these processed foods are not natural for dogs.  This has led to the development of several raw food diets for pets.  While this may sound unappetizing to us as humans, it is actually the way that our pets evolved to eat.  The ancestors of your cat or dog had to hunt for their food, and they did not cook it prior to eating it!  Why feed a raw diet?  Normal pet foods will provide your pet with the recommended levels of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, but the main thing that processed foods will not include is enzymes.  Raw foods are rich in natural enzymes, but these are denatured when foods are cooked.  Enzymes aid in the breakdown of components of food, helping it to be better utilized by your pet.  Nutritional deficiencies in pets can manifest themselves in several ways, from weight loss to poor skin/coat, to the unpleasant habit of coprophagia.  A raw food diet may help alleviate several problems by helping get your pet back to the way they are naturally meant to eat. Raw filet steak

However, a raw food diet may not be feasible for your situation, or your pet may still have some digestive issues once on this diet.  Enzyme supplementation for your pet is an increasingly well-recognized option to help their digestion.  If they are on a processed diet, enzyme supplementation will help replace the natural enzymes that were destroyed in their food when it was cooked.  If they are on a raw diet, it will give them even more of what they need to properly break down their food so that it can be fully absorbed.  If your pet still seems to have digestive upsets, supplementing with a probiotic may help restore the natural balance of “good” bacteria in their gut.

Whether or not you want to commit to a raw food diet for your cat or dog, adding enzymes and probiotics can drastically help to keep their digestive system in balance!  If you have any questions regarding the use of enzymes or probiotics, or if there are any particular topics you would like to see covered on this blog, send me an e-mail, I would love to hear from you! jamie@specialtyenzymes.com