An enzyme is a compound that speeds the rate of a chemical process. Almost all enzymes are proteins. Proteins are composed of amino acids. These are composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sometimes other atoms in specific configurations. Your pet's pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine to facilitate the chemical portion of digestion. The pancreas also produces insulin. Amylase digests starch, lipase digests fats. Enzymes are also present in raw food, but are denatured by heat processing which can alter their biological activity. The addition of enzymes to processed food can aid in digestion. If a pet exhibits the signs of digestive disorders such as vomiting, diarrhea, coprophagy (ingesting stool), flatulence, allergies or pancreatic insufficiency (underweight), he may benefit from enzyme supplementation.
A veterinarian can perform blood tests to measure serum enzyme levels, and to test for pancreatitis or pancreatic insufficiency.
Not all enzyme products are the same. Knowledge of the purpose for the supplement, of the desired ingredients, and the quality of the manufacturing is needed to provide your pet with a useful supplement or treatment.