Welcome to my first blog ever! I have had people telling me I should be doing this for years and thanks to Celeste from the Clever Canine's persistent pestering I am putting fingertips to keys and taking a plunge. I have never considered myself a writer of any skill or quality but rather an analytical thinker who likes numbers and quantifying results. I tend to think this lends itself to a rather dull form of content but maybe there are some out in the ether who would will find benefit in my research, thoughts, and theories. I will start out by saying that I am not at vet and have no paperwork that says I am an authority on anything I am writing about. If that ever changes I will let you know. I am just a guy who has been working with lots of dogs since 2009 and has done a lot of study on nutrition.
The first product I wanted to write about is OptaGest from a company called In Clover out of Boulder, Colorado. The company was founded in 1996 by Rebecca Rose who is a biochemist with a background researching digestion in humans. One thing I was happy to hear about In Clover is they formulate all their own products. They are not a marketing company but a pet wellness company. Some companies slap their name on a product that someone else developed and then they market it. It changes the mindset of the company if you are selling someone else's product as opposed to creating products to sell. You're not a sales company you're a wellness company. OptaGest is basically 2 ingredients. Organic inulin (Prebiotic) and a blend of digestive enzymes.
Prebiotics VS Probiotics
OptaGest is a prebiotic. Not to be confused with a probiotic. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in the gut and aid in digestion by fighting off the bad bacteria. Prebiotics are plant based carbohydrates that are not digested and they feed the probiotics.
Think of your dogs gut as your front yard. Probiotics are the grass and Prebiotics are like fertilizer. There are hundreds of different types of grasses. Some grasses do well in acidic soil, some do well in sandy soil, some do well in dry climates, and some do well in swampy conditions. There are specific grasses that do best in each specific condition. Your dog has their own specific “soil condition” in their gut and their own blend of probiotics growing in it. Just as fertilizer feeds all kinds of grasses Optagest will feed whatever unique blend of probiotics are in your dogs gut without introducing new ones or throwing off the balance of probiotics.
Remember that a healthy lawn will not only look pretty but will actually choke out weeds. A healthy gut that is teaming with the right kind of probiotics will actually stop many health issues before they even get a chance to take root!
About 75% of a dogs immune system lives in the gut. In addition to fighting disease the immune system also fights allergies! (aka itchy skin). I think that in the coming years science is going to place an importance on prebiotics for both humans and animals that would surprise most of us.
These are plant based enzymes which help break down food and make it more digestible. Optagest contains:
Protease - breaks down protein
Amylase - breaks down carbohydrates
Lipase - breaks down fats
Cellulase - breaks down fiber.
When your dog was a puppy they were born they have a wealth of enzymes but life and its stresses degrade these supplies and reduce their body's overall digestive ability. Many dog foods claim to contain these healthy enzymes. However, due to their heat sensitive nature and the total amount needed by your dog to digest the food itself most foods are actually using more enzymes then they replace. Supplementing with a enzyme product like OptaGest on a regular basis will increase the nutrition your dog is able to get from their food.
Who can benefit from OptaGest?
Dogs experiencing stress or showing overt sings of not digesting well should give this product a try. Stress can look a lot like everyday life for some dogs: travel, a round of antibiotics, a kennel stay, switching foods, going to the groomer. The most direct sign that your pet is not digesting properly is if they are gassy. Other signs they are not getting the most out of their food is Corpophagia (eating their own waste) and loose stools.
Feline hairballs. Adding protease enzymes will help break down the hair so it moves through the digestive tract rather than blocking the stomach's exit door and coming back up.
You know your dog best. What it comes down to is that without proper digestion nothing is going to work quite right. It all starts with getting the right nutrients out of their food so your dogs can thrive. Digestive health matters!
I am excited to offer a 7 day trial pack for $5 and then 100g and 300g bottles which will last about 75 and 225 days so OptaGest comes out to be less then 20 cents per day with the big bottle. Stop by Bailey's or call Doorstep to add some to your order.
Here's to clean, healthy, happy dogs! - Brent
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