Enzyme Robbing in Carnivores

Posted by on June 28, 2016 in Blog, Canine, Feline, Nutrition | 3 comments

Enzyme Robbing in Carnivores

By Dr. Jeannie Thomason co-founder of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy

A little more on enzymes:

When enzymes for the digestive process are not available in the food eaten, metabolic enzymes are produced in the major organs (liver, pancreas, etc.) and then “stolen or robbed” to be used to aid in digesting the meal.   This is called enzyme robbing.

Dogs and cats, being carnivores, do not have naturally occurring enzymes in their saliva to begin the digestion process in the mouth like omnivores or herbivores do.

When cooked/processed foods, grains or vegetables are fed to our carnivore companions, their stomachs immediately recognize that there are no enzymes present in what they just swallowed and that there is not enough naturally occurring enzymes in the stomach to break these things down. You see, heating or cooking raw ingredients at the temperature of only 118 degrees for just a few minutes, completely destroys the naturally occuring enzymes.

In an attempt to digest the “dead” food, the stomach sends out messages to the brain that then stimulates it to “send”enzymes from other parts of the body to the stomach to assist in digestion. Enzymes are then gathered (robbed) from the heart, liver, kidneys and other parts of the body and transported to the stomach. While this process is taking place, the food sits in the stomach undigested while the various major organs are being ˜robbed” of their enzymes in order to accomplish digestion. This process is called “enzyme robbing” because it steals the enzymes from other body organs, enzymes that those organs require to function correctly themselves.

Over time, depletion of enzymes can cause imbalance and dis-ease in the organs from which the enzymes were robbed. The “enzyme robbing” process does not happen when you feed  your dog or cat raw (live) species specific foods, i.e. meat, bones and organs. These raw carnivore specific foods contain their own enzymes and eliminates the need for the stomach to “rob” enzymes from other body organs to accomplish digestion.

A species specific diet rich in raw animal parts provides a rich source of enzymes (as well as other dense nutrients) necessary for the continuing good health of our carnivore companions.

It is just this simple: if living enzymes can be derived from raw sources, the body does not have to expend its precious energy robbing or making digestive enzymes in large quantities, it can utilize that energy in the process of living healthier and longer.


  1. Well-stated!

  2. Very true! Do you think this contributes to organ reserves in kibble fed carnivores being depleted at an early age and render them vulnerable to developing chronic diseases? Or even prevents them from building these important reserves in the first place.

    • Absolutely Thomas!