You just found out that your dog has pancreatitis and, you have many questions and concerns going through your head. What is pancreatitis? Is it a permanent health condition? What foods should I be feeding my dog and what are the next steps that I need to take in order to nurse my furry companion back to health?
We understand that you are concerned. We will help you understand the most crucial aspects of pancreatitis and how your pup can successfully recover from it with a change in diet. Pancreatitis is a serious condition, but fear not, because it is easily treatable when promptly addressed.
What is Canine Pancreatitis?
The canine pancreas is a crucial organ that is part of the endocrine and digestive system. The main role of the pancreas is to create enzymes that aid in digestion and to create insulin.
Pancreatitis means that the pancreas is inflamed (swollen and painful). The main cause of pancreatitis is an excessive fatty diet that leads to the premature activation of digestive enzymes. Another cause of pancreatitis is when your dog gets into the trash and eats food and objects that are not meant for dogs to eat.
The enzymes that the pancreas secretes are meant to become active in the intestines to digest food. However, when the enzymes are activated early, they end up leaking into the surrounding parts of the body and sometimes start to digest the pancreas and the abdominal cavity. As a result, the pancreas becomes inflamed, and your furry companion ends up vomiting food and becomes dehydrated.
There are two types of pancreatitis. One type is acute and the other is chronic pancreatitis. Acute means it comes on suddenly, and chronic is when your dog has a history of an inflamed pancreas and a sensitive gastrointestinal system.
How Will the Vet Help Your Dog Recover?
We understand that having your beloved pup hospitalized can be a worrisome situation. However, the quicker you get him or her to the vet, the quicker and smoother the recovery process will be. Hospitalizing your pup is usually the best way to go.
At the hospital, your dog will have a blood test done, and an IV catheter put in to receive fluids intravenously with some electrolytes. Your dog will not be offered any food until the active vomiting has greatly subsided. Your vet and the veterinary technician staff will call you regarding any test results, and they will inform you about your dog’s recovery progress.
Your dog will be monitored closely at the hospital, and the vet and veterinary staff will do their best to figure out what kind of low-fat food your dog likes the best. They will also monitor your dog’s vital signs and will frequently check on him or her. If your dog is hospitalized, you can usually visit your pup each day that he or she is there.
Why is Diet Important For Dogs With Pancreatitis?
Your dog’s diet is very crucial because what is being ingested is usually the main cause of pancreatitis in the first place. Once your dog has stopped vomiting actively and is re-hydrated, the main goal is to get your pup to eat a low fat and low starch diet. Your dog will need to eat 3 to 4 small meals per day of the new diet.
Your vet will want to recheck your dog and come up with a new nutritional plan for the long term. We strongly believe that you should always check with your vet first, before changing your dog’s diet.
Foods to avoid for a dog with pancreatitis:
- Chicken with the skin on it
- Regular cheese
- French fries
- Fried duck or lamb
- The skin and fat of any kind of meat
- Dog food that contains more than 12% fat per serving
What Should a Dog With Pancreatitis Eat?
It is crucial that you feed your dog low fat and low starch food in small amounts throughout the day. There are prescription diets available, but we understand that prescription food can be expensive.
You are allowed to prepare homemade meals for your pup as long as the food only puts minimal stress on the pancreas.
Common Vet Approved Food For Dogs Recovering From Pancreatitis
- Homemade boiled, skinless chicken and rice
- Homemade, cooked sweet potatoes and low fat, boiled beef
- Low fat cottage cheese
- Hills Prescription Diet i/d Canine Low Fat Gastrointestinal Restore wet dog food
- Hills Prescription Diet w/d Canine Low Fat Gastrointestinal balanced dry dog food
- Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Dry Food
- Boiled, skinless turkey or low-fat ground beef
- Royal Canin Canine Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Food
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula Dry Dog Food (for puppies and small breed dogs)
- Cooked broccoli and cauliflower
- Cooked winter squash
- Egg whites and cooked peas
- Purina Pro Plan EN Gastroenteric low-fat diet (wet or dry)
- Primal Pet Foods Venison Formula (Raw food)
- Royal Canin GI canine treats
- Horizon organic low fat cottage cheese
- Dry or wet dog foods that are less than 12% fat per serving
As you can see there are a good amount of options for feeding your dog a low-fat diet. If your dog usually eats raw meat, then be sure to cut as much of the visible fat off of the meat as possible before serving and mix it with cooked vegetables. Keep in mind that many of the specially formulated prescription or veterinary diet dog foods can be expensive, so it may be more affordable to combine them with a diet of home cooked and raw foods.
When it comes to home cooked meals, we believe that it is best to ask your vet about the proper serving sizes of meat, vegetables and rice to serve.
We want to remind you that the main goal is to put as little stress on the pancreas as possible. Make sure your dog drinks enough water, is fed the correct portions of low-fat food, rests enough, and is no longer vomiting. Sometimes dogs will eat and still vomit because, of nausea. If that occurs, we strongly encourage you to call your veterinarian and ask if your dog can have an anti-nausea medication.
P.S. Help a friend find out what a dog with pancreatitis should eat by pinning this!