Pancreatitis is a painful inflammation of the pancreas, and it can affect dogs and humans alike. This condition often occurs as a result of an excessively high-fat diet. There are two forms of pancreatitis, acute and chronic. When your dog is diagnosed with this condition, you need to know all about the symptoms, how to treat them, and how to prepare a nutritionally complete homemade dog food for your precious pooch.
What Is Canine Pancreatitis?
The pancreas is a vital organ that produces the enzymes that are used to break down the foods a dog eats. It lies on the right side of the body, adjacent to the stomach. This organ is also responsible for the manufacturing and release of insulin.
Pancreatitis can affect dogs of any age and breed. Acute versions of this condition may remain mild or can turn hemorrhagic. When the pancreas is inflamed, it causes digestive enzymes to spill into the abdominal cavity of the dog, resulting in secondary damage to the liver, intestines, bile duct, and gallbladder.
As noted above, acute pancreatitis is often brought on by an excessively high-fat meal, but it can also come on spontaneously. The following are some of the common symptoms of this condition.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Decrease in appetite
Because canine pancreatitis can have a profoundly negative effect on the digestive system of your dog, it is important to examine his diet and make the right changes that will protect his health. One of the best things to comfort a dog with pancreatitis is a homemade diet.
How Is Canine Pancreatitis Treated?
Managing canine pancreatitis successfully means finding it in its earliest stages. If you have noticed any of the symptoms above, you must take your dog to the vet right away. While the symptoms of pancreatitis can often mimic other digestive disorders, it is important to rule out this serious condition first.
If your dog has a mild case of pancreatitis, the formula for treatment involves giving the digestive system a rest. Dogs who are vomiting should not eat until the vomiting subsides. It is safe to withhold food from a dog for a few days, though water or IV fluids are essential to avoid dehydration.
In some instances of pancreatitis, the dog needs to be hospitalized to be monitored 24/7. In cases of this magnitude, dogs are given analgesics to control the intense pain and IV fluids. If there is an infection, antibiotics will be administered via an IV. In some cases, anti-inflammatory medications will be required to reduce the damage done by the condition .
If a dog is hospitalized for pancreatitis, the stay will typically be between two to four days. During this time, dog food will be gradually introduced again until the dog can hold down both food and water.
What Is the Prognosis of Dogs With Pancreatitis?
The prognosis of canine pancreatitis will entirely depend on the severity of the condition and how far it has progressed. If a dog has shock and depression, his prognosis will not be as good as a dog who has only mild pancreatitis. In cases of mild pancreatitis, most dogs fully recover with an aggressive regime of medication. It is important to seek immediate medical attention for dogs with possible pancreatitis because this condition if left untreated, can lead to hemorrhagic pancreatitis, which can cause severe damage to the digestive system and may lead to death.
Although most dogs recover fully, some suffer long-term consequences. If the cells that make digestive enzymes are destroyed in great numbers, the result is exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. This condition can be managed with the addition of digestive enzymes to each meal.
Diet Plan for Canine Pancreatitis
Once your dog has been diagnosed with canine pancreatitis, you must be prepared to give him a low-fat diet. If his condition is severe, you will need to make sure his diet consists of no more than 10% fat.
The goal is to feed your dog a healthy diet that will supply him with plenty of energy but is easy on the digestive system. Plan on adding an increased amount of complex carbohydrates, such as rice, oatmeal, and barley. Meats like chicken, turkey, and lean beef are also good additions.
Adding healthy vegetables is also beneficial. Sweet potatoes and pumpkins are both good choices. Fat-free yogurt should also be a consideration. Your dog’s diet should be high in protein, moderate in healthy carbs, and low in fat.
Although you may find some commercial dog food preparations that meet these dietary needs, it is highly unlikely. Even if you find one that fits the bill, you will find it is not as healthy and beneficial as homemade dog food.
Homemade Dog Food Recipes for Canine Pancreatitis
Before I introduce some canine pancreatitis homemade dog food recipes to you, I want you to be aware of some important information. You should not overfeed your dog! Feeding him too much food could worsen his pancreatitis and the damage done to his digestive system.
Consult with your veterinarian before introducing any foods to your dog. The vet may recommend adding some digestive enzymes to your dog’s diet, including pancreatin, l-glutamine, and Berte’s Digestion Blend.
You will need to readjust your dog’s feeding schedule. Instead of a couple of larger meals, he will need to eat four to five small meals throughout the day. The following offers some recipes you can feed your dog to help his pancreatitis. Try one recipe at a time, and see how your dog responds to the new foods being introduced. If his symptoms seem to increase, talk with your vet before continuing.
- One cup of plain boiled chicken
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
- 1/2 cup of boiled zucchini
- 3/4 cup boiled chopped potato
- ½ tsp Berte’s Digestion Blend
Combine all the ingredients and serve to your dog slightly warmed. You will need to feed your dog one cup of this recipe for every twenty pounds of weight.
- One cup of lean roast beef
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup plain boiled zucchini
- 3/4 cup cooked barley
- 1/2 teaspoon Berte’s Digestion Blend
Make sure the zucchini and chicken are chopped fairly fine. Mix all of the ingredients, and serve one cup per twenty pounds of weight.
- One cup of plain boiled chicken breast
- One cup of plain cooked white rice
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free cottage cheese
Mix the chopped chicken breast with the rice and cottage cheese until well combined. Feed one cup per twenty pounds.
- One pound of cooked, chopped chicken thighs (remove skin and fat)
- 2 1/2 cups of cooked white rice
- 1/2 cup cooked, chopped green beans
- 1/2 cup cooked, chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup cooked wheat germ
Combine all the ingredients carefully. Serve your dog one cup for every twenty pounds he weighs.
You should try one recipe at a time and see how your dog responds. Feed him a small amount of food throughout the day. Dogs with pancreatitis respond better when they are fed small meals instead of large ones. Smaller meals are less stressful on his digestive system and will make the symptoms of pancreatitis lessen.
Signs Your Dog Is Not Digesting Food Well
As a dog owner, you must monitor your dog for any signs of digestive issues once you start feeding him one of the above recipes. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it is important to contact your vet right away for answers. Your vet will offer the best treatment for your dog’s condition and will help you learn to manage it well.
- Throwing up undigested food
- Undigested food in his poop
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Stomach pain
- Failure to thrive
Do not ignore the above symptoms. Your dog needs you to be his advocate. If the diet recipes above are not working, further intervention from the vet may become necessary.
FAQ About Canine Pancreatitis
If your dog has been diagnosed with canine pancreatitis, try not to panic. Yes, this is a serious condition, and it requires treatment from the vet. As a dog owner, you likely worry a lot about your dog’s health and have a lot of questions that you need answering. The following are some of the top questions about canine pancreatitis.
Is boiled chicken good for dogs with pancreatitis?
Boiled chicken is one of the safest and best foods for dogs with canine pancreatitis. This is a food choice you can offer your dog with confidence. You should try plain boiled chicken breast before you introduce any of the recipes above. Your dog should be able to digest this food easily.
Are potatoes good for dogs with pancreatitis?
Sweet potatoes are another good food for canine pancreatitis. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and low in fat, making them an excellent choice for healthy nutrition. If you combine sweet potatoes and salmon, your dog will have a perfect meal that is high in protein and fiber, without increasing his fat consumption.
Are carrots OK for dogs with pancreatitis?
When your dog is diagnosed with pancreatitis, carrots are one of the best foods for him to snack on, and they can be included in some of the recipes above. Carrots are low in calories and fat but offer beneficial vitamins and minerals that are healthy for a dog’s digestive system. Your vet should OK carrots, especially if they are cooked.
How can dogs with pancreatitis eat?
In its acute stage, pancreatitis may prevent a dog from eating normally. If your dog cannot eat at first, he will likely be hospitalized and given IV therapy until he begins to recover. After he starts to heal, you can introduce foods like white rice, boiled chicken breast, barley, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Be sure to monitor your dog’s symptoms, and take him to the vet if he begins to show signs of a pancreatic attack.
Protect Your Dog’s Digestive Health
Although canine pancreatitis is undoubtedly a serious condition, it can be managed effectively in most dogs. Your vet will treat your dog’s condition with IV medications. When your dog goes home from the vet, it is important to monitor his condition and follow the instructions of your vet for diet and medication. With aggressive treatment, your dog can recover fully and go on to live a healthy life.