If your dog has been diagnosed with an inflamed pancreas, she will need a canine pancreatitis diet. This diet will help the pancreas recover and reduce the possibility of a recurrence.
Causes and Symptoms of Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, an organ which is part of the digestive and endocrine systems. The inflamed pancreas begins producing too many digestive enzymes. The condition can be painful. It is classified into two types: acute, which has a sudden onset, and chronic, which is a continuing and recurring inflammation. Pancreatitis ranges in severity between mild to life threatening. The mild acute form may have little lasting damage. Other acute forms can be very dangerous. Early treatment can greatly reduce the damage to the internal organs. Left untreated, pancreatitis can be life threatening.
Pacreatitis can be caused by many factors. The most common cause is a rich and fatty diet. This fatty diet is often the result of a dog being fed tables scraps and human food.
It may also be caused by:
- Trauma or injury
- Diseases and conditions, such as diabetes
Common symptoms of the condition include:
- Loss of appetite
- Apathy and lethargy
- Sensitivity to touch
- Abdominal pain
Feeding Your Dog a Canine Pancreatitis Diet
Your vet will recommend the treatment for your dog's condition. Part of the usual treatment for pancreatits is a low-fat diet, where the total fat content is no more than 18 percent. This diet enables the pancreas to rest because the condition causes the pancreas to become overstimulated. The recommended diet may also call for bland foods, such as:
- Boiled rice
- Lean ground meat
- Egg whites
- Oats and oatmeal
- Sweet potatoes
- Cottage cheese
Your vet may recommend a prescription dog food. This dog food is specially formulated to be low in fat yet still full of the essential protein, carbohydrates and vitamins that a dog needs. Some prescription brands are:
- Hill's Prescription Diet Canine i/d
- Prescription Diet Canine w/d
- Eukanuba Reduced Fat
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Digestive Low Fat
- Iams Veterinary Formula Intestinal Dry Dog Food
You may want to check with your vet about cooking your own dog food. A simple recipe for a low-fat diet is:
- 1 cup cooked lean ground beef, drained of fat
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 3/4 cup low or nonfat cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup cooked squash
- 1/2 cup cooked broccoli
If you decide to feed your dog homemade food, ask your vet about additional vitamin supplements. Very low fat diets can be deficient in vitamins A and E.
Depending on the severity of the condition, your dog may have to remain on the canine pancreatitis diet for the rest of her life to prevent a reccurence of the inflammation. It is very important that your dog not be fed table scraps or fatty foods.
You vet may also recommend feeding your dog four to eight very small meals a day. Small meals are less likely to overexcite the pancreas. Your dog will also be less likely to vomit after her meal.
Pancreatitis is treatable with a good diet and supportive care. Your dog will feel better as her condition improves, and so will you.