Canine Pancreatitis Diet

Mychelle Blake
Veterinarian with dog and food

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.

Causes

Pancreatitis 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:

Symptoms

Common symptoms of the condition include:

Feeding Your Dog a Low-Fat Canine Pancreatitis Diet

Your vet will recommend the treatment for your dog's condition. Part of the usual treatment for pancreatitis 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.

Bland Foods to Feed a Dog With Pancreatitis

The recommended diet may also call for bland foods, such as:

  • Boiled rice
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean ground meat
  • Egg whites, cooked
  • A limited amount of whole eggs due to the fat content
  • Oats and oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cottage cheese

Low-Fat Prescription Dog Food Options

Your vet may recommend a prescription dog food. This type of commercial 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:

Homemade Dog Food for a Pancreatitis Diet

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 (or one cup of cooked boneless chicken, chopped or shredded)
  • 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.

Homemade Dog Treats for Pancreatitis

A simple treat recipe for dogs with pancreatitis made by combining:

  • 2-1/2 cups rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 tablespoons low sodium/ low-fat chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked squash
  • A ground up sweet potato

Mix and add in a few drops of cold water until you have the dough. Roll onto a sheet for a 1/2 inch thick flat dough. Use a cookie cutter to make shapes or a glass for round cookies and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Cautions

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 recurrence of the inflammation. It is very important that your dog not be fed table scraps or fatty foods.

How Often to Feed a Dog With Pancreatitis

Your 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.

How to Care for a Dog With Pancreatitis

Dogs with pancreatitis can experience pain and discomfort. There are several options to try to comfort a dog with pancreatitis. Talk to your vet about dog pancreatitis treatment at home before you start.

  • Talk to your vet about medications to alleviate his pain.
  • If he vomits or has other digestive issues like diarrhea, your vet can prescribe drugs for this.
  • Make sure he has access to fresh, clean water so he does not become dehydrated.

Recovery Time

The recovery time for a dog with pancreatitis varies with how bad his condition is. Severe cases can result in death if not treated right away. Research studies have found the dog pancreatitis death rate is approximately 40 percent. It's possible your dog may have to live with it for his whole life.

Treatable Condition

Pancreatitis is treatable with a good diet and supportive care. Your dog will feel better as her condition improves, and so will you.

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Canine Pancreatitis Diet