Published on: 04/07/2022, updated on: 04/07/2022

Comforting a Sick Dog: What to Feed a Dog with Pancreatitis?

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Pancreatitis or the inflammation of the pancreas is a dangerous and painful condition that any dog might develop. The pancreas is a vital organ in the digestive system which produces enzymes that break down sugar, fat, and starches. It also helps produce some key hormones.

When the pancreas is inflamed, it can leak these digestive enzymes into nearby areas and burn the cell causing death. Hormone production reduces as well, causing more cell death. Your dog can potentially die from pancreatitis if it is not treated and managed well.

Therefore, it is crucial to know what to feed a dog with pancreatitis so that you can give comfort to your furry friend better.

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What Causes Pancreatitis in Dogs?

If your dog tends to eat human food or scavenge through garbage cans they will be prone to develop pancreatitis. If you give your dog food off your plate or if your dog is eating a high-fat diet, it can lead to pancreatitis.

The disease can be passed through genes. If your dog’s predecessors had issues with fat metabolism, your pup can also develop health problems. Certain medications may also trigger the issue, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, thiazide diuretics, etc. Some virus and bacteria-related infections can also cause pancreatitis.

However, the most common cause of pancreatitis is fat. If your dog eats high-fat food like beef, pork, fatty cheese, etc. Obesity can easily lead to pancreatitis.

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What are the Symptoms of Pancreatitis?

Since pancreatitis can become terminal, it is vital to spot the symptoms as soon as possible. If your dog has pancreatitis, chances are that they don’t have an appetite. They might seem weak, lethargic, and dehydrated.

Signs of pain are a big indicator. They might seem hunched back or get into the praying position when in pain. If they have a fever and look severely ill, you need to take it seriously. Especially paired with diarrhea and vomit, it will mean that the situation has progressed adversely.

Take them to the vet immediately if you see blood in their poop or vomit, along with the other symptoms. Severe bouts of pain can even lead to shock and death, so you must pay attention to the severity of your dog’s state.

Nutritional Requirements for Dogs with Pancreatitis:

  • You must change your dog’s diet when they develop any serious illness. It is essential to know what to feed a dog with pancreatitis. Nutritional requirements for dogs suffering from this disease are different from their regular dietary need.
  • You must serve them easily digestible food. Fish like salmon and chicken has high digestibility. The food needs to be low on fat (less than 15%) and moderate on protein (15-35% DMB).
  • Since a dog with pancreatitis tends to eat less and might be suffering from diarrhea and nausea, they can easily get dehydrated. So, giving them water is crucial.
  • They can also suffer from electrolyte imbalance, so along with fluid therapy they should get enough sodium(0.3-0.5%), potassium(0.8-1.1%) and chloride(0.5-1.3%).
  • During a bad case of pancreatitis attack, your dog may not be able to tolerate any solid food. A liquid diet might be the only thing their tummy can handle. A semi-solid, bland diet is often recommended. Providing them plain rice with bits of chicken, cooked in broth is ideal. Rice has great digestibility and is ideal for dogs with pancreatitis.
  • You can also give them boiled chicken and low-fat beef. Yogurts and egg whites are also great choices. You can also give them boiled vegetables that are high in soluble fiber. Pumpkin puree in moderation is also ideal. The crude fiber they eat can’t be more than 5%.
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What Treatment is Used to Manage Dog Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is curable, especially when found and treated immediately. Your dog will be in pain, but making the right change in diet and habits should help manage the issue. There are no particular medications for pancreatitis, but the vet might prescribe some to manage the symptoms. Here are a few tips to help treat and manage pancreatitis:

  • Fluid therapy is crucial when your dog is ill with pancreatitis. Intravenous fluids might be given if the conditions deteriorate.
  • Medication might be given to stop vomiting or to reduce pain. If the vet suspects some infection, they might give antibiotics.
  • Keeping a close eye on your pooch is essential as their condition might deteriorate at any moment.
  • An easily digestible, low-fat diet is vital for recovery.
  • Fat intake, especially human food, needs to be reduced. These are the main cause of inflammation and must be avoided at all costs.
  • Regular vet check-ups are recommended.

How to Comfort a Dog with Pancreatitis?

A dog with pancreatitis will suffer a lot of pain and discomfort. A sick dog will eat differently. It will be difficult to see your pup suffer like this as a pet parent, so you must try to comfort your pet as best as you can. Here are some tips to comfort your dog with pancreatitis:

  • If it is difficult for your dog to eat, feed them in small sessions.
  • You might need to get them puppy pads if they have severe diarrhea.
  • Limit movements and bring their necessities closer.
  • Make their bland food at home (with love!). Most store-bought items have additives, even something as simple as pumpkin puree. Try to give them homemade bland food that is easily digestible.
  • Make sure their water bowl is never empty.
  • Give them a lot of love and support. They will need it when they are suffering.
  • Keep a close eye on them as their condition can get worse.
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Can You Give Treats to Dogs Suffering From Pancreatitis?

People often think that you cannot give treats to dogs with an inflamed pancreas. But, that is not true at all. What is essential is to know exactly the kind of treats you can give your dog. Many low-fat and low-calorie treats can be given in moderation. For example, treats made of kangaroo meat are ideal. You can also give treats made of low-fat turkey or chicken meat. Most lean meats should be alright if their tummy can handle it.

Final Thoughts

If you see signs of pancreatitis in your dog, you must make changes to your dog’s lifestyle immediately. They will need lots of water and a bland diet. Your dog will be suffering so be more attentive towards it.

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