We all want for our best four-legged friends to stay healthy and live forever, but as with other family members and ourselves included, illness is a fact of life. While some could argue otherwise, it is probably worse when our dog is ill as they are unable to articulate precisely the severity of their pain, and we can only see the symptoms. In this regard, dogs are like babies, with lots of noise and curling, but without words, which makes you even more worried that if the dog were to tell you exactly where it hurts and how much.
The best advice in case of all illnesses is to stay levelheaded and to try to fix the problem the best way you can, as this will not only probably cure the disease, but will also prevent you from panicking and making things worse. Observe the symptoms, try to relieve momentary discomfort, and seek a solution that is to the best of your abilities.
The pancreas is a common mammalian organ that is unique by the fact that it has both an endocrine and an exocrine function. In dogs, it is right next to the stomach and goes adjacent to the small intestine. Pancreatitis is, as the name suggests, the inflammation of the pancreas, usually caused by a piece of undigested food logged in the small intestine which stimulates the pancreas to produce enzymes, even though it is not needed. This can be either due to a bad diet or because of the age of the dog where its senses start deteriorating, and they don't know if they can smell food or not.
It is not always easy to discern if your dog has pancreatitis or some other ailment with similar symptoms, as various pet food allergies or even gas production can create abdominal pains and sporadic vomiting.
The main symptoms of pancreatitis, regardless of the breed of the dog, are abdominal pains followed by slight wallowing, as well as visible depression. When the inflammation starts your dog will stop eating in the same quantities as before and will usually find a safe and dark place to curl into a ball waiting for the abdominal pain to pass. Friendlier dogs will sometimes ask from their owners to rub their belly without showing playfulness, which is a good sign of general digestive problems and can also be a sign of pancreatitis.
While dogs of all ages and sizes can suffer significantly from weight loss and anorexia that is induced by pancreatitis, this will more often impact smaller dogs that have less fat and less muscle mass to lose. With smaller breeds, you will notice faster weight loss, followed closely by fur deterioration, which will be a clear sign that you have to take your canine companion to the veterinarian.
There can be multiple causes for pancreatitis, and while medical professionals debate the root cause, most would concur that it is connected to the animal’s diet in a significant way. As pancreatitis is closely related to the dog’s metabolism, some problems may occur due to age, especially if you have not adjusted the diet to their diminishing requirements.
Finally, there is a good chance that the cause of inflammation was an indiscretion, with the dog eating something from the street that is rancid or in other ways toxic.
If you have established that your dog indeed suffers from pancreatitis, you will need to place it on a strict low-fat diet immediately. This, by all means, doesn't include restricting the nutritional value of the diet, because any protein, vitamins, and especially dietary fiber will be essential to the dog's recovery, any fatty foods will need to be changed to a leaner cuisine more suitable for a pancreatitis diet.
There are a number of different products on the market that are made just for this situation, as well as several products that are beneficial but are actually made for the goal of shedding some pounds off the dog.
Additionally, you may want to try a more vegetable-based diet where the enzymes found in the pet food will inform the pancreas to stop producing, which can solve the problem in due time. Vegetables alone will not be enough to give your canine all of the needed nutrients, but they can make a higher portion of the diet than a dog used to have.
Depending on the breed, size, and age of the dog, you will want to use different types of food. While wet canned food is not the typical choice, it is ideal when you have a younger dog that still needs a lot of protein but is suffering from pancreatitis.
One of the main advantages of wet canned food is that it doesn't need fillers such as grain or rice to complement the meal. But, in this case, you will want the added whole grain and oaths as they will significantly help with the bowel movements and better digestion, as well as reduce the amount of crude fat in the food without lowering the volume.
Blue Buffalo is a recognizable brand of high-quality dog food, and this product is made specifically for dogs with pancreatitis, or with overweight dogs that need more energy without becoming chubby. Importantly, the pet food doesn't include any wheat, soy, or corn, as well as any chicken byproducts that could be allergens, and is safe for your dog to consume while recovering from pancreatitis.
Aside from preparing the food for your dog from scratch, dry dog food is the best option for canines suffering from pancreatitis. Some practices that are usually avoided in high-quality kibble is reintroduced for this purpose, leaving the food with much more fiber, minerals and vitamins, and with less fat.
California Natural is a relative newcomer to the stage of dietary specific dog food, but with its simple formula, it may quickly become one of the favorites. The recipe is based on lean lamb and brown rice, focusing exclusively on carbs and protein instead of fats.
This product is the perfect solution if you have an otherwise healthy dog that just needs to deal with pancreatic inflammation, and you don't want the dog to lose their energy and liveliness in the process. As to exclude saturated fats completely, this kibble uses sunflower oil as a blending mixture, which is an excellent choice in this situation.
This formula from CORE was mostly made with weight regulation in mind, but as it has the regular amount of crude fat halved in comparison to regular kibble, it is one of the best and most economical choices for larger dogs that have pancreatitis. As it is using high-quality lean turkey, chicken, and salmon, this product has a maximum of 12% crude fat content, which is only slightly more than what you would find in products that are directly focused on dealing with pancreatic inflammation.
This kibble also has vitamin E and Beta-Carotene, which both assist in digestion, an essential factor in pancreatitis recovery.
Most people confuse dehydrated food with dry food, as the products often look relatively similar and have similar contents. This is far from being true as dehydrated foods have all the benefits of wet canned foods while keeping the storage abilities of kibble. For dogs that suffer from pancreatitis, dehydrated food can be a good option as you will be able to add any extra ingredients, as well as medicine, to the mix while you are rehydrating the food.
Honest Kitchen has opted to deal with most issues surrounding dog food with using human grade quality ingredients that are specially made to be a complete and balanced meal for the dog in various situations. In this case, the dehydrated food is created for dogs that should lose some weight, but are exceptionally good for treating pancreatitis as they have a minuscule 8.5% of crude fat with 5.8% of dietary fiber, making it excellent for digestion and the intake of extra enzymes, relieving the pancreas from inflammation.
Raw food is the most common recommendation for treating pancreatitis as even the fats that do exist in raw foods are much harder to digest. This is taking a different approach from trying to force the pancreas not to produce enzymes and instead utilizes more of them as to balance out the production and reduce the inflammation. While raw foods can be very beneficial, they are also very perishable, meaning that extra care is needed when handling the contents.
This raw dog food from Primal contains such high-quality ingredients and is so simple in its formula that you could be forgiven to think that it is not even dog food, but nuggets made for human consumption. The pack of raw food contains little more than pure, hormone-free, chopped venison which is almost wholly protein, and novel protein at that.
There are no significant additives or supplements, which is usually a downside for dog food, but is a great benefit when your dog is dealing with pancreatitis. Having a very simple set of ingredients means that your dog will have much less to process, leaving their digestion tract, including their pancreas, to rest.
Having your dog sick for any reason is quite hard, but it is especially hard when you need to balance their diet during intestinal problems, as they will both need their strength and nutrients, and should have a diet that is reduced in fat content.
If you are using wet or dehydrated food, consider using mineral and vitamin supplements to assist your dog through this period. Consult with your vet on which supplements would be most beneficial to your canine and then try to add these ingredients to the mix.
Be sure to add supplements, as well as any additions to your dog’s diet slowly, as not to overwhelm their organism.
Finally, as with humans, it is important to keep up the spirit of the dog as much as their physical health. Make certain that you are playing with the dog when they have the will to play and that you are keeping them active and well loved.
Once the symptoms of pancreatitis have subsided, keep your dog active and in shape. All dogs should have firm bellies as they are the key muscle in their movement. While your elderly dog might not be able to play catch as when they were a pup, they will still enjoy a nice walk, and they will appreciate your company with them even more.