Why would you need to know the best dog foods for pancreatitis? Dogs can suffer many different health conditions throughout their lives. Some of these will clear up with the correct treatment whereas other illnesses are chronic and although require treatment, they will stay with a dog for life. This may mean that once diagnosed, a dog will be prescribed medication which they will have to be given for the remainder of their lives. Many dog owners are familiar with the more common conditions that affect dogs such as Kennel Cough, ear infections and Diabetes. Dog owners may not be so familiar with Pancreatitis which is the most common disease to affect the Pancreas.
“The Pancreas is a vital organ and is located inside the abdominal cavity”
What is Pancreatitis?
As the name of this illness would suggest it is a disease that Pancreas. The Pancreas is a vital organ and is located inside the abdominal cavity in dogs. One of the roles of the Pancreas is to produce digestive juices known as enzymes. These enzymes are necessary in the digestive system as they break down the food a dog eats. Without enzymes your dog would be unable to absorb fat, break down protein or turn starch into sugars. The Pancreas also produces hormones in the body such as insulin, glucagon, gastric and amylin.
Pancreatitis in dogs is an inflammatory reaction within the pancreas that can result in abdominal pain, loss of appetite and vomiting. In pancreatitis, the inflammation is caused by the inappropriate and early activation of an enzyme within the pancreas which causes the pancreas to digest itself and is likely to be very painful for your dog.
Pancreatitis may be a one-off episode and as such is known as Acute Pancreatitis. With treatment this will go away and may never recur.
It may also be an ongoing disease and this is known better as Chronic Pancreatitis. This will require ongoing treatment and a permanent change in diet.
“certain breeds of dogs are more likely than others to develop Pancreatitis”
Are some Breeds predisposed to Pancreatitis?
Evidence and data shows that certain breeds of dogs are more likely than others to develop Pancreatitis. Miniature Schnauzers are known to have a predisposition to Pancreatitis and this is due to their known tendency to have high levels of the enzyme ‘triglyceride’ in their blood. The English Cocker Spaniel is another breed which has a predisposition to pancreatitis. This breed in general has a higher frequency of immune-mediated diseases which are caused by abnormal activity of the immune system such as the immune system attacking the pancreas. There is also a higher prevalence to pancreatitis in Poodles, Dachshunds and Yorkshire Terriers.
What are the symptoms?
Pancreatitis is potentially life threatening so it is important to know the signs and symptoms. It is. Also likely to be very painful for your dog. Of course a dog cannot tell you they have a pain so you will only notice this through certain signs and a change of behaviour. For instance they may be agitated; be sensitive to tough are be unhappy about normal handling; be grumpy and may snap at you; be quiet and less active; have rapid shallow breathing and an increased heart rate.
Aside from these signs there are more definite symptoms which pancreatitis will show in a dog.
Painful and possibly bloated abdomen
Loss of appetite
“you should always make an appointment for your dog to be examined by a Vet”
How will a Vet Diagnose Pancreatitis?
If you suspect that your dog has pancreatitis or if you are at all concerned about the health of your dog, you should always make an appointment for your dog to be examined by a Vet. Early diagnosis of Pancreatitis is important because if it is left untreated the dog may develop secondary conditions which will present further serious issues fort he dog.
Your Vet will be able to look at the dog’s previous medical history. They will also take some blood sample from the dog which can be tested to assess the presence of pancreatic enzymes. The dog will be given a physical and visual examination to include the temperature, stomach, heart and gums. The dog may also be scanned by ultrasound to eliminate possible other causes of symptoms. The vet may also arrange to take a biopsy of the pancreas through a simple process known as Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA).
Causes of Pancreatitis in Dogs
Most of the time the cause of pancreatitis in dogs is indeterminable. However eating food with a high fat content is a known factor in bringing about pancreatitis. Sometimes too, a dog may get access to a bin where they may ingest all kinds of waste stuff and this can also cause Pancreatitis in dogs.
“Drugs to protect the stomach may also be given together with pain killers”
Treatment of Pancreatitis in Dogs
The treatment given to a dog by the Vet will depend upon the severity of the condition. A dog with mild symptoms could be given a rehydration fluid together with anti- nausea medication. Drugs to protect the stomach may also be given together with pain killers to ease the dog’s discomfort.
If the dog is suffering from severe symptoms it will almost certainly result in the hospitalisation of the dog. In this environment the dog can be given intravenous drips for rehydration and nourishment together with anti-nausea medication, pain killers and stomach protectors. Depending on the severity of the illness, the dog could remain in hospital for up to two weeks.
Dogs that have Pancreatitis are best kept on a low fat complete dog food.
“Dogs with mild pancreatitis will make a full recovery if given the correct treatment”
The Prognosis of Pancreatitis
The prognosis for dogs diagnosed with pancreatitis depends largely upon the severity of the illness and the response to the initial treatment. Dogs with mild pancreatitis will make a full recovery if given the correct treatment. Dogs left untreated may haemorrhage and suffer from severe consequences including sudden death.
The prognosis for dogs with severe pancreatitis may not be so good. With severe or repeated occurrence of pancreatitis in dogs further complications can develop.
- If a sufficiently high number of cells that produce digestive enzymes have been destroyed, the dog may not be able to digest their food properly. This condition is known as Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency and can be treated by administering enzyme replacement powders to the dog.
- If a sufficiently high number of cells that produce insulin are destroyed the dog can develop sugar diabetes.
- In more unusual cases scar tissue from pancreatitis can cause organs to stick together resulting in severe pain.
“It is recommended to feed a low-fat diet that is free from the ingredients that may potentially inflame the pancreas”
Best dog Foods for Pancreatitis and Foods to avoid
Although the exact cause of pancreatitis in dogs is unknown, the condition is known to be affected by diet. Low quality dog foods can cause inflammation which will agitate the illness still further. Always look for a high quality dog food.
For dogs suffering from Chronic Pancreatitis, the diet will need to be changed permanently in order to meet the new needs of the dog.
It is recommended to feed a low-fat diet that is free from the ingredients that may potentially inflame the pancreas and exasperate the condition. One of the main functions of the Pancreas is to breakdown fat so feeding a low-fat diet will take the strain off the Pancreas. A fat content of 5 to 10% would be best to aim for.
Avoid oils and cereals and ensure you feed grain free dog foods.
Look for foods that contain only moderate levels of protein but bear in mind that quality of protein is very important so look for inclusion of proper meat and avoid derivatives. A content of 20% to 30% is preferable.
High levels of carbohydrate are never a good thing but for dogs with pancreatitis aim to keep these as low as possible. Many cheaper foods contain high levels of carbs but aim to keep these as much below 60% as far as possible.
Avoid any foods which contain added sugars. Your Vet may also issue a prescription diet which will be a more costly option. However some commercially available dog foods are suitable for treatment and may be sufficient in meeting the requirements of dogs suffering from pancreatitis. Read the analysis labels and familiarise yourself so that you are able to make comparisons between products only buy foods which meet the correct criteria listed above. That way you will have the best chance of finding the Best Dog Foods for Pancreatitis.
Best Dog Foods for Pancreatitis
These are some of the best dog foods for pancreatitis.
PERO HIGH MEAT GRAIN FREE
TURKEY SWEET POTATO WITH CRANBERRY
This dry extruded complete dog food kibble has excellent nutrient levels for dogs suffering with chronic pancreatitis. The fat content is low at just 10% which will keep the pressure and workload of the pancreas. It also has a lower protein content at 24%. It does not contain any grains and the carbohydrate content is good at around 38%. The manufacturer recommends this food for dogs who have EPI which is the inability for the pancreas to properly digest food due to a lack of enzymes.
EAGLE PACK NATURAL DRY DOG FOOD
PORK, CHICKEN & FISH
This low fat food is good for dogs with pancreatitis. The fat content is only 6% whilst the protein content is also suitably low at 24% which adds up to a diet that is easy on the pancreas. All ingredients are natural and there are no grains or nasty fillers.
ANNAMAET GRAIN FREE
LEAN REDUCED FAT FORMULA
This product comprises of lean meats and is ideal for dogs with chronic pancreatitis. Chicken meal is used in the recipe which has a 30% protein content. Fat content is just 9% in this recipe.