Fact sheet - long term care for dogs with pancreatitis
Is your dog’s pancreas digesting itself? then read on or download a free copy of our Managing Pancreatitis here.
Reading time: 7 minutes
Is your dog’s pancreas digesting itself?
I know this sounds weird, but that’s what can happen with dog pancreatitis. In order for your dog’s body to function properly, the pancreas needs to be healthy.
… but if it isn’t, your dog may be suffering.
One of the most common diseases of an unhealthy pancreas is pancreatitis.
What is the Pancreas?
The pancreas is a tiny gland that has a big job. It’s located just below your dog’s stomach and is attached to his small intestine. It’s part of both the endocrine system and the digestive system. It plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body's cells.
The pancreas has 2 major functions:
- Produce and store hormones (insulin and glucagon) to help maintain proper blood sugar levels.
- Produce and store enzymes (trypsin and chymotrypsin) to help the body digest protein and fats.
When the pancreas is under attack, the result is pancreatitis.
Dog pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It’s primarily caused by diet and stress. Foods that are high in fat and foods that are processed, including grain-based and grain free kibble, are hard for your dog to digest, and stress causes high levels of cortisol in the body.
Dogs’ digestive tracts are shorter than ours, making them well suited to handle meats, bones, organs, veggies and fruit, but not starches. Starch and grains shouldn’t be part of your dog’s diet. When you feed your dog kibble, his pancreas has to work harder than it should, causing it to become inflamed.
In a healthy pancreas, one that isn’t overworked or stressed, digestive enzymes are activated when they reach the small intestine. However, if your dog has pancreatitis, those enzymes are activated too early in the process, when they’re still in the pancreas. This results in pain and inflammation and can cause damage to the pancreas and its surrounding tissue and other organs. At this point the pancreas actually begins to digest itself.
Pancreatitis is a serious condition and it needs to be treated carefully and as soon as you have a diagnosis from your vet. If pancreatitis goes untreated, pancreatic enzymes can leak into the abdominal cavity, damaging the abdominal lining and other organs like the kidney and liver.
How to tell if your dog has pancreatitis
Dog pancreatitis can either be acute or chronic. Both can have symptoms
ranging from mild to severe.
Acute Dog Pancreatitis
This is an attack of pancreatitis that comes on suddenly, usually with no history of the condition. Often these attacks come around the holidays when dogs are more likely to get into food that is very fatty, either from the garbage or from overly-eager feeders of table scraps. Stressful changes to regular routine, such as boarding at a kennel, having company or family members going away or extra commotion and visitors over the holidays, can also cause acute attacks. These tend to be the more serious of the two.
Chronic Dog Pancreatitis
Chronic pancreatitis develops over time, more slowly than acute. What makes chronic pancreatitis even more of a problem is that the symptoms are less obvious – you may not even see symptoms at all. Often dogs develop chronic pancreatitis after repeated acute attacks.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis:
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Difficulty breathing
- Back pain
- Arched back
7 key steps for natural healing:
- Limit the fatty foods in your dog’s diet (remove excess fat from meats and chicken);
- Get rid of starchy carbs (that means NO KIBBLE / DRY BISCUITS). That stuff is not only hard to digest (meaning it’s stressful for the pancreas), it’s also full of mycotoxins and aflatoxins – cancer-causing moulds found in grains such as corn, wheat, and rice, as well as nuts and legumes grown in poor conditions or stored in substandard environments or for extended periods of time;
- Feed fresh, whole foods. Raw meat, organ meat, sardines, veggies and fruit. As mentioned, your dog’s digestive tract is small and it can easily digest meat and bone. A fresh, raw diet that’s well balanced will help his digestive system flourish. For high-quality raw food meals see Dishy Dogs superfood meals;
- Feed your pet pre and probiotics. Probiotics (and the prebiotics that feed them) help keep bad bacteria in check and they’re often depleted when your dog has an acute attack. Once he has recovered, feed them every day. For a high-quality probiotic, see Dishy Dogs Probiotic Pet;
- Give your pet digestive enzymes which are extremely important for animal with pancreatitis. When the pancreas is inflamed, its ability to produce digestive enzymes — and get them to the right place — is compromised. For a high-quality digestive enzyme, see Dishy Dogs Digest it Pet;
- Give supportive supplements – such as colostrum, kelp, omega’s as it will help reduce inflammation and will support the liver and assist with digestive issues. For high-quality kelp and omega’s, see Dishy Dogs Flash Fangs (sea kelp) and Omega Boost;
- Support the other organs – liver, gallbladder and kidneys all support the pancreas so it’s vitally important to support these organs when the pancreas is stressed. Supplements that covers all these organs will keep them healthy for continued support to try and derail another onset. Bone broth is great for liver support.
Your dog’s pancreas has an important job. Make sure it is up to the task. Dog pancreatitis is a serious condition, but luckily you can support the body to heal naturally and prevent it from happening again.
If you are interested in welbeing, disease prevention and healing your pet, then check out Dishy Dogs range of superfood meals, supplements, bone broth and treats.
Dishy Dogs is certified “Australian Made and Owned”. Our ingredients are of the highest quality and are 100% human grade, preservative free with no added salt, sugar, flavour or colours.