Canine Diets for Pancreatitis

Canine diets must be altered if a dog has pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is extremely painful and can cause nausea and vomiting. Many cases of pancreatitis are caused by high fat content in the bloodstream. Changing a dog's diet can help lower the lipid counts helping to alleviate the inflammation within the pancreas.

Danger of Pancreatitis

Left untreated the pancreas can become infected. A dog may start refusing food or be unable to keep it down leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that can cause cardiac arrhythmia. Organs adjacent to the pancreas become damaged by pancreatic enzymes. Hemorrhaging is also possible.

Medications will help alleviate the nausea and vomiting. Pain medications reduce pain and inflammation. Fluids are required to ensure a dog doesn't become dehydrated, a common issue in dogs with acute pancreatitis.

Some cases of pancreatitis are caused by reactions to current medications. Stopping the medications will end the condition. If a toxin caused the inflammation, treating the poisoning will help. If there is a growth on the pancreas causing the condition, surgery is the best option. Otherwise, changes to canine diets are the most important aspect of treatment.

Best Canine Diets for Pancreatitis

A dog with pancreatitis needs to be a low-fat diet with plenty of carbohydrates. The dog should be fed a few times a day to maintain nutrient and electrolyte balances in the bloodstream. Many veterinarians recommend three daily feedings. If the vomiting is severe and medication is being used to control nausea and vomiting, wait a day before offering a small meal. Encourage water intake by tempting the dog with meat-flavored water or by purchasing a pet drinking fountain.

Quality Brands Offering Low-fat Dry Canine Diets

Look for brands that contain some poultry or seafood. Beef, pork, lamb and duck are fattier than foods containing chicken, turkey or salmon. Blue Buffalo makes a weight loss formula containing chicken breast and brown rice recommended by many pet owners of dogs with pancreatitis.

Innova's Low-Fat Adult Dry dog food contains:

  • turkey
  • chicken
  • barley
  • brown rice 
  • potatoes

It can be a great choice for dogs with an inflamed pancreas.

California Natural makes a line of low-fat dog foods. The low-fat Rice and Chicken Dry dog food contains:

  • brown rice
  • chicken meal
  • flaxseed
  • rice

This food contains three percent less fat that many chicken and rice dog foods.

Talk to your veterinarian about the best dry foods. Read labels and see if the food contains by-products. Always avoid foods containing by-products. You should also avoid foods listing poor quality carbs like brewer's rice, wheat gluten, corn gluten and soy meal.

Creating Your Own Low-Fat, High-Carb Canine Diets

Some pet owners prefer to make their own dog food. A popular recipe for canine pancreatitis diet includes a mixture of chicken breast, no-fat yogurt, vegetables, potato or yams and probiotics.

If you prefer to create your own dog foods, ask your veterinarian for the name of a canine nutritionist in your area. A canine nutritionist can help you come up with a dietary plan that will help your dog. It's important to follow the nutritionist's advice. Homemade foods must have the proper ratios of meat and high-quality carbohydrates, as well as amino acid, vitamin and mineral supplements.