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Dogs with Pancreatitis | Tips to Comfort your Dog

Not only humans but animals, too, suffer from pancreatitis. In this article, our focus is on how to comfort a dog with Pancreatitis and all the necessary information about pancreatitis in dogs. If your dog is throwing up often on every festive occasion, it might be something to worry about. In the absence of proper treatment, these episodes can be life-threatening. Before making any analysis on our own, let us study all the possibilities and steps to take to help our canine buddies

Signs of Pancreatitis in Dogs

The pancreas is located right side of the abdomen next to the stomach. They are responsible for producing enzymes to digest food and regulate blood sugar levels. Pancreatitis in dogs is an inflammation and enlargement of the pancreas. Enzymes become hyperactive as soon as they are released, and they start digesting the pancreas itself rather than the small intestine, where they normally activate only after that.

First, the symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs are easy to spot because of their glaring occurrence.

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Fever and restlessness
  • Appetite loss

These are common dog pancreatitis symptoms. You might also notice a hunched back in your dog. Sometimes the signs of pancreatitis in dogs can mean nothing depending on various other factors. Also, keep track of their behavior as they tend to run on low energy compared to other times when they are usually hyped and active. Recurring any sign might be your cue to take your dog to the vet.

What Causes Pancreatitis in Dogs?

Generally these are the causes of pancreatitis in dogs are –

#1 Obesity

Excessive body fats can pose a threat to dogs. If your dog is bulky, you can expect a possible pancreatitis ailment.

#2 A High-fat Diet

Consumption of fatty foods like pork can lead to pancreatitis. But even if your dog eats healthy, it can suffer from it. One-time consumption of a large fatty meal like soon after an occasion or rummaging through garbage cans can also lead to acute pancreatitis. Usually, dogs can digest most fatty food, but it still has a grip on dogs with low immune and bad gut health.

#3 Hereditary

Sometimes, breeds like Miniature Schnauzer, Yorkshire terriers, Sky terriers, Cocker spaniels, Dachshunds, and Poodles are at higher risk. Any history of pancreatic infection or abdominal pain can also be a factor.

#4 Medications

Even if your dog does not fall into any other criteria above, medications might be the likely cause. According to doctors, drugs can be an underlying cause of the said disease. Intake of medicine like estrogens, potassium bromide, didanosine, cholinesterase inhibitors, salicylates, azathioprine, and thiazide diuretics, among others, can be a linkage to pancreatitis.

What causes pancreatitis in dogs other than those factors? Well, other factors include Hyperlipidemia, Duct obstruction, Hypercalcemia, Ischemia, Trauma and Pancreatic tumours, and Endocrinopathies like Hyperadrenocorticism in dogs

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Acute Pancreatitis VS Chronic Pancreatitis in Dogs

Under veterinary medicine, there are no specific classifications of pancreatitis. But the widely known types are based on their occurrence- acute and chronic. The sudden outbursts of all or a few signs of pancreatitis at once and for the first time are acute pancreatitis in dogs attacks. Inflammation of the pancreas affects the severity of an attack. They normally get better after a few days if they are not serious.

On the other hand, chronic pancreatitis in dogs is an inflamed pancreas that develops over time. The repetition of acute attacks might also describe chronic pancreatitis. In some cases, signs are not visible and are diagnosed only when the damage is done due to their mild or subclinical nature. Chronic pancreatitis is usually lifelong.

Treatment for Pancreatitis in Dogs

Doctors usually check a canine’s clinical features, routine clinical pathologies like CBC(complete blood count), serum biochemistry profile and urine test, ultrasonography, pancreatic enzymes for dogs PLI ( Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity), and Trypsin-like Immunoreactivity. Diagnosis is important for treatment; however, some diagnoses may not show accurate results, so it is better to switch between options for pancreatitis in dogs treatment.

After confirmation, doctors might give the dog fluid therapy, nutritional management, antiemetic therapy, analgesic therapy, and antibiotics for pancreatitis in dogs.

#1 Fluid Therapy

This treatment for pancreatitis in dogs is used when a pup undergoes dehydration from diarrhea and vomiting. Commonly used fluids in this Therapy are lactated Ringer’s solution and 0.9% saline. When potassium deficiency occurs, hypokalemia is found due to diarrhea, vomiting, etc. That is why serum potassium should be measured. If the level is low, potassium must be added to IV fluids.

#2 Nutritional Management

This involves stopping food for 12 to 24 hours if the dog has severe vomiting. After the period exceeds, feed the small dog portions of food and water. Keep in mind your dog consumes only low-fat food during this time. Taking this route during the early detection phase has shown benefits in the long run. It has been shown that dogs with acute pancreatitis are not likely to develop chronic pancreatitis if they don’t repeat the episode.

Fat modifications are highly recommended because the existence of fats is an invitation for other diseases, as any underlying disease will obstruct recovery. Also, provide them with the best fish oil supplements to nourish the enzymes in their pancreas. Researchers have established that dogs with a low-fat diet have automatically reduced their chances of pancreatitis.

#3 Antiemetic Therapy

Fasting is not always enough to prevent vomiting, so you can use antiemetics to control it. Dolasetron, a serotonin competitor, is proven useful in easing nausea and vomiting in dogs with both acute and chronic pancreatitis. Newly available maropitant antiemetics has shown effective results in dogs.

#4 Analgesic Therapy

It is used for pain relief in dogs. Opioids such as morphine and buprenorphine are effective and provide quick results. Transdermal fentanyl patches can also be used, but they take longer to show their effects; therefore, they should be used only after initial analgesia.

In spite of the fact that antibiotics do not contribute much, doctors still prescribe them.

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Best Dog Food for Pancreatitis

It is good to the best diet for a dog with pancreatitis. As already stated above, fats are one of the major culprits. So, avoiding fatty foods at all costs is a must. Resort to a low fat dog food pancreatitis. Omega 3 fatty acids have shown positive results in reduced inflammation in pancreatitis dogs. Various foods like Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food and Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food are available on the market. They also have low-fat content.

You can also give your homemade dog pancreatitis diet which includes boiled chicken, plain yogurt, cooked broccoli, sweet potatoes, and cabbage. Also, as mentioned foods that are low in fat and phosphorous are the best dog food for pancreatitis.

How to Comfort a Dog with Pancreatitis?

If you are wondering for a part where you can add towards treating your dog with pancreatitis, then there are a few ways like-

#1 Physical Presence

We know dogs seek physical affection most. But when they are sick, they might not reach out to you. It becomes your responsibility then to soothe them and be their comfort pillar. When they are going through it, gentle rubs on their tummy or back will reassure you about your concern for them. Do not press too hard on their abdomen, as the pressure can further aggravate their pain. Be gentle always.

Food check- Of course, unless medications kick in, you might think there would not be much for you to do. Still, we suggest looking after their diet by checking their food intake (a low-fat diet) and feeding them water after a specific time interval to keep them from dehydration. Bland food is what you should go for when acute attacks occur. You can try experimenting with foods at home. Try to avoid unnecessary treats.

#2 Fun Activities

If your dog is in the phase of recovery, it is very important for you to maintain its physical health. Get back to taking them for walks, organizing fun activities, and jogging. Do some fun activities that require movement of their body. Obesity is best treated with movement. This will help with not only mental stimulation but also good health. If they cannot do a normal routine, wait for their recovery. Straining them physically might bring back the symptoms. Go slow-paced but make sure to make some motion in the meanwhile.

#3 Doctor’s Assistance

If you want to do the right thing under professional guidance, you can seek the assistance of the doctor attending to your dog. Follow their instructions without fail, and do not hesitate to ask them minor questions concerning your dog. It is important to always stay in touch with the vet in case the condition of your dog worsens. This will warrant that your dog’s health remains in an optimal position. Your full attention is needed to avoid any developing disease in your dog.


Now that we have gained an awareness about pancreatitis in dogs, we must also know that in the worst cases, dogs with chronic pancreatitis have serious health complications like diabetes mellitus, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatic cancer, or further pancreatic complications. Monitoring will help them with early diagnosis and treatment. A dog with pancreatitis can live a healthy life. Lifestyle changes with changes in food habits can lead to their speedy recovery. Getting back to their healthy form will take some time but be patient and let them set their own pace. We wish them a healthy and long life.