The canine pancreas is a gland that can become inflamed when the pancreatic juices attack the pancreas itself. This condition is known as canine pancreatitis. Canine pancreatitis may affect any dog, but is most commonly seen in middle-aged to elderly female dogs. During a pancreatitis attack, dogs are fed through intravenous fluids to allow the digestive system to rest and recover. After the attack, feed your dog a diet conducive to continued recovery and prevention of future occurrences of pancreatitis attacks.
Ingredients to Include
A bland diet restricts harder-to-digest foods, allowing inflammation of the digestive organs to heal. Carbohydrates are good foods to reduce the amounts of enzymes the pancreas produces. Rice is a simple carbohydrate appropriate for dogs with pancreatitis; use brown or white.
Once your dog is able to tolerate eating rice (remember, pancreatitis is a painful, serious condition that requires ample recovery time), try feeding easily digestible proteins such as boiled skinless chicken breast or even low-fat cottage cheese. Your dog may eventually be able to return to his previous diet. However, reintroduction of foods must be gradual and supervised by your veterinarian.
Some 43 per cent of dogs suffering from pancreatitis are overweight, meaning obesity is a major contributing factor to canine pancreatitis. After an attack of pancreatitis, fatty foods also lead to further inflammation of the dog's pancreas. If your dog has pancreatitis, feeding her a low-fat diet is key to her good health. It is important to choose low-fat varieties of the foods you feed her, such as the low-fat cottage cheese listed above. Gravies and meat fats (pan drippings) are too high in fat and must be avoided in the diet of a dog with pancreatitis. Always cut the skin off any poultry you feed your dog, as it is also high in fat and aggravates pancreatitis.
Putting It All Together
Consult your veterinarian about the appropriate diet for your dog with pancreatitis. Once your dog is off intravenous fluids, begin offering liquids orally. Your veterinarian will tell you which liquids are suitable for your particular dog. After your dog has accepted liquids orally, offer small amounts of cooked rice. Finally, introduce a full bland diet of small amounts of cooked rice combined with boiled skinless chicken.
Be sure to feed your dog several small meals throughout the day rather than two or three large meals, as this makes digestion easier on your dog. Commercial pancreatitis diets are available through your veterinarian and may be an effective way to control this disease in your dog.