The Gift of Canine Pancreatitis Is Best Avoided

The holidays are quickly approaching! If your family is anything like our families, gift lists are being made and meals are being planned. If you will be hosting a gathering at your home and including your canine companions, there is one gift that we suggest not giving: Pancreatitis!

What Is Pancreatitis?

The pancreas is an organ that produces enzymes that help break down the food that your dog eats. If these enzymes are thrown into overtime or become activated within the gland itself, they begin to break down the tissue within the pancreas and create inflammation. This inflammation is called Pancreatitis.

pancreatitis

Photo Credit: Flickr.com

One of the Most Common Causes

While there are several causes of pancreatitis, including trauma, toxins, and decreased blood flow to the pancreas, one of the most common causes is very easy to control: foods high in FAT!

It’s not unusual for pet parents to want to share festivities with their favorite furry companions. For some lucky dogs (or unlucky dogs in our opinion), this includes skipping the dog food in favor of a plate of whatever the rest of the family is having. Turkey, ham, roasts, duck, gravy, candied yams, and even green bean casserole all have the potential to make your dog very ill. Not only are some of these foods high in fat, but your dog’s system simply isn’t accustomed to handling them.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis

Every dog will not exhibit the same symptoms when it comes to pancreatitis. Some dogs may experience one or a combination of the following:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Swollen Abdomen
  • Abnormal Posture
  • Arching of the Back
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Restlessness
  • Gagging

Many dogs will  stop eating and drinking when they have pancreatitis. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, alone or in combination, it’s important that you contact the hospital.

Treating Pancreatitis

Treatment of pancreatitis can vary depending on the symptoms, their severity and their duration. In some cases, once pancreatitis has been diagnosed, treatment is as simple as giving your dog medication for a specific period of time. In more serious cases, pancreatitis requires intensive care in the hospital, with IV fluid therapy, injectable medications, and a special diet. It is important for owners to understand that pancreatitis is a serious illness that, if left undiagnosed or untreated, can be fatal.

You Can Help Prevent Pancreatitis in Your Dog!

One of the easiest ways to prevent pancreatitis in your dog is to avoid sharing holiday meals or your meals at any other time of year! If you want to treat your dog to a special feast this holiday season, Merrick has special “holiday editions” of their canned pet food that is safe for your dog. Add 1/4 can to your dog’s normal kibble for a festive treat!

If you like to bake, why not bake holiday treats for your furry friend? Check out our website for some of our favorite holiday treat recipes! No matter how you decide to treat your pet this holiday season, do it in a safe way and avoid human foods! As always, we are happy to answer any questions that you may have; just give us a call!