Reviewed by Dr. Danielle Morosco
If your dog has pancreatitis, you know how careful you must be with every new food you put in his/her mouth.
Naturally, you love your canine companion and you don’t want to risk feeding him/her something that will cause a pancreatitis flare-up.
If you’ve been through this before, you know what it’s like.
Your dog suffers from abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Depending on the dog, he/she may suffer from all symptoms of pancreatitis, or just a few.
It doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that it’s a painful condition that can happen once in a life time or become a chronic condition.
Symptoms and severity of pancreatitis can vary from dog to dog but if there’s one thing you know for sure: you just don’t want your dog to have to go through that again.
There are two primary types of pancreatitis in dogs. These are acute and chronic.
What Is Pancreatitis?
The pancreas is a V-shaped gland found in the upper region of a dog’s abdomen.
This organ has two main purposes. The first is to produce hormones that help maintain proper blood sugar levels.
These hormones include glucagon and insulin, among others.
Secondly, the pancreas secretes the digestive enzyme that aids in the breakdown of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It also assists in the absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals from food.
Pancreatitis is a medical condition that is caused by inflammation of the pancreas. Such inflammation can disrupt the flow of enzymes into the digestive tract, instead diverting them from the pancreas to the abdominal area.
When this occurs, it can have serious consequences for your dog’s health. That’s because the enzymes are then able to dissolve proteins and fats both within the pancreas as well as in additional organs.
Types of Pancreatitis in Dogs
Acute pancreatitis comes on rapidly. It is frequently an isolated incident that doesn’t cause long-term negative effects to the pancreas. The inflammation can be quite severe.
Chronic pancreatitis is a longer-term condition with inflammation that can last several months or even years. Such a chronic issue can lead to permanent or irreversible pancreatic damage.
In addition, your dog may not suffer from just one type or the other. The two can sometimes go hand in hand.
For instance, it’s possible that severe cases of the acute variety could lead to ongoing problems, particularly if not treated promptly. Dogs that have a chronic case might also experience flareups or acute attacks.
What Can My Dog Eat?
It makes sense that you have questions about what’s easiest for him to digest and whether there are certain foods to avoid.
Most veterinarians suggest dog food that is easily digested along with low fat diets. The reason for this is because of the way the pancreas reacts to dietary fat. It seems that fatty foods trigger the pancreas in vulnerable dogs to secrete digestive enzymes.
These digestive enzymes seem to worsen pancreatic inflammation.
So, the question is…what can my dog eat? Specifically, can a dog with pancreatitis eat eggs?
Can Dogs with Pancreatitis Eat Eggs?
Dogs with pancreatitis can eat eggs as long as no additional butter or whole milk is added to the egg. For this reason, scrambled eggs may not be a great idea for dogs with pancreatitis.
You can boil and peel a whole egg for your dog without worry. Eggs are a great source of protein, Vitamin A, and Riboflavin. Dogs who eat eggs will also get a healthy dose of vitamin D and E, calcium, and phosphorus.
Although eggs are considered a healthy snack for dogs, they should be limited to no more than one egg per day. If you have a small dog, then consider quartering a boiled egg and allowing 1/4 piece.
The trick is to keep it simple. Don’t add anything to the egg after cooking. Your dog will still love the taste and won’t be at risk of a pancreatic attack.
What Types of Food are Safe for My Dog’s Diet?
There are several commercial foods on the market made for a dog’s different life stages. Ask your veterinarian which ones they recommend.
According to North Coast Veterinary Specialist & Referral Centre, chronic pancreatitis patients are often less ill and can get by on a special low-fat diet for life. Nutritional requirements for dogs with pancreatitis depend on the life stage of the dog and whether there are any underlying conditions.
A dog’s dietary requirements include a high-quality diet containing:
- animal-based proteins
- essential vitamins and minerals for the immune system
- rich fish oils (cod liver oil; salmon oil)
- healthy grains
Safe foods to feed pancreatic patients from home include things like:
- plain rice
- boiled chicken
- low fat beef with the fat drained out
- egg white
- cooked vegetables
What Types of Food Should I Avoid Feeding My Dog?
It’s best to avoid human snacks in your dog’s diet. This includes certain things that are considered toxic to dogs including grapes and raisins. Sadly, grapes and raisins can lead to kidney damage, especially for dogs with pancreatitis.
Avoid feeding any high-fat or high-sugar treats. This includes toppers, treats, canned dog food and kibble. Other than cooked vegetables and a bland low-fat diet, no other treats or snacks from the cupboard should be fed to a dog with pancreatitis.
Dietary Approaches to Canine Pancreatitis
A critical part of most pancreatitis treatment plans is to monitor your dog’s diet.
It’s crucial that you offer a low-fat diet. In fact, the fat content in your dog’s food should be no more than 18 percent. Avoiding high-fat food allows your dog’s pancreas to rest and heal. Plenty of water is recommended to avoid dehydration.
In order to avoid overstimulating the pancreas and causing it to work harder than necessary, you may be advised to provide a diet of fresh bland foods.
Remember the most important task is to avoid a high-fat diet.
Plain skinless chicken breast, turkey or very lean ground beef are good meat options. Boiled brown rice is also gentle, nourishing and filling.
You may want to avoid white rice as it offers fewer nutrients and is starchier than brown. Also, do not feed your dog a raw diet. The food should be cooked well.
Starch is to be avoided in your dogs diet because it can cause blood sugar to rise too rapidly. Pancreatitis and diabetes are often linked.
Oatmeal and barley that are cooked a bit longer to cut down on starch should be fine.
Sweet potatoes rather than white potatoes are a suitable addition. Be sure to avoid butter or salt.
Always offer plain, unseasoned food in your pet’s low-fat diet. Start with small amounts of whatever you offer until you see how your dog tolerates it.
If cooking fresh food is not an option for you due to your lifestyle or if your dog will be on a pancreatitis diet for long periods, your vet may recommend low-fat dog food.
Such prescription commercial options are specially formulated to offer the nutrients your dog needs. These special foods are low in fat and easy to digest.
Can Dogs with Pancreatitis Eat Eggs?
Many dog owners want to know if eggs are an acceptable food to offer dogs with pancreatitis. The short answer is yes. Eggs are a good source of protein. They’re also full of nutrients such as iron and calcium, along with essential vitamins.
Because they’re high in fat content, you’ll want to keep egg yolks to a minimum.
You can also offer your dog just the whites. However, you’ll want to be sure to cook them. Raw eggs won’t provide proper levels of nutrients like biotin.
Eggs alone won’t provide all of the nutrition your pup needs. In fact, they have no dietary fiber.
Take time to ensure you’re offering a well-balanced diet full of a variety of lean meats, multi-grain carbohydrates and fresh vegetables low in sugar.
Keep these guidelines in mind if your best pal is diagnosed with pancreatitis.
This condition can be managed as long as you follow your veterinarian’s instructions and remain vigilant in providing an easy-to-digest, nutritious diet.
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