Most dogs love their food, so it’s always a cause for concern if your precious pet has no appetite and is struggling to keep anything that they eat down. Many times, the good news is that it could just be a passing bout of stomach upset and nothing to be too worried about, but it could also be a quite serious condition known as pancreatitis, which will typically require treatment. This health condition occurs in dogs when the pancreas, the organ near the stomach that aids with food digestion and the regulation of blood sugar, becomes inflamed.
Pancreatitis can either come on suddenly and then pass as soon as it came, or it may linger for longer periods. It can be quite painful and uncomfortable for your dog, so it’s important to seek treatment from your vet as soon as possible if you suspect that your dog is suffering from this.
What are the Symptoms?
Some of the symptoms of pancreatitis are similar to those caused by less serious problems, such as stomach pain, vomiting, and a loss of appetite. Other common symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs include diarrhea, a lack of energy, breathing difficulties, an irregular heartbeat, dehydration, fever, or low body temperature. Some of these symptoms are not usually a huge cause for concern if they last for less than a day, but if your dog has been suffering for longer or the symptoms keep returning, it’s important to get him checked over by your vet. It could be pancreatitis or a symptom of something else, but either way, it’s best to have your dog checked by a professional. Typically, this will include a diagnosis based on the symptoms along with blood tests or an ultrasound to see exactly what’s going on inside your dog’s body.
What Causes Pancreatitis in Dogs?
While experts are not yet completely sure what causes this inflammation of the pancreas, it’s useful to note that certain dogs tend to be more prone to it. This could be due to their breed, with certain breeds such as schnauzers more prone to getting it, their age, since it is more common in older dogs, or their weight – overweight dogs tend to be more likely to develop pancreatitis. This condition can sometimes appear as a side effect to a medication prescribed for a different condition, or it can come on after your dog has had surgery. But more commonly, pancreatitis tends to be caused by eating too many fatty foods like table scraps or bacon grease. The good news is that most dogs will usually recover quickly from a mild case with the right treatment, but if the pancreatitis becomes more severe it can be extremely serious or even fatal.
What Treatment is Available?
First of all, your vet will try to determine the cause of pancreatitis so that the condition can be dealt with at the root cause. For example, if it was caused by a reaction to medication, your dog will be taken off the medication and put on something different if needed. On the other hand, if your dog has developed pancreatitis as a result of their diet, they may be given a prescription food or you might be advised to feed them a different diet such as grain-free or raw food. Bella & Duke provide a lot of useful information on pancreatitis in dogs and how to make your dog more comfortable. They also sell a range of nutritious raw dog foods that you may find useful if your dog’s condition is diet-related.
Your vet might recommend giving your dog no food or water for the first twenty-four hours and will typically prescribe pain medication injections and IV fluids to help get it under control.
Caring for Your Dog:
After visiting the vet, your dog may be treated immediately or kept in for a while depending on the severity of the condition and the treatment needed. Once you get home, it’s important to give your dog plenty of water to keep her hydrated. You may also be given medication that you can administer to your dog at home to help ease certain symptoms such as vomiting and nausea. Once your dog’s appetite picks up and they start eating again, it’s important to ensure that they are getting a low-fat diet.
It’s best to give your dog foods that are easy on the stomach and easy to digest, such as grain-free dog foods or boiled chicken with rice. It’s best to stick with this diet for at least a week while your dog recovers. However, if your dog tends to be quite prone to experiencing bouts of pancreatitis, you may need to stick to this new diet for good.
How to Prevent Pancreatitis in Dogs:
Once you have experienced your dog suffering from an episode of pancreatitis, you certainly won’t want them to go through it again. After all, no loving pet parent wants to see their precious pooch in pain and feeling too sick to eat. Thankfully, there are several things that you can do in order to help prevent it from happening again in the future. While some dogs may be more predisposed to this condition due to their age or breed, you can help by watching your dog’s diet and making sure that he doesn’t get too much fat in it. Remember that your dog doesn’t need to eat human food so keep healthy treats on hand for when his puppy-dog eyes are hard to resist. Keep your dog away from the table at human dinner times and make sure that everybody in the family knows that table scraps are on the cards. Some dogs have no shame in going through your food waste to find tasty morsels so ensure that your bins are secure where hungry paws can’t get to them.
If your dog is overweight, helping them lose weight with a nutritious diet and plenty of exercise will help to reduce their risk of developing pancreatitis. However, if your dog is more prone to this condition due to their age or breed, you may need to work harder to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Breeds that are more prone to pancreatitis and older dogs might need to be put on a low-fat diet for life in order to avoid pancreas inflammation. It’s also important to take your dog for regular checkups at the vet where any early signs and symptoms can be spotted and treatment started straight away before things get worse. Finally, make sure that your dog stays hydrated by providing them with clean, fresh drinking water at all times.
Pancreatitis can be a very uncomfortable and painful condition for dogs, leading to nasty symptoms like a lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation, lethargy, and more. It’s unpleasant for the dog and for any pet parents who certainly don’t like seeing their beloved pet suffering. Thankfully, most cases of pancreatitis can be easily treated at the vet and with a change of diet. If your dog is at a higher risk of developing this condition, you can help to keep it at bay with a low-fat diet, not giving human food, and keeping your dog at a healthy weight.