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Pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of the pancreas. It happens most commonly in middle-aged or older dogs. In particular, those whose diets are high in fat are more susceptible.
This page takes a closer look at the kind of diet that is appropriate for dogs with pancreatitis, as well as some natural dog pancreatitis remedies that can be used to support and strengthen the dog's pancreas, liver and immune system.
If your dog has pancreatitis, or is prone to develop this health problem, you should put him on a bland, low-fat diet.
A cooked diet is better than raw for dogs with pancreatitis, because when we cook meats, we can eliminate some of the fat from the meats.
Fat and protein in foods stimulate the pancreas to release digestive enzymes. To avoid putting a heavy burden on your dog's pancreas, minimize the intake of vegetable oils, butter, and all other fatty foods.
The pancreas also produces insulin. Diabetic dogs tend to be prone to pancreatitis, whereas pancreatitis can also cause diabetes.
It is therefore advisable to pay attention to the amount of sugar intake as well. Avoid vegetables with high sugar levels (such as pumpkin, fresh corn, parsnips), fruits, honey and grains (except rice).
A dog pancreatitis diet should include 50% of low-fat animal proteins and 50% of carbohydrates, and small portions of low-glycemic vegetables.
Low-fat animal proteins include cooked lean meats or white fish (e.g. boiled chicken or turkey meat, turkey baby food, rabbit meat, cod).
You can also give small amounts of cooked organ meats (e.g. chicken gizzards, chicken liver), no-fat cottage cheese, or hard boiled egg white.
Carbohydrates such as cooked rice, potato, oatmeal, barley and even pasta can be given.
Finally, you may include small portions of low glycemic vegetables such as pureed cabbage and broccoli (uncooked).
Kibbles usually do not contain enough natural digestive enzymes and so your dog's body will have to work extra hard to produce the enzymes for food digestion.
If you cannot cook for your dog every day, look for a premium, well-balanced, natural dog diet to make sure that your dog is getting all the nutrients.
As well, feed your dog small portions (of both food and water) throughout the day to put less strain on the pancreas. Food should be given at room temperature for best digestive action.
Herbs are best used to support the systemic organs related to pancreatic function at the onset of dog pancreatitis. In general, this will require tonic support of the liver and the digestive system.
One herb that supports and benefits the liver is milk thistle.
It is effective in regenerating and restoring normal function to the liver that is damaged as a result of infection, drugs, etc.
Yarrow strengthens the pancreas and helps to reduce pancreatic inflammation. It also improves blood circulation to the organ.
Dandelion or burdock root can increase bile and enzyme production in the liver; therefore they can aid digestion and reduce stress on the pancreas.
Immune-boosting herbs such as echinacea or astragalus can be given to a dog with pancreatitis to strengthen the body, especially if bacterial infection is the trigger of the pancreatitis attack.
Here are some natural products that are effective in strengthening a dog's pancreas and liver, as well as his immune system (Affiliate links):
This wonderful product is all natural, and contains both plant enzymes and probiotics to facilitate food digestion and absorption. It greatly relieves the extra burden placed on the pancreas and the digestive system at mealtimes.
This herbal remedy contains milk thistle and dandelion and can stimulate and protect a dog's liver function.
This immune support supplement contains immune-boosting herbs such as echinacea, elderberry, goldenseal and more. They work synergistically to support the immune system and combat free radicals.