Pancreatitis in pets is a condition caused by inflammation of the pancreas resulting in digestive disorders and interference with internal organs. Studies show that about 1.5% of all canines and 1.3% of all felines have issues with the pancreas. Half of these pets experience pancreatitis. The condition may be acute or chronic and can be fatal.
Although there are many causes of pancreatitis in pets, fatty meals are the most common trigger. If your pet has an existing pancreas disorder, high-fat content meals could cause recurrent pancreatitis. Regular feeding on high-fat feeds could cause the condition to degenerate to a chronic form.
Pay attention to what you feed a pet with pancreatitis, it is crucial.
It is always best to consult a vet about the best food to feed a pet with pancreatitis. But we can give you a snippet of what to expect. This article will tell you about the options available and how to switch diets healthily. But first, here are the symptoms of pancreatitis in pets.
Symptoms of pancreatitis in pets
The symptoms of pancreatitis pets vary widely. They are also similar to symptoms of other ailments. A pet with pancreatitis will experience a combination of the following typical symptoms:
- Abdominal discomfort/pain and enlargement
- Bad appetite
- Frequent vomiting and Diarrhea
- Dogs with pancreatitis will often pose in a praying position (It lowers the forelimbs to the ground and stretches up its rear end) to relieve the discomfort.
Of course, as The Las Vegas Vets comment, “These symptoms can also mean that your pet could be having another problem. To make a definitive diagnosis that your pet has pancreatitis, you should schedule an appointment at the vet.”
The vet will conduct a series of tests like blood work, fecal and urine examination, gut ultrasound, and abdominal X-rays.
If the diagnosis is positive for pancreatitis, the vet will advise you to switch to a low-fat diet. It will help your pet to heal. The following options are available for your pet.
Specialized pet food formulas
Several commercial pet-food manufacturers have developed specialized pet food formulas to help pets recover from pancreatitis. These formulas consist of highly digestible, nutritious, and low-fat components. They are also often supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids – known for reducing inflammation.
Without a doubt, these pet food formulas work well and can help your pet recover from pancreatitis. However, they are also dear and could be taxing to keep up.
If you want a more pocket-friendly solution, you could work with regular commercial pet foods. But you will need to be meticulous and scrutinous.
Commercial pet foods
Regular commercial pet foods manufactured by respected companies will often provide similar nutritional benefits as specialized pet food formulas. You only need to be slightly more watchful of the ingredients list so that you can pick what is low in fat, nutritious, and easy to digest.
Here’s a nutrition criterion you can use to pick commercial pet foods suitable for a pet with pancreatitis.
- Pick low-fat pet foods which specify the content of fats and sources. Feeds comprising high-quality vegetable fats are easier to break down – less of a burden to your pet’s pancreas.
- Select highly digestible feeds. Digestibility refers to the proportion of food absorbed into your pet’s body. Components like meat and eggs are highly digestible. On the other hand, cereal grains and dietary fiber make pet food poorly digestible. Reputable pet-food companies conduct digestibility tests and advise consumers. Consider pet foods with over 80% digestibility coefficient.
- Go for pet foods with high-quality protein. For dogs and cats, animal protein is a better option.
- Choose pet foods low in carbs and avoid sugars.
Home-cooked meals and raw foods
Home-prepared meals for your pet could also help alleviate pancreatitis in your pet. However, be keen on the nutritional quality of the meals. Like the commercial pet foods, stick with low-fat, highly digestible, and nutritious ingredients. Of course, if you fancy raw feeds, they can work too. Just use the points above as a guide and remember to give your pet suitable supplements.
Treats and Tidbits
Most standard pet treats and tidbits contain high-fat and high-sugar components. We encourage you to avoid these. However, since we rely on treats and tidbits to encourage specific behavior, consult a vet about rewards suitable for pets with pancreatitis.
Also, avoid feeding your pet on leftovers and food scraps, and ensure your pet does not have the opportunity to scavenge. Uncontrolled feeding could affect your pet adversely.
A final word on feeding a pet with pancreatitis
If you suspect your pet has a pancreas ailment, reach out to a vet for help. Disorders of the pancreas in pets are treatable. The food suggestions above will help the pancreas to heal. But, do not switch your pet’s diet abruptly.