Natural remedies (such as herbs, vitamins, and other natural supplements), together with a low-fat diet and plenty of exercise, can be effective in preventing and speeding up the recovery of pancreatitis in dogs.
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.
Diet for Dogs with Pancreatitis
If your dog has pancreatitis, or is prone to develop this health problem, you should put him on a bland, low-fat diet. 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).
Food ingredients appropriate for pancreatitis in dogs include boiled chicken meat served with rice or potato, no-fat cottage cheese, turkey baby food, etc. Low glycemic vegetables such as grated cabbage and broccoli (uncooked) can be given in small portions.
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.
Herbal Dog Pancreatitis Remedies
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.
- Milk Thistle: 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: Yarrow strengthens the pancreas and helps to reduce pancreatic inflammation. It also improves blood circulation to the organ.
- Dandelion / Burdock: Dandelion or burdock root can increase bile and enzyme production in the liver; therefore they can aid digestion and reduce stress on the pancreas.
- Echinacea / Astragalus: 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.
Useful Supplements for Dogs with Pancreatitis
- Digestive Enzymes: Many veterinarians suggest giving a dog with pancreatitis supplements of digestive enzymes to give the pancreas a break, making the dog pancreatitis flare-up easier to control.
- Probiotics: A supplement of probiotics is also essential to ensure that the digestive system has a balanced gut flora. This is particularly important if your dog has been treated with antibiotics. The good bacteria in the probiotic supplement also aid digestion.
- Vitamins: Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that can reduce the frequency and severity of dog pancreatitits flare-ups. The vitamins can also speed up recovery from the condition.