Pancreatitis In Dogs: Treatment And What To Feed

Having a healthy pancreas is crucial to your dog’s well-being, so pancreatitis is nothing to joke about.

An anti-inflammatory diet is recommended for dogs with pancreatitis. Bananas are a good option as a treat for a dog with pancreatitis because they are high in potassium and simple to digest. However, before doing anything, consult your pet’s veterinarian.

What Is Pancreatitis?

When the pancreas, a key digestive organ, becomes inflamed, doctors use the fancy medical term pancreatitis. Your dog’s pancreas produces digestive enzymes, which help the digestive process.

The pancreas’ enzymes are inactive until they reach the intestines, where they begin their digestive work. However, if the mechanisms that normally keep these enzymes inactive fail, the pancreas’ tissues will begin to be digested.

If untreated, pancreatitis can be fatal. It is a very painful and dangerous disease. Do not wait to take your dog to the vet if you think it may be suffering from pancreatitis. Pancreatitis has the potential to be fatal if treated too slowly or not at all.

female dog lying on the ground

Acute vs Chronic

Both acute and chronic forms of pancreatitis are recognized. Chronic pancreatitis is an ongoing inflammation that can last for months or even years, whereas acute pancreatitis is a single episode of severe pancreatic inflammation.

However, it should be kept in mind that acute and chronic pancreatitis are not exclusive – acute pancreatitis, for example, may lead to chronic pancreatitis, and it is possible for dogs with chronic pancreatitis to experience episodes of acute pancreatitis.


Fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, lethargy, and abdominal pain (especially after eating) are the most common symptoms of pancreatitis in both adults and children.

Please consult your veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis and take any necessary medical precautions before implementing the dietary changes recommended below if you suspect your dog is suffering from pancreatitis.

What Causes Pancreatitis?

Oftentimes, doctors don’t even know what triggered a patient’s pancreatitis. The pancreas is vulnerable to damage from a wide variety of sources, including medication side effects, infections, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, metabolic disorders, obesity, hypothyroidism, and even blunt force trauma. Schnauzers and Yorkshire terriers are two dog breeds that are more likely to develop pancreatitis than others.

  Can Dogs Eat Monk Fruit? 7 Facts Explained

Your dog’s pancreatitis will be classified as “acute” or “chronic,” depending on the underlying cause. Your dog’s condition may rapidly deteriorate due to the onset of acute pancreatitis. Symptoms include a lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Chronic pancreatitis is more difficult to diagnose, has a more gradual progression, and is often not “cured” so much as “managed.” Diabetes mellitus is a potential complication of chronic pancreatitis due to the condition’s effects on glucose regulation.

Acute pancreatitis patients who are hospitalized will be put on a diet designed to satisfy their hunger while decreasing their pancreatic secretions.

Husky dog lying on vet table with doctor and owner near by

What Is the Treatment for Pancreatitis?

The pain and inflammation caused by pancreatitis can be alleviated by eating a diet low in fat and difficult to digest. Many canines will benefit from intravenous fluids, analgesia, and maybe even antibiotics.

Dog owners who suspect their pup has pancreatitis should consult with their veterinarians about how to provide a balanced diet that won’t exacerbate the condition.

Dietary management and prevention

Managing chronic pancreatitis and avoiding further acute episodes both depend critically on a healthy diet. Providing the pancreas with only the nutrients it needs and avoiding anything that could put it under unnecessary strain is of the utmost importance in reducing the organ’s workload.

To reiterate, these instructions are geared toward responsible adults only. It is recommended that you consult your veterinarian if you have a puppy, a female dog who is nursing, or a dog with any other existing medical conditions.

That being said, what are the alternatives?

Option 1: Prescription diets

Many dogs benefit greatly from the many prescription diets available for the management of pancreatitis.

Most veterinarians will advise this course of action; however, they are not required to inform you that many store-bought foods meet essentially the same nutritional criteria as the prescription diets and can be used to manage pancreatitis at a fraction of the cost.

Option 2: Over-the-counter dog foods

As we’ve already established, the primary goal of diet is to reduce stress on the pancreas, and many commercial pet foods are perfectly capable of doing that as well as the specialized prescription diets.

  Can Dogs Eat Fish Sauce? 10 Things You May Not Know


Since the digestion of fats is one of the pancreas’ primary functions, feeding a low-fat diet is a simple way to lessen its burden. Superior to lower quality vegetable fats or fats of unknown origin are high quality named animal fats.


All dogs can benefit from eating food that is easy on their digestive systems, but those with pancreatitis especially need to focus on doing so. You should prioritize foods that contain beneficial, bio-appropriate ingredients and avoid those that contain the nasties (those highlighted in red and yellow) that can cause digestive distress.


To help your pancreas out, you should stay away from foods that are extremely high in protein. The quality of the protein is always far more important than the quantity.

Protein-wise, it’s best for dogs to consume premium, labeled cuts of meat. Too much added plant protein (such as pea protein, maize protein, soy, etc.) is usually not a good sign.


Avoid foods that are high in NFE carbohydrates or contain too many starchy “fillers” like white rice, white potato, maize, tapioca, pea starch, etc., as this will reduce the amount of work the pancreas has to do.


Avoiding dog foods with added sugars is a good idea regardless, but it’s especially important for dogs with pancreatitis.

In a nutshell, you want to find a meal that is…

You can find a list of foods that meet these criteria by clicking the button above, but this is by no means an exhaustive list, so you may want to check with your preferred dog food manufacturers to see if they offer anything that meets these criteria.

Home-prepared food

Dogs with digestive issues like pancreatitis can benefit tremendously from a home-prepared diet, whether it be cooked or raw, but only if the diet is carefully planned.

The aforementioned bullet points serve as a solid foundation, but a more comprehensive discussion of recipe formulation for pancreatitic dogs would require its own article, which will have to wait for the time being. However, this page does serve as a fairly comprehensive guide to the topic in the meantime.

  Can Dogs Eat Ruffles? 9 Useful Things For You

Treats, leftovers and tidbits

Treats, nibbles, and scraps from the table that are high in fat or of poor quality should be avoided; the Treat Directory can help you find better options. It’s important to get everyone on board with this, as even a small slip-up can trigger a new episode of pancreatitis.

Be sure that all of your garbage cans and pet food containers are completely dog-proof.


It has been suggested that certain nutritional supplements can help mitigate the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis and lessen the likelihood that you’ll experience an acute attack. Either look for them in complete foods for dogs or feel free to supplement your pet’s diet with them.

Some dogs with pancreatitis have found relief with pancreatic digestive enzyme supplements, and fish body oils (such as salmon oil or EPA oil, but not cod liver oil) have been shown to help lower blood lipid levels, which may lessen the strain on the pancreas.

Digestive health and pancreatitis treatment may both benefit from the use of probiotics and prebiotics. Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS), fructo oligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, and chicory extract are the most frequently encountered prebiotics in pet food.

Changing diets healthily

Introduce the food slowly (over the course of at least a week or two) to give the body time to adjust and to make it easier to spot and fix any potential issues early on. Here is our eating-habit-altering manual.

Your experiences

We want to hear from you if your dog has experienced pancreatitis. Please share your story in the comments. Please share your successes and failures. In what ways do you think you could improve upon this process? If you have any advice that could help other dog owners, please share it with us.

dog eating from bowl in kitchen

Final Thoughts

Pancreatitis is a terrible disease that can take the lives of furry and nonfurry family members alike. In most cases, a change in diet and supportive care are all that is needed to cure a dog of pancreatitis.

While bananas can be an option for dogs with pancreatitis due to their digestibility, it’s important to work with your vet to develop a comprehensive treatment strategy. Some people might be put off by the product’s high sugar content.

Leave a Comment