4 Proven Ways to Comfort a Dog With Pancreatitis

Vet comforts a dog with pancreatitis in vet clinic

While veterinarians will provide the ultimate diagnosis and treatment, it’s still necessary to know how to comfort a dog with pancreatitis. Because, like any other illness, it can cause your dog great suffering!

Even more, part of dog ownership is to ease a dog’s pain. Though there might be changes in its regular behavior, being aware of general comfort measures will at least lessen your dog’s burden and discomfort in having this condition.

So if you want to know what you can do for your dog to recover rapidly in just a few weeks, continue reading to find out the best ways to comfort a dog with pancreatitis.

What Is Pancreatitis in Dogs?

Veterinarian checking and comforting a dog with pancreatitis

Pancreatitis in dogs is a medical term for “inflammation of the pancreas.” This occurs when digestive enzymes are prematurely triggered.

As a result, the dog’s pancreas, small intestine, and surrounding tissue suffer damage.

In preventing pancreatitis, it is vital to know where it begins. The pancreas is an internal organ that is responsible for producing digestive enzymes called exocrine and regulating your dog’s blood sugar level called endocrine.

When the balance of the pancreas is disturbed, an excessive flow of enzymes and digestive juices occurs, which leads to pancreatitis. This condition can further be classified into two: acute and chronic.

Acute pancreatitis is a sudden flare-up of inflammation without any prior symptoms. While chronic pancreatitis is one that has progressively worsened over time and can result from repeated bouts of acute pancreatitis.

Both cases can be life-threatening; thus, they should be addressed by a vet as quickly as possible.

Depending on your dog’s condition, they may carry out certain procedures or suggest pain relief to prevent pancreatitis episodes.

Usually, vets advise getting blood work to check abnormal levels of pancreatic enzymes and x-rays to rule out other endocrine diseases.

They may also perform a normal abdominal ultrasound to check your dog’s digestive system.

If your dog has severe pancreatitis, fluid therapy for a few hours is advised to replenish blood volume flowing to the pancreas.

4 Ways to Comfort a Dog With Pancreatitis

Owner trying to comfort her dog with pancreatitis

As mentioned, vet care may relieve pancreatitis pain, but your dog may also need support from its loving humans for a full recovery. 

If you want to help your pooch, here are some ways to comfort a dog with pancreatitis:

1. Offer a low-fat diet in small, frequent meals

Historically, experts advised dog owners to limit their dogs with pancreatitis from eating dog food and drinking water until they stop vomiting. The purpose of withholding food and water was to “relax” the pancreas.

However, nowadays, we perceive how important diet is to recovery and healing. Research shows that early resumption of feeding benefits dogs with pancreatitis.

Intravenous fluids are recommended for dogs that can’t eat on their own. However, subcutaneous fluids may be more advantageous than intravenous as they are less painful, easier to administer, and more affordable.

As soon as your dog can eat again, start feeding it with small meals of dog food three or four times a day. This “feed smaller, more frequent” approach prevents your dog’s stomach from being shocked.

The type of food is also crucial for a dog’s diet. The majority of veterinarians recommend a low-fat or bland diet.

Unlike high-fat food, low-fat food is easily digestible and can lower the likelihood of recurrence.

Some vets sell specific premium dog food that is good for dogs with acute and chronic pancreatitis, so be sure to inquire if they do when you visit.

If you wish to prepare dog food on your own, you should focus on a super bland diet such as chicken breast, white rice, or egg whites.

But be careful not to overfeed them because a bland diet can result in nutritional deficits.

2. Be vigilant in monitoring your dog’s food intake

In many cases, the exact cause of pancreatitis is uncertain. However, older dogs, obese dogs, specific breeds like the Cocker Spaniels, and those with gastrointestinal problems are at higher risk of this condition.

Pancreatitis in dogs is triggered by a fatty meal, such as table scraps and human food treated as pet food, medication side effects, severe blunt trauma, and dietary indiscretion.

After vets diagnose pancreatitis in your pet, they will likely recommend a particular diet as a part of its treatment. Make sure you stick to the prescription diet and refrain from giving your dog fatty and human food.

Nonetheless, bone broth can be given to a dog recovering from chronic or acute pancreatitis because it promotes good digestion, improved hydration, and gut function.

Also, if your dog is ready for solid food, you may give bland food like cooked chicken breast and white rice.

These foods could be the best choice of carbohydrates to raise the blood sugar levels required for energy conversion.

When feeding a dog recovering from pancreatitis, it is important to cook all the food you offer, even if you regularly give it a raw diet.

This will prevent your dog from contracting a bacterial infection or foodborne sickness.

If your dog eats healthy food, you are guaranteed that it will stay healthy. It should be kept in mind that a poor or high-fat diet is what typically causes pancreatitis.

If you want to know more about what you can include in the regular diet of your dog with pancreatitis, check out this video:

What should you feed to a dog with Pancreatitis

3. Keep an eye on your dog’s health and provide pain medication if it shows signs of distress

If your veterinarian does not advise hospitalization, keep a watchful eye on your dog. This way, you can recognize the symptoms early and ensure you’ll be able to take them to the emergency vet.

Moderate to severe abdominal pain, poor appetite, and diarrhea are common signs of dogs’ pancreatitis. Once your dog exhibits any of these, you should seek veterinary advice before giving pain medication.

However, many veterinarians advise giving a dog the benefit of the doubt and delivering pain medications, even if your dog does not exhibit overt symptoms of pancreatitis discomfort.

You may also want to register your dog on pet insurance to lower the overall cost of your veterinarian bills.

In essence, it ensures that you won’t be financially stranded in the event your dog is diagnosed with pancreatitis.

Instead of waiting for the pain to become unbearable, proactive pain management is more effective in comforting your dog with pancreatitis.

Keep in mind, though, that you should only give painkillers to your dog in accordance with your veterinarian’s advice!

Pancreatitis in dogs also affects other organs, which frequently causes nausea. Therefore, an anti-nausea medication may be useful to promote your dog’s regaining appetite, which is necessary for its recovery.

4. Give out pampering and other forms of support

While some dogs with chronic pancreatitis would rather be left alone when they’re feeling unwell, others could appreciate additional cuddles and love.

In this situation, the only person who knows what your dog wants is you!

Dogs, however, can behave differently when they are ill or in pain. They could act aggressive, restless, pant or cry, lick excessively, or even ignore the treats you offer them.

Therefore, it is important to pay attention to any adjustments in their behavior or body language since these can provide hints about how they feel.

If your dog has severe acute pancreatitis, it is a must to be at its side all the time.

If you see that your dog is in discomfort and is unable to go far, it might also be helpful to bring their necessities (e.g., bed) closer to them.

In case your dog needs to use the bathroom, gently carry it with a towel to avoid belly pain.

Ultimately, if you have kids or small animals in the house, keep them away as much as possible so your pampered pup can get some rest and feel more comfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Man comforting his French Bulldog with pancreatitis by hands

How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Get Over Pancreatitis?

The severity of a pancreatitis episode in dogs will determine how long it takes for them to get over it. For milder cases, your dog will require a veterinary stay of two to four days.

Following discharge from the vet, you should anticipate that your dog will be fully recovered in one to two weeks.

However, if your dog’s case is severe, your dog might need to stay with the vet for up to two weeks.

Can Dog Pancreatitis Be Treated at Home?

Home remedies should not be used in place of veterinary medicine since pancreatitis in dogs is a life-threatening ailment.

Call a vet if you suspect your dog has this so your dog will be provided with the necessary veterinary care.

Nevertheless, some veterinary professionals believe pancreatin-containing digestive enzyme supplements can help some dogs (but not all) by reducing pancreatic activity and preventing pancreatic output.

How Painful Is Dog Pancreatitis?

Dogs with pancreatitis will experience some discomfort, but the degree will vary depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic in nature. Even so, both forms of pancreatitis can be very painful for dogs.

However, acute pancreatitis makes it obvious that something is gravely wrong with your dog. As for chronic pancreatitis, it could be mild enough that it’s challenging to identify the source of the issue.

Should I Put My Dog Down With Pancreatitis?

Many dogs with pancreatitis were treated naturally and medically. In light of your pet’s current health, it is crucial for it to receive a pancreatitis diagnosis and for you to pay attention to your veterinarian’s advice.

Pancreatic dogs with mild cases may live long and fulfilling lives. In case of extreme pain, talk with your veterinarian about all the other options because there is no going back once your dog is euthanized.

Final Thoughts

Pancreatitis is a life-threatening condition that causes distress to pooches as well as to dog owners. Taking care of them usually takes time; thus, patience and consistency are essential during this period.

After your dog receives the right medication for pancreatitis, you should do all possible ways to make it comfortable.

Make sure your dog consumes the right foods and leads a healthy, active lifestyle with regular exercise.

We hope this article has assisted you in better comforting your dog with pancreatitis and helping it recover as quickly as possible.

We would be pleased to hear any additional advice you may have on how to comfort a dog with pancreatitis in the comments below.

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