Acute Pancreatitis In Dogs

All mammals have a pancreas.  It plays an important role in metabolizing sugar in the body by producing insulin and it produces pancreatic enzymes to help the body digest nutrients.  In cases of acute pancreatitis the pancreas becomes inflamed.  It is a life-threatening condition.


Pancreatitis can be caused by both external and internal factors.  Some medications can contribute to pancreatitis.  Dogs can also develop infections which affect the pancreas.  Certain metabolic disorders can cause the body to have high amounts of lipids in the blood or high amounts of calcium.  Even trauma can bring on pancreatitis.  But obesity and nutrition are most commonly associated with pancreatitis.  Dogs which are overweight or which are fed diets high in fat are at increased risk for pancreatitis.  Dogs which are fed fatty table scraps or which are allowed to binge during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas can often have an attack of acute pancreatitis.  Thanksgiving leftovers and other fatty foods can lead to an attack of acute pancreatitis.


Dogs suffering from acute pancreatitis may show some of the following symptoms:

Painful abdomen
Distended abdomen
Lack of appetite
Hunching their bodies
Oily or greasy stools

You may notice these symptoms at home.  They may be particularly noticeable if your dog has binged on some fatty food or gotten into the trash and eaten something he shouldn’t have.  If you see these symptoms you should take your dog to the veterinarian so he can assess whether or not your dog has pancreatitis.  Your vet will be able to determine if your dog has other symptoms that can accompany a severe case of pancreatitis such as heart problems, difficulty breathing or a possible hemorrhage.


Your vet can make a diagnosis of pancreatitis by talking to you, observing your dog, doing a physical exam and performing some laboratory tests.  If your dog has pancreatitis he will likely have an increase in certain enzymes in his body, such as amylase and lipase.  His liver enzymes may also be affected.  His white blood cell count will also probably be raised.  Your vet may also want to take x-rays or an ultrasound.  There is also a new test called a serum cPLI (pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity) test that can help determine the state of the pancreas.


Treatment of pancreatitis will depend on the severity of the attack.  The immediate goal will be to get the attack under control and return your dog’s enzyme levels to normal.  Your vet will have to get any vomiting stopped.  Generally, your dog won’t be able to take normal food, water or oral medications for about 24 hours.  This will also give his pancreas time to return to normal.  During the next few days he will take a bland, easily-digestible, low-fat diet.  It’s very important for his recovery that his fat intake be controlled and reduced.  Your dog may need to switch to a special diet.

Your vet will also make sure that your dog is getting enough fluids.  Dehydration is common in dogs with pancreatitis so your vet may need to give your dog fluids intravenously.

Since acute pancreatitis involves an inflamed pancreas your dog may be experiencing pain.  Your vet will manage pain with pain relievers and may give your dogs appropriate antibiotics.

Long-term Recovery

It is possible for a dog to have one episode of acute pancreatitis and fully recover.  Making adjustments to his diet and avoiding fats may prevent any further occurrences.  In other cases a dog may have recurrent bouts of acute pancreatitis.  There can be complicating factors.  If your dog has diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, epilepsy or other health problems, then pancreatitis may become chronic or even lead to fatal complications.  You and your vet will need to work together to manage your dog’s long-term health needs.

Acute Pancreatitis In Dogs courtesy Dog Articles.

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Which Dog Food For My Dog?

There are more dog foods today than ever before.  When you walk into any pet supply store the choices can be almost overwhelming.  How in the world are you supposed to choose which food to buy for your dog?

In order to choose a good food for your dog you should keep in mind that there is no “best” dog food.  Dog foods make many marketing claims but your dog will be able to do well on many of the foods sold in stores today.  All you need to do is learn a few dog food basics.

Choosing a good dog food for your dog depends on two essential skills:  learning which ingredients go into a good dog food and learning to read a dog food label.  As you get more experienced with dog foods you will soon learn which companies generally manufacture the better foods and it will shorten the time you have to spend examining foods.

Do you have a Toy or small breed dog?  You may want to consider canned food.  Canned food typically costs more per ounce than dry food but it usually contains more protein and fat and much less grain than dry food.  It also usually has fewer chemical additives such as artificial colors and flavorings.  Canned food also doesn’t need preservatives because of the canning process.  Finally, canned food has plenty of moisture which makes it easier for dogs to digest than kibble.  Most dogs love canned food.  On the other hand, if you have large dogs or multiple dogs the cost of canned food can be prohibitive.

Whether you are buying kibble or canned food you will need to look at the label to find the information that you’re seeking.  Look for the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officers) statement that says the food meets the minimum nutritional adequacy standards required for pet foods.  This is no guarantee that your dog will thrive on the food but without this statement the food may not even meet minimum standards.

Next look for the ingredient list on the label.  Foods are required to list ingredients in order of their weight.  The first several ingredients should be the most important ingredients in the dog food.  Ideally you will see several sources of named protein among the first five ingredients.  These protein sources can be ingredients such as chicken meal, lamb meal, whole chicken, deboned chicken, and so on.

You should avoid foods that provide protein sources such as “animal digest” and “meat meal.”  According to AAFCO, these animal digests can be described as “animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed.”  Meat meal is described as “an animal feedstuff produced by recycling animal byproducts. These byproducts include meat trimmings, inedible parts and organs, fetuses, and certain condemned carcasses. They are cooked (rendered) to produce a nutritional and economical feed ingredient.”  These are not the kinds of protein you want to feed your dog.  Choose named proteins so you know what your dog is eating.

You also want to choose named sources of fats in your dog’s food for the same reasons.  Choose chicken fat instead of animal fat.

Avoid foods that use corn gluten meal or that has multiple sources of corn.  Corn has been used on such a widespread basis in dog food that many dogs have developed allergies to it.  Not only that, but dogs can only digest about 54 percent of the protein in corn.  That means that nearly half of the corn your dog eats in a food passes through him.  Corn-based foods typically produce large piles of poop for owners to pick up and you have to feed large amounts for your dog to get enough nutrition.  It’s best to simply look for foods that have no corn or minimal corn in them.

Foods that have fewer grains are generally better for your dog.  It’s up to you if you want to feed your dog a grain-free food.  They are generally very expensive.

You can also decide if you want to try feeding your dog a high protein diet.  Some dogs do well on them while others don’t.  If your dog becomes hyperactive and isn’t getting enough exercise to burn off some of the energy on this diet you may need to go back to a normal protein diet.

Avoid products that use BHA, BHT or Ethoxyquin as preservatives.  Look instead for natural preservatives.

Avoid foods with artificial colors, sugars and sweeteners.  Your dog doesn’t need them.

Many dog foods claim to contain “human grade” ingredients but that can be misleading.  All poultry in the U.S. is hormone-free and dog food cannot, by law, be labeled human grade.  They may use anti-biotic-free meats and cuts of meat that humans would eat.  You will have to make your own decision.

If you examine dog food labels for these specifications you will begin to narrow down your choices.  After that, you may ask for some sample packs so you can see which foods your dog likes the best.  Remember that there is no single best food.  In fact, it’s best if you have 2-3 foods so you can rotate every few months.  This kind of variety is said to be beneficial for dogs.  If they are not having all of their nutritional needs met with one food they may make up the deficit with another food.

The most expensive foods are not always the best value for the money.  But the cheapest foods do usually cut corners and contain cheap ingredients.  There are a vast number of dog foods in the middle.  It takes some effort to choose good foods with good ingredients without necessarily spending a fortune but it’s certainly possible to do so.  Your dog will thank you.

Which Dog Food For My Dog courtesy Dog Articles.

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Can Dog Food Make My Dog Less Aggressive?

There is no direct link between dog food and aggression in dogs.  It’s probably not possible to point to one particular dog food and say that you shouldn’t feed it because it will make your dog more aggressive.  However, feeding a dog a generally poor diet can be a contributing factor in aggression.

There are studies which have suggested that feeding a dog poor quality foods can contribute to aggression.  Preservatives and sugar in dog food may be linked to hyperactive behavior which may increase the possibility of aggression.  Artificial coloring in some foods have been linked to aggression, hyperactivity, timidity, learning difficulties and other behavioral problems.  Insufficient cholesterol in the diet may also be a contributing factor in some dogs since it is needed for proper brain function.  Poor diet can also contribute to allergies which can, in turn, increase a likelihood of aggression if the dog is in any kind of physical distress.

At this point some of these links between diet and aggression have only been suggested.  There may be little scientific data to back up the assertions. But a poor diet can worsen health and temperament problems in general.

None of this speculation changes the fact that all dogs need to be raised with firm and gentle kindness.  Puppies should be well-socialized from an early age and introduced to lots of other friendly people and dogs.  But dogs should also be fed a good, nutritious food.

Dogs in general should have a diet that begins with several named meat sources.  Owners should try to avoid generic fats and proteins.  They should avoid foods that use corn gluten meal.  They should avoid meat by-products and digest.  They should avoid BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin (artificial preservatives).  They should look for foods without artificial colors, sugars and sweeteners.  Look for foods with fewer grains.  Look for foods that meet AAFCO specifications.

If owners follow these suggestions then they will usually find good dog foods.  If there is any truth to the idea that dog foods can contribute to behavior problems and to aggression, then these foods will be much less likely to have a negative effect.

One theory that should be debunked is the idea that feeding your dog meat leads to aggression or that feeding your dog a vegetarian diet will make him more peaceable.  Your dog is a carnivore in the broadest sense.  He is actually an omnivore in practice – something of a scavenger and able to eat lots of different kinds of food.  But physically, he needs meat protein to survive and be healthy.  Feeding your dog meat or diets that are based on meat protein do not make him aggressive.  They merely meet his dietary needs.

On the other hand, feeding your dog a vegetarian diet can lead to poor nutrition.  Your dog is not a vegetarian in any way, shape or form.  One of the reasons that you so often hear corn and other grains blasted for their use in dog food is because they are vegetable-based and, therefore, harder for your dog to digest.  The same is true for vegetarian-based diets for dogs.

They are harder for your dog to digest and they do not contain the meat protein that your dog needs to be healthy.  In addition, they do not make your dog more peaceable or do anything to prevent behavior problems.  In fact, by contributing to poor nutrition, vegetarian diets are likely to worsen behavior problems.

Can Dog Food Make My Dog Less Aggressive courtesy Dog Articles.

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Raw Food Or Kibble? Who’s Right?

If you have a dog you’ve probably heard these debates:  should I feed my dog raw food or should I feed my dog kibble?  Which one is better?  Who’s right?  Who knows?  Who can say?  They both claim to be right but then you hear good and bad about both sides.  There is so much confusing information.  Who knows what you should do?

The truth is that people who feed both kibble and raw food diets can have healthy, happy dogs but making sure your dog is getting the proper nutrition on either diet can take a little effort.

Feeding dry food or canned food may seem like an easy solution but there are so many different kinds of foods these days that it can be difficult to choose wisely for your dog.  You can buy every kind of dog food from gourmet to food made from the cheapest filler ingredients.  Your dog’s health can have a direct relation to the ingredients in the food you feed.

The best way to judge if what you are feeding your dog is good for him is by your dog’s health and appearance.  Does your dog look good?  Is he a good weight or is he too fat or too thin?  Is his coat shiny and healthy-looking?  Does he have greasy-looking coat or bald patches?  Does he have dandruff?  Does he itch and scratch or otherwise seem to have allergies?  Does he have ear infections?  Are his eyes clear?  Does he have good energy for his age?

If you have any concerns about any aspect of your dog’s health or appearance you should look at what you’re feeding your dog.  If you’re feeding a kibble (dry food) you should read the label.  Check the ingredient list.  What are the first five ingredients?  Do you see named sources of protein among the first several ingredients?  Protein sources like chicken meal, lamb meal, fish meal, and eggs are good sources of protein for dogs.  Since they are named protein sources you know exactly what your dog is eating and your dog can digest these protein sources easily, getting maximum nutrition from them.  Other protein sources, such as “animal meal” and “animal digest” are sketchy and can include many undesirable parts of unnamed animals.  Corn is often used as an inexpensive protein source but it is not as easy for dogs to digest.  Dogs can only digest about 54 percent of the nutrition in corn.  The rest passes through them to be deposited as waste in your yard.

Many people have become interested in feeding raw since the pet food recalls in 2007.  They like having the feeling that they are controlling what their dogs are eating and that they are fixing the food themselves.  They can assure themselves that the food comes straight from a butcher or from the meat counter of their own supermarket — the same places where they buy their own food.

On the other hand, feeding dogs a raw diet does require some extra effort.  In order to keep costs down it’s often necessary to buy in bulk.  This means, for many people, that they need to purchase a small extra freezer to store meat.  Feeding raw also means that you may need to purchase a meat grinder to grind meaty bones for your dogs.  You may have to make some investment in these appliances if you wish to continue to feed your dogs a raw diet.

In order to make sure your dog is having all of his nutritional needs met you will also need to provide supplements to his diet.  Your dog can’t live on protein and the calcium in bones alone.  He’ll also need vitamins and minerals.

As you can see, there is no one right way to feed your dog.  Your dog can receive good nutrition from both a kibble diet and from feeding raw if you are prepared to go some research and make the effort.

Raw Food or Kibble? Who’s Right? courtesy of Dog Articles

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