How to protect your dog from this serious disease
A healthy pancreas has several crucial functions in the body:
It produces protein, carbohydrate and fat digesting enzymes such as protease, lipase and amylase.
- It also has an absolute crucial function in regulating sugars in the body by producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells store and use carbohydrates
Pancreatitis can be divided into two forms.
1. Chronic – more common, less severe, but often latent for months. This condition is not that dangerous and often causes no visible symptoms. It is likely that chronic pancreatitis will eventually turn into an acute flare-up if left unattended.
2. Acute – it is less common, but much more serious. Digestive enzymes are activated in the pancreas and can attack the internal abdominal wall – the peritoneum – and begin to ‘digest’ it. This can lead to serious life-threatening complications.
What Predisposes Dogs to Pancreatitis?
- Processed food chunks.
- Food that is too fatty.
- Feeding and snacking too often.
- Deficiencies in nutrients – minerals, vitamins and amino acids.
- Injury in the area of the thoracic lumbar spine.
1. Processed foods
is one of the biggest causes of pancreatitis. Grain-based, unbalanced and cheap foods are the most common culprit, but make no mistake. Even the so-called high-quality natural kibble is taxing on the pancreas. Over many thousands of years, dogs evolved by eating meat and some plant matter such as grass and fruit. Their pancreas is not designed to digest large amounts of grains such as wheat, corn or rice. It becomes stressed, overloaded and eventually inflamed.
2. Too much fat
is another common reason. Fat is a cheap food ingredient and manufacturers often turn to it to reduce production costs. Surprisingly, even some special digestive or hypoallergenic diet formulas contain fat and corn as main ingredients. Fat also puts a strain on the pancreas because it has to produce more lipase, the enzyme that helps with fat processing.
3. Feeding and snacking too often
This predisposing factor is often forgotten. Many people fall for the sad puppy eyes when a dog begs for food or think that dogs should eat as often as humans. If you look at how dogs have evolved over the millennia, they often fasted for long periods of time when food was not available. This was a great opportunity for the pancreas to rest.
I usually recommend feeding no more than twice a day, but once a day with one day of fasting per week is perfect. If your dog has elevated pancreatic enzymes, you should also look at the treats and how often you give them. Grain is often found in treats and frequent ‘treating’ does not give the pancreas any rest, which can make it more susceptible to inflammation.
4. Nutrient deficiencies
are one of the most vexing problems in medicine and typically go completely unaddressed by healthcare professionals. Minerals are essential for the proper functioning of every organ. Without them, the pancreas becomes weaker and more prone to inflammation.
To give just one example, magnesium participates in more than 300 metabolic reactions in the body and even more minerals are needed.
Agricultural lands have not been replenished and food transportation and lack of composting and recycling lead to deficiencies that ripple across the food chain, including our dogs.
The same applies to some vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Most of these building blocks cannot be produced by the body and must be replenished.
What supplements does your dog need?
This is what my dog Pax gets and you may want to consider it for your dog
- GreenMin (vegetable essential minerals)
- SoulFood (organic, naturally grown multivitamin)
- FeelGood Omega completely natural, mercury and toxin free
- GutSense to balance the digestive tract.
- Dogs with pancreatitis also need this Pancreatrophin PMG – A pancreatic gland support that nourishes and protects this important gland.
5. Back injuries
On the surface, most people don’t see the connection between back injuries and pancreatitis. In reality, they play an important role. The space between the last thoracic and first lumbar vertebrae provides energy flow to the pancreas. When the back is injured or tight in this area, the pancreas becomes weaker. It can also become inflamed. Therefore, I recommend that any dog with pancreatitis be evaluated by an experienced animal chiropractor, physiotherapist or osteopath to treat the muscle spasms.