Managing My Dog’s Pancreatitis Flare Up Requires Dietary Management

Standard Internet Disclaimer:  I’m not a vet.

If you have a problem with your dog’s health go see a vet.

I can’t be responsible for any “bad advice” that you apply – GO SEE A VET if you suspect a problem.

I am but a blog writer, don’t let me be your only source of information.

However this is what worked for me.  I am not a Doctor, or a Vet.  I am however someone who has been on an “Athletic Training Diet” since 1979, so some of this is a lot of applied knowledge that came from my own trial and error.

The symptoms were that my dog got sluggish, started vomiting, and started refusing his food.  We had a bout with Diarrhea.

The Vet suspected Pancreatitis, and after research, it seemed very likely that this was the case.   We also suspected that he has always had this but it just hadn’t flared up yet.

It took a couple weeks worth of fiddling with his diet to figure this solution out.

The solution was “nuanced”.  There were a few subtle things that I was doing wrong, apparently very wrong for my dog.

 

The result was that he’s now healthy, two pounds lighter, and probably will always be on a low fat diet.

We never have completely figured out Rack’s nutritional problems.  I got him as a rescue puppy with some pretty severe problems.  Worms that took three cycles of de-worming powder to kill off.  What turned out to be an allergy to poultry and grain.

His nutrition as a puppy at 7 months took him longer to get figured out than I would have liked, and it resulted in him being on the “small and light” side for the breed.

He always got the grain free dry food, when I could convince him to eat it since his teeth were naturally missing in the back.

While that is a lot to manage, it triggered my own training diet mind in gear and I figured out what was wrong.  I lost 75 pounds in 2 years when younger and have maintained a better than normal build through nutrition and exercise in the too-many years since, I should be able to figure this out.

When the prepared dry food we were giving him moved production to the US, and to a state  known for lax enforcement of food quality standards, I panicked.  The quality would suffer so we needed a different way.  That brand later had a food recall for some reason and we heard that there were dogs endangered as a result.

I was forced to prepare his own food.  Twice a week, I would take 2 1/2 pounds of cooked and browned ground beef, add water, add powder and feed him that.  He did very well on it although he got bored with it after a while.

That should have been a cue something was up.

So I did an internet search for a crock pot dog food.  Found one recipe that is human safe, although very bland – I even tasted it.  He did very well on that but it did tire him after a while.

I kept feeding him the two foods, alternating every week between recipes.

Then the Pancreatitis hit.  I recognized the symptoms from my old dog, Lettie, who had it before she passed of kidney failure induced by “recalled dog food”.  The same symptoms.  Refusing food, sluggish, loose stool, occasional vomiting.

Rack at this point is in the prime of his life.  Five years old herding dog.  Should be beyond active.

I did some research and realized that treating him well was the problem.

We have a routine.  He gets his food at breakfast and dinner.  I rarely give him treats.  Almost never give him table scraps.

I have Pork more often than I have anything else.  I can make a pork tenderloin into something that is High End Restaurant quality.  Pork Tenderloin is a very forgiving recipe – 250F Slow oven until internally 140F.   Takes around two hours.  Marinade the Pork the night before in sauces of choice, I prefer Barbecue Sauce.

Try that recipe on Pork Loin and it works, although Pork Loin is much tougher.  Pork Loin also has a layer of fat left on it so it can soak down into the roast.

That was the problem.

Dogs do not digest pork fat well.

Two days before the incident, I had given him the fat from the top of my lunch pork.  I did that again the next day.

The third day, he later started refusing food.

HIS food never changed.  MY food had.  I went from the Pork Tenderloin which is just about the leanest meat you can get to Pork Loin and feeding him an ounce of fatty scraps.

On research it turns out that you should never feed a dog pork fat.  That includes Bacon.

Dogs can not digest it well, it tends to cause problems.  Like Pancreatitis.

So all snacks were cancelled.  He got a Fasting Day to clear his system of the fat.  His “regular food” was cut down to a quarter and served on a bed of white rice to be mixed in.

He began eating it slowly.

As his system cleared out, I mixed in proportionally more of the regular food.

He had a small flare up.

It turned out that the beef I was serving was a problem as well.  There was too much fat in the meat.  This was a “Utility Grade Meat” and as such had a significant quantity of added fat.  You could actually smell the fat in the resulting dog food.

Now my own cooking skills were brought to task.  I had a freezer full of Utility Grade Meat that needed to be de-fatted.

If you won’t eat it, don’t feed it to the dog.

Brown the meat and skim off as much fat as possible.

I was getting as much as a cup of fat skimmed off of 2 1/2 pounds of “beef”.

Prepare the normal recipes.

Success.

The only side effect was that he started losing weight.  That I can manage since he was acting hungry again.  His serving sizes were increased by an ounce at a time over the next couple weeks until the weight loss stopped and the begging slowed.

Now he’s doing fine.  Begging for Yogurt here is at a normal level and since I make the stuff for my own use, it’s not a problem.

Stools are normal.  Coat is shiny and soft.  No vomiting.

Best of all the energy level is higher than I remember it.  Which means that I get more exercise as well.

So:

  • Reduce the fat to the utmost minimum.
  • No table scraps ever.
  • No added sugar, ever.
  • No added salt, ever.
  • No treats of Bacon or other fat from the roasts.

It helped him out big time.  I’m back to being run around by a herding dog with a big personality.

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