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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Rack Was Attacked By A Pitbull

I will quote myself  here: “Stereotypes are Sometimes Correct.”.

Not every pit bull is a vicious dog, but when they are vicious, they are far too “good” at it.

Florida passed a law banning “Breed Specific Bans” in the state.  If you asked me last night when I was knocked off my feet while on the ground kicking the side of this more than 60 pound pit bull to get her off my dog, I would say it was a bad idea. 

Logically I know that pit bulls aren’t all bad.   My neighbor had a pit, Babygirl, who was the definition of sweet.  He now has a part-pit Ellie that is Rack’s best friend.

The problem isn’t the breed, it’s the owner.  In this case an owner that did not think that his pit bull had any problems with any other dogs and allowed her off her leash.

My neighbor’s part-pit part Heinz 57 dog, Ellie, knew this dog was trouble.   We all met in front of the house the night before.   While Rack was being his usual goofy puppy self, Ellie was doing a much better job of reading this dog’s mind.  It decided to pick on the weakest dog of the three in her mind, and started a fight.  I managed to pull Rack out of the middle and Ellie got yanked out as well.

From that point on it became a Dog Of Interest, or One To Avoid.

Last evening’s walk I didn’t have that option.  This pit bull was off leash in front of the property where the owner rents.  It spotted us before I did, at least 50 feet if not 75 away. 

Rack saw it first and began to back up to hide behind me.

Oh thanks, kid!

When I saw the dog, I grabbed Rack to lift him as high as possible to buy time.   It didn’t work.

The pit bull charged me landing on me and knocking me to the ground.  At the same moment it grabbed onto Rack’s front leg skin and would not let go.  This was when I tried my best to stop this by kicking the dog off of both of us.

The owner comes and finally collects his vicious pitbull.

He’s trying to tell me that the dog is not vicious.  He also told me not to call the police.

My response was “If it wasn’t vicious, it wouldn’t have attacked us”.

He of course said “If you are going to be crazy like that, I am not going to help you”.

I then immediately called 911 and got through to the Wilton Manors Police Dispatch desk.

What had to have been the entire police force on duty arrived in under five minutes.

I rehashed the story to the officers who arrived plus Dave in Code Enforcement. 

While you may not have Breed Specific Bans in place, we do have a very good law in town about vicious animals.   Whoever formulated this law has my gratitude. 

I will paraphrase the legislation:

If your dog attacks a human or domestic animal (dogs and cats) and draws blood, causes a laceration or cut, or any other sort of trauma, your dog is defined as being vicious.  Vicious dogs are only allowed in the city limits of Wilton Manors if they are registered with the City Clerk and a bond of $500,000 is posted.  All of this must happen in five business days.  The dog will be retained by the city and sent to the county animal control to make sure that all shots and licenses are up to date at the cost of the owner.   If this bond is posted, the dog may not be allowed off property without muzzle and other protection for the safety and the good of the people and dogs in town.

Since the person who owned this vicious pitbull is a renter and had moved in within the month, I sincerely doubt this will happen.   Most likely the owner is a flight risk, will abandon the dog, and move out of town.  With an absentee owner in Maryland, and the property managed locally, I doubt that he will be allowed to remain in the property.  I think it’s fairly obvious that the dog will be and should be put down.

I was told by the officers that we were very lucky in this attack.   Rack will heal.  The skin was ripped open for a “thumb length” and you could see muscle and sinew underneath.  We got him to the veterenarian who remained open for this emergency.  Rack now has a bare patch on his leg with some stitches as well as him wearing a spare T-Shirt.   He’s also sitting as close to me, physically, as he possibly can.

There have been pitbull attacks in Wilton Manors before where small dogs had their legs flayed open like a sleeve, and worse.  This is the reason for the law.  There are too many people in this city with dogs of all sizes that are badly trained.   While a Chihuahua with an attitude is bad enough, even comical, an aggressive pit bull is deadly. 

To say “Keep your dog on a leash” is an understatement.  There is never any justification for this sort of situation.  Some people shouldn’t own a stuffed animal let alone a deadly and vicious pit bull.  They make it harder for the rest of the people out there that are responsible owners.