How to Treat Pancreatitis in Dogs

Pancreatitis can be a very frightening diagnosis for pet parents. The good news is that pancreatitis can be successfully treated if the root cause is identified and addressed. Here’s what you need to know about this condition, how to tell if your dog might have it, and how to treat it:

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas.

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be acute (sudden) or chronic (long-term), with symptoms varying from mild to severe. Acute pancreatitis requires prompt treatment, but chronic pancreatitis may need years of therapy to control it.

Acute pancreatitis is caused by a variety of factors including:

  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • certain medications (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs])
  • trauma/injury to the abdomen

Chronic Pancreatitis

The symptoms of pancreatitis can be very serious and painful for your canine friend.

The symptoms of pancreatitis can be very serious and painful for your canine friend. Some of the most common signs are:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy (extreme fatigue)
  • Fever (not always present) Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)

Other signs that may appear include: nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal distention with pain when breathing or moving around, abdominal pain when coughing or sneezing.

In order to treat pancreatitis, you’ll have to first determine the cause of the illness in your dog.

Pancreatitis can be fatal if left untreated. In severe cases, it can lead to diabetes and other serious conditions, such as severe dehydration, kidney failure, and even liver failure. In the worst-case scenario (which is very rare), pancreatitis can progress to pancreatic cancer.

You will have to first determine the cause of your dog’s pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be caused by many different things, including:

  • Trauma (if your dog had a recent fall or hit his head)
  • Infection (a bacterial or viral illness)
  • Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Eating too much fat or sugar; eating too little food for a prolonged period of time; dietary changes such as switching from dry food to canned food; or eating spoiled food

Diagnosing and treating pancreatitis should be left to a vet.

If you’re not sure what to do when your dog starts having issues with his pancreas, wait for a vet. Your dog could have an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed before the pancreatitis can be treated. A vet will be able to figure out if something else is wrong with your dog and treat both problems at once.

Your vet may prescribe medication as part of the treatment plan, but don’t give any medications without first getting approval from them! Supplements and over-the-counter drugs like Pepto-Bismol are not safe for dogs and could cause serious harm when given without guidance from a professional.

Medication is usually necessary in order to treat acute pancreatitis.

In most cases, medication is usually necessary in order to treat acute pancreatitis. In fact, many owners will be advised by their vet to administer medications at home until their pet’s symptoms are under control. Medications can include antibiotics and painkillers (such as Rimadyl or Metacam), antacids (such as Protonix) and probiotics (like Fortiflora). These drugs can help reduce inflammation and pain, prevent complications such as infection or organ failure, and promote faster healing time overall.

There are certain things you can do on your own at home to help ease your dog’s pain.

With some basic knowledge of the disease and its symptoms, you can help your dog feel better. By following these tips, you’ll be able to provide relief for your canine’s pain and other symptoms of pancreatitis:

  • Feed him small meals. If your dog has pancreatitis, it’s important that he not go more than three hours without eating or drinking water. The spleen is one of the organs that produces digestive enzymes—so if your pup goes too long without food and water, he will become dehydrated quickly. To keep him hydrated, feed him small amounts of food at frequent intervals throughout the day instead of leaving it up to his system alone (which may not work very well).
  • Avoid fatty foods and caffeine-containing beverages like coffee or tea for at least two weeks after surgery (see next section). Pancreatitis can cause an increase in triglycerides (fat molecules) circulating through your pup’s bloodstream—and these fats need somewhere to go once they’ve been released from his pancreas cells! Too much fat around this area could lead to complications such as infection or even necrosis (tissue death), so make sure all greasy foods are off limits until everything returns back down beneath normal levels again…or just avoid them altogether!

Chronic pancreatitis is more difficult to treat, but can usually be managed with a combination of diet and medication.

Chronic pancreatitis is more difficult to treat, but can usually be managed with a combination of diet and medication.

Diet is very important in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis. The foods you feed your dog are what will help heal his pancreas and keep him healthy for years to come. It’s really important not to give your dog high-fat foods, or any other food that may contribute to pancreatic inflammation (such as onions). If you’re not sure what constitutes a good diet for dogs with chronic pancreatitis, ask your vet or local animal shelter’s nutritionist!

Medication may also help control the symptoms associated with chronic pancreatitis.


It can be very scary to know that your dog may have pancreatitis, and it’s a condition that should always be taken seriously. However, there are some things you can do at home to help your furry friend feel more comfortable. Take a look at our other articles for more information on how you can support your dog during the treatment process, and remember that most cases of pancreatitis do resolve themselves when properly diagnosed and treated.