Pancreatitis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factor, and Treatment – A Complete Guide on Taking Care of the Dog with Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Dogs are the best friend a man can get. So, it is important to be with your best friend in bad times as well. Pancreatitis is one such health condition of your dog that you should be aware of. The signs and symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs are not different from any trivial ailment of your dog. However, pancreatitis can be more dangerous and life-threatening for your dog. So, you have to take evasive actions as soon as you realize that your dog is affected by pancreatitis.

Whenever the symptoms of pancreatitis appear in your dog, if you are unaware of the condition, you will be looking to apply DIY care to treat your dog. But, doing this can be very, very dangerous. Yes, you have resources available to take care of your dog online. Still, those resources will never be the replacement for your veterinary doctor. If your dog is suffering from any medical issue, always consider taking the dog to a veterinary doctor first. So, before proceeding further, let’s understand some fundamental things about pancreatitis in dogs.

Understanding Pancreatitis in Dogs

The pancreas is a vital organ for your dog’s digestion. It releases enzymes that help digestion. The pancreas is on the right side of your dog’s abdomen. It also secrets hormones and enzymes that control the blood sugar and glucose level in the body of your dog. Now, pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Under the normal working circumstances of the pancreas, the enzymes released by the organ get activated only when the enzymes get into the small intestine.

However, in a dog suffering from pancreatitis, the enzymes get activated at the time of their release. It is what causes extreme pain and burning sensations. Also, the pancreas and its surrounding organs can get damaged due to the inflammation. There is also a possibility that the pancreas gets digested by those enzymes, which leads to extreme pain. Now, there are two types of dog pancreatitis; acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. Let’s understand both of them.

Acute and Chronic Dog Pancreatitis

Understanding of both acute and chronic pancreatitis is essential. Otherwise, you will not be able to take proper actions to take care of your dog suffering from pancreatitis. Here is what you need to know about both of them:

Acute Pancreatitis

In the case of acute pancreatitis, the condition will arise suddenly without any prior notice. It can become life-threatening as the condition could severely damage other vital organs. A dog suffering from acute pancreatitis will go through severe pain.

Chronic Pancreatitis

A chronic health condition is when a condition becomes severe by developing with time. So, the condition of chronic pancreatitis in dogs will be the result of the development of the condition over time. Sometimes multiple acute pancreatitis attacks can result in chronic pancreatitis.

You should know that both the cases of acute and chronic pancreatitis can cause severe to mild pain.

Causes of Dog Pancreatitis

Dog pancreatitis can happen due to multiple reasons. However, you will feel that pancreatitis occurred out of nowhere. But, certain reasons actually cause this devastating condition. Here are some of the causes of pancreatitis attack of dogs.


It is a medical condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone for the body. Hypothyroidism will slow down the digestion and metabolism of the dog. It happens in dogs more often than any other animal. So, Hypothyroidism can be a prominent cause of dog pancreatitis.

Fatty Diet

If your dog consumes too much fat, then it is bad for its health. The chances of pancreatitis increase if the dog overeats fat in one go. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the dog is avoiding a regular high-fat diet to prevent dog pancreatitis.


Another very important and prevalent cause of dog pancreatitis is diabetes mellitus. So, if your dog has the problem of diabetes, then it could be under the risk of pancreatitis.

Dietary Indiscretion

Yes, dogs don’t generally know what to eat and what not to eat. So, what happens is if the dog eats anything at any time, it is medically called dietary indiscretion. It is one of the more prominent causes of pancreatitis in dogs.


You have to keep an eye on the weight of your dog because if the dog becomes overweight, then it can suffer from pancreatitis out of nowhere.


There are certain types of medications, such as potassium bromide or azathioprine, that can cause pancreatitis. So, if you are giving these medicines to the dog, beware of the possible result of pancreatitis as well.


The medical condition of pancreatitis in dogs can also happen because of genetic predisposition. It is another prominent cause of dog pancreatitis.

Major Symptoms of Dog Pancreatitis

If your dog has pancreatitis, then it will show certain signs and symptoms. Knowing them will help you to take action properly. So, here are some of those signs and symptoms of pancreatitis that your dog will have:

  • Pain in the back
  • Abdominal pain
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Unwillingness to eat
  • Arched back

When your dog is showing these signs and symptoms, then you should not wait to take your dog to a veterinary doctor who will provide the treatment for your dog.

Dog Pancreatitis Diagnosis

Before the treatment of pancreatitis, a proper diagnosis will be made to determine the main cause of the discomfort for the dog. The doctor will look to diagnose and find out the possible case of pancreatitis in your dog in the following ways:

Medical History

The doctor will ask the medical history of the dog and will check for any history of pancreatitis. If your dog suffered from pancreatitis in the past, then it will increase the chances of pancreatitis in the mind of the doctor.

Blood Test

The doctor will also look to have blood tests for the dog, and if the white blood cell count is higher than the normal, then it could be because of pancreatitis. However, the high blood cell count may happen due to many other reasons as well. The most helpful way of determining pancreatitis with blood tests is the elevated presence of the pancreatic enzymes in the blood.

Physical Examination

After the blood test, the doctor will have the physical examination of the dog that includes the check-up of gums, temperature, heart, and stomach.

Ultrasound or Radiographs

Once the doctor gets the indication that it is pancreatitis, then he or she will look to eliminate all the other causes that are showing the same result. That is why the doctor will make your dog undergo the ultrasound or radiographs test to ensure that the dog is suffering from pancreatitis.

Treatment of Dog Pancreatitis

The success of the treatment of pancreatitis for the dog will depend on how quickly it is diagnosed, and the procedure starts. That is why you have to make sure you are taking medical help straight away when your dog shows any signs or symptoms for pancreatitis. The pain that your dog is suffering due to pancreatitis needs to be managed properly. Here are some of the ways the doctor may look to provide the treatment of dog pancreatitis:

Sudden Management of Pancreatitis

  • IV or Intravenous fluid therapy to deal with the case of dog pancreatitis
  • To prevent regular vomiting, the doctor will give antiemetic medications
  • Fasting your dog for 24 hours and giving pancreas some rest

Long-Term Management of Pancreatitis

  • Not allowing the dog to eat table scraps
  • Monitoring the fat intake daily vigilantly
  • Eating foods that are low in fat content
  • Instead of a single large meal, give frequent and continuous meals to the dog
  • The checking of the levels of amylase and lipase consistently by a veterinary doctor

Treatment Cost of Dog Pancreatitis

Now, you should know that the dog pancreatitis treatment cost will depend on many things. The cost can vary from $200 to $1000. The treatment cost will depend on various kinds of things which include:

  • The cost of the tests your dog will undergo
  • The charges of the veterinary doctor
  • The size of your dog
  • Cost of pain management
  • The management cost of diabetes mellitus

So, if you have Veterinary Pet Insurance, then you will find respite from the cost of the treatment. Mostly, the insurance claim for pancreatitis submitted by the policyholders is around $480 to $500.

Dog Pancreatitis Prognosis

It is essential to find out pancreatitis in dogs’ prognosis if you have a pet dog. The prognosis will mostly rely on the severity of pancreatitis in your dog, how quickly the dog was diagnosed, and the first response it gave to the initial treatment.

Dogs that suffer from dog pancreatitis shaking and depression find a very little scope for prognosis. However, if the dog has mild pancreatitis, then the response to the treatment will be good, and the prognosis will also be a good one.

The case of hemorrhagic pancreatitis in dogs happens when the dog does not get the treatment promptly. Because of the delay in treatment, catastrophic consequences happen to the dog that also includes death.

Natural Treatment of Dog Pancreatitis

It is possible to prevent pancreatitis problems in a dog naturally. Here are some of the steps you need to take to treat your dog naturally:

Fasting the Dog

You have to make your dog fast for 24-48 hours. As pancreatitis is the inflammation caused by the enzymes secreted from the pancreas, you should know that resting the pancreas by not giving any food to digest is a way of reducing the pain.

Give Water Every Hour

Drinking water is very, very important. However, due to the inflammation, dogs fail to hold on to the water. You should give little sips of bottled water on room temperature to the dog and check whether the dog can hold onto the water, and if it does, then repeat this every hour.

Mild Food

If you notice that the symptoms of pancreatitis have improved in your dog, then you should start the feeding by giving the dog a limited amount of mild food like bone broth. While providing the broth, cool it, and remove the fat on the top to manage the fat intake of your dog.

Taking Care of the Dog with Pancreatitis Post Treatment

Here is how to comfort a dog with pancreatitis after the treatment is over:

  • Reduce the amount of fatty food intake in your dog’s daily diet.
  • Eliminate the starch in the diet of the dog.
  • Include fresh vegetables, fruits, raw meat, and whole foods in the post dog pancreatitis diet
  • Make your dog have digestive enzymes that will help the dog to fight with pancreatitis.
  • Give foods to make other organs of the dog such as liver, kidney, and gallbladder to improve functioning, which will eventually improve the condition of the pancreas as well.

The Bottom Line

If your dog is suffering from pancreatitis, then you have to take your dog to the veterinary doctor as soon as possible to start the treatment. Pancreatitis in a dog leads to fatal consequences if you delay the treatment. Also, make sure that you are taking proper care of your dog once the treatment is over. It will prevent pancreatitis from happening again to your dog.