Doyalson Animal Hospital | Dog Eating Treat

The Skinny on Fatty Foods and Dogs

Unfortunately, whilst most dogs would really love a hearty meal of Christmas ham and crackling, or a bowl filled with turkey meat, it’s best to be really careful about feeding these types of foods to our pets.

How can fatty foods be dangerous to dogs?

Whilst some dogs may appear to have “cast iron stomachs”, a fatty meal can cause significant unwellness in some unlucky others, sometimes triggering issues such as dietary-related gastroenteritis (gut upset) or pancreatitis!

I’ve heard of gastroenteritis, but what is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is painful inflammation of the pancreas organ in the abdominal cavity. The pancreas contains inactive digestive enzymes, which are normally released into the small intestine and then activated to help digest food.

In pancreatitis, these digestive enzymes activate prematurely whilst still inside the pancreas, causing tissue damage, inflammation and pain.

Symptoms of pancreatitis

Most pets with pancreatitis show symptoms similar to a significant gut upset, including vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain and a poor appetite. In severe cases, pets may become very dehydrated and can even progress into cardiovascular shock.

How is pancreatitis treated?

Pancreatitis can’t be specifically treated, but its healing is aided by general supportive care to keep pets hydrated, comfortable and able to eat sufficiently. In many cases, this requires admission to hospital for intravenous fluids, injectable pain relief and stomach-settling medications.

So, what can I safely feed my dog?

If your dog hasn’t had any prior pancreatitis or gut issues, it’s generally safest to offer low-fat cuts of cooked turkey or chicken breast or boneless salmon, with occasional slivers (finger-nail sized) of fattier meat for a special treat.

Pets who have a history of pancreatitis are best to stick with a prescription low-fat digestible diet, to help minimise stimulation to their pancreas.

So, to help your dog have a happy howl-idays, skip the fatty foods!