Can Raw Dog Food cause Pancreatitis?

Updated on June 2, 2021

Can raw dog food cause pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. A dog that has been diagnosed with pancreatitis is essentially suffering from an inflamed pancreas that is either damaged or stressed, which prevents it from functioning properly.

The pancreas has two functions: first, it has a major role in the regulation of the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, and secondly, it produces digestive enzymes. When the pancreas releases enzymes prematurely, they begin to digest the pancreas itself.  This is what we see most commonly in cases of pancreatitis in dogs.

What Causes Pancreatitis in Dogs?

Canine pancreatitis is usually seen in middle-aged dogs that have spent a lifetime being fed a diet mainly consisting of cooked and processed foods. Some integrative veterinarians, such as Dr Conor Brady, believe it is because high-carbohydrate based pet foods, which are hard for pets to digest, overstress the pancreas, quickly depleting its enzyme reserves.

Pets on steroid treatments, which are commonly used to treat allergies in dogs or canine arthritis, are also susceptible to developing pancreatitis, as are overweight or obese dogs. Dogs that are regularly fed table scraps, which are usually very high in fat, are also susceptible.

The common anti-seizure medication, potassium bromide, taken by epileptic dogs to treat epileptic seizures has also been linked to increased instances of pancreatitis in dogs. However, not all dogs with pancreatitis contract the disease from food or medication. Some breeds are more prone to contract the disease, such as Yorkshire terriers and Schnauzers.

If anything, real food help manage this condition, not cause it. Be sure to read Dr Brady articles on this topic, part 1 “Why is There is so Much Pancreatitis in Dogs?! The Answer is Diet…” and part 2 “Dry Food Causes The Majority of Pancreatitis in Dogs. The Cure is Feeding a Homemade, Low-Fat Meal…“.

In our experience, fooding a natural, raw food diet is very beneficial when treating pancreatitis in dogs. Raw, uncooked foods contain an abundance of live, active enzymes. These living enzymes help with the digestion process, and also reduce stress on the pancreas that is forced to produce additional enzymes to break down the food. This makes a raw food diet the best dog food for pancreatitis.