Dogs with pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, do best on low-fat diets. Whether you already feed your dog fresh foods or you're switching from kibble to a fresh diet or you simply want to supplement with a few whole foods, take your dog’s calorie needs into account, and pay special attention to the fat content of the foods you intend to feed.
Pancreatitis can result from a number of factors, but a consistent cause of the disease in dogs is an abundance of rich, fatty food in their diets. Low-fat diets such as grains, veggies, meats, eggs and dairy can prevent pancreatitis and can keep it from recurring in dogs who are prone to it. Avoid the mistake of confusing fresh food with raw food when crafting your pet’s diet, however. Debate continues, but most authorities are saying dogs do not usually do well on raw-food-only diets.
Dogs can digest a wide variety of fresh foods, but you must cook most of them to obtain the maximum nutritional value for your dogs. You can feed a wide variety of vegetables, as long as they are cooked, but research any you're considering, and get your vet's advice. Some foods are toxic to dogs. You can add dairy such as kefir, cottage cheese or yogurt to a pancreatitis-affected dog's diet, meanwhile. Eggs are great raw or cooked, but if you feed your dog only egg whites to reduce fat, you must cook them to prevent them from depleting his biotin. That risk does not exist if you feed yolks as well. Dogs handle a wide variety of meats, but some cuts are much fattier than others. Choose the lean ones.
One of the challenges of making dog food fresh for your dog instead of feeding a commercial product is determining how much to feed. You don’t want to over- or underfeed your dog, which means you must calculate their calorie requirements. Calculate a dog’s resting energy requirements or RER by raising the dog’s weight in kilograms to the ¾ power, then multiplying the results by 70. A 22-pound dog for example, wand his RER would be 400 calories a day. After you determine the appropriate daily caloric intake based on weight, you're not done. Factors such as age, metabolic rate, amount of exercise, and the dog's class -- working, sporting, or other -- will require you feed more or less than the RER figure you determined. You'll need to count the calories as you prepare the food, and then ration out the proper caloric amount each feeding from the batch. Preparing, for instance, 4,000 calories in a batch allows for 10 400-calorie servings.
If your dog’s pancreatitis is severe, you should keep a careful eye on his fat intake even when feeding fresh, healthy foods. Dogs with pancreatitis should receive diets composed of 8 percent to 10 percent fat calories. For a dog who eats 1,000 calories, this is between 25 and 30 grams of fat. Figure out the number of grams of fat per food item -- an egg, for instance, has 5 grams -- and keep the numbers down.
Sarah Moore has been a writer, editor and blogger since 2006. She holds a master's degree in journalism.