Pet holiday safety.

Pancreatitis can strike pets any time of year, but veterinarians see a sharp uptick in cases around the holidays. While it’s hard to resist indulging your pets in some turkey with all the trimmings (after all, we’re indulging ourselves, right?), your pet’s health and safety must remain a top priority.

Much is written about the dangers of sharing potentially toxic people foods like chocolate and xylitol with pets, but did you know that there are plenty of holiday favorites that can lead to a very serious condition called pancreatitis? 

At Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital, We want your holidays to be merry and bright, so here’s an overview of pet pancreatitis and what you can do to protect your pets. 

What is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is a complex condition, but to put it simply, it’s when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas is a tiny but mighty organ that produces valuable digestive enzymes and critical hormones like insulin. When the pancreas isn’t functioning properly, it impacts blood sugar levels and digestion. 

Many factors can contribute to a pet’s risk of pancreatitis, including hypothyroidism (and other endocrine diseases), diabetes, obesity, trauma, and certain medications. However, one of the primary causes is a high-fat diet, and in particular, the ingestion of a large amount of fatty food at one time. 

Know the Symptoms

Pet pancreatitis is a painful condition with symptoms that range from mild to very severe, and it can escalate quickly and become a veterinary emergency.  Please contact us right away if your pet displays any of the following:

  • Lethargy/weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloated or painful abdomen
  • Gastrointestinal problems like vomiting or diarrhea
  • Hunched posture or “prayer position”
  • Increased water consumption
  • Fever

Avoiding Pet Pancreatitis

There are supportive measures for pet pancreatitis, but no real cure, which is why taking steps to minimize your pet’s risk is imperative. Because there is a strong correlation between high-fat diets and pet pancreatitis, enact a “no sharing” rule around the table year-round, and follow these other tips for holiday pet safety:

  • Make sure your guests know that table scraps are off limits for your pets, particularly fatty foods containing butter, gravy, or cheese. And never give your pets poultry skin or sugary foods. 
  • Help your pets avoid temptation! Don’t leave him alone in the kitchen, and don’t leave your holiday table unattended.  
  • Consider keeping your pets in a separate room or area of your house when hosting a celebration.
  • Make sure the lid on your trash can is secure. 
  • Let your pet join the festivities with a holiday sampler plate that includes safe foods like cooked, plain green beans or baby carrots, a bite of cooked white meat with the skin removed, and a spoonful of unsweetened pumpkin puree.

For additional information on ways to prevent pet pancreatitis or to schedule a visit, please give us a call at (610) 589-5019.