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Home > Dogs > Are Bananas Good for a Dog With Pancreatitis? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Are Bananas Good for a Dog With Pancreatitis? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ


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Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Pancreatitis is no laughing matter; your dog’s pancreas is necessary for their ongoing health and well-being. Dogs with pancreatitis need to be fed a diet to reduce pancreas inflammation. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and easy to digest, making them a possible treat to give a dog who has pancreatitis. But you must check with your veterinarian first.


What Is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is the fancy medical word for inflammation of the pancreas, a vital digestive organ. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes that your dog’s body uses to break down food into nutrients.

The enzymes produced by the pancreas are intended to remain inactive until they move from the pancreas to the intestines. However, the mechanisms that keep these enzymes idle can fail, and the enzymes will begin to digest the tissues of the pancreas.

Pancreatitis is a severe and painful illness that can be deadly if left untreated. If you suspect your dog has pancreatitis, do not delay getting it to the veterinarian. Late or absent treatment of pancreatitis can some-times result in death.

What Causes Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis can be the result of many things and often the cause is unknown. Certain medications, infections, diabetes, Cushing’s Disease, metabolic disorders, obesity, hypothyroidism, and even trauma can injure the pancreas. Some breeds such as Schnauzers and Yorkshire terriers are more prone to pancreatitis.

Depending on the root cause of your dog’s pancreatitis, it will be categorized as either “acute” or “chronic.” Acute pancreatitis has a sudden onset and your dog can become ill very quickly. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and inappetance.

Chronic pancreatitis is usually more insidious in onset, tends to develop slowly and often can’t be healed so much as it is “managed.” Chronic pancreatitis can also cause difficulties with glucose control and result in diabetes.

Patients admitted with acute pancreatitis will be placed on a diet that meets their nutritional needs while reducing pancreatic secretions.

vet examining a miniature schnauzer
Image Credit: Budimir Jevtic, Shutterstock

What Is the Treatment for Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is usually managed with a low fat easily digestible diet, which puts less pressure on the pancreas. Many dogs will need intravenous fluid treatment, pain relief and possibly antibiotics. Pet parents of dogs with pancreatitis will need to work with their veterinarians to determine the best ways to ensure their dogs meet all of their nutritional requirements while maintaining a diet that doesn’t make their pancreas more inflamed.

What Are the Nutritional Requirements for a Dog with Pancreatitis?

As the pancreas is responsible for digestion, it makes sense that a pancreas-friendly diet would allow the pancreas time to heal. To preserve pancreatic function, dogs with pancreatitis need to be fed a relatively bland diet low in fats.

Rich, fatty foods require an increase of pancreatic secretions to break down in the gut. More secretions from the pancreas will cause the pancreas to become more inflamed since it was the pancreatic secretions that caused the inflammation in the first place.

Bananas are low in fats and easily digestible. They’re often recommended for humans with pancreatitis. Since dogs can eat bananas safely, there’s no reason your dog wouldn’t enjoy the occasional piece of banana, too. They are relatively high in sugars and this may not be suitable for all dogs with pancreatitis though so check first.

However, you must ensure they don’t ingest any parts of the banana peel by accident. The peels are hard to digest and will exacerbate symptoms of pancreatitis.

man checking dog food label
Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Pancreatitis is a devastating illness that can rob families of beloved members, with and without fur. Luckily, there are many options for treating a dog with pancreatitis, and most cases will resolve with a simple change in diet and supportive care. Bananas are an option for dogs with pancreatitis because they’re easy to digest but work with your veterinarian to build an effective treatment plan for your dog. The high sugar content may not be suitable for some.

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Featured Image Credit: GabiSanda, Pixabay

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