Save 30% on your next dog food order

Best Dog Food For Pancreatitis in 2021

dog waiting at the vet

This review gives you a definitive guide to some of the best dog foods that can help treat pancreatitis on the market. 

Every dog will suffer from some tummy upset at some point in their lives. However, some tummy upsets are more serious than others and will not pass with a few days of a bland diet. Pancreatitis is one such condition and can vary from mild inflammation to a life-threatening condition. 

In some serious pancreatitis cases, the damage can be permanent and could result in your dog developing secondary conditions like diabetes and other diseases. [1]

As a veterinarian, I deal with gastro-intestinal issues like pancreatitis daily. I spend a lot of time researching the best food that can help me treat my pancreatitis patients.

A highly digestible low-fat diet is one of the tools I use when dealing with pancreatitis. This helps me ease the load on my patient’s pancreatic enzyme production, giving the pancreas time to recover. 

Pancreatitis is a serious, painful health issue and can affect the health of neighboring organs such as the liver in severe cases. You need to take your dog to your trusted veterinarian if you suspect pancreatitis. 

This article will explain or discuss:

  • What to look for when buying food for a dog suffering from or prone to pancreatitis.
  • How diets help manage pancreatitis.
  • How the presence of some ingredients can help.
  • Food options for dogs that have no appetite. 

Let’s get started!

Our Best Dog Food for Pancreatitis

  1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food
  2. Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Low Fat Dog Food
  3. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Low Fat EN Gastroenteric Dog Food
  4. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Low Fat Dog Food
  5. Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Dog Food
  6. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Select Blend Overweight Management Formula Dog Food
  7. Iams ProActive Health Adult Healthy Weight Dog Food
  8. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Dog Food
  9. Royal Canin Weight Care Dog Food
  10. Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Weight High Protein Formula Dog Food

10 Best Dog Foods For Dogs With Pancreatitis

Here is our list of best dog food for pancreatitis.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Wheat, Barley, Natural Flavors
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Short or long term management of GI issues.

This veterinary prescription diet has a maximum of 8.5% fat and around 20% high-quality protein content, this Royal Canin diet is both low in fat and easily digestible.

This makes it ideal for managing acute pancreatitis issues. 

Your veterinarian might prescribe this diet during a pancreatitis episode or recovery. It can however also be used long-term in dogs with very sensitive digestive systems. 

This diet contains flavorings to help with inappetence that often happens in dogs suffering from pancreatitis. 

This dog food is supplemented with prebiotics and omega 3 fatty acids that promote the establishment of a healthy gut microbiome and reduce inflammation of the digestive system.

This diet also has a wet food alternative.




Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Low Fat Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet id Digestive Care Low Fat
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers Rice, Corn Starch, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Short or long term management of GI issues.

This low-fat dog food by Hills is similar to the one made by Royal Canin. It contains a maximum of 9% fat and a minimum of 20% protein content.

Similarly, it contains brewers rice and wheat as two of its first five ingredients. 

However, this food contains more starch and plant protein. It is highly digestible and is also very good food for dogs suffering from pancreatitis. 

It contains chicken liver and pork flavorings to enhance its palatability and stimulate eating in dogs recovering from pancreatitis. 

Besides its soothing effect on the digestive system, this dog food is formulated to protect your dog from struvite and oxalate urinary crystal formation.

It is supplemented with antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and prebiotics to reduce inflammation of the bowels and restore its beneficial microflora.

This diet is also available in wet form.




Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Low Fat EN Gastroenteric Dog Food*

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Low Fat EN Gastroenteric
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers rice, barley, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, animal digest
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Short or long term management of GI issues.

Purina’s low-fat dog food is higher in protein than the diets previously mentioned; it contains a minimum of 25% protein

However, this does not make it any worse than its counterparts as part of the protein is made up of animal digest which is predigested animal protein that can be easily handled by a dog with pancreatitis. 

Similar to the dog foods previously mentioned, it also contains a maximum of 9% fat content which allows for dogs with pancreatitis to give their system a break and recover from this debilitating condition.

 This dog food contains prebiotics and antioxidants.

This diet also comes as a wet food.




Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Low Fat Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support Low Fat
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Potatoes, Tapioca Starch
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Short or Long term management of GI issues

This Blue Buffalo dog food is good for those dogs that have food sensibilities to wheat, corn, and soy. 

It has a maximum fat content of 9% making it one of the good choices of food during an acute pancreatitis episode.

It contains 24% protein content which is mostly derived from fish and chicken, both of which are highly digestible sources of protein. 

The flavoring in the food helps make this food highly palatable to encourage sick dogs to eat during recovery. 

The diet also contains prebiotics to help re-establish and maintain general gut health in dogs that suffer from chronic or recurrent pancreatitis.

This diet also comes as canned food.




Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term management of GI issues

At a guaranteed minimum of 9% fat content, this dog food is not as low fat as the other dog food mentioned above. 

However, despite its relatively higher fat content this dog food contains moderate amounts of fat and can still be used to manage your dog’s digestive health after recovering from an acute episode of pancreatitis and prevent it from happening again. 

This diet promotes regular digestive transit time and the formation of post biotics that can help with maintaining the gut’s health and aid digestion, both of which would greatly benefit dogs prone to pancreatitis. [2]

This diet also comes as a wet food.




Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Select Blend Overweight Management Formula Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management
  • First 5 ingredients: Ground Yellow Corn, Soybean Meal, Soybean Germ Meal, Soybean Hulls, Soy Flour
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management.

This dog food is great for those dogs whose pancreas can tolerate very little fat content in their diet. 

Purina’s Overweight Management formula contains a maximum of 8.5% fat content in its diet but is not ideal for dogs suffering from pancreatitis since it is high in protein and low in overall calories. 

However, it can be used for dogs that are on the mend but still need a fat-restricted diet. This food contains at least 28% protein with soy being the major source of protein. 

It also contains 15% of crude fiber which helps stimulate the healthy gut function and aid recovery in ill dogs.

This diet also has a wet food alternative.




Iams ProActive Health Adult Healthy Weight Dog Food

Iams ProActive Health Adult Healthy Weight Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Ground Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Ground Whole Grain Barley
  • Type of product: Commercial Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management.

This Iams dog food might not be as low in fat as the veterinary diets mentioned above, however, a maximum of 11.5% fat content makes this diet a good alternative for those dogs at risk of suffering another episode of pancreatitis in the future. 

It contains moderate amounts of protein and fiber which help maintain a moderately active dog’s condition without taxing organs like the liver that could have suffered secondary damage after an episode of pancreatitis. [3]

This product line also has a formula for large dogs. Its composition is very similar to the one reviewed here but contains a slightly higher protein content to be better suited to the large and giant dog’s nutritional needs.

These products contain L-Carnitine to aid in priming the metabolism for weight loss. Weight loss can help reduce the chance of future pancreatitis episodes. [4]




Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Dog Food

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Adult Lamb
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran, Powdered Cellulose
  • Type of product: Commercial Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

This product is low in fat  (maximum 11% fat content), moderate in protein, and high in fiber.

This diet is good for dogs recovering from an acute pancreatitis episode and are ready to switch from a bland highly digestible diet to one that has more nutrients. 

The high fiber in the diet also stimulates the gut and helps for its restoration.

This diet is also high in Vitamin E and Selenium that work as antioxidants and help mop up the free radicals caused by the inflammation associated with acute pancreatitis. 




Royal Canin Weight Care Dog Food

Royal Canin Medium Weight Care
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Pea Fiber, Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat
  • Type of product: Commercial Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

This dog food is part of Royal Canin’s care range and does not need a prescription to buy for your dog. 

It is rich in protein and fiber. The food variety for medium-sized dogs contains between 9% and 13% fat content. 

The other varieties for small dogs and large dogs have similar compositions but only specify that they contain a minimum of around 9 to 10% fat content. 

This makes these foods not suitable for dogs suffering from the acute form of the disease but good enough for those in recovery. 

This range of products is supplemented with L-Carnitine to prime the metabolism for weight loss and Glucosamine and Chondroitin to maintain the joints of overweight dogs on their journey to a healthier and more sustainable weight.

This dog food can also be found as canned food.




Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Weight High Protein Formula Food

Purina ONE SmartBlend Healthy Weight High Protein
  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Rice Flour, Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Type of product: Commercial Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

This diet is high in protein, and moderate in fiber. It contains a maximum of 12% fat content which is not ideal for dogs currently dealing with an acute form of pancreatitis. 

It should however be good for those dogs in recovery and those intending to keep the condition under control.

It can also help your dog reach or maintain a healthy body weight which can help prevent future episodes of pancreatitis. 

This diet is supplemented with antioxidants and omega fatty acids to regulate the inflammatory processes associated with the condition.

It also contains vitamin A and glucosamine to maintain healthy eyesight and joints.




dog looking at dry food

What Is The Pancreas and Why Is It Important?

The pancreas is an organ with many functions that can either have a role in digestion or the hormonal modulation of the body. 

The pancreas produces enzymes that are involved in the digestion of sugars, starches, and fats. The hormones produced by the pancreas are very important for several bodily functions

The most well-known of these hormones are insulin and glucagon and are involved in the regulation of glucose levels in the blood. 

What Is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis means the inflammation of the pancreas. This can happen due to many reasons but the most common reason for patients showing up to our waiting room with pancreatitis is usually due to their diet being very rich in fats or for having eaten something very fatty while raiding the bin. 

Pancreatitis, obesity, and diets rich in fat appear to go hand in hand. Research shows that obese dogs have a higher chance of suffering from pancreatitis. 

It also implies that high-fat diets are a cause of pancreatitis to occur. It is thought that the increased fat content in a dog’s diet can cause hyperstimulation of the pancreas and premature activation of pancreatic enzymes which in turn cause damage to the pancreas. 

An acute episode of pancreatitis could also result in the future recurrence of the condition or chronic pancreatitis due to permanent damage. 

How Can I Prevent Pancreatitis?

Most of the pancreatitis patients I have dealt with are overweight dogs, dogs that have a diet high in fat, or dogs that are prone to pancreatitis that helped themselves to a very large amount of fat in one sitting. 

It is particularly common in dogs that are fed table scraps indiscriminately or those that have a habit of raiding trash cans. 

The way to prevent pancreatitis from happening is by avoiding diets that are high in fats. This will not only prevent hyperstimulation of the pancreas but also helps your dog lose weight; introducing another buffer between your dog and this disease. 

Therapeutic diets for pancreatitis usually contain enough fat to contribute between 15 to 30% of the total energy content. However, some low-fat diets have even lower fat content than that. 

What Foods Can Help With Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis cases are challenging to deal with as the prognosis for patient recovery depends on its level of severity. This is not a condition you can deal with on your own and your dog must be seen by your vet if you suspect they are suffering from pancreatitis. 

One of the ways pancreatitis was treated in the past is by making your dog fast. However, research seems to imply that early feeding in dogs with gastroenteric issues, including pancreatitis, improves patient prognosis and therefore treatment trends are changing.

The characteristics to look for in such dog food are:

  • Restricted fat content.
  • Moderate levels of easily digestible protein content.
  • Easily digestible carbohydrate content.
  • High energy density to meet the requirements of dogs with no appetite (in acute pancreatitis)

Dog foods for acute pancreatitis contain moderate amounts of protein and are rich in carbohydrates. 

Carbohydrates are energy-dense and can give the food the necessary energy content to help support these dogs that often suffer from inappetence and eat very little food. 

Carbohydrates do not stimulate pancreatic enzyme secretion as much as fats and are therefore some of the safest food ingredients that dogs suffering from pancreatitis can eat during the acute phase of this condition. [5, 6]

The Bottom Line

The best dog foods to treat a bout of acute pancreatitis in dogs are the low-fat gastrointestinal care veterinary diets. 

My personal favorites are Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat and Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Low Fat. I have experience using these diets in my patients with good results. 

Commercial diets are not good for acute cases. They can, however, be useful during recovery or maintenance in dogs prone to relapse. 

Since pancreatitis is a serious condition, which can vary on a case by case basis, I always suggest consulting with your veterinarian to help you decide which of these diets are best in your dog’s case. 

Save 30% on your next dog food order!

We have partnered with Chewy.com to offer the best deal on high quality dog food to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.