Pancreatitis is a common disorder that can affect both cats and dogs. In pancreatitis, the pancreas becomes inflamed commonly due to an overabundance of incoming inflammatory cells.
The pancreas itself is responsible for producing many digestive enzymes and secreting them into the small intestine where they become activated. These enzymes then help your pet digest their food. In addition, the pancreas is important for blood sugar regulation by secreting insulin and glucagon.
When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the digestive enzymes can leak into the abdominal cavity and become activated. This can cause damage to other organs such as the liver, bile duct, and intestines.
Many dogs will recover from a pancreatic episode with proper medical treatment and an appropriate diet. Recurring episodes can lead to chronic pancreatitis and may require a long-term change in diet and additional treatments.
So how can we help? We have an entire menu dedicated to supporting a healthy digestive system and preventing pancreatitis flare-ups. Our low-fat menu meets the criteria for fat levels recommended for dogs at risk of pancreatitis which is less than 25 g fat/1000 kcal ME, with some diets as low as 20 g fat/1000 kcal ME. We also formulate our diets to ensure a healthy level of omega 3 fatty acids which can have an anti-inflammatory effect and help prevent inflammation of the pancreas.
2. Skin & Coat Health
Our fresh, gently cooked meals can also be beneficial for maintaining a healthy skin and coat for your pet.
The key to a healthy looking coat starts with nutrition! For a healthy skin and coat look for foods that are high in moisture (hydration), antioxidants, proteins (specifically amino acids that are essential for skin and coat, and of course, omega-3s!
Foods that are high in moisture, like our fresh pet foods, ensure your pet is consuming enough water – very important to ensure proper skin.
3. Allergies or Adverse Food Reactions
If your pet often has itchy skin, ear infections, hair loss, or experiences vomiting and diarrhea frequently, they may have a food allergy, food intolerance, or adverse food reaction.
Novel proteins and limited ingredient diets are a great approach at minimizing the risk of your pet being exposed to a food item that may be causing these reactions.
Novel proteins are animal (or plant) products that are new to your pet. The lack of exposure to these proteins often lowers the risk of your pup having an adverse reaction.
Diets with limited ingredients also minimizes risk of exposure to ingredients that your pet may be allergic to or may react to.
At Tom&Sawyer, we want all pups to thrive! That’s why we have three meal options for dogs that use novel proteins with limited ingredients.
You can read more about food allergies in dogs here.
4. Diarrhea or other GI Problems
Pets with diarrhea and other GI issues may benefit from fresh pet food. When your pet is experiencing diarrhea, this is usually associated with shifts or even depletion of microbes in their microbiome.
A healthy microbiome is diverse and often bountiful in “good” bacteria. A study at the University of Illinois observed that fresh pet food had an effect on the microbiome in dogs.
In addition, hydration is highly important for a pup with diarrhea due to the greater water loss in their feces. Replenishing their hydration levels can help with full body recovery, support, and prevention.
Dietary fibre is another critical ingredient for gut health. Fibre has many benefits for your pup, with gut health being one of those!
Fibre can act as a food source for the “good” bacteria in the microbiome, overall promoting a healthy gut microbiome. You can read more about dietary fibre for dogs and cats here.
Other benefits our fresh pet foods provide for those healthy poops are the highly digestible protein sources and other nutrients. The greater digestibility may help with nutrient absorption and maintenance of a healthy, functioning gut.
5. Weight Management
Unfortunately, pet obesity prevalence continues to rise with more than 55% of dogs considered overweight or obese.
Weight management and weight loss plans often include choosing a diet that is high in moisture, high in total dietary fibre and protein, and contains anti-inflammatories (think omega-3s) and antioxidants (think vitamin A and E).
Water is often a forgotten nutrient, but it is vital to healthy pups! Fibre can also slow the movement of food through the digestive tract making your pet feel full for longer! This also helps your pet get the most out of their food as it allows more time for digestive enzymes to work their magic.
Proteins are important for many body functions and of course for maintaining and building muscle! During weight loss, high protein foods are recommended to maintain muscle mass, so that the weight your dog is shedding is mostly fat mass.
In addition, obesity can cause an increase in free radicals and inflammation in the body. Our fresh, gently cooked meals are jam-packed with antioxidants and nutrients that are considered anti-inflammatory.
You can read more about the benefits of antioxidants for our pets here.
Written by: Hannah Godfrey
BSc.H. | MSc. Animal Nutrition
APOP. 2018. Accessed at: https://petobesityprevention.org/2018
Burkholder WJ, Toll PW. Obesity. In: Hand MS, Thatcher CD, Reimillard RL, Roudebush P, Morris ML, Novotny BJ. editors. Small animal clinical nutrition, 4th edition. Topeka, KS: Mark Morris Institute. 2000.
Case L.P. et al. Canine and Feline Nutrition: A resource for companion animal professionals 3rd ed. May 19, 2010.
Do S, Phungviwatnikul T, de Godoy MRC, Swanson KS. 2021. Nutrient digestibility and fecal characteristics, microbiota, and metabolites in dogs fed human-grade foods. Journal of Animal Science, 99(2). https://doi.org/10.1093/jas/skab028
Weber M, Bissot T, Servet E. Sergheraert R, Biourge V, German AJ. A high-protein, high-fiber diet designed for weight loss improves satiety. J Vet Intern Med. 2007.