Tailgating: Game Day Pet Safety Tips

Dr. Alice TorielloPet SafetyLeave a Comment

Tailgating foods are not for pets

Game day can be fun for family and pets alike, but tailgating can be hazardous to our pets. When Tailgating, we tend to make unhealthy foods (that’s part of the fun), but fatty meats such as hot dog, bratwurst, or burgers can bring on a disease called pancreatitis when pets eat them.

Tailgating Foods can cause pancreatitis in Dogs

The pancreas is part of the endocrine and digestive system, producing the enzymes that digest food, and producing insulin. Inflammation of the pancreas causes the flow of enzymes to become disrupted, so they go into the body instead of the intestines.

If this happens, the enzymes will begin to break down the pancreas and other organs. In effect, the body begins to digest itself. The kidney and liver can be affected when this inflammation takes place, and the abdomen will become iritated and possibly infected. If bleeding occurs in the pancreas, shock, and even death can follow.

Inflammation of the pancreas (or pancreatitis) often progresses rapidly in dogs, but can often be treated without any permanent damage to the organ. However, if pancreatitis goes long-term without treatment, severe organ, and even brain damage can occur.

Pancreatitis can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms

There are a variety of symptoms that may be observed in the animals, including:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Weight loss (more common in cats)
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Mild to severe abdominal pain (may become more sever after eating)
  • Depression
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing

Causes

There are several possible causes of inflammation to the pancreas. Some of them are nutritional factors, such as high levels of fat in the blood (lipemia), high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), trauma to the pancreas, and some drugs or toxins. Obesity linked to a high fat and low carbohydrate diet has also been shown to be a risk factor for this disorder.

Even without the presence of a high fat diet, an animal can have an occurrence of pancreatic inflammation after eating a large amount of fatty foods. This tends to occur around the holidays, when dogs are given table scraps that are not normally a part of their diets.

One other cause, rare because of where we live, is scorpion stings. The venom from a scorpion can cause the pancreas to react, leading to inflammation.

Although pancreatitis can occur in any dog breed, it occurs more frequently in the Miniature Schnauzer, Miniature Poodle, and Cocker Spaniel. Pancreatitis is also more common in females than in males, and in elderly dogs.

Pancreatitis information courtesy of webmd.com

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