Pancreas, Pancreatitis and all the In-between

Dogs are carnivores. It’s worthy to note that they are also very resourceful predatory scavengers, and, as such, they can survive eating foods that are essentially detrimental to their health and longevity. Yes, in theory, your dog can live off of kibble and canned pet foods (which are extremely high in carbohydrates) and they may even appear to be quite healthy and happy on this type of diet for their first few years.

Yet one of the things that remains very clear and consistent, is the fact that the signs of degenerative disease most often appear in dogs around the age of 5-6 years old that are fed a commercial pet food diet. Unfortunately pancreatitis is one such degenerative disease.

What is Canine Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis literally means ‘inflammation of the pancreas’. A dog that has been diagnosed with pancreatitis is essentially suffering from an inflamed pancreas that is either damaged or stressed, which prevents it from functioning properly.

But wait, what is the pancreas and what does it do anyway?


This critically needed organ is tucked in along the duodenum (the first section of the intestine), under the stomach. It’s near the liver and the transverse colon.

We are going to get a little “sciency” with a touch of Biology 2.0 so stay with me.

The pancreas has both exocrine and endocrine functions. Let’s dive a little deeper shall we? I promise, you’ll love this stuff! 🐾❤️

The Exocrine Pancreas

Exocrine functions : secretes enzymes (which help in digestion) in to digestive tract. When your dog eats, the exocrine pancreas releases both bicarbonate and digestive enzymes. Side note ~ baking soda is your household sodium bicarbonate used in a similar chemical reaction when you bake. Science really is sweet! 🤩

Bicarbonate neutralizes the highly acidic stomach contents as they move into the intestines. (REMEMBER THIS LITTLE TIDBIT WHEN WE DISCUSS FUTURE TOPICS ON “PROBIOTICS”).

Then the digestive enzymes get t