Some time ago, my dog Sally stole a serving of Fettuccine Alfredo from a lunch bag. Good for her, you might think! No, not so good for her. When dogs eat very high-fat food, they can suffer an attack of a disease called pancreatitis, or inflammation and swelling of the pancreas.
As you may imagine, we see a lot of pancreatitis at Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota. Dogs love to steal table scraps, and especially around holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, treats abound. If your dog is a counter-surfer, you’d be well-advised to make sure food is put in cabinets, the fridge, or even stashed in the microwave when you can’t be close at hand. Never underestimate a dog’s capacity for gluttony! I once knew a dog who ate an entire 5 pound roast in a matter of minutes that she stole off the counter when her owner set it out to cool!
If your dog has already done the deed, watch for symptoms like vomiting, a painful abdomen, weakness or lethargy, and diarrhea. If he or she develops any of these symptoms, get thee to a veterinarian right away! The disease can be confirmed by blood and serum tests, or an abdominal ultrasound. Pancreatitis can be very serious and even fatal if left untreated. Your dog will likely require hospitalization and supportive care to treat the problem, and he may be more susceptible to recurrent attacks of pancreatitis in the future.