Dog Diabetes Diet: What To Feed A Diabetic Dog | Dutch (2023)

Diabetes mellitus in dogs is similar to the condition that occurs in humans, where the body fails to successfully control the blood glucose levels. If your dog feels thirsty too often, is losing weight, or has digestive problems, then all of this may be a sign of canine diabetes.

If diabetes is not monitored and treated in time, it may result in death or serious medical conditions for your pet. However, it is also true that diabetes can be effectively managed with treatment and lifestyle changes. In this article, we look at canine diabetes and how it can be treated, particularly through diet.

  • An Overview Of Canine Diabetes
  • What Should Diabetic Dogs Eat?
  • Other Tips For Managing Canine Diabetes
  • Dog Diabetes Diet: Frequently Asked Questions
  • Final Notes

An Overview Of Canine Diabetes

Before we look at what a dog diabetes diet should be, we must first understand canine diabetes and its types. A diabetic dog may either have an insulin deficiency or be insulin resistant. Most dogs have insulin deficiency. This happens when the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin. Your dog could also have a resistance to insulin where the body does not effectively react to the insulin being produced.

Both of these situations cause an abnormal rise in blood glucose levels in the bloodstream, which is harmful to your dog’s health and may cause other diseases. By percentage, a female dog is more likely to develop diabetes than a male, so you should look out for your dog, especially if she is a mother or is soon going to be one.1

Some other risk factors include:

  • Dogs that are older than 7 years
  • Genetic history of diabetes
  • Pure breeding
  • Excess weight
  • Steroid medications
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Other medical conditions

As mentioned above, dogs are often diagnosed with diabetes caused by insulin deficiency. This is known as Type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Type 2 diabetes may also occur in dogs, but it is more common in humans and happens when the body cannot react accurately to the insulin produced in the body. This is usually a result of obesity.

Dog Diabetes Diet: What To Feed A Diabetic Dog | Dutch (1)

So, how do you identify if your dog has diabetes? Below are a few signs and symptoms:

  • Frequently needing to urinate (polyuria)
  • Drinking excess water (polydipsia)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in weight, especially sudden weight loss
  • Eye cataracts
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Sweet smelling breath, which is caused by diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

A diabetic dog diet plan is one of the best methods to control blood sugar levels. However, a good diet should be combined with veterinary advice, which may include suitable medications or other therapies for the best results.

What Should Diabetic Dogs Eat?

You can only plan out the best diet for a diabetic dog once you understand that every dog is different. This is why you should keep their needs in mind when creating a suitable diet plan with your vet. Make sure you also discuss all other factors, such as other medical conditions and age.

A good diet should preferably be a high-fiber but low-fat diet. Diabetic diet dog food should also be low in carbs and sodium, with adequate protein content. It is also important to make sure that you keep a controlled portion size with a suitable amount of calories in front of the dog at mealtimes.

You should also make sure to follow your vet’s recommendations. The doctor will recommend food that includes a suitable amount of protein but fewer carbohydrates needed for nutrition. This will prevent and minimize the chances of postprandial hyperglycemia.

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A diabetic dog’s diet should have:

A high amount of proteins

  • Generally, protein-rich foods automatically have a fewer amount of carbohydrates. A protein-rich diet does not affect palatability.
  • Proteins help balance fat metabolism and act as a good energy supply for the body.
  • Protein-rich foods suitable for dogs include: chicken, turkey, duck, pork, beef, fish, muscle meat, animal organ (heart, liver, kidney, lungs), soybeans, and grains (corn, wheat)

Sufficient fiber

  • Foods that contain soluble and insoluble fiber are great for a diabetic dog’s diet.
  • Fiber improves glycemic control and helps balance portions by making the dog feel fuller soon. This, in turn, leads to weight loss.
  • High-fiber foods include canned pumpkin, ground flaxseed, apples, lettuce, kelp, carrots, green beans, brown rice, strawberries, blueberries, and fiber supplements.

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Keep your dog hydrated

  • Keep your dog well-hydrated to effectively manage polydipsia or excessive thirst.

Consult vet regarding medication

A low amount of carbohydrates

  • You should give your dog a low carbohydrate diet to prevent the risk of hyperglycemia and glucose toxicity.

  • Healthy carbohydrates that you can include in your dog’s diet include sweet potatoes, peas, broccoli, carrots, beets, and celery.

Other Tips For Managing Canine Diabetes

While diet is a great way to help keep glucose levels in control, it is not the only method that you should use. You must combine this with other advice given by your vet, along with proper medications. A few other things that you can add to your dog’s routine include:

Feed on a consistent schedule

  • All mealtimes should be 10 to 12 hours apart as this allows the dog’s body to digest the food, process it, and send it off for energy. This duration also helps balance out sugar levels and allows medications to follow their course. Eating too frequently may cause blood sugar levels to shoot and pose threats to the dog’s health.

Monitor weight

  • Most diabetic dogs are overweight, which poses further health risks. Make sure to come up with a diet plan with your vet that encourages weight loss. It is also smart to adjust insulin dosage according to the need. If your dog is underweight, you will need to come up with a completely different diet to help balance glucose levels and keep them in check.

Conduct regular glucose testing

  • It is essential to monitor your dog’s blood glucose levels regularly and at periodic intervals. This will help you understand how insulin affects their bodies and whether certain foods are good for them. Before conducting glucose testing, make sure to talk with your vet to identify a testing regimen that’s right for your pet.

Insulin therapy

  • Ensure that your vet is updated regarding your dog’s health. It is also essential to let your vet know all about your dog’s habits and behavior so that they can come up with the best possible medication and insulin therapy program. You can also discuss your dog’s diet and weight.

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Dog Diabetes Diet: Frequently Asked Questions

What should diabetic dogs eat?

The diet of a diabetic dog depends on various factors, and different solutions work for different dogs. However, in general, a diabetic dog should be provided with food that is high in protein and fiber content but low in fats and carbs.

What should diabetic dogs not eat?

Just as important it is to know what a diabetic dog should eat, it is also important to know the things that should be avoided or reduced in their meals. You should avoid home-cooked or prepared meals as these cannot be accurately accounted for for their nutritional value. It is best to give your dog tried and tested veterinary therapeutic foods. The portion sizes are well defined, and the calorie intake is easy to monitor. You should also avoid giving your diabetic dog semi-moist food, as these may contain sugars or carbohydrates that are injurious to your dog’s health.

Can you control a dog's diabetes with diet?

You can definitely control your dog’s diabetes through diet, but it is important to combine this with proper glucose monitoring and medications. You should always reach out to your vet if you feel that something is not right with your dog and come up with a detailed treatment plan.

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Final Notes

Managing your dog’s diabetes is very important. Although not a life-threatening condition on its own, it can easily catalyze a range of reactions in the body that can lead to serious health problems and even death. This is why you should always reach out to a vet if you find your dog displaying symptoms of diabetes mellitus.

With Dutch, you can simply book an appointment with a highly qualified vet. You can do this online from the comfort of your home. You will receive a customized treatment plan from an animal expert with prescriptions delivered right to your doorstep! So, what are you waiting for? Reach out today to get the best treatment plan for your pet right away!



Dog Diabetes Diet: What To Feed A Diabetic Dog | Dutch? ›

Best Overall: Orijen Dry Dog Food

This particular food type is best for your diabetic dog because of its richness in protein. The ingredients used in the recipe are also fresh. The major sources of protein in this dog food is chicken, fish or turkey.

What is the best food to feed a dog with diabetes? ›

Best Overall: Orijen Dry Dog Food

This particular food type is best for your diabetic dog because of its richness in protein. The ingredients used in the recipe are also fresh. The major sources of protein in this dog food is chicken, fish or turkey.

What foods can help raise a dogs blood sugar? ›

One thing to avoid is food with simple sugars. 1 These will raise your dog's blood sugar level. Avoid giving any treats or table scraps that contain sugar or sweeteners such as corn syrup, as well as high glycemic foods that quickly boost blood sugar, such as white rice and bread.

Is chicken OK for diabetic dogs? ›

One of the most common foods people ask me about is chicken breast. And I usually tell them that, yes, chicken is safe for diabetic dogs to eat. Chicken is an excellent source of protein and nutrients for your dog. Also, it has a lower fat content than other meats like beef or pork.

Is chicken broth good for dogs with diabetes? ›

Since dogs love the taste of fat, it's often added to food to improve palatability, but for dogs with diabetes, flavoring agents like low-fat chicken or beef broth are better choices.

Which protein is best for diabetic dogs? ›

Best Dog Food For Diabetes
  • You should choose a food which contains lean sources of protein such as skinless chicken, turkey, lean beef or fish. ...
  • Food which includes non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are also important.

Is wet or dry food better for diabetic dogs? ›

Is Wet Or Dry Food Better For Diabetic Dogs? The type of food doesn't usually matter for diabetic dogs as much as the balance of protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrate content and the other nutritional content.

What veggies can diabetic dogs eat? ›

“Fresh vegetables make excellent diabetic dog treats,” says Dr. Osborne. Some choices dogs love include: broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, and cucumber slices. Veggies can be given to your dog fresh, cooked or frozen.

How do you keep a dog's blood sugar level stable? ›

Divide their daily caloric intake into smaller meals that are evenly spaced throughout the day. This will help keep your pup's blood sugar stable and under control. Supplement with essential fatty acids: The omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish can speed up the rate at which body cells absorb glucose.

Can diabetic dogs eat peanut butter? ›

Some dogs love peanut butter, and a good quality peanut butter, in moderation, shouldn't pose a risk to your diabetic dog. But you do need to be very careful when choosing a brand. Many peanuts butters contain a lot of added sugar and fat, which can destabilize your dog's blood glucose levels.

What not to feed a diabetic dog? ›

Treats between meals are OK, but not necessary; it may be best to just stick with meals and no treats. Avoid snacks that list syrup, molasses, fructose, dextrose, or maltose on the ingredients label. Homemade dehydrated meats, carrots, snap peas, and even canned pumpkin are good options.

Is ground beef OK for diabetic dogs? ›

In addition, foods with a high glycemic index, such as bread and white rice, should also be avoided. Additionally, diabetic dogs should avoid treats made from fatty foods like ground beef and pork because the pancreas might be unable to break down these fats.

Is pumpkin good for diabetic dogs? ›

Certain vegetables including carrots, snap peas, and canned pumpkin make a tasty, diabetes-safe treat on their own. There are some fruits and berries that are good sources of fiber but use sparingly because of the high levels of glucose.

How many times should a diabetic dog eat a day? ›

Because insulin should be given at the same time every day, your dog must be fed at the same time every day to match the insulin dose. Dogs with diabetes should be fed two meals a day, 12 hours apart.

Can I give my dog insulin 2 hours after eating? ›

A diabetic pet needs to eat before you administer insulin. For best results, inject insulin within one hour after feeding to prevent blood sugar spikes. Many pet owners like to administer insulin while their pet eats to take advantage of that distraction, but, if you do that, ensure your pet eats all her food.

What not to feed a dog with diabetes? ›

Also, semi-moist dog foods should be avoided because they contain sucrose, fructose, and other simple carbohydrates that can result in higher blood sugar levels, so watch for ingredient lists that include 'sugar,' 'corn syrup,' or 'honey' on the label if your dog has diabetes.

What can I do for my dog with diabetes at home? ›

Caring for diabetic pets
  1. A high-fiber diet is often recommended.
  2. Daily exercise is strongly recommended. Consult your veterinarian about an appropriate exercise program for your pet, considering factors such as weight, overall health and age.
  3. Owners should consider spaying female dogs diagnosed with diabetes.

What is the average life expectancy of a diabetic dog? ›

With appropriate treatment and a speedy diagnosis, your dog can have a long and healthy life even after being diagnosed with diabetes. The lifespan of a dog with diabetes will vary massively from case to case, but the 'average' time frame, given by vets and medical experts, is two to three years following diagnosis.

How many meals a day should a diabetic dog eat? ›

The ultimate goal is to feed the dog two similar meals a day, approximately 12 hours apart, with less than 10% of the total nutrients for the day coming from treats. Insulin is given within an hour of eating each meal and this schedule should be maintained with as much regularity as possible.

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