Canine Diabetes Diet Planning

Following a carefully planned canine diabetes diet maintains proper blood sugar levels. Diabetes management requires careful testing of blood sugar levels, a dedicated exercise regimen and adhering to dietary changes.

Because some cases of diabetes in dogs are managed through dietary changes and not insulin, diet is key. Learn all you need to know about a canine diabetes diet to keep your pet healthy and happy.

Key Elements in a Canine Diabetes Diet

The two most important elements to any diabetic dog's diet are high protein, low carb. Some carbs are good because they are high in fiber, but corn, white rice and glutens should be avoided.

Most commercial dog foods, especially those found in grocery stores, are no good. Talk to your veterinarian about better food choices. While some veterinarians push prescription diet foods, there are better options. Hills Science Prescription food for diabetic dogs is filled with unnecessary ingredients that are actually high carb making it a poor nutritional choice. The top five ingredients are:

  • Ground corn

  • Powdered cellulose

  • Corn gluten meal

  • Chicken by-product meal

  • Chicken liver flavoring

Foods like Evo's Low-Fat dry foods are among the lowest in carbs. Many canned food choices are better at avoiding carbs than dried foods. Solid Gold's Barking at the Moon is also relatively low-carb. Regardless of which food you use, make sure you discuss carb and fat content with your veterinarian to calculate how much insulin your dog is going to require.

Many pet owners with diabetic dogs forgo dried dog foods and make their dog's foods from scratch. This is a great way to carefully monitor exactly what your dog is eating.

Foods and Supplements to Avoid in a Canine Diabetes Diet

The most important thing to eliminate from your dog's diet is sugar. Most commercial dog treats including sugar in their recipe. For example, Old Mother Hubbard's Peanut Butter dog treats include molasses, maltodextrin and apples in their recipe. Milkbone adds milk containing natural sugars in all of their dog treats. It's best to make your own treats. Most dogs love raw vegetables, so try substituting raw green beans or raw broccoli as treats.

Try to keep fat intake to a minimum. Don't let your pet eat poultry skin or pork rind, both are very fatty and part of the reason why by-products are never a good ingredient. Use lean cuts of meat whenever possible. Pork butt is extremely fatty and not a great choice for dogs with diabetes. Ground beef is also very fatty.

Do not give pets on a canine diabetes diet glucosamine supplements. Glucosamine affects insulin levels. Fish oil supplements increase blood sugar levels too and are best avoided.

Avoid Feeding Your Pet a Large Meal

Dogs with diabetes should eat a minimum of two meals a day, three is best. This helps maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day. Time the insulin injections to occur about half an hour after a meal.

To get into the habit of feeding your pet multiple times per day, feed your pet when you would eat a meal. If you're serving breakfast, feed your pet at the same time. When dinner comes around, make sure you feed your pet at the same time.