Feeding Diabetic Dogs

Canine Diabetes is a serious disease that can have life-threatening complications, so diet is very important for a canine with diabetes. Diabetic dogs require a special feeding plan that will help control their blood glucose levels and reduce post prandial hyperglycemia. In addition, timing meals and insulin injections will help optimize blood sugar level control. 

What to Feed Diabetic Dogs

Diabetic canines should always be fed a diet high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. The fiber content plays an important role in delaying gastric emptying and intestinal absorption, while complex carbohydrates increase the gastrointestinal transit time. As a result, glucose is slowly released into the bloodstream, and the post prandial glucose peak is flattened, allowing a lower dose of insulin. 

It is often surprising to learn that the prescription food sold at the vet may not be the ideal food for a diabetic dog, so pet owners should inform themselves on the proper diet needs for a diabetic canine. Many dry dog foods sold are grain-based, but dogs are omnivores, and are able to process meat-based proteins much more proficiently. Grain-based dog foods are also extremely high in carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose during digestion. Large amounts of glucose in the body will raise blood sugar levels significantly, and can be very harmful to a dog with diabetes. Carbohydrates also contribute to weight gain, which is very dangerous for a diabetic dog. On top of the carbohydrates, proteins and fats are also broken down into glucose, raising blood sugar levels even more.

The best diabetic dog food is a high-quality food that is high in fiber and low in fat. However, it is also important to keep the fat levels from reaching below ten percent, as a certain amount of fat is needed to maintain good health. Often, a dry food is preferred because the fiber content is usually higher than in moist foods.

Feeding Schedules for Dogs with Diabetes

Diabetic dogs should be fed two or three times a day, as this prevents blood sugar levels from dangerously raising too high after a meal, and then falling too low later.

Most pet owners feed twice a day, about twelve hours apart. It is also very important that the dog eats all the food he is given, as to stop hypoglycemia, which is a dangerous drop in blood glucose levels.

Scheduling Insulin Shots

Checking the pet's blood sugar levels is an important part of managing canine diabetes, and is necessary when giving insulin to the pet. The best way to keep glucose levels under control is to check them numerous times a day. It's crucial to check blood sugar levels after a meal to ensure the proper dosage of insulin.

The best time to check a dog's glucose levels is after a meal, not before, because if the dog doesn't eat or vomits her meal, the insulin will cause a dangerous drop in glucose levels. This is extremely dangerous, and can cause death rapidly.

After the glucose levels have been checked, the pet owner can then administer the correct amount of insulin.