One of the common hormonal illnesses that affect dogs is diabetes mellitus. Many affected dogs suffer from Type 1 diabetes, which means that their condition isn’t due to being overweight or poor diet, but typically because of an abnormal autoimmune response that destroys pancreatic cells that are responsible to manufacture insulin.
If your dog was diagnosed with diabetes, there is nothing you should worry about as you can do some ways to keep them healthy. However, you have to remember that treating a diabetic dog is more like a balancing act.
Various things may affect blood sugar levels, which may include stress, the kind of food eaten, hormonal fluctuations, and exercise. Healthy pancreas may alter the insulin level it secretes, but if you inject your diabetic dog with insulin, you can’t make such adjustments. So, having a consistent routine can make a difference to ensure the good overall health condition of your diabetic dog.
Meal Timings for a Diabetic Dog
Since your diabetic dog’s level of blood glucose will increase after eating, you must know the right and wrong way of feeding them. Insulin works to drink the levels of glucose back down and will keep them in a normal range. Once your dog gets a dose of insulin every day, the first meal must be two-third of the ration every day and must be provided before giving them an insulin injection. The second meal should be given with the final third of the ration daily 6-8 hours later.
If your diabetic dog gets insulin twice every day, it must be fed 2 equally-sized meals 10-12 hours apart with every meal given prior to insulin injections. Never give a smaller and larger meal as the insulin dose should of the same size. If possible, never use self-feeders and let your diabetic dog enjoy free feeding. Your dog should have meals timed with insulin injections to manage diabetes.
If you are wondering about the best foods for diabetic dog and you don’t want to worsen his condition, make sure to consider the following types of foods:
1. Foods High in Fiber
There are 2 types of fiber and these include insoluble and soluble.
These are psyllium, guar gum, beet pulp, and fructooligosaccharides. These form a gel, which holds water in the bowel contents and is responsible for softening the stool. They are more like probiotics, which are presented to the large bowl’s bacteria and resist digestion higher in the digestive tract. Such larger bowel bacteria basically break down the nutrients that contain fiber to feed themselves and the colon cells, which improves bowel health.
These are responsible for bulking up the stool that stimulates the colon. These aren’t digested by the bacteria in the colon and don’t give calories.
Once your diabetic dog finishes eating, the sugar and starches taken from the food will cause a surge in blood sugar levels. To deal with runaway blood glucose levels, you should include insoluble fibers in your dog’s diet as these can slow down the digestion and transport food in the gut.
If your dog’s overweight, a high fiber diet’s a good option. But, if your dog has an average weight, just give a moderate fiber diet.
Some of the best sources of fiber for diabetic dogs are:
Insoluble fiber can be found in whole flaxseed, but once it is milled to get rid of the outer shell, milled flaxseed will turn to a soluble dietary fiber, which binds with fat, bile, and cholesterol to keep the digestive system of your dog in good condition and ensure better digestive health.
It is packed with folic acid, vitamin E, and some essential nutrients that your dog requires to thrive. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber.
Enjoyed by humans, your diabetic dog will also love pumpkin, which is a great source of fiber and nutrients.
Sea kelp or kelp is a great addition to your dog’s diet. It is beneficial particularly to dogs that are prone to digestive upsets or constipation.
It’s a nutritious vegetable that offers different vitamins and elements that will help keep your diabetic dog healthy and fit.
It isn’t just a good source of fiber, but also it provides folate, riboflavin, thiamine, and iron.
2. Foods Rich in Protein
As with some conditions, foods with high protein can make a difference to your diabetic dog’s diet. Protein sources including fish, turkey, beef, and chicken can be included in the diet or food meals of your diabetic dog. Just consider low-fat recipes that include lean meats.
Most meat sources have L-carnitine, which is an essential amino acid that helps in controlling diabetes in animals. It may protect muscles, improve metabolism, and maintain lean body mass. Instead of supplements, it’s best that your dog will get it from a wholesome diet for effective absorption.
3. Foods Low in Fat
More often than not, diabetes in dogs causes elevated fats or triglycerides in the bloodstream. When it comes to human health, it can be the doorway to heart disease, stroke, cholesterol deposits, and vascular disease. Generally, dogs don’t have to contend with such issues. However, dietary fat is relevant if a dog is one of the ones with damaged pancreas that may lead to diabetes.
If your dog has pancreatitis or a high level of triglyceride, fat restriction is necessary. In addition, supplementing your dog with L-carnitine can be helpful for metabolism and fat transport. But, if your diabetic dog is very thin, it isn’t a good idea to consider diets that are fat-restricted.
4. Raw Meat Diets
If your diabetic dog is a meat-eater, there’s good news for you. Diets that contain raw meats are diabetes-friendly as they contain low carb, low fat, and high protein. These diets also contain vegetables, which have a high glycemic index to give fiber. Aside from that, raw food is natural and you can be assured that there are no harmful preservatives and additives to worry about.
Foods You Should NOT Feed to Your Diabetic Dog
The majority of human foods as well as table scraps like baked goods and junk food must be avoided completely because they contain high carbs and sugar. If you like to give your diabetic dog with baked products, you can make some on your own. Homemade treats for diabetic dogs may be fine if they’re not made of food with high GI or glycemic index.
If you often give your dog with human snacks, you have to take note that things such as crackers, cereals, and white bread should be avoided as they can cause spikes in your pet’s blood sugar level. Avoid everything that contains corn. White rice must be avoided as well. Brown rice, on the other hand, is a good option because it has a lower GI.
Depending on the brand of the product, most canned food may be either average or bad. The reason behind it is that canned dog foods contain a high amount of carbohydrates compared to dry kibbles, so it is good to avoid it on your dog’s diet. You must also avoid canned items with wheat gluten, corn gluten or corn.
Should You Try a High Digestibility Diet for Your Diabetic Dog?
There are lots of diets available in the market and some are made for dogs with a sensitive tummy. Typically, these foods are made for easy absorption and digestion. While it’s helpful to dogs with digestive problems, easy absorption and digestion amount to a high blood sugar level after eating. If your dog is diabetic, it might not be a good option.
Should You Give Your Diabetic Dog with Treats?
Treats, whether they’re blood sugar stabilizers, training rewards or afternoon snacks, are important between meals. However, avoid feeding your diabetic dog with treats that contain high sugar or carbohydrates. These may include semi-moist commercial treats and foods that have propylene glycol or other similar ingredients.
Other good between-meal diabetic dog treats are dehydrated meats, crunchy snap peas, carrot sticks, green bean, dried salmon, chicken feet, bully sticks, and more. But, make sure to check the labels carefully before buying some. That way, you can confidently leave these treats with your dog when it’s alone in the house.
Should You Consider Commercially-Produced Dog Foods for Diabetic Dogs?
If you want to combine your diabetic dog’s diet with commercially-produced dog foods that are made for dogs with diabetes, you should consult your vet first before you buy one. Although these dog foods are quality made and manufactured by known brands, nothing beats a natural approach to keep your diabetic dog healthy. In fact, even if there are therapies that could reverse diabetes in dogs, treating them naturally is always a good option.
If your vet prescribed one of those dog foods, don’t hesitate to try it for your dog. Besides, who wouldn’t want a healthy diabetic dog, right? As long as it is prescribed by your vet, there’s nothing to worry about.
If your diabetic dog refuses to eat the prescription foods, you may consider over-the-counter or OTC diets. High quality dog foods are formulated for weight loss, which can be a great option since they contain a high amount of fiber and low sugar compared to some options. If you are confused with what to feed for your diabetic dog, your vet can help you pick the most appropriate one suited for your pet’s nutrition.