How to Manage a Diet for a Dog with Diabetes

When your dog has diabetes, consistency in his diet is one of the most important elements in keeping him healthy. In this post, our South Charlotte vets explain what dog diabetes is and how to plan a diet for a dog with diabetes.


What is dog diabetes?

Canine diabetes (dog diabetes) is an incurable disease caused by either an insufficient biological response to insulin (a hormone that maintains blood sugar levels), or a lack of it in your dog’s body.

When a dog eats, insulin typically carries the glucose in their food to their cells. But if your dog’s body can’t use insulin properly or produce enough of it, the glucose is unable to be used appropriately.

This causes your dog’s blood sugar levels to rise, which can potentially have negative side effects. Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Breath that smells “sweet”
  • Changes in appetite
  • Increase in urination
  • Lack of energy
  • Unexplained weight loss

At Sharon Lakes, we perform diagnostic tests during exams to find out which diseases pets may have and how to treat them.

After your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, your next question to your vet will be about what to feed your furry friend now that disease management is one of your main concerns.

Managing a diet for a dog with diabetes is one of the most critical parts of treating the disease (along with providing regular insulin injections) - a responsibility that weighs heavy on the minds of many owners.

What is the best diet for a dog with diabetes?

Though researchers are still studying which diet is best for dogs with diabetes, most vets (including us) will recommend a low-fat, high-fiber diet. While you’ll find fewer calories in low-fat foods - which helps with weight management - fiber works to help your dog feel full and slow the entrance of glucose into the bloodstream.

We recommend focusing more on the consistency of your diabetic dog’s diet than the food. You can ask your veterinarian for recommendations for high-quality food without simple sugars, which will send your dog’s blood sugar level too high.

Likewise, banish all table scraps or treats that contain foods high in glycemic (which will quickly raise blood sugar levels) including bread, and those laden with sweeteners or sugars such as corn syrup.

Tips for a Healthy Diet for a Dog with Diabetes

Consistency is key. Feed the same type of food in the same quantity, at the same time each day to ensure your dog’s blood glucose levels remain regular and within a normal range. Run any changes you want to make to your dog’s diet by your veterinarian first.

Staying lean is essential. If your dog is deemed overweight, losing a few pounds could help his cells use insulin better.

Make sure your furry friend drinks plenty of water to counteract the fiber, which takes water from the body. Dogs who don’t get a good balance of water and fiber can experience constipation and other issues.

See a loss of appetite in your dog? Tell your vet right away - this could mean he’s experiencing other complications related to diabetes - or that he doesn’t like the food. Don’t give insulin injections to your dog on an empty stomach, as this could make him very ill.

By following a high-quality, consistent diet and exercise regimen, tracking your dog’s insulin needs and adjusting as needed with your vet’s help, you can help your dog live a happy, healthy life with diabetes.

Do you have questions about how to manage your dog's diabetes? Contact us at Sharon Lakes Animal Hospital to book an appointment today.

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