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Diabetic Dog Food - What Should My Dog Eat Now?
It's hard to watch your dog when he or she is sick, but one ailment that's definitely treatable in dogs is diabetes. Just as with people, the primary way of managing diabetes is through proper diet and eating habits. So what diabetic dog food should you give your dog?
Feeding Your Diabetic Dog
Want to make food for your diabetic dog, but not sure where to begin. Start here. Feeding Your Diabetic Dog gives you what you need to know about dog nutrition, canine diabetes, store-bought food, and making healthy food for your diabetic dog.
The major change you will have to make is avoid giving your dog food with sugar and carbs. You might be amazed about the amounts of carbohydrates and sugar contained in commercial dog food. Carbohydrates are considered a form of sugar because the body converts it into glucose. When blood sugar plummets too low, it results in hypoglycemia, which is a serious condition. Dry food is the biggest culprit, but soft-moist dog food can be high in carbs too. Here are some points to keep in mind when developing your dog's diet.
1. NATURAL FOOD IS BEST.
The number one solution for your diabetic dog is to feed him or her a diet of homemade foods so you can track of exactly how much carbohydrates and sugar they are getting. A homemade diet of natural foods isn't as expensive or as much work as you might think. I mean, you are probably already preparing meals for yourself/your family at least some of the time. Check out the many Websites with advice and easy recipes for natural dog food.
2. IF NOT NATURAL, USE HIGH QUALITY MANUFACTURED FOOD.
If you cannot avoid commercially manufactured dog food altogether, it is better to give your pooch good quality canned food that is low in carbohydrates and low in sodium. Canned dog food made especially for diabetic dogs is a safer way to go, but make sure it is high in protein. Even better if the food is organic. Since diabetes affects liver functions--and thus the immune system--the liver is less able to handle additives often found in commercial dog food. Check the ingredients on the label.
3. AVOID MOST DRY DOG FOODS.
Most dry dog foods are largely made up of simple carbohydrates (sugars and/or starches). You are looking to drastically decrease your diabetic dog intake of carbs, especially simple carbs. There are some dry diabetic dog foods that are generally safe, but still check the ingredients to make sure it is high in protein and vegetables. Even so, dry dog food, diabetic or not, should never be the sole form of food--there is just not enough nutrition in it.
More on Caring For Diabetic Dogs
- Exercise and Diabetic Dogs
Diet isn't the only change you should make if your dog is diagnosed with diabetes. Exercise and movement is also important to maintaining your diabetic dog's health. Get tips here.
4. WATCH THE FAT, TOO.
The pancreas has a lot of work to do in a body with diabetes. In addition to regulating blood sugar and insulin, it also produces enzymes that break down fats. With diabetes, it is important not to overstress it more with fatty meats. Choose low-fat meats like poultry. Some fat is needed for good health, but it is best to minimize the amount as much as possible.
5. INCLUDE A FEW 'GOOD' GRAINS.
Certain grains like millet, oats, and brown rice are beneficial for diabetic dogs. These provide fiber and also help to control the levels of insulin, but you have to use them sparingly.
6. DON'T FORGET THE VEGGIES.
Fresh vegetables and raw fruits add nutrients and vitamins to your dog's diet. Don't panic about the natural sugars in fruit and vegetables, it does not have the detrimental effects on insulin levels that processed sugar does. Add in your dog's diet in moderation.
7. AND OF COURSE, DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG FOODS WITH SUGAR.
Make sure sugar or its other forms (sucrose, fructose, syrup, etc.) is not on the list of ingredients. No baked goods in the diet either, including most dog biscuits.
Keep in mind, also, that the amount of food that your dog eats must be carefully monitored. It is better for diabetic dogs that they eat 2 or 3 smaller meals a day than one large meal to keep blood sugar levels even.
Before making any changes to your dog's diet, it is important to consult a vet about the diabetic dog food diet your pet needs, and give those foods that your dog tolerates well.