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Obesity and Diabetes in Dogs

Updated on July 27, 2011

Is Your Diabetic Dog Also Fat?

If you've been feeding your dog the wrong diet over the years, he or she can become diabetic. And just as with people, diabetes is often linked to obesity. If your dog is obese and diabetic, you may need to take a good look at what you have been feeding him and totally overhaul what he's eating. And this requires a special diet of diabetic dog foods.

There are actually several reasons for diabetes when it occurs in dogs. Any dog can be at risk of developing diabetes. One of the main reasons why dog diabetes develops is heredity. This means if one or both of the dog’s parents have diabetes, there is more of a likelihood that the puppy will also inherit the same problem when she gets older.

Occasionally, canine diabetes can be triggered by an entirely different disease that your dog may have suffered earlier, particularly diseases affecting the pancreas.

Obesity as a cause of diabetes in dogs is still being debated. However, more and more studies are leaning towards bad eating habits and being overweight as conditions that may cause this disease.

According to the Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice journal, most investigators agree that at least 33% of the dogs presented to veterinary clinics are obese. But obesity is not just the accumulation of large amounts of fatty tissue. When a dog is overweight, there are also other important metabolic and hormonal changes in the body--how the body actually works on a daily basis.

An overweight dog does NOT have to be diabetic. However, how the body works when overweight (everything from poorer circulation to less efficient absorption of nutrients) can contribute to fluctuating blood sugar that is diabetes. Also, obesity may affect his or her response to the insulin injections, in other words how well their body absorbs insulin.

Table scraps is often the culprit for creating a fat dog. So is overfeeding, but eating unhealthy "people" food usually weighs out as the cause. A lot of things we eat aren't good for us, let alone our dogs, especially if the dog is not getting enough exercise on top of it.


Is This Really A Good Idea?

So No More Treats for My Fat Dog?

Whether obesity causes diabetes or not, managing weight is important in controlling diabetes in dogs.Treats are not totally out of the window, but if you want keep your dog healthy, you may need to make major changes to her eating habits. This includes what she eats, how much she eats and when she eats. All of these changes are to help your dog's blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels to stay even, and not spike up and down.

Diabetic dogs should only eat twice a day, at the time you give him insulin.

Diabetic dogs should eat an amount of food appropriate to his weight. Your vet can tell you just how much for your dog. If you are feeding your dog high quality foods, your dog will not feel hungry as much because these foods contain more proteins and less filler.

Diabetic pooches should eat specially formulated foods or meals with good nutrients. Commercial diabetic dog foods should contain more protein, more fiber (complex carbohydrates) and less simple carbs than regular dog food. Grain-based dog foods are also extremely high in carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose during digestion. High amounts of glucose in the body will raise blood sugar levels a great deal, and this is no good for a dog with diabetes. If you choose to make diabetic dog food meals yourself, you should confer with your vet and get information on what the right mix of nutrients is for canine diabetes.

Additionally, obese canines should be exercised regularly, more so with diabetes. It important for the dog to get to and maintain a good weight so her body will work properly. Additionally, exercise just makes the body work more efficiently and gets her mind off of eating when she is busy.

Preventing your dog from getting fat is always a good idea. But it is important to also correct obesity when it is present, through exercise and special diabetic dog foods, to increase both the quality and quantity of life for pet.

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