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Do You Know How To Feed Your Diabetic Dog?

Updated on May 19, 2009
Darlene Norris profile image

Darlene Norris loves cats and dogs. She has worked as a vet assistant, and draws on this experience when she writes her hubs.

Feeding a diabetic dog doesn't have to be complicated.
Feeding a diabetic dog doesn't have to be complicated.

If you think a good diet for dogs with diabetes is a prescription diabetic dog food, think again. This may not be the best answer for your diabetic canine. Here's why.

Does One Size Fit All When It Comes To Diabetic Dog Food?

The answer is no. Every pet is different. It's going to be up to you to find the best food for your diabetic pet. Learn how to read pet food labels so that you know what's really in the food your buddy is eating.  

You already know that you need to restrict sugar in your companion's diet. What you may not know is the role carbohydrates play in blood sugar levels. Most dry dog food, including the special prescription diets your vet sells, is made mostly of grains. This is because grains are cheap and abundant. However, just because this is good for the bottom line of the pet food manufacturers, it doesn't mean it's good for a canine diabetic.

What's the problem with grains? Dogs are meant to eat meat-based protein, not plant-based. While canines can eat both types of protein, meat-based proteins are better utilized by dogs.  

Another important problem with grain-based dog food is that it contains too many carbohydrates, which makes it extremely easy for your pet to become overweight. You may not know it, but being overweight drastically increases your pet's risk of becoming a diabetic.

Feeding a diabetic pet a grain-based diet is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose during the digestive process. All this glucose then hits your pet's system at once, spiking blood sugar levels. A diet high in carbohydrates is the last thing you want to feed dogs with diabetes.

Fats and proteins are also broken down into glucose when they're digested, but the difference is that it happens over a long period of time. The glucose gradually enters your pet's system, which avoids those sudden ups and downs.  

Your best bet for feeding your diabetic canine is a high-quality canned food that's high in fiber, and low in fat. Watch the fat levels, though. Levels below ten percent cause your canine to develop itchy skin conditions and a poor coat. 

Whatever you feed her, she needs to be willing to eat it. It's important that she eats everything you feed her, to avoid problems with her blood glucose levels getting too low.  

How Often Should I Be Feeding My Diabetic Dog?

If you're a control freak, you'll do well managing canine diabetes. Not only will you be controlling when she eats, but how much, as well. You'll be dividing her daily ration into two or three smaller meals that you'll feed either eight or twelve hours apart.

Feeding her more often helps prevents the glucose levels in her blood from sharp fluctuations over the course of the day, which makes it easier to keep her regulated.

When Is The Best Time To Give Her Insulin?

You should feed your dog, and then check her glucose levels. If you're not taking time to check her sugar levels, you have no idea how much insulin to give her, and can easily overdose her or not give her enough. Either way, she's in trouble. Have your vet teach you how to do use a glucometer. It's not difficult, and makes managing your diabetic pet much easier.

You may be able to get a glucometer for free when you buy a certain quantity of testing strips. Look online for a good deal. 

Always give your pet insulin after she eats. If you give it to her before a meal, and then she doesn't eat, she's in danger of becoming hypglycemic, which can kill her quickly. Keep Karo syrup on hand so you can rub it on her gums to boost her glucose levels if this should happen. You need to take her to the vet right away. You can prevent this scenario simply by giving her insulin after her meal.

So there you have it. The more knowledgeable you are about canine diabetes, the easier it will be for you to care for your companion.


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    • chicamom85 profile image

      chicamom85 8 years ago

      Nice page, my dog is fine but I have a diabetic husband. We are animal lovers.