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Best Diet for Dogs with Diabetes

Author: Brad Clarke of

Diabetes is a common medical condition, affecting more than 500 million adults worldwide, but did you know that it could also affect your dog?

Just like us, dogs can be diagnosed with diabetes.

Owners of diabetic dogs must carefully monitor and manage their dog’s condition so they may live their healthiest lives. This might include insulin injections, medication, and a prescription or specialty diet catered to their condition.

Unfortunately, the disease is incurable, but you can manage symptoms with a little education and an excellent diet. With a little extra attention, your diabetic dog will still enjoy a happy, healthy life.

How does diabetes affect dogs?

As with humans, diabetes in dogs is characterized by their body’s inability to process glucose, or sugar, and produce insulin. Put simply, it’s how their body converts food into energy.

Diabetic dogs produce very little or sometimes no insulin, leaving too much sugar in the bloodstream and taxing various organs and systems.

If left untreated, diabetes may affect a dog in the following ways:

  • Blindness
  • Cataracts
  • Death
  • Dehydration
  • Enlarged liver
  • Ketoacidosis
  • Seizures
  • Urinary tract infection

Keep an eye out for the following symptoms and visit your vet immediately if you suspect your dog is suffering from diabetes:

  • Depression
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Diabetes is a very serious medical condition and can have grave effects if left untreated. Once diagnosed, it can be very successfully managed in most cases by providing the right combination of injections, medication, and dietary adjustments.

Check out Dog Nerdz for more dog health tips.

Labrador retriever sitting in the grass

How does diet help manage diabetes in dogs?

Diabetes is a metabolic condition, meaning the problems happen while the body is taking food and trying to turn it into fuel for other bodily functions that keep your pup moving and grooving. The goal when feeding a diabetic dog is to try to keep their blood sugar as close to the normal range as possible.

In most cases, veterinarians recommend a high-fiber, low-fat diet in order to get the best results. This combination ensures your dog will feel full but consume fewer calories, making it less likely for their blood sugar to spike or drop out of the right range.

Diabetes and high-fiber diets are both known to cause thirst, so always be sure to have plenty of water available for your pooch.

Best Diets for Dogs with Diabetes

The most important thing to do after receiving a diagnosis of diabetes in your dog is to discuss it with your vet. Many veterinarians recommend prescription diets that can be sold at some stores, online retailers, and often right at the vet’s office too.

Not all veterinarians recommend or require a prescription diet, and some may even advocate wholesome, holistic diets that use premium ingredients to promote good health. We can get good results simply by feeding our dogs nutritious and thoughtfully balanced diets.

Here are some of the best ones available now.

Ketona Chicken Recipe Dry Food for Adult Dogs

Ketona packs a lot of quality into a bag by doubling the meat content and eliminating 90% of the carbs. The result is a comprehensive, balanced diet that provides your pooch with sustainable energy throughout the day.

Ketona implements the same scientific approach used in most raw diets but in a convenient kibble. It’s a great diet for any dog, but diabetic dogs will benefit specifically from the sustained energy free of blood sugar spikes. Managing your dog’s blood sugar is the most crucial mission you must be ready to accomplish every day for them to live their best lives.

Royal Canin Glycobalance Dry Dog Food

As the name suggests, Royal Canin’s Glycobalance food is carefully formulated with high fiber, both soluble and insoluble, and a moderate fat content. The result provides stable energy throughout the day, free of blood sugar spikes.

Royal Canin makes sure to include plenty of protein in the diet as well. Between the protein and fat content, your dog will feel satiated and maintain muscle mass without putting on extra pounds in the process.

It’s overall a very impressive diet, but it is a prescription. Consult your veterinarian for more details and if Royal Canin Glycobalance is right for your dog.

Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Canine Low Fat

Hill’s is the company that makes Science Diet, the food most often recommended by veterinarians for all dogs. It’s fitting that their prescription diet, “w/d,” would be one of the best options for dogs with diabetes.

The formula is also referred to as “Multi-Benefit,” providing a diet specially formulated for digestive health, weight management, blood sugar management, and urinary health. They accomplish this by including low fat content, high fiber, and high protein.

Your dog will feel full and happy after feeding, and should maintain normal blood sugar levels while eating this diet. Since it’s a prescription diet, consult your vet to find out if Hill’s is right for your dog.

ACANA Heritage Dry Dog Food

Some vets may advise feeding premium, top-tier nutrition instead of prescription diets in order to give your dog a great balance of nutrients. ACANA is one of the most premium options available and makes an excellent diet for diabetic dogs and otherwise healthy dogs alike.

Manufactured by the same company that makes Orijen, ACANA is a specialized formula. Whereas Orijen incorporates multiple protein sources in each bag, ACANA includes only a handful to cater to dogs with dietary restrictions.

You’ll still find a lot more protein in a bag of ACANA than in most other regular dog food brands, meaning they pack in the protein and leave out the extra, unnecessary carbs. This works well for all dogs, but should be very good for diabetic dogs as well.

As always, consult your veterinarian to find out if ACANA is a good fit for your dog.

Diabetes is not a death sentence!

Owners are understandably devastated to find out their poor pooch is suffering from diabetes. After all, it’s an incurable disease that changes the way they can live and eat for their whole lives! It’s very serious and requires constant monitoring to make sure things remain in the right range.

That said, it is more common than ever in modern times. With a rise in its prevalence comes a rise in pet food manufacturers and veterinarians formulating special diets that specifically cater to diabetic dogs and manage their specific nutritional requirements.

Even a premium, holistic diet with heaping portions of protein and fiber can contribute to a healthy life and a balanced diet for your diabetic dog.

With the right plan in place as decided upon by you and your vet, diabetes in dogs can be very successfully managed and your dog will still enjoy a great life!

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