What to feed a dog with diabetes? 


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Unfortunately, this condition is becoming very common among the k-9 population and it is something that vets see quite often nowadays. Diabetes, also known as diabetes Mellitus, is a chronic metabolic disease that occurs when the body is not able to control the blood sugar level. As we all know, glucose is a vital resource for energy in the body, which is why its level needs to be controlled.  

What do you need to know about diabetes Mellitus?

For owners, it is important to know that there are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 occurs when the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin, which is the hormone that helps glucose enter the cells. Without it, the cells basically left without their fuel. This type is usually managed by using insulin as therapy.

Type 2 occurs when there is enough insulin but the cells are simply not reacting to it or the pancreas is not able to produce it. The best way to manage this type of diabetes is by making dietary changes, weight management, and in some cases supplements. 

What could cause diabetes in dogs?

It is not fully known what causes diabetes in dogs, but there are several things that could lead to the development of this condition:

  • Obesity: dogs that are obese are more prone to the development of diabetes. The reason for this is that in obese dogs, the cells can become more resistant to insulin
  • Age: it is not surprising that diabetes is more commonly seen in older dogs
  • Pancreatitis: another big factor that could potentially lead to diabetes is pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas, where insulin is actually produced
  • Autoimmune disease: in some cases, the body could attack its own cells, especially the ones in the pancreas which disrupts normal insulin production, which could lead to diabetes

What are the signs of diabetes in dogs?

Owners report several symptoms that can easily point the direction of diabetes. Dogs that have increased thirst and urination, increased hunger, and weight loss, could lead the vet to think that your dog may be suffering from diabetes. 

Other symptoms include lethargy and weakness, cloudy eyes, or sweet-smelling breath.

What should a dog with diabetes eat?

Don’t panic if your dog gets diagnosed with diabetes! They can still live a normal and long life. However, it is important that you follow the recommendations that were given by your vet regarding food. Or if you want to feed your pooch with homemade dog food, then it is best to consult with a veterinary nutritionist.

Here is something you need to have in mind though:

  • High-Quality Protein: Choose a dog food that is rich in high-quality proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, or lean meats. Protein helps maintain muscle mass and can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Low Carbohydrates: Select a dog food that is low in simple carbohydrates and has a low glycemic index. Carbohydrates can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes or whole grains in moderation might be a better option.
  • Fiber: Fiber can help slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, which can aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Look for dog foods with added fiber or consider adding small amounts of vegetables like green beans or carrots to their meals.
  • Regular Feeding Schedule: Establish a consistent feeding schedule with the same portion sizes and timing each day. This helps regulate blood sugar levels and insulin dosage.
  • Limited Treats: Treats should be given sparingly and chosen carefully. Opt for low-carb, diabetic-friendly treats or consider using small portions of your dog’s regular food as treats.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for dogs with diabetes. Obesity can make insulin resistance worse. Your vet can help determine the appropriate caloric intake to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.
  • Fresh Water: Always provide fresh water for your dog to stay hydrated. Proper hydration can help with overall health and can aid in managing blood sugar levels.

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