Best Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects millions of people, but did you know that dogs can get it too? In fact, a dog’s risk for diabetes increases as it ages.
Though diabetes is considered a chronic illness for dogs, it is entirely manageable with a healthy diet and insulin injections.
The key to a healthy diet for diabetic dogs is controlling fat and carb intake and increasing fiber content to help moderate blood sugar levels.
Keep reading to learn more about diabetes in dogs and the special dietary needs of diabetic dogs.
You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best dog food for diabetic dogs.
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Special Dietary Needs of Diabetic Dogs
Diabetes is a metabolic condition usually triggered by high blood sugar, low insulin production, or both.
When your dog eats food, its body breaks it down into glucose which enters the blood stream so it can be utilized by cells as energy.
This triggers the production of insulin which enables the cells to absorb that glucose, helping reduce blood sugar levels back to normal.
If your dog has diabetes, it may not produce enough insulin or utilize it well enough to keep blood sugar levels in the healthy range and this can lead to a whole host of problems. A specialized diet paired with insulin injections is the best treatment plan for diabetes in dogs.
Here are some things to look for in a dog food for diabetic dogs:
- Quality Protein. Protein is essential for maintaining lean muscle mass which helps your dog maintain a healthy body weight. Look for a recipe with about 30% protein or more.
- Moderate Fat. High-fat diets can contribute to obesity in diabetic dogs and cause problems with the pancreas (where insulin is produced) as well. Look for a dog food with low to moderate fat content from healthy sources.
- Low Glycemic Index. Refined carbohydrates will cause your dog’s blood sugar to spike so look for low glycemic, complex carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables.
- Dietary Fiber. A fiber-rich diet is healthy for your dog’s digestion, but it will also help minimize blood sugar spikes after eating. It also helps your dog maintain a healthy body weight.
Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best dog food for diabetic dogs. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs
When it comes to keeping your diabetic dog healthy, keeping its blood sugar levels stable is the highest priority. While insulin injections can help, a high-quality diet is important as well.
To choose the best dog food for diabetic dogs, start with your dog’s basic nutritional needs. All dogs need a blend of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their diet and these nutrients should come from digestible, high-quality sources – preferably animal-based. Your dog needs at least 18% crude protein and 5% crude fat in its diet, with vitamins and minerals for balance.
Start with a protein-rich recipe made with premium poultry, meat, or fish that provides about 30% protein. Next, check for healthy animal fats like chicken fat or salmon oil, but no more than 10% crude fat. Plant-based fats like canola oil and flaxseed can also be beneficial to ensure a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
For carbohydrates, look for low glycemic-indexed options that won’t cause your dog’s blood sugar to spike. Whole grains are great for dogs that can digest them or, if your dog is allergic or sensitive to grains, try something like legumes, sweet potatoes, or peas.
Fresh fruits and veggies are great sources of complex carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals, though you may still need synthetic supplements to make sure the recipe is complete and balanced.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best dog food for diabetic dogs.
The Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Diabetic Dogs Reviewed
The best dog food for diabetic dogs will be nutritionally balanced and made from high-quality ingredients. It should be rich in lean protein with low to moderate fat content, a low glycemic index, and rich in dietary fiber from digestible carbohydrates.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best dog food for diabetic dogs that you should consider:
How Much Should You Feed Diabetic Dogs?
When it comes to feeding a diabetic dog, how much you feed it is just as important as what you feed it.
The goal is to keep your dog’s blood sugar stable all day, so you may want to feed several small meals spaced out evenly instead of going for two large meals.
Control your dog’s portion as well because obesity is a significant risk for diabetic dogs and you want to avoid that.
In terms of how much you should actually be feeding your dog, it depends on the calorie content of the recipe.
Check the feeding recommendations according to your dog’s size, age, and weight then adjust your dog’s intake accordingly. Keep an eye on your dog’s body weight as well, weighing it every few weeks, to make sure it isn’t gaining or losing weight.
What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
Many dogs have food allergies and sensitivities which may add an additional challenge to finding the best dog food for diabetic dogs.
Allergies and sensitives to grains are particularly common. Fortunately, because refined carbohydrates like wheat and corn are also high-glycemic, most of the best dog foods for diabetic dogs don’t contain these ingredients anyway.
Still, you may want to try a grain-free recipe if your dog is sensitive or allergic to grains. A limited ingredient diet may also be a good choice.
The ideal diet for a diabetic dog is rich in protein, moderate in fat, and low glycemic-indexed to prevent spikes in blood sugar.
As long as you stick to those guidelines, you can choose whatever dog food you think is best. To help you get started, consider one of our top 5 picks for the best dog food for diabetic dogs reviewed above.