So, just before we get to our discuss on diabetic dog food, quick question. Is it just us or does the world seem to revolve around food? Never thought about it? We have and we’ll explain.
What do you need to stay alive? Something, something, something and food. What do you need to build muscles? Something and food. What do you need to gain weight? Food and something. What do you need to lose weight? Something and diet (which is food).
So you see? Money doesn’t make the world go round, food does. If you are thinking “well, you need money to buy food” then can you explain to us how our ancestors survived? Yup, without money and a lot of food.
Just like food makes the human world go round, it also controls (kinda) the world of animals. Food does all kinds of things from keeping your pets alive to increasing their muscle mass and even helping manage their health conditions. Just like humans.
So if you have a pet (we are talking about dogs here) that has a health condition (we are talking about diabetes here) giving that dog food (we are talking about the right kind here) is definitely the right thing to do.
So, what is the best diabetic dog food for dogs? Keep reading to find out.
How Does Diabetes In Dogs Happen?
As humans, we are fairly familiar with the condition that is diabetes. In fact, you probably know someone that is living with diabetes or you might even be that someone living with diabetes.
So, you can agree with us that diabetes is more complicated than having to control your sugar intake and isn’t really caused by high sugar ingestion. Same thing in dogs.
Diabetes is either caused by the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin or its inability to properly respond to insulin.
The job of insulin is to use sugar (which is a by-product of carbohydrates) to produce energy for the body. When insulin cannot do its job, what you have is too much sugar in your blood which cannot be used. So, ultimately it becomes poisonous.
Basically, there are two types of diabetes
- Type I which is the inability to create insulin.
- Type II which is the inability to respond to insulin.
What you should be concerned about as a dog owner is Type I, that’s the one that’s more common among dogs.
How Do I Know My Dog Has Diabetes?
Finding out if your dog has diabetes is not an easy thing chiefly because dogs cannot talk and, therefore, can’t intelligibly express their symptoms. Nonetheless, there are a couple of telltale signs that you can look out for. Some of them, according to webmd, include :
- Frequent urination or urinary tract infections.
- Excessive thirst or even dehydration.
- Sweet smelling breath (not caused by eating something sweet).
- Cataract or blindness.
- Weight loss.
- Skin infections.
You’ll agree with us that some of these symptoms could point at virtually anything. So, if you have noticed any of these symptoms be sure to call your veterinarian, first before pronouncing your dog diabetic.
Why Does My Dog Have Diabetes?
There are some questions that do not have answers and this is one of them. Science has tried but still, we can’t put a finger on what exactly causes diabetes in dogs.
However, there are some particular dogs that are said to be more susceptible to diabetes than others. Webmd lists the following:
- Female dogs.
- Obese dogs (you can do something about this).
- Certain dog breeds: Australian terriers, dachshunds, keeshonds, schnauzers, poodles and Samoyeds. Mixed breeds are also susceptible.
- Of course, puppies that are offspring of diabetic parents are also at great risk.
If your dog has diabetes she’s probably in one of these categories. However, we said these categories of dogs are more susceptible not that they are the only dogs that can have diabetes. So if your dog doesn’t fall into any of the above categories that (unfortunately) doesn’t make your dog immune.
Also, if your dog doesn’t fall into any of these categories and is still diabetic, don’t sweat it. Remember we told you that nobody knows why dogs have diabetes? However, some people have information that can actually help. We’ll get to meet them shortly so keep reading.
What To Do If My Dog Is Diabetic
First things first, speak to your vet. Just like you wouldn’t self-medicate you shouldn’t try to treat your dog without professional help (unless you are the professional help). The reason is quite obvious, you’re not qualified to treat your dog and you could kill them.
However, some of the things, as listed on webmd that your vet might advise include:
1. Adjust Diet
Dr. Morgan (DVM) says on webmd that your dog is probably having issues converting sugar to energy because of the food he eats. It makes sense that foods that are high in low-quality carbohydrates could overwork your dog’s pancreas. So if that’s what your dog has been feeding on, be prepared to make a number of adjustments.
Take your dog out for walks. Allow her go running in open places.
If you don’t have enough space in your compound you could go out to a park or field, just be sure she has enough running space.
You could also play catch. Basically do anything that will cause her to exert (not overexert) herself should help check her glucose levels.
3. Insulin Treatment
Just like humans, your dog might need to take insulin shots as her body would be needing help producing insulin. The administration of these shots might be as often as every day. But hey, breathe. It is very normal and nothing to be scared about.
4. Regular Monitoring
You have to be committed to tracking your dog’s diabetes so you are never caught unawares. Your monitoring is critical so that you can detect any changes (positive or negative) and decide what to improve on, keep the same or do away with.
Finally, always remember that your vet is a key person in your relationship with your dog. Don’t even think of trying anything new or doing away with anything without their consent.
What Is A Good Diabetic Dog Food?
From all that has been said, you should have gathered that carbohydrate is something that your diabetic dog needs to avoid as much as possible.
Wait up, though. “As much as possible” does not mean “totally.” While your diabetic dog should not take too much carbohydrates in order not to burden her pancreas, she still needs them to maintain an appropriate body weight.
Dr. Jeff Werber (DVM) on chewy.com advises that your diabetic dog take nothing more than 25% dry carb matter. Too much carbs equals too much sugar which could cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
A good diabetic dog food should also contain a lot of fiber (the soluble and the insoluble kind) as they help stabilize your dog’s glucose levels. Soluble fibers slow digestion while insoluble fibers force foods to be digested at almost their original state. They both help to prevent your dog’s blood level from going through the roof.
Your dog should also be eating a lot of protein in a good diabetic dog food. Proteins digest easily and are filling for a long time. So you see where we are going? Your dog does not get hungry quickly and you’re not tempted to placate her hunger with foods that are potentially dangerous for her.
Some people advocate for a complete diet switch to an all-natural diet. The argument for this is that your dog’s ancestors ate basically fresh meat and did not suffer from diabetes. We can’t verify this assertion, however.
So, we reiterate that before you make any major decisions, you speak with your vet first.
What Should My Diabetic Dog Not Eat?
Your dog should steer clear of sweets and refined sugars in general. This also means that treats are not your diabetic dog’s best friends. They can be acquaintances that just see each other every once in a while but they should not be best buds. That’s not a healthy relationship.
If you are really tempted to treat your dog to something, you can do what parents do to their human kids; opt for something healthy. Instead of something sugary, you can give bits and pieces of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and veggies are actually good diabetic dog food options for your diabetic dog because of their high fiber content. However, you might want to avoid root vegetables, they usually have a high sugar content. Or you could just ask your vet.
Regulating My Diabetic Dog’s Feeding
The “what” is as important as the “when” which means that the quality of a diabetic dog food is as important as when it is administered or, to be less formal, served.
Dr. Lindsey Bullen (DVM, DACVN) on chewy.com advises that you feed your dog right before you administer the insulin shot. The reason for this is, your dog’s glucose level is highest when she just eats. If you administer the shot at that moment, it does the job that naturally produced insulin should, making it very active.
One other thing is to be consistent with what you feed and when you feed. Your dog is not a lab rat so don’t test different diets on her.
Talk with your vet and come up with something that works for your dog, then stick with it. Don’t try to be creative and switch things up. Same goes for the when.
What If My Dog Doesn’t Want To Eat?
Truth be told, your dog might have a loss of appetite as a result of the diabetes, but she has to eat. This is where you get creative. You could do what you would do to a human baby: hand feed. Your dog might be more open to eating if the food is coming from you (literally).
You could also make a game out of it. The food could be the game or the reward for the game. Even though you’re now feeding her a diabetic dog food, try making her meals more enticing than they usually are.
Make sure you’re not reading “sweet stuff” into this because that is still a no no.
Basically, do anything, stand on your hands if you have to. Just make sure she eats.
Preventing Diabetes In Dogs
You can, to a large extent, prevent your non-diabetic dog from becoming diabetic. Ensure that your dog eats and exercises right.
Your dog should maintain a healthy body weight, seeing as obesity is a risk factor. Now, appropriate body weight is dependent on the breed of your dog. So, you want to have that information beforehand.
Feed your dog with foods that are high in protein and moderate in fat. Also, every once in a while, allow your dog run free. It will do her a lot of good.
Your diabetic dog can live a long and fulfilled life and she doesn’t even have to be sequestered in the house without seeing the sunlight. Also, your diabetic dog is not fragile, don’t treat her as such. Just keep her well-fed and properly exercised. Also, don’t forget to see your vet before taking any major decisions. Yeah, we know we sound like a broken record.