What is the best diet for a dog with diabetes?
The ideal diet for a dog with diabetes will depend on their body type, their pet's tastes, and any additional illnesses or medical conditions. There is no "one diet that works for everyone" when it comes to diabetes. While there exist varying opinions regarding the best nutrition for diabetic dogs, the most widely accepted technique is to maintain a regular diet - feed and administer insulin at the same time each day, using the same food and treats!
What kinds of diabetes can dogs get?
You may be familiar with "type 1" and "type 2" diabetes in humans. Type 2 diabetes is more common in humans and is associated with obesity and the body's resistance to the effects of insulin. Dogs are more commonly diagnosed with something similar to “type 1” diabetes, or what we call “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (IDDM). Animals with type 1 diabetes can no longer make insulin, often due to an autoimmune disease. Diet can play an important role in the management of both types of diabetes, but it should be used in conjunction with medical management, and diet should never replace a dog's need for insulin or other medications with diabetes.
What nutrients are helpful for diabetic dogs?
Before choosing a food regimen, we need to consider which nutrients are most important to the dog and use this to guide optimal nutritional composition. Key nutrients to consider for diabetic dogs include water, calories, carbohydrates, and fiber. Many dogs with diabetes experience increased thirst and urination, so fresh, clean water should be available at all times. The ideal number of calories per cup or can of food depends on the condition of the affected dog and whether it needs to gain or lose weight to achieve ideal physical condition. If your dog has another medical condition, such as heart disease or pancreatitis, or has higher levels of fat in the blood, other nutrients such as sodium or fat may also be important to consider.
Does fiber help diabetic dogs?
Fiber can be used to treat diabetes in dogs, however, there are many types of fiber with different properties and benefits. Different types of fiber can be defined in several ways, although fiber is divided into soluble (capable of dissolving in water) and insoluble (bulked fiber). Insoluble fiber, like cellulose, adds bulk and slows the digestion and absorption of dietary carbohydrates, which is beneficial for sugar regulation in diabetic dogs.
While the term "high-fiber diet" can be confusing, a rough estimate of the amount of insoluble fiber in a food is the crude fiber content. It's important to note that the fiber percentage on pet food labels is a "guaranteed analysis" and therefore is only a maximum and cannot be compared between diets of different moisture or caloric content.
There's more to a diet than what you put in mouth!
Not only must we pick a diet that provides the proper balance of nutrients, but we also must feed it on a regular basis! For the majority of dogs with diabetes, food consistency is far more crucial to addressing the condition than specific nutrient levels. The dog's body is more capable of controlling blood sugar if the same food is fed at the same times every day (as well as if you choose one or two treats and give them consistently at the same time!). Appropriate feeding quantities go hand in together with consistency and treats. It might be challenging to control the symptoms of diabetes even with an ideal diet if we eat too much or too little.
Together with your veterinarian's advice, choosing the best diet for your dog can be aided by keeping in mind that diabetic dogs can be underweight, overweight, or even at their ideal weight. Dogs that are underweight will benefit most from higher calorie diets, whereas overweight dogs should focus on reduced calorie diets. Certain diets with fewer calories also contain more fiber. In the case of an underweight dog, a high-fiber, low-calorie meal would be deleterious if the dog could not consume enough of it to meet his calorie requirements to maintain an optimal weight! This is an illustration of how there is no "one size fits all" diet for diabetes in dogs nourishing!
Will lose weight benefit my diabetic dogs？
Although being overweight doesn't increase a dog's risk of developing diabetes, it can make it more difficult to manage the disease once it does. Insulin resistance, in which the same amount of insulin has less of an effect, can be brought on by excess body fat. Once basic diabetes control is achieved, all overweight diabetic pets should be encouraged to steadily decrease their body weight.
Is there anything else worth my attention?
Veterinarians don't recommend cooking meals at home because of differences between batches and a lack of consistent testing to understand how different nutrients, such as fiber, interact with each other and are absorbed and utilized by dogs. We want our diet to be consistent. Also, if your dog is diabetic, stay away from semi-moist dog foods as they contain fructose, sucrose, and other simple carbohydrates that can raise blood sugar levels
Tips for the dog parents:
- Make sure you record everything your dog consumes in your diet journal, including treats, chews, leftovers from meals, and food used to administer medication to your dog.
- The increased volume of feces from higher insoluble fiber diets will lead to more frequent trips to the restroom. This may indicate that in order to prevent mishaps, you should plan more daytime strolls.
- In most situations, dog diets specifically designed to be higher in fiber are a better source of fiber than simply adding fiber to a regular food since they can be tailored to still supply all of the nutrients that are needed to dogs. Canned pumpkin is popular with clients as a fiber supplement, however the amount required to see an impact may throw the dog's diet off balance