Just as human beings can suffer from serious health conditions like diabetes, so too can dogs. And when your dog’s pancreas is not operating at its optimum level, this can end up leading to further health complications. So, as a dog owner, you have both the duty and the desire to help them out in any way that you can. Obviously, what your dog puts into their body can have a great impact on their health, and this is why choosing the best food for diabetic dogs is so important.
Many vets recommend that you monitor your dog’s calorie intake closely, focusing on foods which are high in fiber and protein. You should also look at low glycaemic meals which don’t cause a sharp increase in your dog’s blood glucose levels. So, in this article, we will be taking a closer look at some of the best food to feed your diabetic dog and the qualities which make it so good.
The Best Food For Diabetic Dogs
Containing 38% richly nourishing protein and only 19% low-glycaemic carbohydrate, this dry dog food includes six nourishing fish-based ingredients. Virtually every nutrient that your dog needs is covered and the food also promotes healthy blood sugar levels, reduces fat storage potential, and promotes good health in your hound.
Made in the USA, locally grown vegetables, fruits, and botanicals feature heavily in this diabetic dog food, along with fresh, whole, wild-caught fish. It is a tasty treat which even the fussiest of canine eaters usually end up enjoying.
Nutrient-dense and protein-rich dog food
Made in the USA
Suitable for all ages of dog
Contains 85% wild-caught fish
- Weight22.5 lbs
A 100% grain-free type of dog food, it instead contains a high level of meat to support the philosophy of raw feeding in your pooch. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, along with probiotics, prebiotics, and fiber, one of the central aims of this food is to improve your dog’s overall nutrition.
Taste has also been carefully considered to ensure that this is the kind of food which your dog will enjoy eating, as well as being good for them. Healthy eyes, teeth, and gums are promoted by the nutrients, while it also helps to increase your dog’s ability to burn off excess fat and calories, making it ideal for diabetic dogs.
Contains high-quality meat-based products
Essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids encourage healthy cellular activity
Increases lean muscle mass and ability to burn fat
100% free of grain and animal by-products
- BrandWELLNESS CORE
- Weight26 lbs
Grain-free and containing no gluten ingredients, Omega 6 And Omega 3 Fatty Acids are prominent in this dog food which promotes easier digestion, and a healthy coat and skin. High levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin are also included which help healthy hips and joints.
The top ingredients are real deboned meat and fresh vegetables which help to get the balance right between quality, nutrition, and taste. Cooked in the USA, it is suitable for adult dogs of all breed.
Grain and gluten-free
Made using deboned meat and fresh vegetables
Made in the USA
Promotes healthy coat, skin, hips, and joints
- Weight25 lbs
Made from a combination of farm-raised chicken, lentils and sweet potatoes, the recipe has been created to include a combination of protein and fiber to promote weight loss and management, which are both essential in diabetic dogs. Chicken is the primary ingredient which helps to provide its tastiness, and also supports stronger muscles.
Your dog’s immune system is also a central priority and the anti-oxidants which this dry dog food is packed with play a big role in promoting good health. Manufactured in the USA, trusted farmers supply the ingredients for this dog food for diabetic dogs.
High-quality protein number one ingredient
Blends protein and fiber for healthy weight loss and management
Sourced ingredients from reliable farmers and suppliers
Contains essential antioxidants including vitamin E
- Weight30 lbs
If you decide to buy this food for your dog, you can rest assured that the fat levels are controlled to help manage his or her weight. As we have talked about, diabetic dogs need to eat food in which the fiber blend is balanced as this will help to moderate their glycaemic response. This is something that you can expect in Royal Canin diabetic dog food.
Another source which this food includes which is especially suited for diabetic dogs is the complex carbohydrates which play a big role in moderating your hound’s sugar levels.
Controlled fat quantities
Balanced fiber blend for glycaemic response moderation
Complex carbohydrates for sugar level control
Reduces symptoms of fiber-responsive conditions
- BrandRoyal Canin
- Weight7.4 lbs
A type of food which is available for a range of types of pet, this meat-based dried food contains a combination of meats, plant nutrients, nutraceuticals, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, along with a variety of micronutrients.
One of the main aims of this product is to emulate the food canines and felines eat in the wild. High in natural protein, the healthy fats which it contains are naturally protected against free radical/oxidation degradation.
The non-thermal freeze-dried raw product
Starch-free and meat-based dog food
Free of non-nutritional additives
Emulates the type of food dogs eat in the wild
- Weight6.4 oz
Both protein-rich and carbohydrate-limited, this dry dog food contains a combination of meat, fruit, botanicals, and vegetables. The underlying philosophy is that dogs are natural hunters and should eat in the same way that their ancestors did.
The products which are contained in this food are ethically raised on American farms and ranches to provide assurances about the quality of what is going into your dog’s body.
70% lamb, game bird, fish, and egg ingredients
30% vegetables, fruit, and botanicals
Made using ethically-sourced regional products
Protein-rich and carbohydrate-limited
- Weight24.9 lbs
This grain-free dog food uses protein and a primary ingredient. The combination of fat burning L-Carnitine and high fiber levels helps to promote a healthy metabolism and leaves your dog feeling fuller for longer. Ultimately, these factors ensure that this is a great option for diabetic dogs.
With real meat and whole food ingredients, protein-packed into it and minimal processing, the philosophy of Raw Boost food is that your dog’s diet should be as close to their ancestors as possible.
Protein-rich dry dog food
High fiber levels to help a dog feel full
Promotes digestion, healthy skin and coat, and a high-functioning immune system
Minimally-processed natural ingredients
- Weight20 lbs
Suitable for dogs of all sizes, this is a high-protein holistic dry dog food containing 16 nutrient-packed superfoods which provide the nutrition needed for your dog to live a healthier life. None of the common allergy-irritating ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy are included, while it does contain a good source of dietary fiber which is highly important in diabetic dogs.
Guaranteed to contain a minimum of 38% of protein, the healthy fats included are designed to supply essential energy.
Suitable for a wide range of dog
Contains no allergy-irritating ingredients
Good source of dietary fiber
Minimum 38% protein
- BrandSolid Gold
- Weight4.1 lbs
Best Food For Diabetic Dogs Buying Guide
What to Look for in a Diabetic Dog Food
With so many different types of dog food out there, it can feel like something of a challenge to pick the one which is going to be best for your four-legged friend. So, here are a few of the top considerations when it comes to choosing what to feed a diabetic dog.
- Type of Food
There are various types of food out there which can be given to diabetic dogs. Dry food is one of the most common, but it needs to be of the type which contains higher protein levels and fewer carbohydrates. Canned foods usually contain protein, but are often of lower quality.
Some dog owners decide to give their hounds raw, meat-based diets which don’t contain additives and preservatives and a few of the brands above emulate these qualities, based on the fact that ancestral dogs did not tend to suffer from conditions like diabetes. There are also prescription diabetic dog foods out there, but they tend to be rarer, and non-prescription diabetic dog foods are usually fine.
- High Fiber Content
Diabetic dog food often contains high levels of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers include items like oat bran, seed, lentils, and some fruit and vegetables. They help to slow down digestion and the breakdown of carbohydrates in food, as well as reducing the absorption of glucose from the small intestines into the blood. Insoluble fibers, like those found in vegetables, wheat bran, and whole grain can also be beneficial as they are gut-expanders which can help dogs to feel full.
- Low Glycaemic Index
Low-glycemic foods release glucose in a slower and steadier manner. Essentially, this helps to reduce sudden spiking in blood glucose levels. Just a few examples of low-glycaemic foods include some whole grains, fruit and vegetables, and legumes. In contrast, you should be making sure that your dog steers clear of high-glycaemic foods such as wheat, potatoes, and white rice.
- Place of Manufacture
Some countries have more rigorous safety protocols than others and choosing one of them can help to put your mind at ease that the dog food has been manufactured in a good environment. To improve the chances of the food being made in safe, adulterant-free facility, choose countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, France, and Germany.
- Avoid Primarily Carbohydrate-Listing Foods
Dogs are carnivores and require heavily meat-based diets to stay healthy, look great, and feel at their best. While carbohydrates are obviously an important part of any dog food, they should appear farther down the list of ingredients. Instead, you should be looking at whole protein as the primary ingredient from sources such as deboned chicken or fish. You should also bear in mind that not all carbohydrates are equal. Complex carbohydrates are better than simple carbs which tend to cause sudden spiking in blood sugar levels. For example, corn is generally not as good as brown rice and bran.
- Steer Clear of Food Containing Unidentified Meat and By-products
While meats and by-products are often listed in dog foods, you should avoid ones in which the meat is unspecified. As we just discussed, you ideally want a whole protein as the first listed ingredient. Some badly identified meat meals contain protein from sources which you cannot be certain of, and this could be potentially dangerous. While chicken by-products are a fairly standard ingredient, the same cannot be said for generic and unidentified ‘meat by-products’, which should be on the ‘what not to feed a diabetic dog’ list.
- Choose Food Containing Many Nutrients and Supplements
Many modern dog foods are specially formulated to contain a full mix of vitamins and minerals. This is a good starting point, but your hound also needs other things to stay healthy. As an example, antioxidant-rich ingredients help to keep your dog’s immune system in tip-top condition. Foods containing probiotic supplements play a role in regulating your dog’s digestive system and improve his or her ability to burn calories. Ultimately, it is worth looking into the different nutrients and what they can do for your dog.
Diet Tips for a Diabetic Dog
When you initially get that diagnosis that your dog has diabetes, there is bound to be an initial sense of shock before you start taking action. Obviously, you will want to consult with your vet to adjust your dog’s diet, but here are a few general tips which you can put into practice.
First of all, you need to keep a close eye on your dog’s calorie intake. Feeding them low-fat foods is the obvious route to go down as these are lower in calories and tend to offer a greater level of bulk and protein with each and every bite.
High-fiber foods are often recommended as they reduce how quickly glucose is released into the bloodstream, as well as taking up room in the digestive tract, leaving your dog feel fuller for longer. Another factor to look out for is foods which have a low glycaemic index as these will not cause a sharp spike in blood glucose levels.
While there are some types of prescription food out there which are specifically created for diabetic dogs, most are fine with high-quality meals on a regular basis. Again, you should always consult with your vet if you are ever feeling unsure.
Other Ways for Managing Diabetes in Dogs
Beyond adjusting their diet, there are a few other ways that you can help to manage your dog’s diabetes to help with his or her health. Below are just some of the ways that you can gain a greater sense of control over their condition.
- Create and Follow a Health Plan with Your Vet
Swift treatment is usually required for your diabetic dog, and you should listen to your vet when it comes to coming up with a treatment plan. Insulin is usually required, and you are likely to need to know how to give your dog regular injections, as well as measuring the correct dosage, and making sure that there are no air bubbles in the syringes. Make sure that you ask your vet any and all the questions that come to mind. Follow-up tests and regular check-ups will be part of the plan, along with some lifestyle changes for your pooch.
- Portion Control
When you have a diabetic dog, you have to keep a much closer handle on how much food they are consuming on a regular basis in comparison to other dogs. And this is particularly important if your dog is suffering from type two diabetes which is often caused by obesity. Monitoring your dog’s calorie intake is one of the central ways that you can prevent extra weight gain. You should also aim to correlate their daily activity with the number of calories that they are eating every day.
- Alter Your Dog’s Lifestyle
As well as adjusting your dog’s diet, there are other lifestyle changes which can prove to be beneficial. Regular exercise is certainly a part of this as it can promote weight loss and generally improve your dog’s health. You should be walking and playing with your dog on a regular basis to get their heart rate up. Changing up their exercise routine with different activities keeps things interesting for both you and your four-legged friend. The exact amount of physical activity needed varies based on your dog’s size and breed.
- Monitor Your Dog’s Condition
Another important action to take is to monitor your dog’s condition to catch any complications quickly. Your vet may give you a device to monitor their blood glucose levels. You can help to bring levels down with glucose management dog food. You should also make a special effort to check their weight, as well as watching out for other worrying signs such as excessive hunger, thirst or urination. Any changes which you notice should all be reported back to your vet.
Homemade Diabetic Dog Food
Providing your dog with homemade diabetic dog food can present something of a challenge as you are trying to offer food which is consistent in calories and sugar release, while still keeping his or her diet balanced. If you are thinking of providing a home diet, there are a few rules which are worth taking into account.
Firstly, you need to use a consistent recipe. Avoid sweetening foods or feeding sugar-rich items to your dog as this can negatively impact their blood sugar levels. Always checking the label is a good habit to get into when looking for ingredients. Starchy foods that are rich in fiber, such as whole grain rice, oats or vegetables are important as these offer a more sustained release of sugar into the bloodstream. The food also needs to be low in fat and should also include good-quality meat if possible.
Diabetic Dog Treats
Treats should also form a part of your diabetic dog’s diet, but you should avoid snacks which are high in carbohydrates and sugars, as well as those which use propylene glycol or similar ingredients. Dehydrated meats and poultry are good options, but these can often be expensive. Some pet owners decide to make their own by cutting meat into thin slices for drying in a food dehydrator or baking in a slow oven.
Some other healthy snacks include vegetables like green beans, crunchy snap peas, and carrot sticks. Otherwise, you have options like dried salmon, hard-boiled eggs, dried salmon or tuna packed in water. Consult with your vet if you are looking for more inspiration about what diabetic dog treats you could offer them.
Best Food For Diabetic Dogs FAQ:
Q: What is diabetic dog food?
A: While researchers are still looking into what type of diet is best for dogs with diabetes, many vets recommend one which is based on high levels of fiber and low levels of fat. Fiber helps to slow down the glucose which enters the bloodstream, helping your dog to feel full. And foods which are lower in fat obviously contain fewer calories. Combined, this kind of diet can help your dog to consume less and therefore start shedding the pounds. Most diabetic dogs do fine with the food which you buy in the store, but you can develop a homemade diet alongside a veterinary nutritionist or your vet. Bear in mind that it may take some time for your dog to adjust to their new diet. You need to monitor them closely to check how they are getting on.
Q: How much fiber should a diabetic dog consume?
A: The amount of fiber that your dog should consume is an issue which depends on your dog’s size, breed, and your vet’s recommendations. Fiber comes in soluble and insoluble varieties. A diabetic dog is dealing with high levels of blood sugar which you should avoid raising if you can help it. Soluble fiber slows digestion and food transiting into their stomach, while insoluble fiber helps them to feel full and reduces their appetite. So, if your dog is overweight, food of greater than 15% of the dry matter of fiber is probably wanted, whereas more average sized dogs may need food of anywhere between 5-15% of the dry matter. Again, remember that there are only rough guidelines.
Q: Should I give insulin to my diabetic dog?
A: Consistent treatment is one of the cornerstones of caring for a diabetic dog, and this means regulating blood glucose levels by giving insulin injections. Typically, a diabetic dog will require two daily injections, as well as dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments. Your veterinary healthcare team will assist in teaching you how to take blood samples to test glucose levels, measure the dosage of insulin recommended and inject your dog. Many pet owners are fearful of causing pain to their pet, but the injection needles are sharp to reduce discomfort, insulin does not sting on injection, and the injections are given in areas where damage to internal structures is impossible.
Q: What is the expected lifespan for a diabetic pet?
A: The life expectancy of your dog after diabetes diagnosis depends on their age, health, their response to the treatment plan, and your willingness to carry it out thoroughly. Once they are diagnosed, treatment needs to begin immediately, as well as adjustments to diet, exercise etc. Diabetic dogs receiving treatment do not have a significantly shorter lifespan than non-diabetic dogs of the same age and gender. Of course, you need to make some of the concessions to the disease and adjust your dog’s lifestyle accordingly.
Our Top Pick
We have selected Orijen’s Six Fish Dry Dog Food as our favorite diabetic dog food currently on the market. Six wild and sustainably caught fish are used as the central ingredients – 85% of it – offering a good source of protein to your furry friend. The other 15% is made up of vegetables, fruit, and botanicals. You can rest assured that it contains zero grain, potato or tapioca, and it is suitable for dogs at all stages of life.
Made in the USA, the quality of the conditions which this food is manufactured in are carefully monitored. And as well as being nutrient-dense, it is also a tasty treat for your canine friend which they will enjoy.
All of this adds up to make this our top pick in our diabetic dog food list.
Orijen Six Fish Dry Dog Food