Best Food Options for Diabetic Dogs
By Paula Fitzsimmons
When pet parents first find out their beloved dog has diabetes, it can provoke a sense of dread. Will her lifespan be shortened? How will it impact her quality of life? The good news is that with routine veterinary care and sound nutrition management, dogs with diabetes can thrive.
Symptoms of diabetes may include excessive urination, extreme thirst, unexplained weight loss, and lack of grooming. If not managed, diabetes can lead to an array of health problems, such as anorexia, depression, recurrent infections, and even death.
Most diabetic dogs have the Type 1 variety, meaning their pancreas can’t produce insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose. This renders the body incapable of converting glucose to energy, resulting in excess sugar in the blood.
Daily insulin injections are critical to balancing blood sugar, explains Dr. Nancy Scanlan, a veterinarian in Mount Shasta, California, and executive director of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation (AHVMF). “Holistic medicine can help stabilize them and improve their metabolism, but they need insulin because they can’t produce it anymore.”
A healthy and consistent diet is also essential for diabetes management. “Most vets will agree the food your pet eats and the portions and timing of such meals will drastically affect the capabilities of insulin to work efficiently and effectively,” says Dr. Michael Lund, veterinary staff manager at ASPCA in New York City.
To meet your pet’s special dietary needs, consider these vet-recommended nutritional guidelines for diabetic dogs. Remember that like humans, dogs are individuals, which makes it imperative to discuss any dietary changes with your vet.