Diabetic Dog Food: The Top 5 Best Dog Foods for Diabetic Dogs in 2021


The growing diabetes epidemic is not only affecting humans. Diabetes is increasing among dogs as well. Based on research studies, one in every 200 dogs is at a risk of developing this disease. Now, if your pooch is diagnosed with diabetes, you may feel like it’s a death sentence. Although complex, canine diabetes is a manageable condition. In fact, your pup can live many healthy years after a diabetes diagnosis. This article highlights everything you need to know about canine diabetes while also recommending the best diabetic dog food.

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Understanding Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes is not as common among dogs as it is among humans. Nonetheless, it is a major point of concern. Essentially, diabetes crops up when your pup’s body is unable to produce or sufficiently use the insulin hormone. This is what happens for your dog to develop diabetes:

  • Once your dog ingests food, his gut starts to digest it, breaking it down into an array of compounds such as glucose and energy.
  • When the food is metabolized and converted into glucose, this glucose enters his bloodstream, so that it can be transported throughout his body for energy use and storage.
  • The action of glucose entering your pup’s bloodstream stimulates insulin production by the pancreas. The role of insulin is to control the level of sugar in his blood; hence, preventing it from skyrocketing or reaching very low levels.
  • If your pooch isn’t producing enough insulin, or if his cells are reluctant to respond to the insulin, this can lead to remarkably high levels of blood sugar.

Although a high blood sugar level doesn’t sound like a big deal, it can befatal. If your dog’s body is incapable of producing or utilizing insulin, this means that his cells are not getting enough energy, and this translates to starvation of crucial cells and organs. This situation can lead to more complications as explained below.

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – this is simply the starvation of cells, which arises from inadequate insulin production or use. When your dog’s body is unable to use insulin efficiently, it begins breaking down the stored fat for energy. This process triggers the production of ketone bodies, which once they accumulate, can result in severe health problems.
  • Hypoglycemia – this condition is caused by very low levels of blood sugar. The most terriblepart of this condition is that it deprives your pup’s brain of vital energy. If your dog is suffering from hypoglycemia, he is likely to feel weak, drool more than usual, experience a loss of coordination, seizure, and, in the worst scenarios, a coma or even death.
  • Diabetic neuropathy – this condition crops up when your dog’s peripheral nerve is damaged. This can happen because of very high blood glucose levels. Diabetic neuropathy causes severe weakness in your dog’s hind limbs.
  • Cataracts – if the blood glucose level in your dog’s body is too high, it can ultimately lead to the formation of cataracts. Cataracts are characterized by an opacity in the lens of the eye, causing obscured vision.
  • Impaired immunity – if your dog is experiencing a chronic high blood glucose level, this can create an environment where bacteria can thrive. If you factor in your dog’s inability to produce enough energy, he’s likely to end up with impaired immunity.

What to Look for When Buying Diabetic Dog Food

The secret to managing diabetes in your pooch is to change his diet. It’s crucial that you scrutinize all the ingredients present in his dog food. This way, you’ll ensure that the food you’re feeding him is not going to aggravate his condition. Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying diabetic dog food.

High Fiber Ingredients

Fiber is found in an array of ingredients including pumpkin, sweet potato, and most leafy greens. This is an important ingredient for diabetic dogs because it takes up plenty of room in their guts. When your pooch consumes fiber-containing foods, he is going to feel full for longer without having to take any additional calories.

However, the greatest role that fiber plays is that it slows down the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream. Thanks to this slowed rate, your dog will have adequate time processing it. The biggest problem of canine diabetes is that the pancreas becomes incapable of creating the insulin responsible for processing glucose. Fiber-rich foods make it easy to manage your dog’s glucose levels.

Low Fat

Overall, fat is a healthy ingredient to incorporate into dog food. But it can be detrimental for a pooch diagnosed with diabetes. Keep in mind that fat will have more calories per ounce than any other ingredient. The high caloric density can lead to weight gain.

There’s also the fact that fat has a high glucose level. So, if you feed your dog too much fat, he may suffer from hyperglycemia among other complications.

Low Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is simply how fast food gets converted to glucose. This is represented using numbers so that a small number is an indication that food is taking longer to convert and vice versa. Every ingredient has a specific glycemic index rating. However, most manufacturers only indicate the total glycemic index of the dog food. If your pooch is diabetic, he should be fed foods with low glycemic index. Moreover, diabetic dogs should not be fed too much sugar. Instead, they should be given ingredients that are easy to process throughout the day.

Decreased Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are one of the most common ingredients in dog foods. Different manufacturers incorporate these carbohydrates in different forms. As such, the different carbohydrates are processed differently in your dog’s metabolic system. For instance, complex carbs take longer to be processed. These types of carbohydrates provide your dog with essential vitamins and minerals. They are present in sweet potatoes, brown rice, and peas.

In contrast, simple carbs, which are processed very quickly, are detrimental to your pup’s health. Examples of simple carbs are cheap fillers such as soy and corn. They have very high levels of sugar, which can trigger a dangerous spike in your dog’s blood sugar levels. Many dog owners think that simple carbs are only present in dog foods. In making this assumption, they forget that simple carbohydrates could also be present in dog treats and supplements. That said, you should also choose your dog’s treats and supplements wisely. Steer clear of treats and table scraps filled with sugars and sweeteners.

When purchasing diabetic dog food, be sure to check the quality of carbohydrates included. Also, check the total amount of carbs. If its first ingredient is a carbohydrate, this might not be the best option for a diabetic dog.

The nutrient-rich complex carbs ought to rank at the bottom of the ingredient list. Essentially, the lower it’s ranked, the smaller the number of carbs present in the formula.

Focus on Wholesome Ingredients

Another thing you should watch out for when buying diabetic dog food is the inclusion of artificial ingredients. A dog food containing chemical additives and artificial flavors is likely to cause your dog more harm than good. The best way to avoid this is to opt for dog foods made with wholesome ingredients. Often, these foods do not contain any harmful substances.

And when it comes to protein, choose dog foods with a noticeable source as the first ingredient. This includes meat-based proteins like beef, fish, turkey, and chicken. Meat meals are also an acceptable ingredient.

Consistency Is Key

If your pooch is diagnosed with diabetes, one aspect you’ll need to pay more attention to is consistency. Essentially, you should feed your pup the same amount of food at the same time every day. By not varying the type of food you give your dog, you help to steady his blood sugar level; hence, keep it at normal range. If you intend to make changes to his diet, first consult your vet, who can advise you on the best way to go about it.

Reviews of the Best Dog Foods for Diabetic Dogs

Royal Canin Gylcobalance Dry Dog Food

ROYAL CANIN Glycobalance Dry (7.7 lb) Dog Food
  • Controlled amounts of fat
  • Balanced fiber blend to moderate your pet's glycemic response and reduce the symptoms of fiber-responsive conditions

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Royal Canin is one of the most trusted dog food brands—and more so by diabetic dog owners. This particular offering is designed specifically for pups diagnosed with diabetes. What makes this a great fit for this condition is the fact that it contains only complex carbs, which help to keep your dog’s blood sugar level in check.

Another plus of this dog food is that it provides an excellent balance of fiber; hence, aiding in the control of your dog’s glycemic response. It also helps in relieving symptoms brought about by fiber-related conditions.

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Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Gastrointestinal Dry Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet w/d Low Fat - Diabetic - Gastrointestinal Dry Dog Food 17.6 Pounds
  • balanced and complete dog food that promotes a healthy body weight in your pet
  • Hill's w/d dog food is formulated with extra carnitine and protein to increase your canine's metabolism

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another fantastic option for diabetic dogs is this recipe by Hill’s Pet Nutrition. This dog food provides an all-inclusive and balanced diet to help your pup attain a healthy weight. Even though it’s pricier than other dog foods on the market, the Hill’s Prescription has a lot going for it. For one, it contains high-quality ingredients, which address your diabetic dog’s nutritional needs.

Furthermore, the dog food is enriched with carnitine and protein, both of which are crucial for maintaining the ideal weight. These ingredients also aid in the regulation of blood sugar levels.

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Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Fiber Balance Adult Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets 1 Count Gastroenteric Fiber Balance Adult Dog Food, 18 lb
  • Ć’Moderate fiber normalizes intestinal transit time to help reduce fluctuations in blood glucose.
  • The prebiotic aleurone supports intestinal health.

Last update on 2019-01-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Purina is yet another reputable brand in the pet food industry and this fiber-filled dog food is a great option for a pooch that requires a carefully-controlled diet. One thing your dog will love about the Purina Pro Plan is that it’s very palatable. This means you won’t have a hard time convincing your pup to eat it.

Also, this food provides a good balance of calories and other nutrients. It’s fortified with omega-3 fatty acids to ease any inflammation. It also has prebiotics (aleurone) which are good for boosting your pup’s intestinal health.

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Orijen Regional Red Dog Food

Orijen Regional Red Dog- 5lb
  • A delicious product for your pet

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Orijen Regional red dog food is not precisely meant for diabetic dogs but it emphasizes on limited ingredients and high-quality carbohydrates, making it ideal for a diabetic dog. In fact, the carbohydrates present in this dog food are all low-glycemic, meaning that they’ll take a while to be converted to sugar; hence, they’re not likely to trigger a spike in your pup’s blood glucose level.

This food’s protein sources are also high-quality, featuring a variety of fresh meat types. Orijen contains muscle meat, organs,and cartilage, all of which provide your pooch with essential nutrients to stay healthy.

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Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Original Turkey & Chicken, 26-Pound Bag
  • Grain Free: 100% Grain Free, Complete And Balanced Everyday Nutrition For Your Dog
  • Protein Focused Nutrition: Naturally Grain Free, Rich With Delicious Premium Proteins Including Turkey And Chicken Combined With Real Vegetables And Essential...

Last update on 2019-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In case you want to buy your mutt a grain-free option, there’s no better option than the Wellness Core Natural dog food. With the glowing reviews that this dog food has received from customers, it is not surprising that it’s also recommended for diabetic dogs.

The Wellness Core places an emphasis on quality nutrition by incorporating ingredients like turkey and chicken. It also contains vegetables, which help to balance out the recipe while providing key nutrients to your pup. And the best thing, this dog food does not have any simple carbs, which are some of the main culprits for canine diabetes.

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The Bottom Line

A diagnosis of canine diabetes is one of the scariest things that a dog owner can go through. However, there’s no need to worry as the condition can be managed in a ton of ways. The first thing you’ll need to do is tweak your dog’s diet. By this, we mean getting rid of simple carbs and focusing on the low complex carbs. Even when choosing fog treats, ensure they do not contain sugars or a high glycemic index.

You should also decrease the amount of fat in his diet. The one ingredient that you should consider increasing is the fiber content. Fiber is important because it decelerates the rate at which foods as glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream; hence preventing a blood sugar spike. Overall, with proper care and management, your diabetic dog will lead a long healthy life.

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