Best Overall: Merrick Grain
What We DidntLike
Contains some plant-based protein sources which arent ideal for dogs Hard to find outside of specialty pet stores Relatively high salt content
We loved that Merrick only uses the highest quality ingredients and serves up whole foods that your dog will enjoy eating. As a bonus, its on the more affordable end of high-quality dog food making it our number one overall pick.
Merrick serves up a highly effective dry dog food thats a smart choice for diabetic dogs. How does this formula stack up?
Its loaded with 65% protein, and we found this food will provide ample energy, which is crucial since this is a low-carb formula ideal for dogs with diabetes. This protein comes from deboned beef as the primary ingredient.
We love that this formula is grain-free and packed with just the right amount of good fats for your pups optimum health. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help the skin and coat.
There are no poultry and no poultry by-products in this formula, and its also grain-free which we found important for dogs with allergies or diabetes. Still not sure how to manage canine diabetes? This article discusses the best diet for dogs with diabetes.
We also value that the chondroitin and glucosamine in this formula can promote hip and joint health in dogs. Its made from real whole foods and packed with fiber, so this dry dog food is a nutritional powerhouse that wont spike blood sugar.
Natures Variety Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain
To help your dog achieve and maintain a healthy body weight while also supporting his nutrition, we recommend this Natures Variety Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Chicken Recipe. This recipe features a combination of high-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw bites in a healthy, nutritious recipe that provides plenty of protein and fiber with moderate fat content and a low glycemic rating. It is made with fresh chicken as the main ingredient with turkey meal, chicken meal, and menhaden fish meal as supplemental sources of lean protein. This recipe is rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus it contains fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients. It is supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion as well as vitamin and chelated mineral supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.
- Pros: High-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw bites, several premium animal proteins, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotics, rich in omega fatty acids
- Cons: Expensive to feed as a staple diet, some dogs may be sensitive to chicken ingredients
Important Considerations When Selecting A Diabetic Dog Food
There are a lot of high-fiber, low-fat foods on the market, but that doesnt mean theyre all good. In fact, several have very troubling traits that should cause you to look elsewhere.
Look for Products Manufactured in a Country with Rigorous Safety Protocols
Different countries have different food safety guidelines, and this is especially true of pet foods.
To increase your chances of providing your dog with a safe, adulterant-free food, try to pick one manufactured in one of the following countries:
Avoid Foods Listing a Carbohydrate as the First Ingredient
Dogs require meat-based diets to look, feel, and act their best, so you always want to use a food that lists a whole protein, such as deboned chicken or fish, as the first ingredient.
Carbohydrates are obviously important components of any dog food, but they should occur farther down the list. Remember, you are ideally looking for a food with a carbohydrate content below 25%.
Not all carbohydrates are created equally either. For example, while there is nothing particularly wrong with corn, it isnt the best carbohydrate for dog foods especially in the case of diabetic dogs. Instead, try to look for foods that utilize carbs like brown rice or bran.
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Symptoms Of Dog Diabetes
How can you be certain that your dog has diabetes before switching to sugar-free dog food? Generally, theres a steady onset of diabetes over several weeks that may go unnoticed for a while. The main symptoms include:
- Excessive water consumption
- Frequent and/or excessive urination
- House accidents
- Greater than average appetite
- Sugar smelling breath
- Cloudy eyes or cataracts
You might not notice canine diabetesuntil your dog has symptoms. When finally diagnosed, about 40% of dogs have elevated ketone levels, and some are already in diabetic ketoacidosis when first treated.
Which Ingredients Should Be Avoided To Keep My Dogs Glucose Sugar At A Healthy Level
Whether youre looking for a dog formula, supplement, or snack, its essential to avoid products with molasses, dextrose, syrup, fructose, and maltose. While a bit of natural sugar, such as honey or maple syrup, may not be initially harmful, including any sweeteners or ingredients high in glucose or carbohydrates is not recommended.
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Check The Ingredients List
Not all foods suitable for a diabetic dog are marked with the word ‘diabetic’ â it would be much easier to choose if they were. But there are still plenty of well made, well prepared dog foods that are suitable for your diabetic dog.
However, while there are certain ingredients that diabetic dogs should avoid, not all dogs are the same. Your pet pooch might not be a fan of a certain flavor or intolerant to another ingredient. So it is always a good idea to check the ingredients list on any diabetic dog food that you are looking to buy.
What To Look For In Diabetic Food
Even if a dog food isnt labeled diabetic-friendly, that doesnt mean it wont work for your canine. Heres what to look for in formulas that could support your dog.
A high-protein diet can help lower your dogs blood sugar levels and improve glucose control.
Plus, a higher-protein diet keeps your dog satiated and less likely to overeat or beg for more food. This, in turn, can help diabetic dogs lose weight and maintain healthy muscle mass.
And, by keeping blood sugar levels balanced, protein can help your dog avoid extreme diabetic symptoms, like dehydration and fatigue.
Diabetic dogs can and should eat healthy carbs. However, they dont need as many as other dogs.
Instead, focus on complex carbohydrates like oats, and avoid foods that dont have quality protein sources but are filled with carbs.
Fiber is vital for all dogs. But for diabetic pooches, its essential.
A higher fiber can help lower blood sugar levels. And, it helps keep your pups digestive system regular and free of inflammation.
Low Glycemic Index
As noted before, low glycemic index foods keep your dogs blood sugar from spiking unnecessarily. This is especially important if your dog is a Type I diabetic since its harder to manage insulin levels.
Carbohydrates lower on the glycemic index include most legumes and beans, potatoes, and grains like oats, barley, and brown rice.
Low to Moderate Fat
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Dog Diabetes Diet: What Is Diabetes In Dogs
Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes in dogs, is a chronic metabolic disorder that occurs when the dog’s body cannot utilize glucose the way it’s supposed to .
The dog’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to turn food into energy, or the cells in a body are failing to use insulin properly.
The first stage is known as type 1 diabetes in humans, and that is the only type of diabetes that affects dogs .
The timely diagnosis of diabetes in dogs is crucial for successful management.
If you notice that your dog displays excessive thirst or increased urination, which are just some of the symptoms of diabetes, take him to the vet.
Your vet will help you develop a diabetic dog diet plan and explain what to feed a diabetic dog to alleviate the symptoms.
Even though the exact cause of dog diabetes is unknown, some factors that might lead to diabetes in dogs include genetics, autoimmune disease, obesity, and chronic pancreatitis .
Female dogs are at greater risk at later stages in life. Some breeds are more at risk of diabetes, like Australian Terriers, Schnauzers, Poodles, and Dachshunds .
So what to feed a diabetic dog to reverse the condition? Unfortunately, you cannot cure diabetes in dogs.
However, studies found that pets can still have a normal and healthy life with proper management and a well-designed diabetic dog diet .
Natural Dog Food: Ketona
Natural dog food is always going to be the best food for dogs with diabetes because it is void of the chemicals that other dog foods are processed with. When your dogs body has to process chemicals that act as toxins to him, this is one more step that takes away from other things the body could be doing. However, you still need to make sure that your natural dog food has a low carbohydrate content so that you are buying food that will assist in managing diabetes.
Check out our comparison of Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo, two of the leading natural dog food providers, to learn more.
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Best Specialty Formula: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dry Dog Food
Type: Glycobalance formula | Design: All life stages | First 3 ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, barley, corn gluten meal | Best for: All breeds with diabetes and weight problems | Price: $$$
What We Liked
Glycobalance formula is specialized for diabetic dogs Antioxidants for a strong immune system Comes in a variety of bag sizes High protein, low carb content
What We DidntLike
Youll need a pet prescription to purchase food Brand doesnt offer a grain-free version
Royal Canin is a highly reputable brand, so how does this dry dog food from their Veterinary Diet line compare? Firstly, this is a dedicated Glycobalance formula designed to support dogs with diabetes, so youll be getting a specialized solution from a company you can trust.
We like that the food is loaded with protein while maintaining a reduced level of starch. This will help your dog pack on some lean muscle without straying into obesity. Our lucky test dog for this formula gave it a tail-wagging positive review for flavor.
The formula is packed with antioxidants ideal for strengthening your dogs immune system. You will need a pet prescription for this food, but this can be uploaded and verified at the time of purchase, so dont let this put you off.
While making general modifications to your diabetic dogs diet can pay dividends, buying dedicated diabetic food gives you an even stronger chance of successfully managing your pups condition.
Managing Your Diabetic Dogs Diet
Heres a summary of what you need to remember in order to manage your diabetic dogs diet:
- The most important thing for your diabetic dogs diet is that he likes his food and eats it willingly at each meal.
- Most diabetic dogs do best eating two meals per day, 12 hours apart. Feed the same amount of food, with the same amount of carbs, at each meal and feed your dog at the same scheduled time each day to help control his blood glucose level.
- There is no single best diet recommended for diabetic dogs.
- Most diabetic dogs do not require a prescription diet. They can eat a normal adult maintenance diet unless they have a concurrent health problem that requires a special diet.
- Most diabetic dogs do not need a high fiber diet. They can eat a diet that is moderate in fiber like other dogs.
- You do not have to feed your diabetic dog a high protein diet but you can.
- Diabetic dogs do not necessarily require a low fat diet. However, diets that are moderately low in fat are a good idea for some diabetic dogs because of the association between diabetes, pancreatitis, and other health issues involving fat. Strive to maintain your diabetic dog at a healthy weight.
Naturally there are other things to know about feeding your diabetic dog and managing his condition, but these points should be at the top of any dog owners list. Its not easy for any dog lover to hear that their dog has diabetes but you should know that this is not a death sentence.
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What To Feed A Diabetic Dog
Include high-quality protein from lean meats and fish in your dogâs diet. Lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, and many types of fish are all good protein sources.
You can also add eggs to your pet’s diet and some dairy products, like low-fat cottage cheese.
Some fruits and berries are good in tiny amounts because they contain many antioxidants and some fiber.
However, they are high in natural sugars and will spike glucose levels, so use moderation.
To keep your dog’s gut flora in good shape, adding some plain yogurt as part of your diabetic dog’s regular diet can help digestion and nutrient absorption.
Alternatively to yogurt or other probiotic foods, you can also use probiotic supplements which have a higher concentration of good bacteria and are likely to provide better results than yogurt.
Green leafy vegetables are ideal for dogs with diabetes because they are high in fiber and low in fat and calories.
You can include vegetables like broccoli, celery, kale, asparagus in a diabetic dog diet. Carrots and sweet potatoes are also good for your dogâs digestion, but only in moderation since they contain higher sugars .
Some recommend adding grapefruit juice to a diabetic dog diet because it may help with weight control, but there’s little evidence of that.
You can add a little bit of it to your dogâs water or mix it with a meal. Same with cinnamon which may or may not serve as a substitute for insulin in the blood.
Sprinkle a minimal amount on your dogâs meal.
Original Instinct Wet Dog Food
A grain-free meal for dogs that is high in protein and low in carbs.
About: Instinct Original Grain-Free Canned Food is a very low-carb solution that some diabetic dogs may find suitable.
Beef, venison, beef stock, beef liver, flaxseed meal
- This dish contains the least amount of carbohydrates that we could locate.
- This canned food contains a variety of fruits and vegetables, as opposed to most other tinned foods.
- Protein-rich dish
- Contains more fat than is preferred by most owners.
- Using this as your dogs primary diet might be costly as other canned choices.
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Purina One Smartblend Lamb & Rice
This recipe bursts with red meat and low-starch, high-fiber vegetable content. I favor it because it is considers health from a number of perspectives. Diabetes may be the only health anomaly, but that is all the more reason to provide a well-balanced diet. Food provides the framework on which the body can grow and thrive.
When you give high-quality materials to the dog, they have the opportunity to benefit from the full nutrition of the source. This meal is a great option for busy families, since it is an all-inclusive dietary solution.
Given that it is relatively low on the caloric spectrum, portion control is less of an issue. Lamb is a wonderful protein source .
Since the protein comes from red meat, the iron content is high . Glucosamine inclusion makes this an amenable solution to senior dogs as well as adults.
- Includes red meat for iron content
- Suitable to seniors as well as adults
- Can be fed to all breeds of dog
What To Look For In Dog Food
Food is one of the most important factors in a dogs health that is within our control as owners. When shopping for new food for your dog, it is essential to take these factors into consideration.
- Age appriopriate food
Some other factors owners may want to consider include:
- Ethically sourced ingredients
- Manufacturing location
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Foods Diabetic Dogs Should Avoid
What to feed a diabetic dog to help manage their condition is as important as what you should avoid feeding them. Below are some foods to make sure to avoid:
- Semi-moist dog food. This food typically contains sucrose, fructose, and other simple carbohydrates that increase blood sugar levels. Read labels carefully and stay away from corn syrup and honey.
- High-fat foods. Its best to avoid foods like peanut butter and Milk-Bones that are high in fat and carbohydrates. If your dog is overweight, you might also have to cut out treats for a while, even if youre careful to feed them high-quality treats.
- Sugar. It should go without saying that refined sugar is a no-no for a diabetic dog. Sweetened dog treats can lead to spikes in glucose levels, followed by a dangerous drop in blood sugar.
Research shows a link between diabetes in pets and their owners if your dog has diabetes, studies say,Trusted SourcePubMed CentralArchive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.Go to source you may be at a higher risk of developing the condition, too.
What Are The Benefits Of Diabetic Dog Food
The main benefits of diabetic dog food are:
- High Fiber Content. High fiber in a dogs diet is important if they have canine diabetes. Fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, slows down the digestion process, slowing down the production of a dogs blood sugar.
- Low Carbohydrate Content. Low-carb recipes are typically used for weight management, but when dealing with diabetes in dogs, this style of food prevents the production of excess glucose.
- Low Sugar Content. Diabetic dog food contains much less added sugar than other adult dog food. This helps not only with managing blood sugar levels but also with weight management in general.
- High-Quality Ingredients. Since diabetic dog food recipes are very carefully formulated, most brands of kibble and wet dog food for pets with canine diabetes use only the best ingredients from natural sources.
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