Diabetic Dog Proper Nutrition

by Karen Randall
(Fayetteville, AR, USA)

Reader Question: What is the best diet for a diabetic dog?

My 6 year old Maltese became diabetic a couple of years ago. He gets 2 insulin shots per day. He is blind now and his hair is falling out. His skin is also very dry.

I am being given several conflicting recommendations on what to feed my pup. Can you help me customize my dogs diet. I've been told high protein, low carb and low fat. When I gave my dog a 5 star dry food that was high protein, he developed pancreatitis and was back on an IV the next day. His stomach is very delicate and can't take much change.

Now I am working with a whole foods nutritionist that only sells 4-5 star dog foods and he is recommending raw diet- Natures Valley instinct raw to start out slow and mix with his current dry food-Fromm's-Senior. He has also been on Royal Canin Diet canned food and Purina OM (vet recommended). I would like to stay grain free as well.

I would appreciate some great advise and direction. I can read the labels and try to get the right numbers, I just don't know what the correct numbers are. I appreciate any help on nutrition for a diabetic dog.

Veterinarian Response: Best Dog Diabetes Diet

Hi Karen,

Do NOT change your dog’s food without involving your veterinarian! Managing a diabetic dog is a delicate balance between insulin dose and diet. If you change his diet, his insulin needs are going to change as well. A mismatch between diet and insulin can lead to high blood sugar levels or even worse, potentially fatal low blood sugar levels.

Most dogs have what is known as Type 1 diabetes, meaning that even if they eat the “best” diet, they still require insulin injections. In my opinion, your goal should be to find a nutritionally complete diet that your dog looks forward to eating. Once you find such a food, stick with it! Make sure that your veterinarian and nutritionist are working together towards this common goal.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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