Prescription diets are often recommended for dogs with diabetes, but they aren’t essential & many owners find their dogs aren’t that keen on them. Ensuring your dog eats all their food, at the same time every day, is the single most important element of managing the condition so it’s important that your dog loves their dinners!
Foods high in complex carbs & fibre help glucose to be released slowly & evenly in your dog’s body, so if you’re feeding a diabetic dog it makes sense to ensure the carb element of their food contains lots of complex, low-medium glycaemic carbs (barley, maize, oats, brown rice, peas & sweet potato) and as few simple carbs/ high glycaemic foods as possible (wheat/cereals, white potato & white rice).
Lots of meat-based protein is also good for diabetic dogs – but meat & fat tend to come together, and diabetic dogs will always benefit from a lower fat food – so it’s a balancing act.
Diabetes can predispose a dog to pancreatitis so if your dog has already had a bout of pancreatitis then it’s important to keep the fat content around 8%, but if this hasn’t been an issue so far then you may be able to allow a little more fat into their diet, provided you keep a close eye on the fat content in treats etc. 13% would probably be the maximum, however.
Keeping your dog trim is an essential part of managing diabetes because obesity can contribute to insulin resistance which makes managing the condition more difficult. L-Carnitine, an essential amino acid, plays a pivotal role in fatty acid metabolism. It may help control diabetes by improving fat metabolism & maintaining lean body mass. L-carnitine is found in highest concentrations in beef & lamb but it has also been added as a supplement in all the lowest fat options (8-9%) listed below.
It’s also important to offer only low fat, low carb, sugar-free treats (note: many soft/ semi-moist treats contain propylene glycol or similar ingredients in them), so reading the analysis on the back of the back of the bag is essential!
(Please be aware that we are not vets. The information given here is intended as a general guide & should not replace the directions received from your vet)