Diabetes in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatments and Dietary Management
Obesity greatly reduces tissue responsiveness to
insulin and makes diabetes difficult to control. Accordingly, an overweight
diabetic dog should be put on a high-fiber, high-carbohydrate diet until he
reaches an ideal weight. Examples of such diets are Hill’s Prescription Diets
r/d and w/d, Purina OM, and Fit and Trim Dry. Avoid soft-moist foods and treats, which are high in
Hyperglycemia is less likely to occur if the dog is fed canned and dry
kibble foods containing high concentrations of fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Both of these components slow absorption and help minimize fluctuations in
blood sugar after eating. Some commercially available diets meeting these
requirements are Hill’s Prescription Diets w/d and r/d (canned and dry), Purina
OM, and Fit and Trim Dry.
Daily caloric requirements are determined by the weight and activity level
of the dog. Once those are established, the amount to feed is determined by
dividing the daily caloric requirement by the amount of calories per cup or can
of food. It is important to keep the number of calories constant from day to
day, because insulin requirements are computed on that basis.
It is equally important to maintain a strict schedule for insulin
injections. To prevent severe hyperglycemia after eating, do not give all the
day’s calories at one sitting. Divide the ration into equal parts and feed two
or three meals a day, or as directed by your veterinarian. Diabetic dogs do
best on a very regimented schedule with feedings and insulin injections being
given at the same times each day. Ideally, your dog should have the same levels
of exercise and activity.
A thin dog who has lost weight should be fed a low-fiber diet (low-fiber
diets have higher caloric density) such as Alpo Light (canned) or Iams Less
Active (dry) until weight is regained.