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Diabetes in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatments and Dietary Management

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 sugar.

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.

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WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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