As you know, the diagnosis of diabetes means there are going to be some lifestyle changes, the major changes being diet and weight management. This is the same with people and with dogs. If a veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with diabetes, your vet probably has already started advising you on which foods and brands of diabetic dog foods that your pup can eat. Here are some further dos and don’ts, a general rule of thumb, to go by when diabetic dog food is not available per se.
GOOD FOR YOUR DOG
- A natural diet of homemade and raw foods. This does not mean table scraps–a natural diet is planned and on purpose. This way you know exactly what your dog is eating. A natural diet doesn’t have to be expensive or hard work and there are many Websites with recipes that make it easy.
- Low fat meats. Choose high-quality meats with little fat like chicken, turkey, fish and eggs.
- A few fresh vegetables and raw fruits. Fresh veggies and fruits in moderation (but never grapes or raisins) are high in nutrients and vitamins, and have natural sugars, which are not bad for diabetics like processed and refined sugars are.
- Some grains. Certain grains like oats, brown rice and millet are beneficial for diabetic dogs. Used sparingly, these provide fiber which helps control insulin levels.
- Brewer’s yeast. This contains a substance known as ‘glucose tolerance factor’ which helps the body to use blood sugar more efficiently.
- Vitamin E. This aids in reducing the requirement for insulin.
BAD FOR YOUR DOG
- SUGAR. Do not feed your dog ‘people food’ or dog food that has sugar in it. Be sure to check that sugar or its other forms (sucrose, fructose, syrup, etc.) is not on the list of ingredients.
- Baked goods. Eliminate this from your dog diet, including most dog biscuits.
- Most fats. For instance, while turkey and chicken are OK, you should remove any skin and fat before giving it to your dog. Generally, you should not be giving your dog any foods that have been prepared in fats. A touch of fat is healthy and is already found naturally in meat. Other OK fats are quality fish oils.
- An all meat diet. Over time, this type of diet is harmful because of mineral and other imbalances. Dogs need balance found in grains and vegetables as well.
- Fatty meats. Meats with highly saturated fats like beef, ground beef, and pork should not be given.
- Most dry dog foods. Most dry dog foods are mainly made up of simple carbohydrates–not what a diabetic dog needs. However, dry diabetic dog foods are generally safe, but you still want make sure it is high in protein and vegetables. You still want to be sure to supplement dry food with quality wet food.
- Cornmeal. Some nutritionists also advise cornmeal, but sometimes dogs have allergic reactions to wheat and corn.
Just as with people, a dog with diabetes can have a high quality of life with a balanced lifestyle that includes a good diet, medication if necessary and regular exercise.