Your veterinarian informs you that your dog has diabetes. Now what? Diabetes is an alarming diagnosis for people, but no less so when the patient is your four-legged family member. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
Portion Control For all diabetic dogs, whether overweight or not, it is important to adhere to the portions recommended by your vet. Rather than letting your dog graze on a bowl full of food throughout the day, feed him smaller meals twice or three times a day. This will help keep your dogs blood sugar and insulin levels stable.
Choose Your Food Wisely Vets often prescribe special dog food for diabetic dogs, but it can be expensive. If you select another brand, be aware that many commercial dog foods are not healthy choices for diabetic dogs. Read the ingredient label carefully. Ingredients are listed in order of concentration, so the items at the top of the list are the major ingredients. Diligently avoid brands that are high in sugar (which can be listed fructose, corn syrup, dextrose or other sugar products.)
Compare Labels Diabetic dogs not only need food that is low in sugar, but it should be high in protein and low in fat. Whole grains are rich in fiber and are very helpful because they help the body metabolize sugars more slowly. Oatmeal is especially popular in dog food and easy to find. Fruits and vegetables offer fiber beneficial nutrients, as well as sugars but they are safe for diabetic dogs.
Consider Making Homemade Food It can be time consuming, but homemade food is a good alternative to giving your dog the nutrition he needs. Talk with your veterinarian
Snack Wisely Pay particular attention to snacks. In general, dogs should get their calories from meals of dog food and diabetic dogs are no exception. Diabetic dogs should not have treats frequently, and you need to choose the type of treat you give very carefully. Many are very high in sugars and fat (because sugars and fats taste good) and offer no nutritional value. Look for dog treats that taste good, but have ingredients that are safe for your diabetic dog.
Your Veterinarian is an Expert Your vet cares about your pet and wants to give you guidance. If prescription food is too expensive for your budget, ask for guidelines that can help you choose a good commercial brand. As mentioned earlier, homemade food is another alternative and your vet can make recommendations for that option, too.
In summary, what and how you feed your diabetic dog is important. So is exercise and regular, open communication with your vet. All of these are aspects are important to helping your dog live a long, happy life.