DIABETIC DOG: TIPS TO MANAGE HIS DIET
So, your dog has diabetes. Take a deep breath. With good care, your companion can lead a long, healthy life.
Like humans, when dogs have diabetes, staying trim is key. If your dog is overweight, losing some pounds can help his cells better use insulin, a hormone that keeps blood sugar levels in check. That makes it easier for his body to turn food into fuel.
The goal for any pooch with diabetes is to keep blood sugar (or glucose) levels as close to normal as possible. This helps your dog feel good and makes it less likely he'll get diabetes-related complications, such as vision-clouding cataracts and urinary tract infections.
Food as Fuel
Your veterinarian will determine how many calories your dog needs every day, based on his weight and activity level. Once you know that number, it's important to keep a close eye on what he eats and how much.
Researchers are still exploring what diet is best for dogs with diabetes. Most vets recommend a high-fiber, low-fat diet. Fiber slows the entrance of glucose into the bloodstream and helps your dog feel full. Low-fat foods have fewer calories. Together, the diet can help your dog eat less and lose weight.
But make sure your pooch drinks plenty of water. Fiber takes water from the body, and that can cause constipation and other problems.
Most dogs do fine with food you can buy at the store. But your vet may recommend prescription dog food or a homemade diet developed by a veterinary nutritionist. Your vet can tell you the best way to go about changing your dog's food.
Even the best diet won’t help if your dog doesn’t eat it, though -- and you can't give insulin to a dog on an empty stomach. It can make him very sick.
If your dog isn't eating as much, it could be because he doesn't like the food. It could also mean he has another problem, or that he's having diabetes-related complications. Talk with your vet.
Diabetic Dog: Tips to Manage His Diet
Dietary tips for dogs with diabetes
An excellent diet choice for a diabetic dog is a meat-based high protein food that is moderately fat and carbohydrate restricted. Carbohydrates, if included, should be low glycaemic (for example, barley or sorghum). Ideally, at least 30 to 40% of the calories in your diabetic dog's food would come from protein and less than 30% of calories would come from fat and carbohydrates each. Further dietary fat restriction may be necessary if your diabetic dog has pancreatitis or blood fat elevations.
Several studies indicate that high or moderately high–fibre diets may help some diabetics by minimizing their post–eating blood sugar fluctuations. While this is true for SOME dogs, a clear clinical benefit has not been shown for the majority of diabetic dogs. Sometimes high fibre diets will cause inappropriate weight loss (in a thin diabetic) and should be avoided. High fibre diets may also be associated with undesirable intestinal side effects such as decreased appetite (due to poor palatability), flatulence and diarrhoea or constipation. If your dog is very overweight or obese and in need of weight loss, you might consider a diet with higher fibre to aid in weight loss. Instead of changing to a high fibre diet formulation (which often contains inferior ingredients), you can also consider adding supplemental fibre to your dog's regular diabetic food in order to increase the overall fibre content while still maintaining a high quality food.
To best control your diabetic dog's sugar levels, it is important to feed consistent meals at fixed times each day. Ideally meals are timed to the insulin injection — for example, feed your dog and give insulin within 1 hour to help combat the blood sugar rise from the food. So the insulin works effectively at each meal, it is best that each feeding contains the same amount of calories and the same ingredients so that the insulin will have an expected effect.
Do not give treats at random throughout the day, as this can cause blood sugar spikes that the insulin may not be able to control. It is best to give treats when you know the insulin will be at peak effectiveness (usually around 4 to 6 hours after insulin injection). Many commercial treats are high in carbohydrates and sugars and should be avoided. Choose treats that are high in protein (freeze–dried meat) or give fresh lean meat. Don't overdue the treats—make sure that less than 10% of your dog's daily calories come from treats. In summary, most diabetic dogs can be well–controlled on a non–prescription maintenance commercial dog food. This food should be high in meat–based protein and lower in fat and carbohydrates for best results. Options to consider include Acana, Blue Buffalo, EVO (especially the weight management product), Halo, etc.
The following symptoms should be investigated as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes:
•Change in appetite.
•Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption.
•Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath.
•Urinary tract infections.
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