The Complete Canine Diabetes Diet – What To Feed Your Dog

While planning a canine diabetes diet, you should first understand the basic metabolic interaction of carbohydrates. The right diabetes diet for dogs will mainly involve regulated amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, along with some fiber content.

Things To Know About Framing A Canine Diabetes Diet

The dosage of insulin to be taken and the frequency of the dosage largely depend on the body’s carbohydrate tolerance. Blood glucose levels typically rise after meals, and for this reason, the need for insulin is increased.

canine diabetes diet

A canine diabetes diet needs to have the right amount of all nutrients

Diabetic dogs usually have low levels of insulin in their body, and for this reason, carbohydrates have to be supplemented cautiously in their diet as they contribute towards excessive blood sugar. Different dogs respond in different manners to dietary modifications, so there is no ‘specific diet’ for diabetic dogs. You can however vary the dietary components while framing a canine diabetes diet.

How To Plan A Canine Diabetes Diet – The Many Components


The energy required for day-to-day activities is mostly derived from carbohydrates. The doses of insulin that you provide to your dog and the amount of carbohydrates to be supplemented largely depend on each other. If you keep the dietary carbohydrates steady, insulin needs can also be maintained steadily.

  • Simple carbohydrates (like propylene glycol, sugars) are easily broken down by the body, causing a steep rise in blood sugar. These should be avoided.
  • Complex carbohydrates are slowly digested and so, the blood sugar levels do not rise abruptly. These can be included in small quantities.

The Right Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a measure of the effects of dietary carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. It measures the rise in blood sugar per gram of carbohydrate in food, with respect to its rise due to glucose. It is ideal to add foods that have a low glycemic index in the canine diabetes diet.

  • Low Glycemic Index

Foods items that fall under this category release glucose slowly but steadily. Fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes are examples that can be immediately added to any diabetes diet.

  • Medium Glycemic Index

Foods like whole wheat products, honey, sweet potatoes, sucrose, and brown rice fall under the Medium Glycemic Index category. Such foods can be rarely included in a canine diabetes diet.

  • High Glycemic Index

Glucose, white rice, and white bread have a high glycemic index. These foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels after their consumption and should be avoided.

Charts that display the glycemic indices of various food products are commercially available, and you can use these while framing a canine diabetes diet.


Proteins do not raise blood sugar levels abruptly, so you can increase the protein content in order to cut down on the carbohydrates. Foods that are based on cereals and pulses are rich in protein, and fishes, meat are protein-rich foods too.

Fatty Foods

Like most diabetic dogs, if your dog is overweight, food items that contain fat should be restricted. Obesity is the main culprit in canine diabetes, as fat accumulates and increases the body weight, posing risk to your canine.

Omega fatty acids should help in this regard as they are good for the body. Fish oil and liver oil are rich in omega fatty acids.

For weight reduction in dogs, additional L-carnitine supplements can be included. L-carnitine is an amino acid that improves the breakdown of fats and helps maintain the body mass. Beef is a good choice in this regard. L-carnitine also helps prevent muscle wasting during weight loss.

Fibrous Foods

Fibrous foods are extremely essential for the body, and there are two types of fibers involved. These are:

  • Viscous Fibers

These are soluble fibers that are responsible for the formation of gases in the intestines. The bacteria present in the colon ferment and produce gases, and excess gas can speed up the absorption of glucose. High soluble fiber supplements can cause diarrhea and abdominal discomfort in your dog, so soluble fibers should be avoided.

Soluble fibers mainly include pectins, psyllium, guargum, and lactulose.

  • Insoluble Fibers

These are inert and have water retention properties, and they do not form gases. They swell up by absorbing water, so you should provide adequate water to your dog to prevent the risk of constipation. The side effects of insoluble fibers include vomiting, voluminous stools, flatulence, and retarded absorption of other nutrients.

The Need For Snacks In A Canine Diabetes Diet

As insulin dosages and carbohydrates are closely dependent, it is important to provide your dog extra treats between meals. They help prevent sudden spells of hypoglycemia (sudden fall in the blood sugar level). Examples of such snacks include dehydrated meat pieces, dried salmon, freeze-dried liver, and dried beef tendons.

It is important to find the best food items that best suit your dog in order to plan the right canine diabetes diet. The contents of commercially available diabetic dog foods usually have rich protein, high fiber, and complex carbohydrates.