When a dog has canine diabetes, it is important to regulate their food intake. Not only do you need to watch how much sugar they are consuming, you also need to monitor the amount of food they get, plus how often they are fed. It is usually recommended that you feed them 2 to 3 smaller meals throughout the day rather than one large meal. The smaller meals helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, while one large meal can cause insulin levels to spike high, only to have them plummet 12 hours later. When the blood sugar drops too low, your dog could begin to suffer from hypoglycemia, a serious condition. If this should happen, you need provide immediate sugar to your dog (honey rubbed on the dog's gums will work) and get your pet to the vet's office immediately. This is much like a human diabetic who carries around a cube of sugar or a chocolate bar with them for just this purpose.
So, what should you feed your diabetic dog? The following are some guidelines that will help toward keeping insulin levels normalized and in control.
Avoid Foods That Contain Sugar
This would seem to be an obvious thing to do. Yet, most dog owners really have no idea just how much sugar and carbohydrates are contained in manufactured dog food. (For the record, carbohydrates are converted into glucose by the body - in other words - sugar). Dry dog food, as well as those soft-moist foods (in those cellophane packages) are the worst culprits. Should you continue to feed your dog commercial dog food, switch to a high-quality canned food instead - and read the ingredients on the label!
The Best Dog Food Diet Is Homemade
Raw and homemade dog foods are the best solution. In this way, you will know exactly what your dog is eating and how much sugar/carbohydrates they are consuming. Feeding a homemade diet doesn't have to be hard or expensive. There are many books on the market that can help you with recipes and advice.
Choose Foods Low In Fat
The pancreas not only regulates insulin and blood sugar levels, it also works to produce enzymes in the process of breaking down fat. As you don't want to over-stress the pancreas, you need to choose meats that are low in fat. Stay away from ground beef and other red meats and cut off the extra fat from chicken and turkey. Some fat is obviously necessary for good health...but try to keep it to a minimum.
Certain Grains Are Beneficial
Although you need to be careful with the amount of grain given an animal (animals don't digest grains as well as humans due to their shorter digestive tract), some grains are better to serve than others when it comes to canine diabetes. Rice, millet and oats are usually the preferable choices to help regulate insulin levels and provide fiber. Some professionals also recommend cornmeal, however dogs sometimes have allergic reactions to corn, as well as wheat. It's best to keep in mind that grains are carbohydrates which the body turns into glucose to use for energy, so keep it to a minimum.
Add Brewer's Yeast
A natural chromium-containing substance called "glucose tolerance factor" is found in regular brewers yeast. Its main function is to help assist the body in using blood sugar more efficiently. Try adding one teaspoon of brewers yeast to your dog's food with each meal.
Vitamin E is a natural supplement that helps to reduce the need for insulin in the body. Providing your dog with a Vitamin E capsule once per day is suggested. Recommended dosage is between 25UI and 200 UI, depending on the size of your dog.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Raw fruits and vegetables are ideal in providing vitamins and nutrients, while helping to keep blood sugars stabilized. The natural occurring sugars shouldn't throw insulin levels out of sync, unlike refined processed sugar.
Fruits are a great idea for a treat between meals; however don't include them with the main meals as the fruit could ferment in your dog's stomach when combined with meats, grains and vegetables.
Most vegetables can be served raw; however a few should be cooked, such as winter squash (good for diabetic dogs), dandelion greens, and potatoes. Raw foods such as alpha sprouts, parsley and garlic (capsule or fresh) are wonderful choices for this disease. Carrots can be either raw or cooked. (By the way - garlic helps to stimulate the digestive tract and is an excellent choice to serve your pet, regardless if the dog has diabetes or not).
The above dietary guidelines are just that - guidelines. It's important that you speak with your vet about a canine diabetes diet and also to serve the foods that your dog can tolerate well. Stay away from baked treats made with flour and sugar, as well as table scraps as these can cause insulin levels to become erratic.
Canine Diabetes - Diets Are Important
by Rose Smith
Rose Smith owns www.CaringForCanines.com Where dog owners can explore the benefits of holistic dog medicines and remedies. Find information on topics such as: dog nutrition, dog health problems, herbal &vitamin supplements, dog grooming, and more.