Canine diabetes is either a deficiency or insensitivity to insulin. Insulin controls blood sugar or glucose needed for fuel or energy. If your pooch is diabetic, he needs a diet low in sugar or glucose. Treats can help stabilize blood sugar, but give them sparingly.
If your dog is urinating more than usual and drinking water excessively, he may be diabetic. Diabetic dogs drink water because they are producing and eliminating more urine. When sugar rises, it puts an overload on the kidneys and causes excessive sugar and water to seep into the urine.
He may lose weight because his body is breaking down fat and protein to produce more glucose. Other symptoms include cataracts, recurrent infections and lethargic behavior. Some dogs have an increased appetite. Treatment is essential to protect your pup's health.
Your veterinarian may prescribe oral medication, insulin and/or have you controlling your pup's sugar with a special diet. If your pup must take insulin, give it at the same time each day. Along with specific times for insulin, feed your dog on schedule and control the amount of treats you give him.
Your dog should eat a high-fiber diet low in glucose. Your vet will recommend a diabetic dog food or prescribe a dog food. Commercial dog foods are too high in sugar for a diabetic dog. The same is true for regular treats such as dog biscuits that you buy at the grocery store. Talk with your veterinarian about using treats effectively.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are good treats for your diabetic pup. Fruits need to be in moderation because of the starch content; however, the fiber in fruit is good for a diabetic dog. Fiber helps stabilize blood sugar. Consider blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pears and apples. Keep portions small. Vegetables are good choices because of their fiber content and lower caloric content. If you feed your dog carrots or broccoli, steam them first for better digestion. Other vegetables to consider are cabbage, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and zucchini. Green beans are a good choice. Freeze them first for added crunch appeal.
A number of dog food companies are manufacturing diabetic treats. Don't purchase a treat because it says it's for diabetic dogs. Learn to read labels. Avoid treats containing corn and soy. They are fillers and full of sugar. Look for dog treats containing whole grains such as oats and barley. Avoid treats having some form of sugar such as corn syrup, fructose or molasses. Any treat containing lean meats are good choices, but always read the caloric value of each treat. Too many good treats can still cause weight gain. Consider using your pet's dog food as a treat. Add some low-sodium chicken broth to the dog food and bake it in the oven.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.