Controlling the diet of a dog with diabetes mellitus is probably the most important part of treating the disease, with the exception of insulin injections given at periodic intervals.
Why Is Controlling the Diet of a Diabetic Dog So Important?
Regulating the blood glucose levels (sugar in the blood) is the key to controlling and treating the symptoms of diabetes. Without a properly controlled diet, keeping the blood glucose levels within acceptable limits is impossible.
This is because any food that your dog eats has a direct impact on his blood glucose levels and different types or quantities of food will cause differing reactions.
What Type of Food Is Best for Dogs with Diabetes Mellitus?
The type of food fed to a diabetic dog is much less important than the consistency of the diet. As long as the food is a high-quality diet that is complete and balanced, your diabetic dog will do fine with it.
When Should A Dog with Diabetes Be Fed?
Ideally, a diabetic dog should be fed twice daily, with each meal given 30-45 minutes prior to his insulin injections, assuming that he receives insulin twice daily. This is because after your dog eats, his blood glucose level will increase. The insulin will work to drive the glucose levels back down and keep them within a normal range.
Consistency Is the Key to Feeding a Diabetic Dog
Keeping the diet of your diabetic dog consistent is important.
Feeding the same quantity of food at the same time each day and not varying the type of food given will help to keep your diabetic dog's blood glucose levels steady and within normal range.
Keep Your Diabetic Dog Lean
The quantity of food — or more specifically, the number of calories — should be geared toward keeping your dog at a lean body weight, or returning your dog to a lean body weight if he is obese or overweight.
Though diabetes is not caused by being overweight, dogs that are overweight or obese are less healthy than those that are kept lean.
Because dogs with diabetes are usually insulin-dependent, the amount of insulin given can be adjusted to adequately control the blood glucose level based on your dog's physiological reaction to the food he is eating. Keeping his diet consistent will avoid having to make frequent unnecessary changes in insulin requirements in response to constantly changing blood glucose levels.
If his or her diet and exercise regimen are consistent, your dog's insulin needs are more likely to remain consistent as well — though you should monitor and it may need to be adjusted on occasion.