Diabetes and Diet

Diabetes.  It has become more and more common in the dog world.  There can be different causes – heredity, illnesses that effect the pancreas and even poor nutrition when our dogs are fed diets existing primarily of carbs and live a life of low activity and the resulting obesity.  Striking most dogs around the ages of 7-9 years, dogs can also develop Juvenile Diabetes at less than a year of age.  Just as in humans, dogs with diabetes can be insulin dependent or their blood sugars can be controlled by diet.  Even where insulin is necessary, though, diet remains a hugely important facet of keeping your diabetic dog healthy.

Number one in dealing with a diabetic dog is keeping sugars out of their diet.  Commercial kibbles tend to be FULL of

Excessive drinking can be one early sign of diabetes in your dog

sugars of one kind or another.  Cane molasses, sorbitol, corn syrup, fructose and plain old “sugar” all make their presence known in many of the most popular dog foods on the shelves.  This doesn’t even take into account the carbohydrates that often make up well over 50% of the actual kibble.  Carbs turn to sugar in the bloodstream.  You could study ingredients for hours, searching for different types of sugars but when they exist in the form of carbohydrates its easy for you to miss them and operate under the erroneous assumption that you are feeding a “sugar free” meal to your dog.  This could be a matter of life and death for your dog.  All in all its not the best idea to feed your dog any commercial dog foods if they are diabetic – it makes diet nearly impossible to control.

Since the pancreas is involved in the disease, it is also important to be able to control fats in your diabetic dog’s diet.  Dogs need fat for energy BUT a dog with a compromised pancreas is not equipped to handle large amounts of fat and therefore it must be reduced somewhat in the diet as a whole.  Again, when feeding a commercial kibble or canned diet, this can be nearly impossible.  You have no say as to what is added to your pet’s food, in fact you can’t really be sure WHAT is actually in that stuff!  Ingredient lists on commercial foods are often dense and difficult to understand.  Can you figure out how much fat is truly in the food?  If you wanted to decrease the amount is it even possible?  Not really.

Feeding your diabetic dog a homemade diet is almost an essential part of keeping them healthy.  The optimal diet to feed – a natural raw diet.  What other diet gives you such control?  Many people would argue that home cooking would do the job as well.  While it is certainly a “better” choice than a commercial kibble, most cooked diets call for grains – which your dog simply doesn’t need.  It is also hard to monitor fats in a homecooked diet.  The cooking process changes fats so that they are harder for your dog to handle.  In a diabetic dog – because of the involvement of the pancreas – its important to have a decent amount of control over the fats in your dog’s diet.  Raw feeding is probably

Raw meaty bones. like these chicken necks, can easily have some skin and fat left on or taken off depending on the particular needs of your individual dog

the only way that you can have the level of control that you will need over your dog’s food.  First and foremost is the fact that you ALWAYS know what you are feeding your dog because its real food, food that you yourself could and would eat.  There are no hidden ingredients, there are no hidden sugars or carbs.  Your dog is restricted as to the amount of fat that he can have – but that doesn’t mean that fats are important to your dog still.  Since he must have a restricted fat diet, make sure that the fat he DOES get is in a form that it most usable and healthy for him.  Raw fats are easier to deal with and control than unknown fats as are in commercial foods or cooked fats as you would find in home cooked meals.  Diabetic dogs need to stay lean – there isn’t an easier way to control amounts than by feeding raw because everything you feed is something your dog needs.  Getting weight off of a dog that eats raw is far easier than any diet that includes unknown ingredients or carbohydrates.  Keeping the weight off – just as easy.

Diet for a diabetic dog is incredibly important JUST as it is for a diabetic human.  The goal of anyone with a diabetic dog is to keep their blood sugar levels stable and healthy.  If your dog is insulin dependent than it doesn’t follow that diet won’t matter.  How you feed and what you feed will still have an impact.  Logically there is no reason one would NOT feed a raw diet to their diabetic dog.  It is by far the easiest and safest way to control just what your pet takes into his body and with a disease like diabetes, eating the wrong thing COULD in fact cause your pet to die far sooner than he would have.  It is a disease where diet could be everything and for your pet’s well being, raw is most certainly the obvious way to go.