Feeding Diabetic Dogs

The aim of dietary change is to improve blood glucose control. This means reducing post prandial hyperglycemia and timing meals and insulin injections to obtain optimal glycemic control.

Type of Diet

Diabetic dogs should be fed a diet high in complex carbohydrates and containing adequate fiber.

  • Complex carbohydrates increase the gastrintestinal transit time.
  • Fiber delays gastric emptying and intestinal absorption.
  • Glucose is released slowly into the bloodstream.
  • The post prandial glucose peak is flattened which may allow the insulin dose to be lowered.

Commercial, ‘prescription’ diets for diabetic dogs are available. Prescription diets ensure consistent calorie content and nutritional completeness.

Diabetic dogs can be stabilized using their normal diet (home made or commercial supermarket diet). A dry form is preferable as the fiber content is usually higher than in moist foods. When feeding homemade diets the composition of the diet must be consistent from day to day to prevent unecessary fluctuations in insulin requirements.

Timing of meals

  1. Dogs administered insulin once daily

    • The first meal (e.g. 25-30% of the daily ration) is given prior to the morning insulin injection. This allows the owner to see that the dog is feeling well and eating normally before the insulin is administered.
    • The second meal (the remainder of the daily ration) is usually given about 6-8 hours later.
  2. Dogs administered insulin twice daily
    • The first meal (50% daily portion) is given prior to the morning insulin injection. This allows the owner to see that the dog is feeling well and eating normally before the insulin is given.
    • A second meal (50% daily portion) is usually given 12 hours later prior to the evening insulin injection.

feeding dogs with diabetes