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Diabetic Dog Food

Diabetic Dog Food

We are all aware of the dangers of diabetes in humans, but what about dogs? Although not as common in dogs as in humans, diabetes is still a major health concern among responsible dog parents. Diabetes is the most frequently reported endocrine disorder in dogs, affecting about 1 in 200 dogs. (1)

Dog parents must understand that diabetes in dogs is not a temporary issue. It is life threatening condition that requires lifelong commitment to insulin injections and feeding and dietary strategies.

Definition

Diabetes is a condition that occurs when a dog’s body is either unable to produce or unable to adequately utilize the hormone insulin. The purpose of insulin is to help regulate the dog’s blood sugar level, keeping it from skyrocketing too high or dropping too low. (2)

Diabetic dog food

The best approach for managing diabetes is by proper dietary strategy. Diabetic dog food should consist of a fixed formula with consistent:

  • high levels of high-quality proteins
  • high levels of dietary fiber
  • low levels of carbohydrates
  • low levels of fats.

Ideally, at least 30 to 40% of the calories in your diabetic dog’s food would come from protein and less than 30% of calories would come from fat and carbohydrates each. (3)

Healthy dietary fiber is an integral part of all diabetic dog foods. Fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods and there are 2 types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Healthy dietary fiber have low caloric density and contribute in weight reduction. Healthy dietary fiber also promote satiety feeling, thus limiting the voluntary ingestion of food. Additionally, certain fiber, such as CMC (carboxymethylcellulose) slows down the emptying of the stomach, and by doing so, slows the delivery of sugar into the bloodstream.

Tip: Fiber takes water from the body and if your dog does not drink enough, it may lead to constipation. When using diabetic dog food, make sure your dog has a plenty of fresh water at its disposal.

When it comes to diabetic dog food is not the carbohydrate itself that matters, as much as its glycemic index. The glycemic index measures the effects of the food’s carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. If a food has low glycemic index it is digested slowly and steadily and it slows down the delivery of sugar into the bloodstream. Typical examples of carbohydrates with low glycemic indexes include ancestral cereals such as oats, spelt and barley. At the opposite side of the scale, rice which has high glycemic index, is digested quickly and results with blood sugar peak and sudden high demand for insulin.

Tip: Since any change in carbohydrates affects the amount of insulin needed, try to feed the same amount of the same type of food at the same time each day, ideally in two meals, 12 hours apart. (4)

Specially formulated diabetic dog foods induce an optimal and gradual post-prandial glycemic response that modulates the insulin release. Simply stated, they help keep the blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Keeping the blood sugar levels normal makes it less likely, your dog will get diabetes related complications such as vision clouding (cataract) and urinary tract infections. (5)

Note: Putting your diabetic dog’s blood sugar levels under control takes time. Do not get discouraged if the blood sugar levels are not optimal at your first checkup at the vet.

How to improve the taste of diabetic dog food?

Even the best diabetic dog food can be useless if your dog does not like how it tastes. Fortunately you can improve the diabetic food’s taste and make it more tempting by adding:

  • 1 tablespoon of low-carb canned food in the regular diabetic food
  • few small pieces of shredded chicken in the regular diabetic food
  • 3 tablespoons of low-sodium chicken broth in the regular diabetic food.

Tip: Never inject insulin on empty stomach, since it can make your dog sick.

What to avoid?

Soft, semi-moist and wet foods must be avoided, because they are very high in sugar and stimulate the greatest blood sugar increase after eating.

Can I give my diabetic dog treats?

As funny and mischievous it gets, on occasions your dog is a good boy/girl. And on those occasions he/she deserves a reward. Do not deprive your dog of treats. As long as the treat has low glycemic index and low caloric density it is safe for your diabetic fur baby.

Tip: Replace commercial dog treats with diabetic friendly whole food treats, such as carrots, chunks of melon, apples (without peel and seeds), broccoli and blueberries.

Seeking professional opinion

No matter how many insightful blogs you have read and how many well-educated salespersons at local pet stores you have talked to, always go a step further and seek professional opinion. Talk to your trusted vet or dog nutritionist. Every diabetic dog needs tailored approach and modified dietary strategy. A true professional will take into consideration your dog’s:

  • current state of health
  • body weight
  • level of physical activity.

Diabetes in dogs is chronic and serious, but effectively manageable health condition. The key to controlling and treating diabetes is by regulating the blood sugar levels. Luckily canine nutrition has come a long way in recent years and a properly controlled diet can keep the blood sugar levels within acceptable limits.

All in all, although scary, having your dog diagnosed with diabetes, is not the end of the world. With proper care and devotion, your dog can live a long and healthy life.

Products

Here you can see the latest products of our Diabetic Dog Food Category. Use the flavor sprays to tasten up the food for your best friend!

Find all products here.

Key words: diabetic dog food, blood sugar levels, low glycemic index, healthy dietary fiber

References:

1. Fogle B. (2005) Caring for your dog, The complete canine home reference, D&K

2. Barrington K. (2016) Diabetic Dog Food, online article at: https://pawster.com/diabetic-dog-food/

3. https://www.1800petmeds.com/education/diets-diabetic-pets-11.htm

4. Straus M. & Puotinen C. J. (2017) Managing diabetes in dogs, online article at: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_5/features/Canine-Diabetes-Diagnosis-and-Treatment_20521-1.html

5. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/diabetes-dog-diet#1

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What should you really feed your Senior Cat?

What should you really feed your Senior Cat?

One thing that all of us fear as pet owners is when our animals start to get older we won’t know what to do for them, or feed them. I know with my dearly loved Dutchy reaching the age of 13 this year I have seen some changes in her that need addressing, the biggest difference for us is what Dutchy will eat. Working on the research on what is the best thing to feed Dutchy, I have come across some helpful tips I would like to share with all cat owners on feeding a senior cats.

Basic Do’s & Don’ts

Do make sure that you keep your senior cat’s diet well balanced and something they will want to eat. You need to make sure it has all required potassium and taurine content. This is important no matter what age the cat is.

Don’t serve food that is super high in minerals and avoid the high protein kitten foods unless directed by your vet.

Do consider adding more fiber in your cat’s diet. Seniors are more likely to get constipation and if your vet can find no other medical reason for it fiber could be the cause.

Do think about warming wet food. If your cat is eating a wet food diet do think about warming it up a bit, many older felines prefer warmer food, especially if it has come right out of the fridge.

Don’t feed table scraps. Giving your senior cat (or any cat) table scraps is not advisable and it may put them off the regular food that they eat.

Do make sure you switch food over carefully and slowly in a mix if you change foods fully.

The first thing that many cat owners do when their cat hits that special age of being a senior which is 7 by most standards on food is run out and buy a bag of senior cat food. The truth is that many cats do not actually need that kind of food. There are very few differences in most kibble adult foods and kibble senior cat foods. When it comes down to it most brands have just used an age label as a way to market food to you and make you think that you need a special food. The truth is as long as you are feeding a high quality food that cuts out most of the fillers your cat is going to be doing fine.

What to keep an eye on with your food label

Meat is the first ingredient.

Depending on what you pick for your protein source you always want to see real meat as the first ingredient meaning that is what there is most of.

Do not be afraid of meat meal.

Chicken meal, turkey meal, salmon meal anything such as that is not a bad thing. It is simply that protein with the water already removed. So it is a great source of protein.

Avoid fillers.

So what is a filler? Well a food loaded with a lot of grains, or by-products will have a lot of fillers. Cats are obligate carnivores so they really do not need a lot of vegetable based anything.

Stay away from dyes.

While the pretty red, green and yellow food kibbles might look nice they are not actually healthy for your cat of any age. Stay with a natural colored food.

The bottom line is to know your cat. If you see that they are not eating, or dropping weight it is time to reevaluate your food. Dutchy gave us signs her mouth had become more sensitive and she needed more water content. Doing my due diligence we settled on some high quality wet food several times a day, it did the trick for Dutchy and that is what matters. So that really is the key, if your senior cat is doing fine on the quality food you have been feeding them do not switch it unless you need to.

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