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Nutrition for Diabetic Dogs

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Authored by Douglas Mefford in Dogs
Published on 11-24-2009

As with humans, your dog can also develop diabetes. There are several very important steps you must take in order to maintain a long and healthy life for your pet. The major symptoms that can warn you of a diabetic danger to your dog include excessive urination coupled with heavy drinking. Noticeable weight losses without a reduction in eating and lethargic stretches are all indicators that you need to have your dog checked for diabetes.

Once diagnosed with this potentially fatal disease, you must train yourself and your dog to follow a specific routine. You will need to set up a regular schedule for feeding rather than let your pet nibble throughout the day from a standing bowl. This consistent feeding schedule will help keep the insulin levels stabilized throughout the day. This feeding routine is especially important if your dog requires insulin shots. It is essential that your dog eat within a half-hour of being given insulin to prevent hypoglycemia. A similar routine for exercise is also necessary for keeping the blood sugars at an even level.

The health of a diabetic dog is very dependent on the specific nutritional components of its food. Your dog’s diet must be consistent. A near perfect balance will supply over 40% of the caloric intake from carbohydrates. Fat content should be kept to fewer than 25% of the total calories your dog eats. The diabetic dog requires highly digestible protein. This is best provided through meat such as chicken or lamb. Beef is not a good choice, as it tends to have too high a fat content. Proteins from cereals, soy and corn gluten are not recommended. You should make sure your dog has plenty of clean drinking water all the time.

Working with your dog to reach its ideal weight is another critical aspect of treating the diabetes. Slowly build up the weight of an underweight dog but avoid high calorie diets, especially those that contain a high level of soluble carbohydrates. Since obesity is a major cause of insulin resistance, a high fiber diet can help shed some of the excess weight. As it loses weight, your dog’s insulin requirements will also drop back to safer levels.

You should not let your diabetic dog have between meal snacks. There are some types of reward treats your veterinarian can recommend as an occasional extra. Digestion releases glucose into the bloodstream. The types of food you feed your dog will have a direct effect on its glucose levels. High sugar content will give a rapid glucose increase. Complex carbohydrates such as starch and fiber take longer to digest and thus release the glucose more slowly. Ideally the best diet for your diabetic dog will have a very low fat content with a high level of complex carbohydrates and fiber.

As time goes by, your dog’s medical requirements will change. With care and regular checkups, your dog should still manage to lead a long and active life as a loyal companion for you and your family.

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