Diabetes mellitus is a common disease for dogs. It is a result of inadequate production of insulin in the pancreas, and it can be deadly if not regulated. With dietary regulation and daily insulin injections, it is fairly easy to keep canine diabetes in check.
It’s difficult to monitor everything our dogs eat. While we’re out of the house, they may get into the trash, sneak into the cupboards, or find gross things around the yard to snack on. The best things we can do are keep human foods away from dogs, keep trash well protected, and feed them a healthy diet of kibble to keep their weight down.
Dry food is the healthiest for diabetic dogs. Kibble contains high concentrations of fiber and complex carbohydrates, and wet food has a higher caloric content and is more likely to result in obesity. There are some commercially available foods that meet the proper diabetes requirements, such as Hill’s Prescription Diets, Purina OM, and Fit and Trim Dry. You can also try cooking for your dog!
Keep your dog active. If you don’t have time in the day to take your dog for a walk or run, hire someone who can get him or her moving. Dogs should get a minimum of 30 minutes of activity a day, and so should humans. Try to include your dog in your exercise regimen (rather than go to the gym, run around the neighborhood with your pooch!). Playing a little Frisbee in the backyard is another easy way to encourage your dog to exercise.
Maintain a strict schedule of insulin injections. Ask your veterinarian how often you should provide the injections, and follow this schedule every day. In addition, plan your dogs meals throughout the day rather than all at once to avoid hyperglycemia. Diabetic dogs benefit from a regimented schedule of feedings and insulin injections.
Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight! Even if a dog is thin, he or she can be at risk for blood sugar problems. If your dog is too thin, feed him or her a low-fiber diet, such as Alpo Light or Iams Less Active, until weight is regained. If your dog is overweight, spread kibble feedings throughout the day to improve metabolism.