Diabetic Dog Food and Ways to Prevent Dog Diabetes

The word diabetes has struck fear in the hearts of many - whether humans or in their pets. When getting a diagnosis like that, it sounds like a death sentence. In this time and age though, diabetes is totally controllable. Through diabetic dog food, you are able to control the glucose levels in your best friend. 

We attempt to tell you all about dog diabetes, how to identify it, what to feed it and more in this article. Read on if you suspect your dog has diabetes or you just want to be more aware so that you can be on the lookout for signs. 

What is dog diabetes?

The scientific term for dog diabetes is diabetes mellitus. To put it simply, dog diabetes is when the dog’s glucose-insulin connection is not working properly. 

There are two types of diabetes mellitus.

1. Insulin deficiency diabetes 

Also referred to as ‘juvenile diabetes’, this is when your dog’s body does not produce enough insulin as its pancreas is either damaged or not functioning as it should. Usually, dogs with this type of diabetes will require daily shots of insulin. 

This is the most common type of dog diabetes.

2. Insulin resistance diabetes

This type of diabetes is when your dog’s pancreas is producing insulin but its body is not using it as it should. The dog’s cells do not respond to the insulin’s ‘message’ so glucose is not being disseminated into the cells. 

This is more common in older and obese dogs. Female dogs can also develop this condition while in heat or pregnant. 

You may be wondering if this sickness is treatable or not. Yes, it totally is. However, it also depends on how soon your dog is diagnosed with diabetes. If left untreated, your dog may develop many other conditions that can lead to death or affect its quality of life. 

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

You may notice a few early signs of diabetes in dogs. If you observe any of these, you may want to book an appointment with your veterinarian immediately for confirmation.

  • Excessive thirst. You may observe your dog drinking water more frequently than usual.
  • Increased urination. This happens when your dog’s body is trying to get rid of the excess sugar. 
  • Weight loss. Although your dog is eating normally and there is no decrease in food intake, your dog may be losing weight because its body is not converting nutrients from its food efficiently enough.
  • Increased appetite. As the dog’s body cells are not getting the necessary glucose, your dog will be hungry all the time. 

Early detection is very important for your dog’s wellbeing. A few advanced symptoms of diabetes will include

  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of energy
Loss of appetite

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Take your dog to the vet immediately. Your veterinarian will be able to do simple tests to check it for diabetes. The key is catching it early so that treatment can begin as soon as possible in order to increase the chances of your dog having a normal life. 

What causes a dog to get diabetes?

Some dogs are more prone to diabetes than others. However, there are a few factors that increase its risk. 

The following are some reasons why dogs have increased risk of diabetes:

Breed or genetics 

Although diabetes is not limited to certain breeds, these breeds of dogs are more prone to getting it. 

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Beagle
  • Boxer
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Chow Chow
  • Dachshund
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Finnish Spitz
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Hungarian Puli
  • Keeshond
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Poodle
  • Samoyed
  • Schipperke
  • Springer Spaniel
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier

Remember though, that all dogs can get diabetes and it is best to observe your pet for any symptoms. 

Autoimmunity 

Autoimmunity can be triggered by a number of things including infections, drugs, allergies, vaccinations and toxins. This means that your dog’s body attacks its own tissue and ultimately destroys it. 

When a dog has diabetes, it means that the cells that make insulin in the dog’s pancreas are destroyed, therefore causing diabetes.

Obesity

There are many dogs who are overweight and this is an increasingly bad problem. An obese dog is more prone to a whole range of problems including diabetes, arthritis, heart diseases and skin problems. 

To manage diabetes in dogs well, weight loss is essential. Even in the prevention of diabetes, you should potentially put your dog on a diet and take it for exercise more it is currently overweight.

Pancreatitis

Up to 25 percent of diabetics dogs have pancreatitis. Pancreatitis will destroy beta cells in the pancreas. These beta cells that are destroyed are the ones that produce insulin. If there are no beta cells, no insulin can be produced. 

The most common cause of pancreatitis in dogs is dietary fat. You have to monitor its diet and fat intake to avoid getting both diabetes and pancreatitis. 

Diet

Although diet does not directly cause diabetes, it affects other factors like increasing the risk of obesity, pancreatitis and autoimmune disease. 

The energy that your dog derives from proteins, fast and carbohydrates play a crucial role in ensuring its health.

Protein

Without protein, your dog cannot be healthy without it. A minimum of 30% of protein should be added to your dog’s diet to minimize the risk of diabetes.

Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates increase your dog’s weight and make it become fat. Grains and starch are broken down into sugar and a fast rate and the excess is stored as fat. 

When feeding your dog carbs, opt instead for fiber. Although your dog does not necessarily need it, it is helpful in helping your dog feel full faster. This is, in particular, better for dogs who are overweight so that it does not eat so much.

Fat

Fat is necessary for dogs but it increases the potential for developing pancreatitis in dogs, which in turn, leads to diabetes. This is why the type of fat you include in your dog’s diet is important to take into consideration. 

You should include Omega-3 and Omega-6 into your pet’s food as its source of fat.

How to Prevent Dog Diabetes?

The saying prevention is better than cure applies here. To prevent dog diabetes, there are a few ways to take note of. This includes:-

1. Regular checkups

Diseases like pancreatitis increase your dog’s risk of developing diabetes. Maintaining regular routine checkups and blood tests can help avoid this development. 

2. Get female dogs spayed

Female dogs are more likely to develop diabetes when pregnant or in heat. This is because their progesterone levels surge. Fluctuations in the female’s hormones increase the risk of developing diabetes. 

3. Exercise

A reduction in weight gain plays an important role in diabetes prevention. Going for a walk often is recommended as exercise for your pet dog.

4. Feed a quality diet

Ensure that your dog is consuming a high protein diet to ensure that blood sugar levels are more stable. Do not overdo it on the carbs. 

Feed quality dog food

Photo by Mathew Coulton from Pexels

Of course, make sure that the portioning of your dog’s meals are in accordance with their size, breeds and activity levels. 

As snacks, embrace natural and organic dog treats where possible. 

Treating Canine Diabetes

Yes, diabetes in dogs is treatable. The goal of treatment is to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible so that it does not develop diabetes-related problems in the future. 

Treatments include insulin shots, home monitoring, changing its diet and exercise. 

Dogs usually need one to two daily insulin shots. It is injected just under the skin but your vet will have to tweak the dose as it depends on your dog. Your vet will also have to take into account how quickly insulin starts working on your dog, how long they last and how much they cost before recommending the best type for your furry friend. 

You also have to regularly observe your dog at home and test its blood glucose levels. Testing will let you know how its treatment with insulin shots is going and whether it is working or not. 

It is always best to consult with your veterinarian if you are unsure about anything. 

Best Food to Feed Dogs with Diabetes

As diet plays such a crucial role in the prevention and treatment of dog diabetes, it is best that you pay extra attention to what you feed your dog.

Try Petcube’s Raw Premium Mix. It gives your dog enough variety so that it is not bored, supplies all the necessary nutrients and tastes good at the same time. This premium mix contains adequate amounts of protein, and is supplemented with vegetables and fruits. 

The variety of meat or protein sources will encourage a better balanced nutrition for your dog. 

Conclusion

Dog diabetes is a preventable disease. However, early diagnosis is very important so that your dog will be able to live a full life. The food you feed your dog plays such a crucial role in the prevention and treatment of dog diabetes so take extra steps to ensure that you feed it the right diet. If that does not work, you should also consult with your veterinarian and do regular checkups to ensure that all is well with your dog.

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