Finding the perfect diabetic dog food brands is no joke. Diabetes is an endocrine disease that, if not treated properly, can lead to even more issues and can even cause death. It is estimated that 1 in every 100 dogs suffers from canine diabetes, a statistic that is disturbingly too high. There are many different ways to prevent and manage canine diabetes, with one of these ways being to pick out the best dog food for diabetes.
This post is dedicated to understanding what canine diabetes is and how to choose the right dog food brand to help manage diabetic symptoms in your beloved best friend.
Finding the Best Diabetic Dog Food Brands
What is Canine Diabetes?
Canine Diabetes is very similar to human diabetes. In canine diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone your dog’s body needs to help break down food glucose it produces when the body begins to break down food. In some cases, your dog’s cells may even stop responding to insulin to break down glucose. In Type I diabetes, your dog’s pancreas will stop producing insulin while in Type II Diabetes, the cells will stop responding to insulin.
Both types of diabetes, regardless of how they work are very serious. Both contribute to the fact the body is unable to process glucose properly. Let’s break down both types of diabetes even further.
Type I Diabetes
Perhaps considered the most common type to affect dogs. This type is often associated with autoimmune diseases in which the immune system begins to attack the cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. While there is no known cause for this type, experts believe this is a strong trait among certain breeds and linked to a dog’s genes.
Type II Diabetes
This type of diabetes is often associated with obesity and lack of exercise. It is often caused from the body producing too much insulin, but in this case the canine body becomes desensitized to it.
Currently, there is no known cure for either type of canine diabetes. It is a life-long condition that requires life-long treatment and management.
Predisposed Breeds and Dogs That May Be at Risk
Any dog can be diagnosed with canine diabetes. However, the disease seems to be prevalent in more breeds than others. Some of the most common predisposed breeds include:
- Bichons Frises
- Mini Schnauzers
- Australian Terriers
- Fox Terriers
- Cairn Terriers
Keep in mind that while some pure-bred dogs can be predisposed to this disease, canine diabetes can appear in dogs of any age, size, breed or sex. There are a few risk factors you need to be aware of when it comes to this disease.
- Age: this disease typically occurs in middle to senior age dogs.
- Gender: female dogs who haven’t been spayed are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than their male counterparts.
- Medications: Steroid medications, if used for long-term, increase the chance of a diabetes diagnosis.
- Pancreatitis: Dogs who suffer from chronic pancreatitis tend to have higher rates of being diagnosed with canine diabetes.
Considerations for Diabetic Dog Food Brands
In order to manage canine diabetes, it is important to pick the best kind of diet possible for your dog. This includes tweaking their diet accordingly to deal with potential spikes in blood sugar levels. However, there are other important things you want to consider when switching your dog’s diet to a diabetic-friendly one.
Using the correct portion size
The very first thing you should consider when putting your dog on a diabetic-friendly diet is to make sure you measure out the proper portion size for them. This is extremely important in dogs who have received a Type II diabetes diagnosis. When calculating the proper portion size, you want to keep in mind your dog’s activity level and caloric intake to ensure they aren’t gaining more weight in the process.
The best way to calculate the correct portion size is to talk with your dog’s veterinarian. Your vet will set up feeding goals to ensure you are feeding the right amount of food to match your dog’s daily activity levels.
Feeding foods rich in fiber
Fiber is an important ingredient to have in any diabetic friendly brand. Fiber, once consumed, expands in the gut. This will give your dog the feeling of fullness for longer periods of time without adding extra calories to their diet. On top of that, fiber can help reduce the release time of glucose within the bloodstream, giving your dog’s body the opportunity to process any insulin it does release properly without dangerous glucose spikes.
The most common types of fiber ingredients you can find in dog food include:
- Sweet potato
Feeding foods that are low in fat
It is true that a normal level of fat in your dog’s food can be beneficial. However, in dogs diagnosed with diabetes, this can be a bad thing. Fats typically contain more calories than any other ingredient. They also tend to contain a higher level of glucose, something that can be too dangerous for dogs with diabetes.
Feeding foods that contain a low glycemic index
What is a glycemic index?
A glycemic index is the rate of time it takes for food to be converted into glucose. The lower the number of the glycemic index, the longer it takes to turn into glucose and the longer it takes to process. For diabetic dogs, the lower the glycemic index the better and the less risk of causing hyperglycemia.
Foods that contain low levels of carbohydrates
The same can be true when talking about a human diet: the fewer carbohydrates, the better. While it is true carbohydrates can be found in most commercial dog foods, some formulas may offer fewer carbohydrate ingredients while some will offer more complex carbohydrate ingredients. Foods containing simple carbohydrate ingredients can be dangerous in dogs that suffer from diabetes. These types of ingredients can include corn or soy. These types of ingredients tend to cause dangerous blood sugar level spikes.
On the other hand, food containing healthy complex carbohydrates can mitigate blood sugar level spikes by processing slower in the body while containing all of the nutrients your dog needs. Complex carbohydrate ingredients can include sweet potatoes, brown rice, and peas.
Calculating the Carb Percentage of Dog Food
Unfortunately, most dog foods do not include the carbohydrate percentage on their labels, making it even more difficult for pet owners to choose the right food for their dogs. Luckily for you, there is a way you can just calculate the number of carbohydrates a dog food has yourself. All you need is the information displayed on the label under the Guaranteed Analysis section.
To calculate the carbohydrate percentage, follow these steps.
Protein % + Fat % + Moisture % + Ash %
=Total % of carbohydrates in the food
Remember, the lower the percentage, the safer it is for a diabetic dog to consume.
Top 10 Best Dog Food for Diabetes
Now that you understand what to look for in a food that is considered safe for diabetic dogs, let’s look at some of the best diabetic dog food brands for dogs who suffer from diabetes.
Orijen Grain Free
This is a formula that is rich in nutrients and is perfect for dogs suffering from diabetes. Each formula is made with up to 85% animal ingredients including meat, organs and even bone. It contains less than 20% carbohydrates, using no grain or tapioca concentrates and is strictly made in the United States.
Ketona Chicken Recipe
Ketona dog food is one of the foods I got a chance to study recently and after looking at it, it is a food that can be beneficial for dogs with diabetes. It is a brand made with high-quality protein sources making up 46% of each serving, a low level of fat content and an even balance of dietary fiber to help support healthy blood sugar levels.
Merrick Grain Free
The grain-free recipe by Merrick features four different protein flavors to choose from. This is a formula that is loaded with essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, as well as is loaded with glucosamine and chondroitin which can help support healthy joints. This brand of food contains a lower fat content than other brands, which can help give any diabetic dog a nutrient-rich diet while helping to manage diabetes more effectively.
In my opinion, this is perhaps one of the best brands of dog food for dogs suffering from diabetes. Each formula is comprised of nearly 60% protein, ranging from beef, pork and lamb. The remaining 40% are ingredients sourced from fruit and vegetable sources. Unlike other brands, it contains a better essential fatty acid ratio. It is also loaded with glucosamine to help support healthy joints in overweight dogs.
While this brand wouldn’t be considered one of the best since it contains more calories per serving than any other brand, it is still a brand that can help dogs suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Most of the calories from this brand come from the main two protein ingredients. In addition, it uses a blend of wholesome fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates to give it a nutrient-rich profile.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness or Limited Ingredient
Blue Buffalo is a brand synonymous with quality. When it comes to finding quality diabetic-friendly food, this is one that you should consider. Because it is made with limited ingredients and typically contains grain-free ingredients, you can get all of the protein your dog needs without the pesky carbs that can elevate blood sugar levels.
Taste of the Wild
Taste of the Wild dog food is a brand that is specifically made to feed your dog’s inner wolf. It is a brand rich in nutritious protein and minerals your dog needs to maintain a healthy diabetic lifestyle. Keep in mind, that while it is made up of a high protein low carb ratio, this brand tends to border on the more expensive side, not making it a viable option for owners on a strict budget.
Nature’s Variety Instinct
If there is one thing I love about this brand, it is its dedication to offering dogs a variety of flavors to choose from. Aside from the many different flavors available, this food can be highly beneficial for dogs suffering from diabetes. While it does have a slightly higher fat content than most other foods on this list, it contains ingredients packed with fiber and natural antioxidants to help keep diabetic dog’s health.
Nutrisca dog food is synonymous with a low-glycemic index, making it one of the most recommended dog food brands on the market for dogs who suffer from diabetes. It is known for not containing harmful ingredients that have the risk of increasing blood sugar levels such as soy, wheat, corn or potatoes. It is made with the perfect balance of high protein and low-fat content, which can help ensure any extra glucose is utilized properly by your dog’s cells.
Hill’s Science Diet Prescription Diet W/D
While I typically don’t recommend anything that comes from Hill’s, this is one of the few dog food formulas that can actually be beneficial to dogs suffering from diabetes. It is a prescription-based dog food that is specifically formulated for dogs who suffer from blood sugar issues. It is made with moderate amounts of fiber to help regulate blood sugar as well as is made with L-carnitine to help enhance your dog’s metabolism.
What is the Best Dog Food for Diabetes?
I cannot definitely tell you what is going to be the best dog food for your dog if they suffer from diabetes. There are too many factors to consider. In the end, the best type of diabetic food for your dog is going to be the one that works best for them. Make sure you seek your veterinarian’s advice to make sure you choose a food that will benefit your dog.
Being the owner of a dog with diabetes can be difficult. While it doesn’t mitigate the love for your dog, it can have a negative impact on your finances. That it is why it is important to find a food that can help keep their blood sugar levels in check and help them to live the best life possible even while having this disease. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you have seen plenty of the options available and will find the perfect dog food brand for your diabetic dog and have found plenty of diabetic dog food brands to choose from.