Diabetes in Dogs – A Guide to Understanding and Treating Your Dog

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How Do I Calculate How Many Calories My Dog Should Eat Per Day?

Your vet can help you with this. Here is a method for calculating your dog's calorie requirements. Go to How to Calculate Your Dog's Daily Calorie Intake

Can I Treat My Dog with Diabetic Pills?

Many adult humans have adult onset type II diabetes which can be controlled with oral medications. These medications don't work in dogs. Dogs have insulin dependent Type I Diabetes Mellitus.

My Dogs Hates His New Food, What Should I Do?

If your dog won't eat his new food, go back to his regular food for a while. It is important that your dog eat. Then do a gradual change. Mix in maybe 10% the new food with 90% of the prior food. Each day, add a few more kibbles of the new food to the old food until have obtained a 100% change to the new food. If he still will not eat the new diet, refer to the list of recommended foods above and discuss a different option with your veterinarian.

When Should My Dog Eat?

For dogs that are getting insulin twice daily, it is recommended to split the daily calories in to two meals, which are fed before the insulin dose.

For dogs on once daily insulin, they should be fed also twice daily with the first meal before the insulin injection and the second meal at the time when the insulin peaks which can be determined based on knowledge of the insulin and the glucose curve.

Most diabetic dogs are fed twice daily. Give ½ of the daily calories approximately 30 minutes before the insulin injection. After your dog eats, his blood glucose will naturally increase. The insulin will help drive the glucose levels back to a normal level. Give the other half of the daily calories before the second insulin injection (this is assuming you are giving insulin every 12 hours).

Another method is to feed your diabetic dog ¼ of its daily calories in the morning before the insulin injection, and another ¼ of the calories 6 hours later when the insulin is peaking, another 1/4 of the calories at dinner and the last fourth 6 hours later.

Can I “Free Feed” My Dog?

Free feeding is a term that refers to having food in the bowl all the time and allowing your dog to eat when he wants.

Many dogs with diabetes are on a strict consistent feeding schedule. However, this can be difficult for some dogs. This may work better for dogs that are nibblers and not food motivated.

Scheduled feedings work best on dogs that are food motivated and gobble their food or dogs in multi-pet homes.

Can My Dog Get Treats?

Diabetic dogs can get treats as long as they are approved by your vet. Generally treats that are low in sugar and carbohydrates are ok. Larger treats can even be broken up into small pieces to provide multiple treats.

Treats can be given as a reward for blood glucose testing or when the blood glucose is at its lowest – approximately 4 to 8 hours after injection.

Good treat options include: baby carrots, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, green or red peppers, canned pumpkin, tofu, a kibble of your dog's regular dog food, and/or freeze dried meat treats. Recommended commercial treats Stella & Chewy's Carnivore Crunch, Orijen Treats and Sam's Yams.

Some diabetic dog owners make their own treats by taking an approved canned dog food and using that is as the base to make treats. They generally will empty the can onto a cookie sheet, either cut into small pieces or smash down to about ¼ to ½ inch thickness and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until dry and crispy. Some foods can be refrigerated and sliced, then baked the same way. Store baked treats in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

The calories in the treats should be considered in the overall calories requirements for the day. Treats should be given in moderation.

How Should I Exercise My Diabetic Dog?

Regular exercise is good for your dog. It can help lose or maintain weight and lower the blood sugar.

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