Diet for Diabetic Dogs - Dog Diets
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Diabetes is not a disease but a disorder – it essentially means that we cannot cure the problem can only manage it. In humans, the idea is to maintain the normal blood sugar levels through a combination of diet, medicine and exercise. The same can be said for dogs and here we shall look at the diet and dietary habits for a diabetic dog.
For starters, a consistent meal plan at fixed hours is helpful in minimizing the blood sugar fluctuations. Soft moist food as it is easily digestible and may lead to hyperglycaemia. Dry kibble which is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates are good as the dog can digest and absorb it slowly and thus avoid fluctuations in the sugar levels. The meals should be followed by an insulin injection within an hour. A consistent diet followed by the injection ensures that the blood sugar level is maintained at normal levels. Random treats may also spike up the sugar levels that cannot be then controlled by insulin. Treats that are high in protein may be given 4 – 6 hours after an insulin injection when the insulin is at its peak effectiveness.
The ideal diet would be a meat-based high protein food with restricted carbohydrate content and moderate fat content. To put it in another way, 30 – 40% of the calories would be coming from the proteins while about 30% would be coming in the way of fats and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are also limited to those which exhibit a lower glycemic index like barley and sorghum. The daily calorie requirements would be given by your vet who would take into account the weight and activity level of the dog. The daily requirement is to be adhered to religiously as the insulin requirements would be calculated on this aspect.
Obesity in dogs with diabetes complicates matters as it reduces the tissue responsiveness to insulin. The obesity needs to be controlled and a high-fiber diet is helpful. As a change to a high-fiber diet may not be readily accepted by the dog, you may add fiber supplements to the regular diabetic food. A low-fiber diet (which has a higher caloric density) should be fed to a thin dog till an optimum weight is reached.
Diabetes requires proper management and it begins with a proper diet backed up by regular and timely meal times, insulin injections and regimented exercise. Ensuring this would help your dog lead a happy normal life.
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