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What to feed a diabetic dog (for my mom)

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What to feed a diabetic dog (for my mom)
  • Ok, my mom has a diabetic 11 year old dog. She has been feeding her *** Van Patton's Reduced Calorie Formula (hard food) mixed with Science Diet canned food. I don't like Science Diet but she didn't want to switch foods because she thought Abby was doing well on that. Well she had her vet visit yesterday and the vet just called my mom today telling her that Abby's glucose levels are through the roof and to increase her insulin. My mom wonders now if its the food she has Abby on and is now looking for a very low fat food. She likes to mix canned with hard food for her. This evening she made a boiled chicken breast and cut up and mixed in her hard food and said if she has to do that every day and night she will but I told her I would ask on here to see if anyone has any experience of ideas.

  • I hesitate to even post because this is such a tough disease and it really limits your options.  But, I'd think that probably something as low carb as possible.  I don't think the low fat is so much an issue as the carbs??  I could be off on that though.  Did the vet suggest anything specific to your mom.  I know sometimes they put them on a special diet.  If she likes to feed the Science Diet canned maybe there is a diabetic version in the prescription that's canned that she could change too?  That would take care of half the food issue anyway, right??  Then she would just need to work out the kibble.

  • Thanks for your help! My mom is at a huge loss on what to do. Abby hates riding in the car, she's been like that since I can remember, and she hates the vet..so she gets herself so worked up, then they do the bloodwork and of course her glucose levels will be high due to all her stress! I hate the vet my mom goes too but she said at this point she's not switching vets. She keeps saying how she wants to put Abby down or hopes she will die in her sleep, and I keep saying no no no you can't put her down. Abby still gets excited when we come over, still wants her walks daily even though she can't go too far, still enjoys laying on the deck in the sun...I know I would never let my mom put her down as long as she's enjoying her life.

    I'm going to try to do some research on this today...will also check on the Science Diet website to see if they have a diabetic food in a can.

    ETA: No, of course this vet gave her no suggestions with food..... 

  •  W/D works well, for diabetic dogs. We used it at the vet's office, where I worked. There is a canned version that the dogs like a lot.


    I'd use Wellness Core RF or EVO RF (I mean, check out the levels and such, because I've never used either) if I had a diabetic and wanted a good dry food. Low fat, low carb, higher protein for an older dog.

  •  Thanks Jennie, I appreciate it..will pass this along to my mother.

  • Is home prepared an option at all?  Homecooking or raw are both very natural options for diabetes.  The low glycemic diet also happens to be the one that most dogs are best adapted for.

    You would just want to get a consult with a nutrition expert with experience working with special needs dogs.  But, if you factor in the cost of all the cans, and probably the cost of additional vet visits that will be avoided by opting for  fresh food, not to mention the piece of mind, it's a good investment.


  • Homecooked is definintely the way to go -- you can do SO much with diet.

    But have her talk to Monica Segal -- she's Doggie Dietician.  I think it's about $75 for Monica to write a diet for *that* specific dog (and she'll work with the vet as well -- in fact she'd probably appreciate seeing the last bloodwork) and then she'll support your Mom for at least a couple of months while she gets used to doing it.  But she'll get a completely balanced diet that can be adjusted for this dog along the way.

    She's super to work with -- http://www.monicasegal.com

  •  Thanks Brookcove and Callie, will pass this along to my mom also! She said that homecooked if she has too, she will.

    I just seen these posts, was very busy this weekend, but thank you for the advice! 

  • I have been treating a 13 y/o diabetic Husky for 2 years now. Here is what I have found out after lots of research and education.

    1) Insulin - not every dog is the same, but the "Vetsulin" (porcine insulin zinc suspension) type insulin is made from pigs. This type of insulin closely resembles the natural insulin in a dogs body. Other insulin (Humilin etc) that are made for humans will work too, but aren't as close to the natural insulin of a dog. If you haven't tried "Vetsulin" and are having difficulty regulating your dogs glucose levels, ask your vet to try the Vetsulin.

    2) There are "diabetic" dog foods out there. Science diet w/d and Purina Canine DCO. I have been doing extensive research on these foods lately and I am looking for an alternative. I have been feeding Science Diet w/d because that's what my vet recommended. Being uneducated in canine nutrition, I took the vets word as to what was best for my dog.

    What I found is that these "perscription" diets are not all they are cracked up to be. The recommended diet for a diabetic dog is a high protein, high fiber, low fat, low carb food. I thought Science Diet was very good, but educating yourself on foods, diets and the disease will help you make your own decision. Always talk to your vet when thinking of changing anything with your diabetic pet.

    I no longer will feed my pet Science Diet w/d. It has low protein, low fat, high fiber & high carbs. The only thing it has going for it is the high fiber content. All the experts will say home cooked food is the best for your pet. I know this is not an option for everyone.

    So what I have found are a few "alternative" foods which I will be discussing with my vet and come up with a nutrition plan.

    Prescription Science Diet w/d: 15% protein, 6% fat, 20% fiber & 46-51% carbs! It is loaded with fillers & grains. The first ingredient is corn, not beef or chicken.

    Science Diet Light adult: 20% protein, 6% fat, 18.5% fiber, 43-47% carbs. What's the difference from the "prescription" diet? Less food in the bag and a higher cost.

    Wellness Core reduced fat formula: 100% grain free food. 33 % protein, 9% fat, 8.5% fiber & claim "35% less carbs than traditional reduced fat diets"

    Eagle Pack Holistic Select Senior Care: 26% protein, 10% fat, 3.5% fiber, carbs unknown

    The reason I selected Wellness Core & Eagle Pack Holistic are from the research I have read, it has shown that senior dogs need more protein & fat than recently thought. Protein % around the mid 20's & a fat content of around 10% is ideal. High fiber is good for overall health at any age & lower carbs should always be a priority at any age.

    The extremely low fat in the science diet has helped my dog lose weight, but her skin & coat have become dry & flaky. I have read that a fat content around the 10% area will help her skin & coat return to normal while still having a reduced fat food.

    I am no expert. I am not claiming to know what I am talking about. I am just letting you know what I have experienced, have been told and what I have found out through research on my own. ALWAYS check with your vet first.


  • Chris, finding the carb percentage is easy.  Add protein, fat, and ash as listed on the bag, and subtract from 100.  That will be your carb percentage.

  •  Thanks! I didn't know that. I am learning something new everyday.

    Another food I forgot was Taste of The Wild Pacific Stream Canine Formula. Excellent food, grain free, 25% protein, 14% fat but only 3% fiber. We have a holistic type pet store around here and they have a dog nutritionist there. She suggested Taste of The Wild Pacific Stream. She also recommended a grain free diet for the diabetic pet which is easier on the dogs digestive system and the "real" meat based protein is almost completely digested unlike the grain & corn based foods. There have been many diabetic dog owners who have had great results with this food. I bought some today and will be slowly adding it to my dogs diet.

    I will be adding a little sweet potato or canned all-natural pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) for the additional fiber.

    I will let you know the results of this new diet in several weeks. 

  • What about The Honest Kitchen dehydrated foods?
    They're all pretty high in fiber (higher than most kibble foods), plus some of them also have very decent protein levels (Embark and Thrive spring to mind).
    Dogs that enjoy soft/moist food probably like this style of food too. I always think it's about the closest you can get to a home-cooked type diet without actually doing it yourself. :)

  • Best options (in my opinion):

    -Balanced home-cooked diet (low carb) 

    -Honest Kitchen dehydrated food (one of the gluten-free varieties).

    -Science Diet W/D canned