What is the best diet for a dog with diabetes?

If your canine companion has been diagnosed with diabetes, controlling their diet is an important element of their treatment. Today our Memphis vets explain the best diet for dogs with diabetes.

Diabetes in Dogs

More and more dogs are being diagnosed with diabetes, and while there is no cure for this disease if caught early, diabetes can be treated and managed so that your dog can lead a long and active life.

Treating Diabetes in Dogs

If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes your vet will prescribe medications and ongoing treatments that will allow you to manage your dog's condition. Ongoing treatment for diabetes in dogs typically involves: daily insulin shots, a vet recommended diet, regular daily exercise, closely monitoring your dog for changes in symptoms, and regular veterinary examinations.

Diet for Dogs with Diabetes

As the pet-parent of a dog with diabetes, your goal will be to keep your dog's blood sugar (glucose) levels as close to normal as you can. That means administering insulin shots as per your vet's instructions and closely monitoring your dog's diet. By managing your pup's glucose levels you can help to reduce your dog's risk of diabetes-related complications, such as vision-clouding cataracts and urinary tract infections.

Precise Calorie Meals

When your dog is diagnosed with diabetes your vet will likely take the time to calculate the approximate number of calories your pet needs each day, based on their activity level and current weight. A large part of caring for your diabetic dog will be to measure the food that you serve them at each meal so that your pet's daily calories stay consist at each meal, and within the number of daily calories your vet has calculated, while providing adequate nutrition.

High-Quality Food

As long as the food you feed your dog is a high-quality diet that contains the nutrition they require, chances are good that there will be no need to change foods. That said, your vet may suggest switching to a dog food with a better nutritional balance or even a prescription dog food to help keep your dog's glucose levels steady, while maintaining a healthy weight.

Avoid Simple Sugars

Simple sugars will raise your dog's glucose levels and should be avoided. That means you will need to resist the temptation to share treats and table scraps with your dog, particularly high glycemic foods such as white rice or bread, or anything containing sugar or corn syrup. Be sure to let the whole family know that these foods are a no-no from now on. While it may seem cruel to stop giving your dog treats, it may just help to save his life.

Timing Your Dog's Meals 

Consistency when it comes to feeding your diabetic dog is key to managing their condition. Feed your dog the same quantity of the same food, at the same time, each day. While this may sound boring it is the best way to keep your dog's glucose levels within the normal range.

Ideally your dog's meals should be timed based on their insulin injections. Your vet will be sure to give you specific instructions for your dog but a general example would be to feed your dog twice a day, 12 hours apart, and give them their insulin injection as soon as they finish eating.


It may be hard to resist, but it's important not to give your dog treats at random times throughout the day, and never give treats that are high in carbohydrates and sugars.

Follow your vet's instructions when it comes to feeding your doggie friend treats. If treats are allowed it is best to give them to your dog when their insulin is at its peak of effectiveness which tends to be around 4-6 hours after the injection has been given, and only give treats recommended by your vet such as freeze-dried meat.

If your dog is showing symptoms of diabetes it's essential to get your dog the veterinary care they need. Contact our Memphis vets today, to book an appointment for your dog. 

Best diet for diabetic dogs, Memphis Vet

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