Curbing The Carbs: What To Look For When Choosing Food For Your Diabetic Dog

Hearing the diagnosis that your beloved dog has diabetes can be a worrying event, but with the right care and attention there is no reason why a diabetic dog can't live as long and healthy a life as a dog in perfect health. However, keeping a diabetic dog in good health and avoiding health problems caused by poor diabetes management requires certain precautions to be taken, and making sure your dog is eating the right diet is probably the most important.

Diabetic dogs have particular dietary needs due to their inability to process blood sugar properly, and a wide variety of dog food mixes formulated for diabetic dogs are available. However, no two diabetic dog foods are equal, so you should keep an eye out for the following qualities when shopping around for the right food mix for your diabetic dog:

Low carbohydrate content

Many lower-quality dog foods, including some low-end diabetic blends, are bulked out substantial amounts of carbohydrate-based fillers. These foods are to be strenuously avoided -- when digested by your dog, carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, which are absorbed into your dog's bloodstream and can cause dangerous spikes in blood sugar levels.

Consequently, you should choose a diabetic dog food with very low carbohydrate content. This often means avoiding dry 'kibble' foods (which tend to have higher carbohydrate content, even when formulated for diabetic dogs) in favour of wet tinned or pouched foods. The carbohydrates that are present in your dog's food should be complex carbohydrates, which take longer to break down into sugars and pose less of a risk to diabetic dogs -- these complex carbs generally come from wholegrain sources, such as bran.

High dietary fibre content

Diabetic dog food blends that are high in dietary fibre are generally desirable, as the presence of fibre slows the passage of food through your dog's digestive system. This has two benefits; it makes your dog feel full longer to prevent over-eating, but more importantly, it slows the absorption of glucose and other sugars from the food into your dog's bloodstream. This helps to prevent sudden blood sugar spikes.

Low fat content

In some cases, diabetes can affect your dog's metabolism, reducing the amount of calories your dog burns on a day-to-day basis even if it is very physically active. This can subsequently cause problems with weight gain, which can worsen a diabetic dog's symptoms and make blood sugar levels more difficult to manage. Dog foods that are low in fat are recommended -- look for foods with high amounts of lean meat content.