What’s the Best Diet for a Diabetic Dog?

With obesity being so prevalent in the dog population – 41 percent of Australia’s dog are overweight – diabetes is a real threat. Animals that are overweight are predisposed to developing Type 1 Diabetes, which is caused by the destruction or abnormal function of the pancreas. Senior pets are also more at risk.

Outward symptoms of diabetes:

* Excessive urination

* Excessive Thirst

* Increased appetite

* Weight loss (even though they are eating more)

However, many dogs may seem fine or have very subtle signs. A blood and/or urine test is needed to diagnose the disorder, which is why routine tests for pets at risk are so important.

Living with a Dog with Diabetes

Once your dog has diabetes, there is no cure. Treatment is your only option. Your vet will prescribe insulin medication and tell you your dog needs to lose weight. The last piece is management through diet. It’s important that your diabetic dog is on the correct diet – something that will not cause blood glucose spikes.

Unfortunately, there are some differing opinions on what exactly is the best diet. Your dog’s individual health is a major factor in this – you may have to experiment a bit to find a food that works with your dog. Here are some things to look for and consider when selecting a meal plan.


It is believed that high fibre diets can help manage obesity by curbing blood glucose levels is also helps your dog feel full longer. However, if your dog is one of the diabetics that is having trouble keeping on weight (rather than obese), high fibre can increase that weight loss. Conversely, for obese dogs it can help with weight loss. If you are looking to add fibre, you can add a fibre supplement to your dog’s regular food or switch dog food formulas if necessary.

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are another “controversial” topic when it comes to treating the diabetic dog. Carbohydrates have a strong association with “after eating blood glucose levels” – that much is certain. This means the amount of insulin your dog needs can be affected by the amount of carbohydrates in his food, but again, it depends on each individual dog.

The most important thing is to keep the amount of carbohydrates steady – whatever that amount is – so that your insulin dosage remains correct and your dog stays stable.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates create rapid spikes in blood glucose and should be avoided. This means sugar, including corn syrup and propylene glycol. Watch for these ingredients in treats and moist foods especially.


Most agree a high-protein diet is best, especially for over or under weight dogs. Diabetic dogs should never be on a low-protein diet.

Low Glycemic Foods

Low glycemic foods release glucose slowly and steady – these are the types of foods that are good for a diabetic dog. Low glycemic foods include most berries and vegetables, some whole grains and legumes.

High glycemic foods, which should be avoided, are white rice, white or wheat bread and anything with high amounts of sugar and no fiber.

Feeding Time

Another important factor is when your dog eats. Ideally she should be fed two meals, 12 hours apart. Some dogs may need a snack in between. The most important thing is to keep them on a steady schedule – this helps their blood glucose level stay stable as well.

When selecting a food for your diabetic dog, be sure to check the Ingredients and Guaranteed analysis. Our formulas are high in protein and relatively low in Carbs compared to other dry foods. Our Salmon and Turkey is high in protein and fiber so is worth considering.

Whenever you are changing a diabetic dog’s diet, do so even slower than you would a healthy dog. Monitor them carefully for any changes, especially after eating. Keep track of any affects and let your vet know so you can determine what may be causing any glucose spikes and adjust the diet and insulin accordingly. Feeding your dog correctly will allow him to live comfortably for many years.

Not just another dog food company. With our mission to improve the health and happiness of dogs all over Australia through enriched nutrition and continued education of caring dog owners, our priority is helping you care for your dog. Check Us Out!

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  1. Hi Robert
    Thanks for the information. Our dog has cushing disease and I have been wondering if he might have Diabetes also. I will get him checked out.

    1. Hi Susan,
      Excessive thirst. The dog may drink frequently and empty the water bowl more often.
      Increased urination. The dog may ask to go outside frequently and may start having “accidents” in the house. …
      Weight loss. …
      Increased appetite.

  2. Hello:

    My dog lost half of her weight before being diagnosed with diabetes. What can I feed her to help her gain her weight back, but not spike her sugar.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Tina,

      So as long as she is on insulin she should gain the weight on her own slowly.
      You can add protein and fat to her diet which is basically just meat. And that shouldn’t effect sugar levels.
      Also be aware that you want to keep your dog lean, rather than plump.I’m not sure how thin your dog is now but lean is best.

  3. Hello, my 6yo dog of a healthy weight and lifestyle has unfortunately been diagnosed with diabetes, but I am struggling to find resources on recommended brands of suitable Australian food. I have come across many American types, but few Australian so far. Do you have any opinions on quality feed? Thank you for your time

    1. Hi Zac, so i’m just presuming your dog has type 1 diabetes where you have to give insulin every day. With this type of diabetes, i guess all you can do is feed a good quality food like Stay Loyal and dose the insulin accurately according to your dogs blood sugar levels. Feeding your dog less and keeping him lean will also help improve well-being and life span.

  4. 10/7/19 my dog was diagnosed & has diabitis which I give every 12hr twice a day insulin she also had blood in her urin & the vet gave me a/Biotics I noticed she has a rash inside her thighs & keeps licking her paws which r discoloured also she had a ultra scan which the vet found a small polp she also pants a lot so I give her Loxicam which settles her panting I give her kangaroo meat a bit of chicken & lamb all raw my shitsu is 8yrs old we keep running to the vet she also had exrays as well but saw nothing I’m starting not to trust going to the vet all the time. Pls I appreciate ur time.

    1. Hi Jean, Your dog does have a lot of issues so its hard for us to know exactly what will help. For itchy dogs one thing we recommend is no Beef or Roo i’m not really sure why but i find it heats dogs up and can contribute to itching in many dogs. Many itch dogs have improved on our Chicken Lamb and Fish formula and raw meaty lamb bones twice a week. And no other foods especially no beef, roo or store bought treats. That’s a good start and you can adjust from there. Probiotics could help get your dog over the antibiotic use. Also its best to email us at robert@stayloyal.com.au where we can respond much quicker to your questions.

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