10 Best Dog foods for Diabetic Dogs

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The growing diabetes epidemic is not exclusive to humans. It seems to be affecting our dogs as well with recent research showing 1 out of every 200 dogs developing the disease. 

Apart from taking the necessary medications, the most important factor in treating and keeping the disease in check is ‘diet control’, just as it is in the case of humans. 

Cautiously preparing and assembling a meal that’s well suited to the condition of your dog, every time, is surely going to be a demanding task. So, here we have compiled a list of the best dog foods for diabetic dogs that are well balanced and readily available in the market today. 

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Read: Best Glucose meters for dogs

10 Best Dog Foods for Diabetic Dogs in the Market

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1. IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

The high-quality animal protein from farm-raised chicken and turkey combined with the fiber-rich carrots and beetroots embodies the ideal diet plan for your diabetic dog. It also contains the essentially healthy amount of that is formulated with L-carnitine that helps maintain a healthy fat metabolism as well.

2. Hill’s prescription diet – multi-benefit digestive

This is an amazing product for those canines that require a low-fat variant. This is a veterinary diet that is specially formulated by Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians that are mixed with an optimal blend of fiber and protein. Its natural ingredients reduce magnesium and sodium and promote good urinary tract health.

3. Dr. Harvey’s Specialty Diet Healthy Weight Beef Recipe

For those diabetic canines that have a specific enticement to beef, this is truly the ideal product. With its low-glycemic vegetable and gut-friendly probiotics, this is a superfood that promotes good health and digestion in your beloved pooch.

4. Rachael Ray Nutrish Super Premium Dry Dog Food:

Rachael Ray was under the scanner of US drug administration for promoting potentially harmful dog foods in the market, but this one is completely safe and healthy for your dog with its premium-grade beef and healthy brown rice grains that provide a balanced dietary cuisine that will be well-appreciated by your dog..

5. Diamond Naturals Dry Senior Dog Food Formula

Specifically advertised for its ‘Cage-free chicken’, this one is one of the most nutrient-rich variants in this list also along with its superfood mix including kale, chia seed, pumpkin, and blueberries offering a grand mixture of healthy fiber content as well for your dog’s diet.

6. Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low-Calorie Dry Dog Food:

This one is specifically intended for your overweight and obese doggo. High protein and fiber content ensures a hearty and lasting fill while providing healthy digestion as well. Its also low in calories and altogether this makes an efficient diet plan for your diabetic doggo for sure.

7. Wellness CORE Small breed High protein:

Sporting 36% of protein content, this is surely an amazing option for diabetic doggies. The only reason why it is so low down in this list is because of its lower fiber content that makes up only 4% of this mixture.

8. IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Dog Food for Healthy Weight

Another product from IAMS, this one ensures a more balanced diet for weight loss with pretty much the same ingredients but with 20% less fat overall. It also sports the L-carnitine compound that promotes healthy metabolism as well.

9. Pedigree High Protein Adult Dry & Wet Canned Dog Food

This is an excellent product with very high protein content and one of the cheapest alternatives. But the reason why this item is so down on our list is because of its low fiber content which will require you to add additional fiber supplements along with this mixture for maintaining a good diet for your dog.

10. Victor Senior Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food

This is also a very good product with a variety of meaty ingredients such as beef, chicken, pork, and fish meals that will certainly impress your doggo, as well as help, maintain their condition. This also has lower fiber content and slightly higher fat content but it is still ideal for weight loss plans because of its balanced nutritional qualities.  

Consider When Selecting Diabetic Dog Foods?

 best dog foods for diabetic dogs
  • High fiber content: Items with high fiber content will ensure slower digestion speed that will avoid sugar spikes in your dog’s blood glucose level. 
  • High protein contentItems that are high in protein will not add to the blood sugar level in your dog and will digest slowly, allowing your dog to feel fuller for longer, and this aids in weight loss as well for obese dogs.
  • Pancreatitis: If your dog has other related diseases such as pancreatitis it is generally recommended to look for products that are very low in fat content. ‘Hill’s prescription diet’ mentioned in the list is a good option for this purpose. 
  • Grain-free products: The US Food and Drug Administration has been currently investigating more than 500 reports that appear to link dog foods that are marketed as “grain-free” to heart diseases in dogs such as ‘canine dilated cardiomyopathy’. They have also listed 16 brands of dog food producers that are suspected to be selling harmful products for dogs so we have not listed any products from these manufacturers in our list, except for one, which is a certified safe variant from the same producer. 

How to prepare your own homemade diabetic diet meal for your dog

best diabetic dog foods

When preparing a meal for a diabetic dog it is very important to consult your vet or canine nutritionist first. The recipes suggested below can only act as a guide to creating a general diabetic diet plan for all sorts of dogs. 

Valuable tips from a personal vet will help you to create a well-suited diet plan, both in size and nutrition and include necessary supplements that only your dog may need personally.

Recipe 1

Suggested serving size of this recipe – ½ cup for every 20 pounds your dog weighs. So, if your dog is 80 pounds, 2 cups are required. 

Ingredients to assemble –

  • Cooked chicken pieces, breasts, thigs, liver. All skinless and deboned. Ground beef can also be a good option. A combination of both might be very appreciated by your pooch.
  • Steamed vegetables – Peas, Green beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cucumber slices are excellent options. Carrots, Beetroots, Corn, etc can be used in moderation but consulting your vet before including them is always ideal. 
  • Cooked brown rice and oats will take care of that necessary carb while keeping the sugar level in check with its low-glycemic index. 
  • Cottage cheese for added protein and mushy texture. 


Get a bowl and add 1 cup of cooked brown rice or oats.

Add 2 cups of Steamed vegetables of your choice into a bowl.

Add half a cup of cottage cheese.

Add a quarter of a pound of your cooked meat mix- Chicken or beef or both. 

Mix all the ingredients well to form a uniform mixture and serve according to the weight of your dog. 

Recipe 2

Preparing recipe 1 every day will be a gruesome and time-consuming task to carry out daily. So, this recipe will allow you to prepare and store a large amount of dog food that’s specifically suited for diabetic canines.

This is a popular recipe on the internet called “Ruby Stewbie” that can help prepare a large meal that you can store and serve for 2-3 weeks. 

Ingredients to assemble –  

  • 28 cups water
  • 1 bag (4 pounds) chana dal rinsed
  • 2 bags (1 pound each) brown lentils rinsed
  • 2 bags (1 pound each) black-eyed peas rinsed
  • 2 bags (1 pound each) green split peas rinsed
  • 1 pound pearl barley rinsed
  • 5 pounds boneless chicken breasts cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 can (29 ounces) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 bags (16 ounces each) frozen broccoli cuts
  • 2 bags (16 ounces each) frozen crinkle-cut carrots
  • 2 bags (16 ounces each) frozen green beans
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach


Pour water into a 20-quart pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Add chana dal, brown lentils, black-eyed peas, green split peas, and barley. 

Reduce heat to medium, stir occasionally.

Cut and add chicken breast.

Add ground turkey.

Stir in pumpkin.

Add in the frozen vegetables. 

Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally until most of the water is absorbed. Let stand and cool before storing.

Understanding Diabetes in Dogs

Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes are the kinds of diabetes that humans are generally subjected to. Out of these, type 2 diabetes is the most common form which develops due to either the inefficiency of beta cells to make enough insulin to convert the glucose in the blood to energy or when the muscle cells resist insulin and don’t take in enough glucose (or both). As a result, blood glucose levels climb sharply. 

But for dogs, Type 1 diabetes seems to be the more common ailment. 

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells. This cuts off the insulin production in the body so glucose levels in the blood become unregulated and climb high. 

Just like for humans, diabetes in dogs is a serious health condition that requires proper attention and treatment. 

If left untreated it can lead to serious complications. Up to 80% of dogs with diabetes are found to develop some form of diabetic cataracts that can lead to partial or complete vision loss. Hardening of the arteries, kidney disease, retina disease, and nerve disease are also found to develop along with improper care. 

Your dog also becomes prone to various infections such as gum, urinary, skin, etc due to the excessive amount of sugar in their diet and body. 

In certain extreme cases, coma and even death are a potential complication, so diligent care and proper treatment is very essential for protecting the life of your beloved pooch. 

What are the known causes and risk factors associated with diabetes in canines?

The most prominent cause of Type 1 diabetes in dogs seems to be a genetic predisposition, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), and immune system disorders where insulin-producing beta cells are attacked by their bodies. 

Obesity is one of the leading risk factors associated with diabetes in pets today. It is usually caused by overfeeding and poor exercise, which is a very serious and growing health concern in domestic pets.

A bad diet such as a one doused with excessive fat can lead to pancreatitis in your dog, which can trigger diabetes. Other conditions that can trigger diabetes include certain virus infections, chronic inflammation of the small bowel, certain diseases like ‘Cushing’s disease’ which can cause excess production of the hormone cortisol in the blood which is also a risk factor. 

Long term use of cosmetic drugs such as progesterone or steroid drugs can also be a risk factor in developing diabetes.

Certain dog breeds may also be more susceptible to developing diabetes than others. A study published in the ‘Veterinary Journal’ in 2003 examined thousand of American dogs and found that overall, mixed dog breeds were more prone to diabetes than pure breeds. But even among pure breeds, their vulnerability to the condition seemed to vary. 

Dog breeds such as Australian Terrier, Standard Schnauzer, Samoyed, Miniature Schnauzer, Fox Terrier, Keeshond, Bichon Frise, Finnish, Spitz, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Poodle, Siberian Husky, and Toy Poodle, etc were found to be more prone to developing diabetes. 

And those breeds such as Boxer, German Shepherd, Pekinese, Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bulldog, Great Dane, Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Old English Sheepdog, Irish Setter, and Doberman Pinscher, etc were found to be at a lower risk for developing the disease. 

Considering age, dogs between middle – old age is found to be the common age at which they develop the disease. 

Among all the different breeds, the female dogs were found to be more susceptible to the disease. This may be due to certain risk factors associated with hormonal imbalances. Diestrus, seem to be the leading cause of these hormonal imbalances and it resembles closely to human gestational diabetes. 

Signs and Symptoms: 

Early detection will play a vital part in avoiding potential complications and ensuring a manageable condition. So, it is very important to look out for these signs and symptoms –

  • Polyuria or the frequent and copious amount of peeing is a common symptom that is caused by blood sugar spilling from the bloodstream into the urine. 
  • Polydipsia or excessive thirst is another related symptom where the dog becomes dehydrated due to excessive urination and needs to drink more water. Its often confused by dog owners to be the other way around by thinking that their dogs are peeing more because they are drinking more but in reality, it’s the opposite. So, both of these symptoms together are a sure sign of bad blood sugar regulation in their bodies. 
  • Polyphagia or insatiable appetite is another red flag for diabetes in pets in general. “Because of the lack of insulin, they’re hungry all the time. The body can’t perceive that it has glucose, so it thinks that it’s starving, and is always trying to eat,” says Dr. Ellen Behrend, professor at College of Veterinary Medicine of Auburn University in Alabama.
  • Cloudy eyes and vision loss are other red flags for diabetes. They can develop very gradually and might not be noticeable at first. 
  • Tiredness and increasing inactiveness could be signs that their bodies are inefficiently converting glucose to the energy they need for being active. 

Unexplained vomiting could be due to ‘diabetic ketoacidosis’ which occurs when glucose is not being pulled into the tissues causing the body to start producing ketones for energy, which results in enzyme malfunctioning and vomiting. 

Treatment and Care for your diabetic Doggies:

If your pet is showing any of the symptoms above, immediately consult your veterinarian to conduct a proper diagnosis and ascertain its condition. 

Once your pet is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it is going to require routine insulin shots, which you can learn to administer yourself, and a complete diet and lifestyle change. 

You’ll also need to conduct regular examinations, blood, and urine tests and monitor your pet’s weight, appetite, drinking, and urination as well.

It is very important to ensure that your pet is maintaining a proper appetite, especially throughout insulin therapy. If your pet is not eating and absorbing enough sugars to balance the insulin supply, it can lead to low blood sugar levels and the development of dangerous conditions such as ‘hypoglycaemia’. 

You’ll have to watch out for insulin overdose as well which can be identified by symptoms such as weakness, tremors or seizures, and loss of appetite. 

You should also be on the lookout for long-term complications such as cataracts and urinary tract infections, both of which can be kept in check with occasional appointments with your vet.  Overall, the treatment and care for your diabetic doggo might seem like a demanding and time-consuming ordeal initially. But with the proper medical attention, diet, and lifestyle changes like following a strict diet plan and exercise routines, you can provide your pet a happy and long life. And you will surely come to enjoy the abundant supply of unconditional love and appreciation that you get back for taking care of them so well. 

About Tim Mathew

Tim Mathew is an Endocrinologist specialized in general endocrinology, diabetes, and lipid metabolism. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in a science-related discipline and completed a medical school program in New York. Once Tim Mathew quoted that Endocrinology is both a challenging and rewarding medical specialty, so he wants to specialize in it. To know more about Tim Mathew kindly go through our about page.

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