The 10 Best Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs

By Ann Collins / September 4, 2021

Diabetes is a serious illness that affects one in every two hundred dogs. It’s a disease caused by improper pancreas function that makes it difficult for dogs to regulate their sugar levels.

When untreated, diabetes can cause series of complications and even death. For this reason, it’s crucial to see a vet for managing diabetes with proper treatments that can allow your pet a healthy life.

Another thing you can do is provide proper nutrition that will give your diabetic dog everything they need. Diabetic animals don’t have the exact needs as healthy ones, so you’ll have to pay attention to a few things.

Continue reading as we discuss the most important things to consider, the best dog food for diabetic dogs.

Considerations Before Buying

Diabetes is a serious illness not so easy to treat. It’s not curable, but there’s a way to live with it by changing some things for your dog.

While getting medical treatment is crucial, you should also switch up the diet. The market offers many dog foods for diabetic pets you can check out based on your needs.

When choosing among the best dog foods, it’s important to check the ingredients, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, and more. Check below for more details.

Portion Control

The first thing you should pay attention to is how much food your dog is eating. Portion control is especially critical for dogs suffering from Type II diabetes commonly caused by obesity.

What you can do is monitor the animal’s calorie intake and activity to prevent weight gain. However, you should see a veterinarian first to determine just how many calories your pup needs.

It’s almost certain that you’ll have to reduce the amount of dog food so that it matches their activity levels. This will help to create a suitable deficit, causing dogs to lose weight.

High Fiber Ingredients

Fiber is vital for diabetic dogs because it takes up a lot of room in the digestive tract. It’s found in pumpkin, oats, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes.

This dog food should keep your dog full for a longer time without any added calories. Plus, fiber helps slow down the process and rate at which glucose is released into the blood.

The slower rate gives your pet enough time to process sugar, even with the pancreas having issues creating insulin.

As you know, high blood sugar levels are dangerous, so dog food rich in fiber can help to manage them safely.

Low Fat

Although you want loads of fiber, you don’t want too much fat in your dog’s food. As you know, fat is relatively good to have in dog food but can be too much to handle for diabetic dogs.

Fat has more calories per ounce than any other ingredient. The density can cause your dog to gain weight without feeling satisfied.

On top of that, fat has higher levels of glucose your dog probably struggles to process. And, unfortunately, too much of it can cause many dangerous side effects like hyperglycemia.

Some fat is alright, but make sure to control how much of it your dog consumes.

Low Glycemic Index

The rate at which food is converted to glucose is called the glycemic index. A low glycemic index indicates that it takes longer for the dog food to convert and process.

Still, keep in mind that different ingredients and dog foods have different glycemic index rates. Most manufacturers indicate the rating, so look for one with a low glycemic index.

It’s crucial to stick only to those ingredients that can be processed easily. For this reason, avoid adding extra sugar to their diet in the form of treats and other dog foods.

Decreased Carbohydrates

Most dog foods have carbohydrates, and you shouldn’t avoid them. They come in many forms and have plenty of benefits, depending on the kind of carbohydrates.

Not all carbohydrates are the same since some take longer to process. Those that take longer to process usually contain more vitamins and essential nutrients for your dog to thrive.

These are usually found in peas, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and more. Again, keep an eye out for how many carbohydrates per meal your dog takes.

Stick with Wholesome Ingredients

You should always try to feed your dog quality food that doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. Chemical additives are never good for your pet’s health, especially if they already struggle with diabetes.

Stick to wholesome ingredients that can support your dog’s health, supplementing their needs with rich nutrients.

Go with dog food that has an identifiable source of protein as the first ingredient. This is usually beef, chicken, fish, turkey, and more. Turkey meal and other questionable protein sources should be avoided.

On the other hand, byproducts aren’t good protein sources, and neither are those that don’t have a specific source listed.

Fruits and Vegetables

You may think that all fruits and vegetables are good for your dog, but that’s not true. Some foods have too much sugar that can be harmful to diabetic dogs.

Still, a healthy mix of veggies and fruits is recommended. Also, look for wholesome plant-based ingredients that don’t have too much sugar.

These will supply your dog’s immune system with all the vitamins and nutrients needed. In addition, many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that’ll help them detox and thrive.

Still, fruits and vegetables alone aren’t enough for your dog, so make sure to include meats for protein.

Consistency

Dogs diagnosed with diabetes need a special diet that supports their immune system, helping them live with the disease.

Apart from including all the right ingredients, you’ll also have to pay attention to consistency. What this means is feeding your dog the same amount and at the same time.

This way, you help its blood sugar level stay stable and at a normal range. Try not to change their diet before consulting with a vet since only a professional can advise you what exactly you should do based on your dog’s blood test results.

Top 10 Best Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs

ALL Natural Diabetic Treats, Vet Approved

The first thing to remember is that this isn’t dog food meant for full meals. These are cookies meant as treats, so make sure to stick to suggested portion sizes.

The formula is specially made for diabetic dogs as it contains natural, plant-based ingredients. Many of these ingredients are organic and contain no additives, dyes, or chemicals.

It’s a good choice if you’re after treats to use when training your dog, as it doesn’t contain any ingredients that could spike your dog’s blood sugar levels.

On the contrary, the ingredients help to reduce blood sugar levels while also managing insulin requirements.

It’s a 10-ounce package with plenty of cookies for your dog to enjoy when they behave. One thing to keep in mind is that these contain wheat.

Wheat is generally not the best ingredient to feed your pup, diabetic or not.

Pros:

No artificial ingredients

Herbal-based

Approx. 40 cookies

Cons:

It contains wheat

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

Wellness CORE Natural Wet Grain-Free Canned Dog Food, Beef

Wellness Core is a good choice if you’re looking for canned food for diabetic dogs. It contains premium protein along with balanced nutrients and superfoods your dog needs to thrive.

One of the best things about it is that you can choose between grain and grain-free recipes. You can even find formulas suitable for many conditions and food sensitivities.

This grain-free canned food has a high concentration of protein that comes from meat ingredients. It doesn’t contain any wheat, soy, meat byproducts, corn, preservatives, or artificial colors and flavors.

All its ingredients are rich in minerals and vitamins, supporting your pup’s immune system, digestive health, and healthy coat and skin. Everything is carefully selected to sustain your dog’s wellbeing.

You can choose between turkey, deboned beef, venison, lamb, chicken, pork, and duck.

Pros:

High-quality protein

No artificial ingredients

For all life stages

Cons:

It’s a bit pricey

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

Ketona Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food for Adult Dogs – Grain Free Dog Food

Ketona is a well-known brand making quality grain-free dry dog food. It contains 85% less carbohydrates than most other grain-free foods.

Another thing we should mention is that it contains less than 0.5% sugars and 5% starch. So it also has less than 5% digestible carbohydrate.

What it does have is more than 46% protein coming from non-GMO and antibiotic-free chicken. In addition, chicken is raised in America using sustainable practices.

It doesn’t contain any ingredients that could spike your dog’s blood sugar levels like potato, soy, sorghum, barley, rice, or wheat.

It contains chicken liver digest, gelatin, potassium chloride, sunflower oil, ascorbic acid, vitamin B12, and more. It’s meant for all breeds and life stages as it’s available in many different quantities.

Still, large dogs might find the kibble too small because it’s only slightly bigger than cat kibble.

Pros:

Sourceable protein

No GMO ingredients

Easy to digest

Cons:

The kibble size

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

Nulo Adult Dog Food: Grain Free

Nulo is grain-free dry dog food made with clean ingredients. It’s meant to provide a healthy weight, plenty of energy, and a well-balanced diet for your diabetic dog.

It’s especially suitable for allergic dogs as it doesn’t contain any allergy-triggering grains like wheat, corn, or soy. It also doesn’t include things like eggs and chicken protein since some dogs struggle to digest that.

Still, this is a protein-rich dry dog food with BC30 probiotics. It’s a small kibble formula low in carbs and high in protein, helping your dog develop and thrive.

It’s packed with Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids to promote a healthy coat and skin. Also, you can choose between a few formulas containing turkey, salmon, or lamb.

None of them have any mystery ingredients or artificial flavors and colors.

Pros:

For all breeds

Promotes lean muscles

No allergy-triggering ingredients

Cons:

Some dogs got diarrhea

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Multi-Benefit

The first thing to remember about the Hill’s is that this is prescription food. Therefore, it can only be sold under the supervision of a veterinarian.

Hill’s veterinarians and nutritionists developed the formula to boost your dog’s immune system, health, and weight management.

It’s dry dog food that improves digestion, helping to manage glucose and weight. Also, its therapeutic L-carnitine levels add to digesting fat while maintaining lean muscles.

The Hill’s kibble has soluble and insoluble fiber, low calories, and low fat, so your diabetic dog won’t gain any weight as long as you control the portions.

It comes in 8.5lb packs and is packed with natural ingredients that promote lower blood sugar levels and a healthy urinary tract.

Pros:

Natural ingredients

It helps to manage weight

For blood sugar and urinary tract

Cons:

Prescription-only

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

Acana Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Acana is made with fresh and raw ingredients to match the diet your diabetic dog needs. It has all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to keep a dog’s blood sugar at bay.

The brand takes pride in using only ingredients from trusted sources, which helps when looking for quality dry dog food. Also, this is grain-free dry dog food high in protein needed for lean muscles.

It contains fresh ingredients, raw animal ingredients, whole vegetables, and carefully picked fruits that won’t spike your dog’s blood sugar levels.

It’s free of gluten, grains, potato, and tapioca, so it’s suitable for other health conditions. It also works well for all ages and breeds.

Another thing worth noting is that this dry dog food doesn’t contain any preservatives or artificial colors.

Pros:

For all diabetic dogs

No artificial ingredients

Grain-free formula

Cons:

It’s pricey

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Grain-Free

This Orijen dry dog food is packed with essential nutrients from whole-animal ingredients like wild-caught fish, free-run chicken, and cage-free eggs.

It contains up to 85% animal ingredients sourced from the best parts, meaning that it doesn’t contain animal byproducts or meals.

All the ingredients used are fresh and raw, including organs, meat, cartilage, and bone. The formula doesn’t contain any grain, so it’s perfect for allergic and diabetic dogs.

This one is suitable for all breeds and life stages, but make sure to portion it according to the size of your dog. Too big portions might cause weight gain.

It comes in several package sizes, so you can pick depending on how much food your dog goes through per month. Try slowly mixing it with old food so that your dog gets used to it.

Pros:

Fresh ingredients

Nutrient-dense formula

Protein-rich

Cons:

The scent might be too intense for some

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

Merrick Grain Free with Real Meat + Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food

This Merrick grain-free real beef and sweet potato recipe has plenty of other ingredients. Deboned beef is its first ingredient, although you can find other formulas with different protein sources.

It contains 65% of protein and 35% of produce, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other natural ingredients needed in food for diabetic dogs.

The formula is grain-free and has omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin to maintain healthy joints, hips, coat, and skin.

The protein comes from animals, but sweet potato is included for healthy fats. The combination helps to maintain optimal weight and control blood sugar levels.

Merrick grain-free comes in many package sizes and is suitable for all breeds suffering from canine diabetes. In addition, it features a portion sizing chart on the back of the package.

Pros:

For all breeds

Rich in protein

Suitable for allergic dogs

Cons:

The bag isn’t resealable

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

A BETTER TREAT – Freeze Dried Salmon Dog Treats

This is another excellent choice for diabetic dogs if you’re looking for treats to use when training. It contains freeze-dried salmon along with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

The treats are rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, and Vitamins A, B12, and D. Still, the formula is free of chemicals, grain, and gluten.

Apart from being suitable for diabetic dogs, it’s also safe for allergic and sensitive canines, thanks to 68% less saturated fat.

The treats are made from sustainably sourced ingredients under FDA requirements. In addition, the meat goes through freeze-drying, known to be among the best methods for preserving natural nutrients.

It’s a safe snack that’ll go perfect with other diabetic dog food you’re feeding your dog. First, however, make sure to check the back of the packaging to learn more about portion sizes.

Pros:

For all diabetic dog breeds

Rich in Omega 3 and 6

Long shelf life

Cons:

Intense smell

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Adult Dog Food, Grain-Free

Thanks to its ingredients, nutrients, and vitamins, this Natural Balance grain-free dry food is ideal for diabetic dogs. It comes in several package sizes, so you can choose based on how much your dog eats.

It’s a simple formula containing salmon and sweet potato, both of which are easily digestible and rich in carbohydrates. What’s best is that it doesn’t have any added lentils, pea protein, corn, soy, or wheat.

Since it doesn’t contain grain, it’s suitable for allergic and sensitive dogs. In addition, it’s easy to digest and helps to maintain your dog’s blood sugar levels at bay.

The brand has over 125 years of experience making dog food and collaborating with board-certified clinical veterinarians, scientists, and pet feeding analysts.

Since it contains salmon, you might find the smell a bit too strong, but you’ll quickly get used to it.

Pros:

Complete and balanced formula

For all breed sizes

It doesn’t contain grain

Cons:

It’s expensive

Check Amazon for Availability and Pricing

FAQ

How often should a diabetic dog eat?

As we said, you should always consult with a veterinarian if you think your dog may be diabetic. Even some of the best dog foods might be unsuitable for diabetic dogs, so you should act fast.

Once the vet diagnoses diabetes in dogs, you should get some advice on diet, portion sizes, and foods to avoid. Your vet will most likely also tell you how often you should feed the canine.

In most cases, a diabetic dog should eat twice a day at the same time. The portions should be of the same size as well.

Some treats are acceptable, but make sure they’re also made for diabetic dogs.

How much food should a diabetic dog eat?

How much food your diabetic dog should eat depends on the animal’s breed, size, and weight. In other words, a tiny chihuahua won’t eat the same amount of dog food as a German Sheppard.

For this reason, you should first think about how big your dog is and how much they weigh. This will help you determine the portion size.

Diabetic dogs don’t have to eat less than other hounds unless they’re also overweight. Some packaging might include a chart that can help you determine the portion size, but it’s always best to get this info from a professional.

Are diabetic dogs always hungry?

One of the symptoms of canine diabetes is increased appetite. Some dogs can be very hungry most if not all the time due to the body’s cells’ lack of glucose.

This increase in appetite can happen even if your dog eats the average amount they always do. However, don’t take this symptom alone as a sign of canine diabetes.

Many things can spike the appetite, so make sure to check in with your vet before purchasing any dog foods for diabetic hounds.

Is sweet potato good for diabetic dogs?

As you may have noticed, some of these foods for diabetic dogs contain sweet potato, although this isn’t the best ingredient to give for canine diabetes.

The thing with sweet potato is that it has a high glycemic index. This doesn’t mean you should stay away from it but feed it to your dog in moderate amounts.

Also, watch your pet closely when presenting dog food with sweet potatoes for the first time.

Is oatmeal good for diabetic dogs?

Oatmeal is safe for diabetic dogs, especially those that are sensitive to wheat and other grains. Oats are rich in Omega-6 fatty acid and linoleic acid that help maintain optimal skin and coat health.

Plus, oats are excellent sources of fiber known to help regulate blood glucose.

Final Thoughts

Picking the right foods for diabetic dogs can be tricky due to as many options out there. But, you’ll find it much easier to choose once you understand the factors we talked about in the guide.

Best dog foods have a variety of ingredients safe for all diabetic dog breeds. Still, you should always read the ingredients list to see if other things might trigger your dog’s blood sugar levels.

What’s best about these foods for diabetic dogs is that they’re often safe for allergic dogs and those with urinary tract problems.

Hopefully, you found the best diabetic dog food for your pet from the ones we reviewed. Some are pricey, but it’s up to you to determine whether the price and quantity ratio works for your budget.

Again, stick to whole foods, natural ingredients, and protein sources you’re familiar with. Stay away from fillers, artificial colors and flavors, and animal by products in dog food.

About the author

    Ann Collins

    I've been a college grad for over 4 years now. I'm a full-time contributor for puppypointers and I absolutely love it. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world, especially those that have a warm heart for doggies. When I'm not writing, I spend a lot of time at the beach in sunny California.

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