Best Diabetic Dog Food

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Once a dog is diagnosed with diabetes, it usually remains diabetic. It is a lifelong condition that requires daily medications. Diabetes is a severe and chronic disease, but it can be managed with proper feeding and dietary strategies. Stay trim so your dog with diabetes can thrive longer and avoid further complications. In this post, we will go over the best diabetic dog food. 

How does diabetes manifest itself in dogs?

Diabetes Mellitus or canine diabetes, as it is commonly used to refer to a dog with diabetes, is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or inadequate insulin response. This leads to a chronically high blood sugar level that leads to the symptoms of the disease. It most commonly occurs in middle age to older dogs but occasionally in young ones. Also, diabetes mellitus occurs more frequently in female dogs.

After your dog eats, his digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose, which insulin carries into his cells. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. As the food is broken down, the glucose enters the bloodstream, which will be transported throughout the body for storage or energy that your dog needs. After the glucose enters the bloodstream, it triggers the pancreas to produce insulin. His blood sugar levels elevate when a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it regularly.

The body needs insulin to use sugar, fat, and protein for energy. Without it, sugar accumulates either in the blood or in the urine.

best diabetic dog food

The exact cause is not yet known. However, autoimmune disease, genetics, obesity, chronic pancreatitis, certain medications, and abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas can play a significant role in developing the disease. All dogs can develop diabetes, but it is more common for female and obese dogs. Breeds like the schnauzer, dachshund, poodle, Samoyed, Keeshond, and Australian terrier also seem to have a higher risk for the disease.

Types of Diabetes for Dogs

Diabetes is classified into two: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is the lack of insulin production, while Type 2 is impaired insulin production and inadequate response to the hormone.

To dogs, Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes is the most common form of the disease. With this, insulin therapy is needed to survive. But, at some point, a dog can develop Type II Diabetes which is frequently related to obesity and unhealthy dietary habits.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

Though there are two types of diabetes, the two types have the same set of symptoms. The following are some of the signs that could be good indicators that your dog has diabetes:

  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Cataract formation, blindness
  • Chronic skin infections


  • Untreated diabetes leads to emaciation, chronic lethargy, weakness, or hypoglycemia.
  • Prone to urinary tract infections (UTI).
  • Weak immune systems are at increased susceptibility to all types of infections.
  • Untreated diabetes, over time, may lead to potentially fatal syndromes, including diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and nonketotic hyperosmolar syndrome.
  • High blood sugar levels can result in the formation of cataracts.
  • When cataracts develop, it leads to the leaking of protein into the eye, which causes inflammation called uveitis.
  • If left untreated, the uveitis can progress into glaucoma, resulting in permanent vision loss.

Dietary Modifications

Dogs are widely known to be carnivorous, but contrary to popular belief, dogs are not strictly carnivores. They may receive most of their needed nutrition from animal sources, but they need to eat plant-derived foods occasionally. Sometimes, they cannot process carbohydrates because they have shorter digestive tracts.

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There are three primary nutrients or macronutrients that a dog needs: protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Besides, plenty of freshwaters is required as well as some micronutrients, which are vitamins and minerals. Among the three mentioned macronutrients, protein is the most important. It helps develop and maintain lean muscle mass. Next is fats, which are a highly-concentrated source of energy for dogs. It is an essential building block in a healthy diet for dogs. Lastly, carbohydrates provide dietary fiber that regulates digestion. This should only receive a limited amount compared to protein and fat.

An excellent diet choice for a diabetic dog is a meat-based high, protein food that has a moderate amount of fat and a restricted amount of carbohydrates. If carbohydrates are included, they should be low glycemic. You should re-evaluate and re-arrange the feeding arrangement to prevent your dog’s blood sugar level from fluctuating too much. Aside from being mindful of your dog’s dietary habits, you should also ensure that he gets regular exercise. Walking for 30 minutes a day will suffice.

Guidelines for Choosing a Quality Diabetic Dog Food 

Choosing a diabetic dog food for your dog is quite a difficult task. You must invest more time in looking for high-quality diabetic dog food that is not too expensive. Cheap dog foods are rarely of high quality, but the same goes for expensive dog food. Even if it has a high price tag, it doesn’t necessarily mean a high-quality product.

Aside from that, plenty of dog food is already introduced in the market, which makes hunting for the best quality diabetic dog food confusing. So that you will be able to choose high-quality food for your dog, you need to know some basic knowledge regarding dog food labels.

Speaking of a dog food label, there are only three things you should look for on the name:

Statement of Nutritional Adequacy

Ensure that the product meets the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standard. The AAFCO is responsible for monitoring the quality and safety of pet foods and animal feed produced in the United States.

They determine the basic nutritional requirements of every pet in a specific category, like adult-only or pregnant. You’ll know if AAFCO certifies it if it carries a nutritional adequacy statement, “[Product Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.”. If not, it the better to drop that product and look for another one.

Guaranteed Analysis

The guaranteed analysis provides you with information that the product meets the basic requirements of dogs for protein and fat or if the fiber content is adequately high. The minimum protein requirement for adult dogs is 18%, and the minimum fat requirement is 8% for puppies and 5% for adult dogs. Use the guaranteed analysis to compare two diabetic dog food products directly. Remember to look for the four vital nutrients: crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and moisture.

Ingredients List

The most important thing you need to know is that this ingredients list is compiled in descending order by volume. The ingredients with a large quantity are located at the top of most of the list. This will help you to easily see the high-quality ingredients such as quality animal proteins, digestible carbohydrates, and animal fats near the beginning of the list. Also, this list will let you know that no ingredients, such as an allergen, low-quality fillers, or artificial preservatives are on the list.

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Keep in mind that corn, wheat, and soy ingredients may provide plenty of dietary fiber, but these ingredients also come with a high risk of triggering allergies or sensitivities.

Whole grains are one of the most beneficial sources of dietary fiber for dogs because they will not cause your dog’s blood sugar level to fluctuate.

Look for gluten-free, grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potato, tapioca, and green peas.

Recommended Diabetic Food Brands

Primarily, your veterinarian recommends you to a specific diabetic dog food brand they trust the most. However, they sometimes recommend you make specific changes to his diet. With the fast-growing number of dog food products today, consider the following recommendation of some of the top-rated diabetic dog food brands below:

Nutro dog food

The Nutro Company was founded in 1926 and is already known for making quality pet food products. For almost a century of making pet food products, the company has followed the strictest standards to produce safe and quality products.
The Nutro Adult Lite Weight Loss Dog Food helps overweight dogs achieve a healthier weight. This is a low-calorie, high-fiber dog food that provides all the nutrients your dog needs. The blend of high fiber and the right protein level helps less active and overweight dogs feel full, reducing overall food intake that helps lower their weight. The primary ingredient for this Nutro Adult Lite is a US farm-raised chicken that helps build muscle and maintains and regulates healthy digestion for your dogs.

The Purina pet food company offers various products made with low-quality ingredients and non-nutritive fillers. The Purina Beyond Grain-free White Meat Chicken and Egg Recipe Dog Food are made with simple, natural ingredients with vitamins and minerals. Real white chicken is the primary ingredient which is an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids.

Eggs are included for additional protein and essential fatty acids, which contribute to healthy skin and a shiny coat. This dog food is a complete and balanced meal formulated without common allergens. Moreover, this diabetic dog food offers a minimum of 27% protein, 16% fat, and five %fiber, which are the ideal values to keep your dog healthy.



The Arcana Pet Food company is known for producing “biologically appropriate diets” for dogs and cats. This means that their products are formulated to mimic the natural diet of canines and felines.
This Arcana Heritage Free-Run Poultry Formula Adult Dog Food is a grain-free formula loaded with over 60% of free-run poultry ingredients.

It features three fresh types of meat in WholePrey ratios: free-run chicken, free-run turkey, and nest-laid eggs, which include meat, organs, and cartilage to supply nutrients naturally and completely. Aside from that, it includes 40% of fruits, vegetables, and botanicals to provide the necessary dietary fiber and vital nutrients. Moreover, this Arcana Heritage Free-Run Poultry Formula Adult Dog Food offers you 29% protein, 17% fat, and 6% fiber with a total of 396 calories per cup.

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Compared to the mentioned pet food company, Whole Earth Farms is not that well-known in the pet food industry; however, this brand is already giving you a reason to consider its product regardless of its popularity.

The Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Recipe with Chicken and Turkey features multiple protein sources, vitamins, and minerals. The chicken meal is the primary ingredient that provides high protein, plus the turkey is an additional ingredient. This formula also features low-glycemic options like dried potatoes, peas, and dried sweet potatoes.

Healthy additives are also included in the recipe, like the chelated minerals and dried fermentation of products that act as probiotics for healthy digestion and fast metabolism. Moreover, this Whole Earth Farms Grain-free Recipe offers 26% protein, 13% fat, and 4.5% fiber, which is good enough to support and maintain your dog’s body weight.



Again, this Orijen pet food brand is also known for producing a biologically appropriate diet in which they tend to mimic the nutritional composition of cats and dogs.
For high-quality diabetic dog food, this Orijen Six Fish Grain-Free Adult Dog Food will suffice your dog’s nutritional needs. It uses high-quality ingredients fished within the US and arrives fresh daily. No preservatives are added, never frozen, and loaded with animal proteins and fats that nourish your dog ultimately.

It is loaded with 80% protein-packed fish to support lean muscle mass and a supple skin and hair coat. Also, it is infused with marine-source DHA and EPA Omega-3 Fatty acids, which add to the skin and coat conditioning. Moreover, this formula contains 38% protein and 20% low-glycemic carbohydrates for healthy digestion and fast metabolism.


Bottom Line

Finding the best diabetic dog food is challenging and requires thorough planning regarding care and nutritional needs. Thus, choosing high-quality commercial dog food for your pet dog is quite challenging, making it hard to conclude if the one you are considering and carrying will help you to give what’s best for your canine.

Also, it becomes more challenging if a veterinarian gives specific dietary restrictions. It will eat your time looking for a diabetic dog food that meets the needed requirements. Hence, the products mentioned above are all high-quality diabetic food that will help you and your diabetic dog.


Rachel Tyler