In order to manage your dog’s diabetes, you may need to change its diet and feeding schedule. The objective is to keep your dog happy and to prevent large swings in blood glucose.
Your veterinarian will advise you what type of food your dog should eat, in what amounts. For many diabetic dogs, any high-quality balanced diet will work well. However, in some cases, the veterinarian may suggest that your dog eat a specially formulated diabetes diet.
Listen to the veterinarian's recommendation, because a diet that is best for one diabetic dog may not be ideal for another:
Remember that a healthy diet is useful ONLY if your dog is actually willing to eat it. If your pet refuses to eat the first food you buy, ask the veterinarian to suggest another.
NOTE: There is no diet or vitamin supplement that can reduce your dog's dependence on insulin injections. This is because vitamins and minerals cannot do what insulin does in the dog's body. If you believe that your dog needs a vitamin or mineral supplement, discuss it with your veterinarian first to make sure that the supplement does not interfere with the action of the dog's other medications. You will still need to give your dog insulin injections twice a day.
Tips for feeding the diabetic dog:
Your veterinarian may prescribe exercise - many recommend regular walks twice daily for your dog. Exercise may increase non-insulin mediated glucose uptake in muscles so your dog's insulin dose can be reduced. However, many vets agree it must be regular daily exercise to achieve these benefits.
Managing your dog’s diabetes also means managing its activity level. Exercise ‘burns up’ blood glucose the same way that insulin does. If your dog is well regulated on insulin, any active exercise on top of the insulin might cause the dog to have a severe low blood glucose episode, called hypoglycemia.2
Keep your dog on a reasonably consistent exercise routine. Your usual insulin regimen will take that amount of exercise into account.
If you plan to take your dog out for some extra demanding exercise, such as swimming at the lake or playing in the snow, give the dog only half of its usual insulin dose.