It’s estimated that 1 in every 500 dogs is a victim of canine diabetes. With many pet food companies choosing to produce lower-quality pet food in order to cut costs, diabetes in canines is becoming a big problem. Aside from the cost of maintaining your dog’s diabetes with insulin injections, you may want to consider choosing a diabetic dog food formula. Using a diabetic dog food formula can help to better manage your dog’s condition, and can also help to improve their overall health. However, not all diabetic dog food formulas are created equal. There are some formulas that may not be the right type of nutrition for your dog, or may actually make your dog’s diabetic condition worse. To help you to understand why diabetic dog food is important, here is some information to aid you in choosing a diabetic dog food formula for your dog.


The information provided in this article is by no means a substitute for instructions that you may receive from your veterinarian. Since the type and severity of your dog’s diabetes may vary, it’s always highly recommended that you bring your dog in for a veterinary evaluation before purchasing a diabetic dog food formula, or attempting to make your own diabetic dog food. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about nutrition suggestions that will be the best option for managing your dog’s condition.

Canine Diabetes – A Short Overview

Diabetes mellitus is the most common type of diabetes to affect dogs. This is a disease in which your dog’s beta cells don’t produce enough insulin for your dog’s overall good health, or your dog’s cells may stop producing insulin altogether. This insulin shortage means that your dog’s body won’t be able to use glucose, which is a primary energy source. The glucose builds up in your dog’s system, which results in high blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia. If left untreated, diabetes can cause other health problems, such as cataracts, dehydration, malnutrition, and even death. Though diabetes can affect many different types of dogs, the most common diabetic dog will be overweight, female and at the middle of her expected lifespan.

What’s the Best Diabetic Dog Food?

As stated before, each dog is different, and finding the best diabetic dog food for your dog may require a bit of experimentation. Thankfully, since canine diabetes has become more common, many pet food companies are now choosing to market and manufacture diabetic dog food formulas. It’s best to follow the advice of your veterinarian first, in order to help find the best diabetic dog food for your dog.

Should I Buy Dry or Canned Diabetic Dog Food?

Many pet owners with diabetic dogs may be confused about canned and dry dog food formulas, and which type is better for a diabetic dog. Again, each dog is different, and managing your dog’s diabetes may be dependent on several factors. However, it’s true that dry dog food may generally have a higher concentration of carbohydrates than canned dog food. This is because dry dog food needs to maintain a “kibble” shape, which is often accomplished through grains, potatoes, tapioca and other carbohydrates. Since a formula that’s high in simple carbohydrates may contribute to high blood glucose levels, this may be detrimental to the health of a dog with diabetes. Consult your veterinarian for advice about what the carbohydrate content should be of your diabetic dog food formula.

Making Your Own Diabetic Dog Food

You may want to consider making a homemade diabetic dog food formula for your dog. Many people are making their own diabetic dog food recipe, since it gives them complete control over their dog’s nutrition. However, you should never attempt to make a diabetic dog food formula without researching the specific nutritional requirements of dogs. It’s essential that your homemade diabetic dog food formula meets all of your dog’s health and nutritional needs.

Diabetic Dog Food Brands

There are several different brands that produce formulas specifically for diabetic dogs. For example, Royal Canin dog food has a veterinary formula for diabetes. Purina VD also produces a diabetic dog food formula, as well as Iams, Eukanuba and Merrick. However, it’s still essential that you read the ingredients of your dog’s diabetic dog food formula. Avoid any diabetic dog food brands that include cheap filler grains, such as corn, wheat, soy or sorghum. Try not to buy a diabetic dog food formula that uses chemical preservatives, such as BHA or BHT. If your diabetic dog food formula contains fish, make sure that it does not contain ethoxyquin. Taking these steps can help to ensure that your dog’s diabetic dog food formula still helps them to maintain overall good health.

  • The Manders

    Hi, Sue, our vet put our dog on Hills Diet W/D. It contains 15% protein, 6-9% fat max of 20% fiber, max 11% moisture max 5% ash, and several other ingredients. One thing we hated to see is that the #1 ingredient is corn. We also noticed it contains 16.1% powdered cellulose, a source of fiber. Our vet highly recommends this for our dog. She has pancreatitis AND diabetes. Hills also makes a canned W/D food. Mixing a little of it in the dry W/D food helps–our dog really doesn’t lik the taste of the dry food alone. We hope this info helps.

  • Sue Smothers

    My corgi just got diagnosed with diabetes. I haven’t been able to find a diabetic dog food in my town. I just purchased Natural Balance (L.I.D.) – sweet potato & fish formula. It is grain free. Crude Protein – 21.0% minimum, Crude fat – 10.0% minimum, Crude fiber – 3.0% maximum. The vet said I should look for a dog food with a low glycemic index. I just can’t find any. Would this food work?