A Guide to Diabetic Dog Food

So, you found out your dog has diabetes. There’s no need to panic. With proper care, your furry diabetic best friend can lead a long life.

Like people, when dogs have diabetes, staying in shape is essential. If you have an overweight dog, encouraging him to lose some pounds can help their cells better manage insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and makes it easier for their body to convert food into fuel.

Since your dog doesn’t know how to keep his blood sugar (or glucose) levels normal, you’re going to have to step in and help him. If not, he’ll likely get diabetes-related complications, such as vision-clouding cataracts and urinary tract infections.

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

Sadly, some of the initial signs of diabetes in dogs are not obvious, so most parents tend to miss them. This is why having a close relationship with your dog matters. He can’t tell you what he’s feeling, but he needs you to act for him.

Some of the most obvious signs that indicate the occurrence of diabetes include:

  • Unquenchable thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Smelly breath
  • Fatigue
  • Depressional tendencies
  • Chronic skin infections

While these are not the only early symptoms you may notice, they are the most commonly reported. If your dog displays any of the signs mentioned above, consult your vet promptly. Some cases are so advanced that they need emergency care to stabilize them by the time they get to the vet.

Diabetic Dog Food

The Best Diabetic Dog Foods

Please remember that diabetes is a very serious condition before we go further, and you must work with your vet when selecting diabetic food for your dog. That being said, we present the following canine diabetes foods as some potential options for your dog.

NOTE: Some of the foods listed below may not be accessible without a prescription.

Ketona Chicken Recipe Dog Food

Ketona Chicken Recipe Dog Food is a scientifically-formulated dog food with very low carbohydrate content. This recipe only contains 0.5% sugars, 5% digestible carbohydrate content, and a substantial 46% protein. Unquestionably very worthy of consideration for diabetic dogs. The only catch is its price – it’s quite expensive.

  • American-raised, GMO-free chicken is the first listed ingredient
  • Made without corn, soy, wheat, or potatoes
  • Made in the USA

Get it on Chewy.

Orijen Grain-Free

Orijen Grain-Free is a highly rated dog food with a very impressive count of 38% protein, 20% carbohydrates, and 85% meat inclusions, and 15% veggies & fruits.

  • Absolutely no grain, tapioca, or plant protein concentrates
  • Includes fresh organs, meat, cartilage, and bone for added nutritional benefit
  • Made in the USA

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Merrick Grain Free Dog Food

Merrick Grain-Free Dog Food is a well-balanced, tasty food formulated with leading levels of high-quality proteins for healthy energy and growing muscle mass. Additionally, it contains a few great fruits and vegetables and a variety of beneficial supplements. It is a fairly good option for diabetic dogs.

  • Cooked with many different protein sources (real beef, lamb meal, and salmon meal)
  • A grain-free dog food recipe that contains no corn, wheat, or soy
  • Enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health
  • Made in the USA

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Nulo Adult Salmon & Peas

Nulo Adult Salmon & Peas is a high-quality kibble with a substantial protein count of 30%, with 80% of those proteins originating from animals. This recipe is also low in carbs, with just 38%. Along with various nutritious ingredients, Nulo features Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to help promote a flowing, glistening coat.

  • Includes deboned turkey meal, salmon, and chicken meal as first ingredients
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Low-glycemic ingredients

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Acana Appalachian Ranch

Acana Appalachian Ranch is one of the highest quality protein-packed dog food out there, with an impressive low carb count of just 32%. This regionally inspired recipe blends a variety of fresh and raw meat ingredients such as ranch-raised beef, grass-fed lamb, Yorkshire pork, American bison, and freshwater catfish along with whole vegetables and fruits from American farms. Created for dogs of all breeds and ages, Acana delivers all the nutriment your dog needs minus the artificial additives.

  • Biologically suitable, grain-free recipe
  • Features whole-prey ingredients in proportions that reflect wild prey
  • Made in the USA

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Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D

Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D is a prescription-only dog food designed specifically for dogs with digestive complications, weight control issues, or blood-sugar concerns. Pet parents need a prescription from their vet to get this food, but that doesn’t mean you have to get it from your vet – you can still buy it online like you normally would.

  • Uniquely formulated to support your dog’s immune system 
  • Features high levels of L-carnitine to help speed up your dog’s metabolism
  • Includes balanced fiber levels to help keep your dog satiated between meals

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Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Wet Canned

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Canned Food is another excellent protein-rich recipe that is also low in carbs. Formulated with various proteins and a collection of tasty and nutritious vegetables and fruits, this grain-free recipe may help some pet parents manage their dog’s blood sugar level.

  • Mineral levels specially formulated to boost overall metabolic capacity
  • 50% protein and only 8% carbohydrate content
  • Made in the USA

Get it on Chewy

Breeds That May Be More Likely to Get Diabetes

Sadly, it seems that a few dog breeds may be more prone to develop diabetes than others. If your dog applies to one of the following breeds, be super vigilant when watching out for signs of diabetes.

  • Poodles
  • Samoyed
  • Dobermans
  • Pomeranians
  • Fox Terriers
  • Beagles
  • Golden
  • German Shepherds
  • Bichon Frise
  • Keeshonds
  • Dachshunds
  • Puli
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Schnauzers


In most cases, diabetic dogs will need regular blood testing and insulin injections to stay healthy. Regular insulin shots ensure that your dog’s blood contains enough insulin to process the glucose properly.

But this is no cause for alarm. These procedures are simpler than they sound, and you can even do it on your own at home. Your vet will walk you through the necessary steps. Some dog parents prefer oral medications, which are a lot easier to administer.

Your vet will also encourage you to make sure your dog stays as active as possible, as exercising can have curative effects.

The intensity of the exercises you’ll need to provide your dog will vary from dog to dog. For some, daily walks around the neighborhood are enough, while others may require more intensive exercise to remain fit.



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