dog food for diabetic dogs

The Best Diabetic Dog Food According to a Veterinarian

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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What is the Best Dog Food to Give a Diabetic Dog?

Ketona Dry Dog Food For Adults - Low Carb, High Protein
  • 0% less carbohydrate than other leading brands, with twice the meat. More than 46% protein and less than 5% carbohydrate.
  • Keto is a dog’s natural diet. Fat and protein are essential for dogs. Carbs aren’t. Your dog’s ancestors ate meat, fat, and nothing else for 99.9% of their genetic evolution. Mother nature knows best.
  • Burns body fat instead of storing it, and builds strong lean muscles. Lowers blood sugar levels while reducing itching and inflammation.

What is Diabetic Dog Food?

Diabetic dog food is a specialized formula that only contains between 20% and 25% carbohydrates to reduce blood glucose levels. This is helpful to dogs with canine diabetes that cannot produce enough insulin on their own.

Is Wet Food or Dry Food Better For Diabetic Dogs?

Generally speaking, wet dog food is better for diabetic dogs because it does not contain fillers as dry dog food does.

Do Diabetic Dogs Need Special Food?

Yes, diabetic dogs need special food, although they do not necessarily need a prescription diet.

Dog food with low amounts of carbohydrates and plenty of fiber helps to regulate a dog’s blood sugar. Your DVM can help you decide the nutrition needed for your individual dog’s diet.

What are the Benefits of Diabetic Dog Food?

The main benefits of diabetic dog food are:

  • High Fiber Content. High fiber in a dog’s diet is important if they have canine diabetes. Fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, slows down the digestion process, slowing down the production of a dog’s blood sugar.
  • Low Carbohydrate Content. Low-carb recipes are typically used for weight management, but when dealing with diabetes in dogs, this style of food prevents the production of excess glucose.
  • Low Sugar Content. Diabetic dog food contains much less added sugar than other adult dog food. This helps not only with managing blood sugar levels but also with weight management in general.
  • High-Quality Ingredients. Since diabetic dog food recipes are very carefully formulated, most brands of kibble and wet dog food for pets with canine diabetes use only the best ingredients from natural sources.

The Best Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs Reviewed

There are different foods suitable for dogs with diabetes. To help owners find the right formula, we have reviewed some of the market’s best diabetic dog food recipes.

Ketona Dry Dog Food For Adults – Low Carb, High Protein

Ketona Dry Dog Food For Adults - Low Carb, High Protein

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Summary: This dry kibble is ideal for pet owners that need a high-protein, low-carb diet for their dog. The high-quality ingredients are chosen to create a natural, keto dog diet. This pet food contains no brown rice or other carbs that can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. Ketona is a great option for active dogs that need to keep up without adding much glucose.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken

Price: $8.81 per pound

Pros

  • Helps build strong muscles
  • Contains less than 5% carbohydrates
  • Reduces blood sugar
  • Prevents some itching and inflammation
  • Can be introduced immediately

Cons

  • Contains almost no fruits or veggies
  • More expensive than other dog food brands

Ingredient Analysis: The first and most plentiful ingredient is chicken, the main protein source. Fiber is supplied through oat hulls, flaxseed meal, and pea fiber. A host of vitamins and minerals – including vitamin E, vitamin A, and folic acid – are added to provide balanced nutrition.

Review: Rated as 4.4 out of 5 stars, pet parents with dogs that have canine diabetes are very pleased with this recipe. Dog owners note that the high-protein and the low-carb mix is perfect for dogs at risk for ketosis while being much more convenient than raw dog food.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Wet Canned Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Wet Canned Food

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Summary: This canned wet dog food prioritizes protein by offering a recipe with 95% high-quality meat. This low-fat, low-carb formula is ideal for healthy dogs and dogs with diabetes mellitus. Pet owners managing obesity in their dogs can also use this food to help curb appetites. The high-protein content maximizes flavor while cutting out unnecessary carbohydrates.

Type: Wet dog food

Best for: Adult dogs and senior dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken, Beef, and Turkey

Price: $2.77 – $3.88

Pros

  • Contains 95% chicken, beef, or turkey
  • Flavorful recipe helps encourage appetite
  • Balanced nutrients help keep your dog healthy
  • Supports a strong immune system
  • Helps maintain healthy skin and shiny coats

Cons

  • Contains 1% or less of crude fiber

Ingredient Analysis: Chicken, beef, or turkey is the first ingredient in this protein-rich recipe. Veggies like broccoli, which also provides antioxidants, are added alongside high-fiber sources such as ground flaxseed. Other vitamins and minerals are added to balance your dog’s diet, including folic acid, zinc amino acid, vitamin B12, and more.

Review: This recipe is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon by customers that love the high-protein formula. Pet owners say that the strong aroma helps picky eaters and dogs with a reduced appetite enjoy eating their food, while the soft texture makes it easy for senior dogs to chew. The high-protein canned food mix is perfect for diabetic dogs or any other healthy dog that needs a low-carb diet.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

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Summary: This dry dog food kibble balances this high-protein formula with various natural fruits and veggies to balance necessary for optimal dog health. This dog food aims to support the overall wellness of dogs with health issues, including pancreas problems and obesity. A grain-free recipe helps reduce the carbs included without sacrificing flavor. The main ingredient is high-quality meat so that dogs will enjoy the taste of this healthy food.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Turkey & Chicken

Price: $5.00 per pound

Pros

  • Low-fat recipe is ideal for dogs with canine diabetes
  • Helps maintain healthy skin and coats
  • Formulated for good digestive health
  • The first ingredient is high-quality turkey
  • Grain-free food reduces carbohydrate content

Cons

  • Only available in one flavor

Ingredient Analysis: Protein is sourced from high-quality turkey and chicken meals. Fiber comes from a blend of lentils, peas, potatoes, and ground flaxseed. Taurine supports heart health, while added probiotics and prebiotics support healthy digestion. Omega fatty acids help maintain a shiny coat, glucosamine supports joint health, and other vitamins and minerals create a balanced formula.

Review: Customers rate this food as 4.6 out of 5 stars because of the balanced nutrients. The mix of protein with essential vitamins and minerals helps maintain dog health throughout various issues, including diabetes mellitus. The high-quality ingredients result in shinier coats and happier, healthy dogs.

Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm Green Superfood Dog Food Dehydrated Grain-Free Base Mix

Dr. Harvey's Paradigm Green Superfood Dog Food Dehydrated Grain-Free Base Mix

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Summary: This grain-free dog food mix-in is an excellent blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other supplements perfect for maintaining a healthy dog’s body. While not a full meal, this dog food can be used alongside kibble or as a dog treat. The balance of nutrients supports robust immune systems and a healthy pancreas to help dogs create enough insulin to be healthy. Simply add this to your dog’s diet for a nutrient-rich health boost.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Green Superfood Mix

Price: $17.32 per pound

Pros

  • Includes veggies with a low glycemic index
  • Grain-free recipe
  • No preservatives, dyes, chemicals, or by-products
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Gives dogs more energy

Cons

  • Needs to be mixed with meat and oil

Ingredient Analysis: Dehydrated whole foods like broccoli, green beans, bone broth, and crushed eggshell add important nutrients. Other vitamins and minerals like iron, thiamine, vitamin E, and folic acid are added with high-quality supplements.

Review: This pet food mix-in is rated 4.6 out of 5 stars for its outstanding health benefits. The nutrients from this mix-in help balance the diets of dogs with pancreatitis, canine diabetes, or other health issues that require a special veterinary diet. The superfoods used in the recipe are easily digestible and help enhance the flavor of kibble and wet dog food, with less preparation than typical raw dog food.

Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight Wet Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight Wet Dog Food

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Summary: This wet dog food aims to help with weight management using special formulas. Perfect for dogs that struggle with obesity, diabetes, or other health issues related to weight, this tasty wet dog food makes meals easy. The combination of natural ingredients with science-backed formulas helps dogs develop lean muscle and lose extra weight. Use this dog food by itself or as a mix-in with kibble.

Type: Wet dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken & Vegetables

Price: $2.97 per can

Pros

  • Formulated to help with weight loss
  • Balanced protein and nutrients
  • Tasty recipe encourages appetite
  • Supports lean and strong muscles
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Contains rice starch

Ingredient Analysis: Protein comes from high-quality chicken and chicken broth. Fiber is added using veggies like green peas, spinach, and carrots. Natural additives like rice starch and wheat gluten help manage caloric intake. Vitamins and minerals are added to ensure a balanced meal.

Review: This dog food is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon by customers. Dog owners note that even picky eaters enjoy the tasty flavor of the chicken stew. The balanced recipe helps with weight loss in dogs that are struggling with obesity without sacrificing any necessary nutrients. The mix of natural ingredients makes this dog food look very appealing too. Many dog owners remarked that they use partial portions as a kibble topper to encourage their dog’s appetite.

What Ingredients Should I Look for in Diabetic Dog Food?

You should look for ingredients that will help manage your dog’s glucose levels. These include:

  • High-Quality Protein: Quality protein from named meat sources such as beef or chicken.
  • Dietary Fiber (Prebiotics): A balance of soluble and insoluble fiber like whole wheat, sweet potatoes, barley, and oats.
  • Limited Carbohydrates: A carb content of 25% or less. The fewer carbohydrates a dog with canine diabetes has, the better.
  • Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, which help decrease blood lipid levels and inflammation.
  • Low-Fat Content: A low-fat content, as weight management is very important to a dog’s diet.

What Foods Should Dogs with Diabetes Avoid?

Dogs with diabetes should avoid foods that have simple sugars, such as corn and corn syrup, as well as ingredients with a high glycemic index, like white rice. These ingredients will quickly raise your dog’s blood sugar levels.

How Many Times a Day Should a Diabetic Dog Eat?

A diabetic dog should eat twice per day, consistently on the same schedule. If it has one insulin injection, you should serve 2/3 of its daily food before the shot and the rest of its food 6-8 hours later.

If your dog needs two shots per day, they should get two equally sized meals 10-12 hours apart, just before each insulin injection.