Best Foods for Diabetic Dogs: 9 Low-Carb, High-Fiber Eats!

Dog Food


Ben Team


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best dog food for diabetic dogs

One of the most serious chronic illnesses dogs suffer from is canine diabetes — a disease characterized by improper pancreas function.

Without a healthy pancreas, your dog will have trouble regulating his blood sugar levels. Left untreated, diabetes can cause very serious complications and even death.

So, you’ll need to work with your vet and feed him food that provides the kind of nutrition a diabetic dog needs.

We’ll explain the basics of diabetes for dogs as well as highlight some of the best foods for diabetic dogs in this guide.

Best Foods for Diabetic Dogs: Quick Picks

Best Overall Food for Diabetic Dogs
Best-Tasting Food for Diabetic Dogs
Best Food for Diabetic Dogs Without Synthetic Vitamins
Best Overall Food for Diabetic Dogs
Best-Tasting Food for Diabetic Dogs
Best Food for Diabetic Dogs Without Synthetic Vitamins

Diabetes & Your Dog’s Diet

Your dog’s diet may require some tweaking upon receiving a diagnosis of diabetes.

diabetic dog foods

It will be important to monitor his caloric intake carefully, and many vets will recommend low-carb, high-fiber food.

Dr. Jeff Werber, the chief veterinarian of the Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles, California, recommends that owners pick a food that has 20 – 25% carbohydrate content on a dry matter basis.

This will help prevent blood sugar spikes, which is imperative when caring for a diabetic pooch. Foods that do not trigger a blood sugar spike are said to have a low glycemic index.

High fiber content also helps in this regard, as it reduces the rate at which glucose is released into the bloodstream. It also takes up space in the digestive tract, making your pooch feel full for longer. 

There are a few prescription diets made for diabetic dogs, but many diabetic dogs will be fine with regular, high-quality dog food. You’ll need to discuss the issue with your vet to know for sure.

The Best Diabetic Dog Foods

dog food

Check out some of the best foods for dogs with diabetes below. Just remember to discuss food changes with your vet before making a switch!

Note that some of the foods listed below may not be available without a prescription.

1. Ketona Chicken Recipe Dog Food

About: Ketona Chicken Recipe Dog Food is a scientifically formulated dog food designed to have a very low carbohydrate content.

In fact, this recipe only contains 5% digestible carbohydrate content, 0.5% sugars, and a whopping 46% protein, making it a very intriguing option for diabetic dogs. The only downside is the price — it’s quite expensive.

Best Overall Diabetic Dog Food
Ketona Chicken Recipe Dog Food
A specially designed ketogenic dog food made with premium, all-natural ingredients.
Buy on Amazon


  • American-raised, GMO-free chicken is the first listed ingredient
  • Contains 46% protein (Guaranteed Analysis)
  • Formulated without corn, soy, wheat, or potatoes
  • Made in the USA

Ingredients List

Chicken, Pea Protein, Ground Green Peas, Oat Hulls (Source of Fiber), Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)...,

Flaxseed Meal, Phosphoric Acid, Gelatin, Chicken Liver Digest, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Pea Fiber, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Vitamine E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Oil, Citric Acid (Preservative), Ascorbic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Iodine Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Lecithin, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Rosemary Extract.


  • Contains the lowest carb content of any mainstream kibble we’ve found
  • Several owners found it helpful in preventing blood sugar spikes
  • Most dogs seem to like the taste  
  • High protein content


  • This is very expensive for a non-prescription option
  • Contains no probiotics, which we’d like at this price point

2. Yumwoof Perfect Kibble

About: Just because your dog is diabetic doesn’t mean he has to put up with bad-tasting food! Yumwoof’s Perfect Kibble is a slow-cooked food that’s not only low in carbs (16% of the food’s dry matter), but it’s also made with premium ingredients to ensure your diabetic doggo still gets to enjoy dinnertime.

Best-Tasting Option for Diabetic Dogs
Yumwoof Perfect Kibble

A slow-cooked, great-tasting dog food designed by a nutritionist and NYC chef.

See Pricing Now!


  • One of the few shelf-stable foods made with human-grade ingredients
  • Features antioxidant-rich “superfoods,” including pumpkin and blueberries
  • Slow-cooked in a USDA kitchen featuring only US-sourced ingredients
  • Contains more MCT (a type of healthy fat) than any other dog food
  • Get 30% off when you use code K9OFMINE30 at checkout!

Ingredients List

Fresh Chicken, Eggs, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Coconut Glycerin, Organic Flaxseed...,

Carrots, Gluten-Free Oats, Blueberries, Cranberries, Chia Seeds, Seaweed, Beef Liver, Pumpkin, Vitamins & Minerals


  • Slow-cooked for a taste dogs love
  • Low carbohydrate content helps prevent blood sugar spikes
  • Contains no peas or legumes, which may be correlated with DCM in some dogs


3. Raised Right Turkey and Pumpkin Pate

About: You won’t find any artificial surprises like synthetic vitamins in Raised Right’s Turkey and Pumpkin Pate, a fresh-food option made with natural, human-grade ingredients. Pumpkin offers fiber for satiety and blood sugar control, while the delicious thigh and organ meat offer a pop of flavor and nutrients to fuel your diabetic doggo.

Best Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs Without Synthetic Vitamins
Raised Right Turkey and Pumpkin Pate
A human-grade canine cuisine packed with protein, fiber, and zero synthetic vitamins.
Buy on Raised Right


  • Real meat is always Raised Right recipes’ primary ingredient
  • Omega-3 fatty acids boost skin and coat health
  • Meets AAFCO nutrient profile for maintenance
  • Made in the USA

Options: Available in 11 recipes, including Turkey and Pumpkin Pate, Original Pork, and Original Chicken.


Ingredients List

Turkey Thigh, Pumpkin, Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Organic Spearmint,...,

Cod Liver Oil, Egg Shell Powder, Flaxseed Oil, Organic Dried Kelp


  • Doesn’t contain any of the artificial stuff many owners dislike, including synthetic vitamins
  • Highly palatable in taste and texture (among the best foods for diabetic dogs in terms of flavor!)
  • Great mix of proteins to choose from


  • Pricing is up there
  • Not every pet parent likes the idea of refrigerated dog food

4. Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D

About: Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D is a prescription dog food that is specifically designed for dogs with digestive difficulties, weight management problems, or blood-sugar issues, so it’s among the best foods for diabetic dogs.

You’ll need a prescription from your vet to purchase this food, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy it directly from your vet — you can get it from Amazon or Chewy with a prescription from your vet (and often at a better price than your veterinarian offers).

Best Prescription Option for Diabetic Dogs
Hill's Prescription Diet W/D

A prescription dog food designed for dogs with weight or blood sugar issues. 

Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


  • High levels of L-carnitine help to speed up your dog’s metabolism
  • Contains moderate fiber levels to help keep your pup full between meals
  • Requires a prescription to order
  • Made in the USA

Ingredients List

Whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, powdered cellulose, chicken meal, corn gluten meal...,

whole grain sorghum, soybean oil, pork liver flavor, lactic acid, Carmel color, potassium chloride, glyceryl monosterate, chalice chloride, vita E, L-ascorbyl-2, polyphosphate, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine chloride, vitamin A, vitamin B12, Riboflavin supplement, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate , sodium serenity, turbine, L-carnitine, calcium sulfate, DL-methionine, tryptophan. L-threonine. Mixed tocopherols for freshness. Beta-carotene.


  • Many owners found that this food reduced their dog’s blood sugar levels
  • This food helped some dogs lose weight
  • Most dogs seemed to digest it without issue


  • No whole is protein included
  • Only available with a prescription
  • Very expensive

5. Orijen Grain-Free

About: Orijen Grain-Free is a highly regarded dog food with very impressive amounts of protein and an extremely low carbohydrate content, making it worthy of serious consideration for diabetic canines. The meat-forward recipe is a hit with most dogs, too.

Best Mainstream Kibble for Diabetic Dogs
Orijen Grain-Free

A low-carb, protein-rich option that includes organs, cartilage, bones, and probiotics.

Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


  • 20% carbohydrates & 38% protein
  • 85% of the content is meat-based; 15% is provided by produce
  • Contains no grain, tapioca, or plant protein concentrates.
  • Includes fresh meat, organs, cartilage, and bone
  • Made in the USA

Ingredients List

Fresh chicken meat (13%), fresh turkey meat (7%), fresh cage-free eggs (7%), fresh chicken liver (6%), fresh whole herring (6%)...,

fresh whole flounder (5%), fresh turkey liver (5%), fresh chicken necks (4%), fresh chicken heart (4%), fresh turkey heart (4%), chicken (dehydrated, 4%), turkey (dehydrated, 4%), whole mackerel (dehydrated, 4%), whole sardine (dehydrated, 4%), whole herring (dehydrated, 4%), whole red lentils, whole green lentils, whole green peas, lentil fibre, whole chickpeas, whole yellow peas, whole pinto beans, whole navy beans, herring oil (1%), chicken fat (1%), chicken cartilage (1%), chicken liver (freeze-dried), turkey liver (freeze-dried), fresh whole pumpkin, fresh whole butternut squash, fresh whole zucchini, fresh whole parsnips, fresh carrots, fresh whole Red Delicious apples, fresh whole Bartlett pears, fresh kale, fresh spinach, fresh beet greens, fresh turnip greens, brown kelp, whole cranberries, whole blueberries, whole Saskatoon berries, chicory root, turmeric root, milk thistle, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, rosehips, enterococcus faecium. ADDITIVES (per kg): Nutritional additives: Zinc chelate: 100 mg.


  • Contains a very low carbohydrate content for a traditional kibble
  • Made with several “superfoods” that provide other health benefits
  • Formulated with probiotics to support proper digestion
  • Contains tons of protein


  • It’s a pricey option
  • Multi-protein dog foods aren’t great for dogs with food allergies

6. Acana Appalachian Ranch

About: Acana Appalachian Ranch is an extremely high-quality, protein-packed dog food with a relatively low carbohydrate content for a mainstream food of just 32% (GA). Best of all, it tastes great, coaxing even the pickiest of diabetic canines to clear their bowl at mealtime.

Best Protein-Rich Recipe
Acana Appalachian Ranch

A protein-packed dog food made with a variety of deboned meats and meat meals.

Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


  • Deboned beef, deboned pork, deboned lamb, lamb meal, beef meal, and pork meal are the first 6 ingredients
  • 70% fresh, raw, or dried animal ingredients, along with vegetables, fruits, and botanicals.
  • Made in the USA

NOTE: We calculated the carbohydrate percentage using the Guaranteed Analysis data provided by the manufacturer. However, the amount of ash present was not provided. Ultimately, this means that the carbohydrate count may be even lower than what is recored here.

Ingredients List

Deboned beef, deboned pork, deboned lamb, lamb meal, beef meal...,

pork meal, whole green peas, red lentils, pinto beans, beef liver, beef fat, catfish meal, chickpeas, green lentils, whole yellow peas, deboned bison, whole catfish, herring oil, lentil fiber, natural pork flavor, beef tripe, lamb tripe, lamb liver, pork liver, beef kidney, pork kidney, pork cartilage, dried kelp, whole pumpkin, whole butternut squash, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, carrots, apples, pears, freeze-dried beef liver, freeze-dried lamb liver, freeze-dried pork liver*, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), chicory root, turmeric, sarsaparilla root, althea root, rosehips, juniper berries, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product.


  • Contains a staggering amount of protein
  • The protein-and-produce-heavy recipe is great for diabetic dogs
  • Contains several “superfoods” that may provide additional health benefits (rare, even in the best foods for diabetic dogs)


  • Contains more carbs than many other options listed here
  • It’s very expensive
  • Multiple proteins may be a problem for dogs with food allergies
  • This is a grain-free option, which may present heart health risks

7. Instinct Original Wet Dog Food

About: Want a canned option for your diabetic doggo? You may want to check out Instinct Original Grain-Free Canned Food. It is an extremely low-carb option that’s high in protein yet low in carbohydrate content, which should help manage your mutt’s blood sugar levels.

Lowest Carbohydrate Canned Food for Diabetic Dogs
Instinct Original Wet Dog Food

A grain-free dog dinner with plenty of protein and very few carbohydrates.

Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


  • Made with real beef and venison
  • Contains no grains
  • 6% estimated carbohydrate content (dry matter basis)
  • Made in the USA

Ingredients List

Beef, Venison, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Ground Flaxseed...,

Montmorillonite Clay, Peas, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Proteinate, Potassium Iodide), Menhaden Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salt, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley


  • This food has the lowest carbohydrate content we could find 
  • Unlike most other canned foods, this one contains an array of fruits and vegetables
  • Protein-rich recipe


  • Contains more fat than most owners like
  • Canned foods are somewhat expensive

8. Wellness CORE Weight Management Recipe

About: Wellness CORE Grain-Free Weight Management Recipe is another protein-rich dog food that is also low in carbohydrates.

Made with several different proteins and an assortment of delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables, this grain-free food may help some owners regulate their dog’s blood sugar levels.

Best Premium Canned Option
Wellness CORE Weight Management Canned Food

A grain-free, low-carb canned food that's designed to help keep your pup's weight down.

Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy


  • Mineral levels specifically formulated to support overall metabolic function
  • Made without corn, soy, or wheat
  • 50% protein and only 8% carbohydrate content on a dry matter basis
  • Made in the USA

Ingredients List

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey Broth, Pork Liver, Whitefish...,

Chicken Meal, Turkey, Dried Ground Peas, Potato Protein, Pea Fiber, Ground Flaxseed, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Cassia Gum, Xantham Gum, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Alfalfa Meal, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Choline Chloride, Sunflower Oil, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.


  • Contains a very low carbohydrate content
  • It is bursting with protein content
  • Most dogs love the taste and digested this food without issue


  • This is an expensive food — even when compared to other canned options 
  • As always, caution is required when selecting a grain-free food

9. Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Canned Dog Food

About: Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon is a low-carb canned food that is bursting with protein (it contains 50% protein on a dry matter basis). In fact, this recipe contains several different proteins, including beef, lamb, and wild boar.

Best Multi-Protein Canned Dog Food
Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon

A low-carb, multi-protein canned food with antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies.

Buy on Amazon


  • Carbohydrate content of only 20% on a dry matter basis
  • Made with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Made in the USA
  • Appropriate for all life stages

Ingredients List

Beef, beef broth, vegetable broth, beef liver, dried egg product...,

Peas, potato starch, lamb, wild boar, chickpea flour, guar gum, tricalcium phosphate, natural flavor, sunflower oil, sodium phosphate, salt, potassium chloride, inulin, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, flaxseed oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), choline chloride, yucca schidigera extract, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E supplement, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, cobalt amino acid chelate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, rosemary extract.


  • Features a low carbohydrate content
  • Protein-rich formula
  • Relatively affordable for a canned product
  • Appeared very palatable to most dogs  


  • Contains multiple protein sources, which can be a problem for dogs with food allergies
  • Owners reported that the food made their dogs very gassy
Please Work with Your Vet!

Let’s be very clear: Diabetes is a serious medical condition and you must work closely with your vet when selecting a food for your pooch.

Additionally, many owners find it necessary to experiment with different foods until they find one that is not only helpful for regulating their pet’s blood sugar levels, but also palatable and easy for their dog to digest.

Accordingly, we present the foods listed above as potential options for your diabetic pet.

Each one possesses the general traits that characterize good foods for diabetic dogs, but always discuss any potential dietary changes with your vet and defer to his or her expertise when making a selection.

What Is Dog Diabetes and How Does it Work?

diabetic foods for dogs

For the most part, diabetes affects dogs and humans in similar ways.

When food is eaten, it is broken down by the body into its constituent parts — primarily fats, proteins, and sugars (glucose). A little while later, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin; insulin helps the body process glucose.

However, sometimes the pancreas stops producing insulin or the body’s cells fail to respond to it in the proper way.

The former problem is referred to as Type I diabetes, while the latter is known as Type II diabetes. Both types are very serious and ultimately manifest in a relatively similar way: The body cannot process glucose properly.

  • Type I diabetes — the most common form to occur in dogs – is thought to occur when an autoimmune disease attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. No one knows exactly why this occurs, although there does appear to be a strong genetic link.
  • Type II diabetes, on the other hand, is pretty rare and often associated with obesity and other factors. Essentially, the body produces so much insulin that the cells become desensitized to the hormone.

In either case, the glucose in the body cannot be used effectively, which can lead to a litany of health problems. Accordingly, diabetes must be considered a very serious condition.

While treatments for both types of diabetes exist, there is no cure – diabetes is a life-long condition.

Important Considerations When Selecting a Diabetic Dog Food

Diabetic Dog Foods

There are a lot of high-fiber, low-fat foods on the market, but that doesn’t mean they’re all good. In fact, several have very troubling traits that should cause you to look elsewhere.

So, try to incorporate the following tips when trying to choose a dog food among the best foods for diabetic dogs:

Look for Products Manufactured in a Country with Rigorous Safety Protocols

Different countries have different food safety guidelines, and this is especially true of pet foods.

To increase your chances of providing your dog with a safe, adulterant-free food, try to pick one manufactured in one of the following countries:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • England
  • France
  • Germany

Avoid Foods Listing a Carbohydrate as the First Ingredient

Dogs require meat-based diets to look, feel, and act their best, so you always want to use a food that lists a whole protein, such as deboned chicken or fish, as the first ingredient.

Carbohydrates are obviously important components of any dog food, but they should occur farther down the list. Remember, you are ideally looking for food with a carbohydrate content below 25%.

Not all carbohydrates are created equally either. For example, while there is nothing particularly “wrong” with corn, it isn’t the best carbohydrate for dog foods — especially in the case of diabetic dogs. Instead, try to look for foods that utilize carbs like brown rice or bran.

Never Use Foods Containing Unidentified Meat Meals or Byproducts

Although they may seem disgusting to pet owners, meat meals and animal byproducts can be nutritious ingredients.

However, meat meals should not be the first listed ingredient (you still want a whole protein to be the leading ingredient in any food), and they must be properly identified.

For example, chicken byproducts are usually acceptable ingredients; generically labeled animal byproducts are not. Some of these poorly identified meat meals and byproducts may contain protein from very unsavory and potentially dangerous sources.

Purchase Foods that Feature all the Nutrients and Supplements Your Dog Needs

Most modern dog foods – particularly premium options – are formulated to contain the proper mix of vitamins and minerals, but health isn’t just about vitamins and minerals.

Your dog may need other things in his diet to stay healthy. For example, many good dog foods include antioxidant-rich ingredients, which can help ensure your dog’s immune system performs as it should.

Other foods contain supplements like chondroitin or glucosamine, which help protect your dog’s joints. Additionally, probiotic supplements are included in many foods to help regulate your dog’s digestive system and improve his ability to digest his food.

Avoid Foods with Artificial Additives

Many sub-standard dog foods rely on artificial colors and artificial flavors to help make the food look and taste more appealing.

However, these substances may trigger dog food allergies or other health challenges, and they should be avoided whenever possible. Besides, foods made with high-quality ingredients are typically delicious without these additives.

How to Calculate the Carbohydrate Percentage of Your Dog’s Food

Diet for Diabetic Dogs

Much to the frustration of any owner with a diabetic dog, the carbohydrate percentage is not often displayed on dog food packaging.

Luckily, there is a way you can calculate the amount of carbohydrates in your dog’s food using the provided information in the Guaranteed Analysis (GA) section.

  1. Add up the percentages of protein, fat, moisture, and ash recorded in the GA.
  2. Subtract that amount from 100.
  3. That is the percentage of carbohydrates present in the dog food.

One small issue though: the amount of ash isn’t usually listed in the Guaranteed Analysis. However, this amount usually ranges from 5% to 8%.

Since we could not get the definitive carb count for some recipes using the GA, the carbohydrate percentage may actually be lower than what we’ve recorded (we’ve noted which foods that may be true for below).

In some cases, other sources have provided the carbohydrate percentage; when such data was available, we’ve used it.

Looking for more low-carb dog food options? Check out starch-free dog foods!

Dog Diabetes Symptoms: Potential Red Flags

summer safety tips for dogs

Unfortunately, some of the early signs of diabetes are quite subtle and easy to miss. This is yet another reason it is imperative to pay close attention to your dog – he can’t tell you when something’s wrong, he needs you to spot these symptoms for him.

Some of the most common signs that indicate the possibility of diabetes include the following:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increase urination
  • Appetite changes
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Fruity breath
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Depression
  • Chronic skin or yeast infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Cataracts

These aren’t the only dog diabetes symptoms you may notice, but they are among the most common.

If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms discussed above, seek veterinary assistance promptly. Some dogs are already so sick by the time they get to the vet’s office that they require hospitalization to stabilize them.

Try to avoid this at all costs to give your pup the best chance of recovering.

How Is Diabetes in Dogs Treated?

best dog food for diabetes

Most often, diabetic dogs will require regular blood testing and insulin injections to remain healthy. This will ensure that your dog’s blood contains enough insulin to properly process the glucose present.

Don’t worry: These procedures are easier than they sound, and your vet will help teach you how to do them safely.

Some dogs can get by with oral medications, which are obviously easier to administer.

Your vet will probably also encourage you to ensure your pup remains active, as exercise can provide important benefits for diabetic dogs.

The amount of exercise you’ll need to provide your pet with will vary from one dog to the next. Some may only need regular walks around the neighborhood, while others will require more intense exercise to remain healthy.

Complications of the Early and Final Stages of Diabetes in Dogs

A dog with cataracts

Diabetes is certainly a serious condition, so you’ll want to follow your vet’s advice very closely to give your dog the best chance of living a long, healthy life.

In fact, if not properly managed, canine diabetes can cause a number of serious health problems or even death. A few of the most important complications of the disease include the following:

  • Cataracts — Diabetic dogs often develop cataracts over time, which typically leads to partial or complete blindness. However, cataracts can often be addressed surgically to restore a dog’s eyesight.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy — This condition occurs when a dog’s diabetes triggers changes in the blood vessels that provide blood flow to the eye. In some cases, treatments for this condition are possible.
  • Insulin Overdose — If you administer too much insulin to your dog, it can cause his blood sugar levels to plummet, potentially causing a variety of problems, including seizures and permanent brain damage.
  • Urinary Tract Infections — Because the urine of diabetic pets often contains high levels of sugar, and some diabetic dogs have difficulty voiding their bladders completely, urinary tract infections are common in diabetic dogs.

Several other complications can also occur in response to your dog’s diabetes — particularly if it is not managed well. This includes rear-leg weakness, high blood pressure, and low blood calcium levels.

In the final stages of dog diabetes, even more serious problems can occur. This most notably includes diabetic ketoacidosis — a condition in which the body starts using emergency energy stores.

Ketoacidosis can even trigger additional complications, including brain swelling and heart failure.

Dog Diabetes Cost: How Much Will This Illness Set You Back?

dog finances

Many owners become concerned about the costs involved in treating a diabetic dog once their pup is diagnosed with the illness.

There are a number of different factors that’ll influence the amount of money you spend, but we’ll try to give you an idea of what to expect below.

Insulin Medications

Insulin for dogs

Most diabetic dogs will require twice-daily insulin injections, although there are (rare) exceptions. Insulin will likely represent the single most expensive component of your dog’s treatment on a monthly basis, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.

According to PetRx Inc., most owners should expect to pay between $30 and $150 per month for insulin. The exact amount you’ll pay will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • The severity of your dog’s disease
  • The size of your dog (bigger dogs will typically need more insulin)
  • Where you obtain the insulin

The last factor is the only one you can really control, but fortunately, it’s also the most influential part of the equation. The cost of insulin varies greatly from one vendor to the next, so it is wise to shop around.

For example, many vets will sell insulin to their patients. However, because veterinary clinics are rarely set up to be efficient retail outlets, they usually implement a pretty hefty markup to make the sales worth their efforts.

On the other hand, your local pharmacy will likely have more reasonable prices, as they’re very business model is designed around selling medications.

But some of the best prices for insulin can often be found at big-box retailers and their online counterparts (we’re talking about Walmart, Costco, Amazon and similar places).

Some of these places even participate in discount programs, which may lower the cost of your dog’s insulin even further.


syringes for dogs

Once you’ve obtained your dog’s insulin, you’ll need to purchase some syringes to perform the injections.

Syringes aren’t terribly expensive, but you’ll need to plan to spend about $10 to $20 a month on them. 

Try to purchase syringes in bulk whenever possible, as this will usually lower the price-per-unit significantly.

Glucose Monitor, Lancets, and Testing Strips

dog diabetes supplies

There are a number of different glucose monitors on the market, and they vary significantly in terms of price.

There are cheap models available for around $20, while some of the most expensive cost about $150 or so. You don’t want to skimp where your dog’s health is concerned, so you should probably expect to spend about $50 in most cases.

Lancets and test strips are disposable supplies that you’ll need to use with most glucose monitors.

Like syringes, they aren’t terribly expensive, but you will need to set aside money for them on a monthly basis. Typically, dog owners spend about $5 to $20 a month on these supplies.

If you are currently in the market for a glucose monitor, be sure to check out the AlphaTrak 2 Monitoring System Kit.

Veterinary Blood Glucose Kit
AlphaTRAK 2 Glucose Monitoring Kit

An easy-to-use kit that'll help you monitor your dog's blood glucose levels.

Buy on Amazon

Designed specifically for cats and dogs, this kit comes with everything you need to get started, including the monitor, lancing device, 30 lancets, 25 testing strips, a carrying case, and two user guides.

Most owners who’ve tried it found it easy to use and effective. However, some owners complained about the cost of the test strips and lancets sold by the manufacturer of the AlphaTrak 2 kit.

Diabetic Dog Food

Bowl of Pet food

Your dog needs food whether he has diabetes or not, but you may find it necessary to purchase a slightly more expensive dog food than normal if your pet is diagnosed with the illness, as the best foods for diabetic dogs are worth their weight in gold for blood sugar control.

Prescription dog foods for diabetes are typically the most expensive options, and some cost twice as much as non-prescription formulas.

However, not all dogs with diabetes require a prescription diet. Your vet may simply recommend switching to a premium dog food that is high in fiber, low in simple carbohydrates, and full of protein.

In these cases, you’ll likely only spend about 10% to 20% more per month on your pet’s food. And if you were already feeding your pet a premium brand, you may not have to pay any more for his food at all.

Additional Veterinary Visits

vet visits

You will likely end up needing to visit the vet several times over a short period of time after your dog is diagnosed with diabetes.

You’ll also need to start taking your dog in for more frequent visits so your vet can ensure he is doing well.

The cost of veterinary visits varies, and some vets may be willing to offer reduced rates for patients that must come in repeatedly.

Just ask your vet how much you should prepare to spend on visits, and be sure to inquire about any discount plans he or she offers.

Breeds That May Be Predisposed to Diabetes

dobermans are very smart

Unfortunately, it appears that a few breeds may be more likely to develop diabetes than others. If your dog belongs to one of the following breeds, be extra vigilant about watching for signs of the disease.

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

Additionally, female four-footers – particularly overweight individuals — are more likely than males (particularly thin males) to develop diabetes late in life. There is some evidence that suggests spaying may help reduce these risks.

Are Homemade Diets a Good Idea for Diabetic Dogs?

cook for your dog

Although an increasing number of owners are experimenting with homemade diets for their pets, we usually discourage owners from doing so.

Properly balancing the nutritional content of dog food is much more difficult than many dog owners believe it is, and very few owners will be able to prepare food that is as nutritious as high-quality commercial food.

Over time, the types of nutritional imbalances that characterize most homemade diets will often result in deficiencies and long-term health problems which are difficult to resolve.

But homemade diets are even more dangerous for diabetic dogs, given their unique dietary needs.

For example, improper carbohydrate and fiber levels may cause your dog’s blood sugar levels to swing wildly, which will create an acute threat to your dog’s health.

Accordingly, we strongly recommend that owners of dogs with diabetes stick to a good commercial recipe that meets the criteria we discussed above.

Three Final Care Tips for Dogs with Diabetes

feeding dog

Hopefully, one of the foods listed above will help you manage your dog’s diabetes and ensure that he enjoys many more years to come.

But before you go, we wanted to share three more tips which should help your dog whether he is in the early or final stages of dog diabetes.

1. Feed Your Dog on a Regular Schedule

In addition to providing your dog with low-carb, high-fiber food, it is also important to feed your dog on a consistent schedule. This will also help to keep his blood glucose levels stable.

You’ll need to discuss the optimal feeding schedule with your vet, but most diabetic dogs will thrive on a twice-daily feeding schedule. Typically, you’ll want to feed your dog right before administering his insulin.

No matter what dog feeding schedule you and your vet decide upon, try your best to feed your dog at the same times each day.

2. Don’t Switch Foods Unnecessarily

Unless there’s a compelling reason to do so, try to avoid making significant changes to your diabetic dog’s diet.

Switching foods can cause your pet’s blood sugar levels to fluctuate in unpredictable ways, which can put his health in jeopardy.

Accordingly, you’ll want to think carefully about the food you select and always talk to your vet before changing to a different recipe or brand (even those among the best foods for diabetic dogs).

3. Don’t Forget to Think About Treats

Treats can represent a significant portion of your dog’s daily calories, so be sure that you don’t sabotage your efforts to keep your dog’s blood glucose levels under control by giving your diabetic pup high-calorie or sugary treats.

You can still give your pet treats (assuming your vet signs off on the practice), but just be sure to limit them and to select treats that are protein-based!

Best Foods for Diabetic Dogs: FAQ

Still have a few lingering questions about the best foods for diabetic dogs? We’ll try to answer a few of the most common queries owners have below!

What should you feed a diabetic dog?

Ideally, you’ll find a food that’s low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and high in protein. You’ll also want one that your vet approves of.

Is wet food or dry food better for diabetic dogs?

Strictly speaking, it doesn’t matter if your diabetic dog’s food is wet or dry. What matters is the protein, fiber, and carbohydrate content. Wet foods typically have lower carbohydrate content, but they also have lower fiber content in most cases.

What should you avoid feeding your diabetic dog?

In general, you’ll want to avoid feeding your diabetic dog anything that’s high in carbohydrates or empty calories. So, avoid feeding your four-footer people food, watch the treats, and stick to a food your vet approves.

Is chicken OK for diabetic dogs?

Chicken is a fine protein for diabetic dog foods, provided that your pet isn’t allergic to it.


Do you have a diabetic dog in your care? What types of foods have you found helpful? We’d love to hear all about it (particularly if you are aware of a great food we missed) in the comments below.

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Written by

Ben Team

Ben is the managing editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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  1. Lysa Avatar

    Our 9 yo female GSD was diagnosed in August of last year & went completely blind by Christmas. Are there
    Obstacles??? yes, but she’s doing great. Brings a Ball or Frisbee whenever she wants to play. I’m so thankful she’s as smart as she is & can navigate via memory almost as well as a sighted dog.
    Read about glycemic levels & went w/ Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon
    Also add either boiled chicken & lentils, beef liver or eggs. She eats 4x day, gets exercised & not on insulin. Since the pandemic I’ve concluded that bigPHARMA could give a crap about us or them as long as they make $$$$$ to push their preferred poisons. I will never trust another government or medical professional due to the coercion & deceitful practices.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Glad your doggo seems to be coping with her vision loss, Lysa, but we’d strongly encourage you to get her the medications your vet recommends.

  2. nino fernandez Avatar
    nino fernandez

    Dr Harveys Paradigm has done wonders for 11 yr old Havanese diabetic
    So much so that my vet is now recommending it

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Thanks for sharing, nino! We’ll consider taking a deeper look when we update this article.

  3. Nancy Avatar

    We have 2 senior dogs with a myriad of health issues, the one dog with diabetes loves food. One treat I was told that he could have without any issues with his glucose was green bean and peas. He and his brother LOVE their frozen green beans and peas – yes they eat them right out of the bag. I even put some of them in a treat toy for him to get out.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Nancy.
      Lots of dogs love green beans, and they make pretty good treats or rewards.
      Just make sure your vet gives you the green light, given your pets’ health problems.

  4. Robert Higgins Avatar
    Robert Higgins

    I have 2 male Schnauzers aged 13 and 14. They have been diabetic for around 3 years. Both are now blind. I had them on a diet of boiled hamburger and a brown rice because one had a chewing problem but may have been a poor choice on my part. To make a long story short a friend helped me come up with a home made recipe that has done an amazing job of getting their weight and glucose under control. Before the change in diet I had difficulty getting or keeping their count below 400 even with increasing their dosage of Vetsulin. The younger dogs weight was in the mid 40s when we started treatments. My vet kind of blew us off and insinuated putting him down. I decided on the injections and after a couple years I was able to find something that was better for them. Currently I am feeding them a boiled meal of sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, some celery and ground turkey. After 10 days on this diet I took them both in for blood test and the vet was in shock as the younger one was at 78 and the older one was at 57. Both had been at 300+. They have been on this recipe for just over 6 months and after cutting their doses down to 6 and 8 units they are at a respectable low 100s. Their weights are down to mid 20s and high teens. I can’t get over the change. Their stools are much improved as well. I purchase the ingredients at Aldi which has the best prices by far. A batch costs about 10 to 11 dollars and lasts 6 meals for the two of them. I get a little over 50 doses per bottle now instead of 38. I am looking for a dry dog food to give them when traveling away from home with them. I purchased a 12v refrigerator for my van to preserve the insulin and keep the meals fresh but I have to prepare more for them eventually and so going out of state has been a problem. I sure wish I was onto this recipe years ago and I believe I could have saved their eyesight. They are pretty much normal in every other respect. If this helps anyone else I will be very happy. Good luck!

    3 lbs sweet potatoes cut into cubes
    2 lbs carrots sliced
    A nice sized crown of broccoli
    2 sticks of celery
    36 oz package of ground turkey boiled separately
    Mix together and I give them a generous serving I would guess to be between 1 and 1 1/2 cups twice a day. I did substitute cauliflower once as the store was out of broccoli and wasn’t an issue.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Robert.
      We’re glad you’ve found something that works, but we would urge you and our other readers to always be very careful with homemade meals. It’s always a good idea to discuss the recipe with your vet or a canine nutritionist, as it’s very easy to cause imbalances (which may cause other health problems).
      But again, we’re glad your puppers are doing better!

  5. Luisa Avatar

    I thought that low fat was also a consideration for diabetic dogs because they are prone to pancreatitis. Most of these wet dog foods have just too much fat.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Louisa.
      Fat content is something to factor in, but we primarily focused on carb content here. Ultimately, you’ll want to discuss your choice with your vet, as some dogs may be better off reducing carbs, while others will be better served by looking for a low-fat food.
      At any rate, we’re currently in the process of updating our recommendations for this article, as a few are no longer available. So check back soon!

  6. robert lichowid Avatar
    robert lichowid

    Our 13 yr old poodle/bishon mix was just diagnosised with diabetes. She really did not like the wet food from the vet, refused to eat it. It was recommended We try Weruva. She actually likes it. All natural human grade, grain and gluten free. Nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for adult dogs.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Glad you found something that works, Robert.
      Thanks for sharing!

  7. Darcey/Lloyd Galbraith Avatar
    Darcey/Lloyd Galbraith

    We have a gsp who’s 12 and diabetic for a month. We’ve tried science hills w/d and it seemed to put his blood sugar up so we switched to Stella and Chewys Raw Blend he loves it but blood sugar is still high. It’s high in protein, carbs are 32.5 % or so. Not sure where to go from here??

    1. anne howard Avatar
      anne howard

      Our small terrier was at level 600 and hard to control. I put him on fried or baked chicken breast for humans and canned green beans. the chicken is cooked with no oils or grease. he is now down pass 300. doctor now his vet is not real happy with his diet but my dog seems still ok after a year. we started giving him vitamins too. and made our own protein treats for him.

  8. Sam Avatar

    I dislike the idea that meat meals are somehow a bad thing if listed as the first ingredient. Meals are 300% more protein packed and are the actual weight listed on the ingredients. Deboned or whole meats are weighed before cooked, as there is no requirement to weigh them after extrusion, and as such, deboned chicken might be 40lbs before, but 8lbs when extruded, which could be less than the next 3 ingredients of (for example) peas, chickpeas, and chicken meal.

    Named meat as the first ingredient is important, but if that named meat isn’t a meal and isn’t followed by other named meats, it’s not doing a whole lot of good.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Sam.
      You’re 100% correct that meat meals have more protein per unit weight than whole meats — you strip off all that water, and it results in a more concentrated product.
      The primary reason we recommend looking for products that feature a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list is that it is often an indicator of overall quality. This certainly isn’t true in all cases and it may change if high-quality manufacturers begin utilizing more meat meal in their recipes, but it serves as a relatively helpful proxy for quality.
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  9. June Avatar

    I’m feed my dog zewi peak beef canned dog food. It’s very low carb but also very low fiber. I’m at my wits end trying to get her blood sugar into a acceptable level and find some thing she likes, which is almost nothing. Her last blood test was really bad. I started the zewi peak after that, so I guess time will tell. Have you reviewed zewi peak.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, June.
      We haven’t looked at Ziwi Peak yet, but we’ll try to do so in the future.
      Our fingers are crossed that it’ll help your pooch!

  10. Becky Avatar

    Wow. Thank you for such a comprehensive information page. My 12 year old boxer terrier was just diagnosed with Diabetes yesterday and found this page so helpful. I ended up getting the Orijen Senior, is that as good for diabetic dogs as the original? I went with the Senior because it’s fiber content was higher. Thanks in advance. Becky

  11. april Avatar

    My dog was diagnosed with diabetes in July 2019 and has been doing great on Royal Canin Gycobalance.

  12. Marcus Avatar

    My 13 year old Chihuahua was recently diagnosed with diabetes. The Vet sold us Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Fiber Balance Formula Dry Dog any thoughts or comparison to your list.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Marcus. We’d always recommend sticking to the food your vet recommends.
      If, however, it doesn’t work out for your pooch for some reason, be sure to talk to your vet about it — he or she may be able to recommend an alternative.
      Best of luck!

  13. Sandra Avatar

    Hello. My Rodesion Risgeback was diagnosed with diabetes today. Naturally I’m a little scared with her diagnosis. Wish the food wasn’t so expensive. Thanks for the information!!

  14. Lou Kirsch Avatar
    Lou Kirsch

    My Min Pin was diagnosed diabetic back in May 2017 and it’s been a roller coaster ride ever since. He started on 5 units Humilin and is up to 9 and we see 10 on the near horizon. He has significant cataracts tho still navigates very well. for the past 6 months he’s been getting frequent UTIs requiring antibiotics. It’s been hard to regulate him. We were using a mix of a small amount of Blue Buffalo Small Breed senior and their canned product with a goal of no more than 20% carbs based on the GA. He recently stopped eating and we switched to FreshPet Small select and he likes that and again the carbs < 20% actually closer to 10. He is exhibiting the usual symptoms that are leading us to believe that we will need to increase Insulin. Does anyone know the benefits of other insulin types other than Humilin? How does our diet look?? He is now 11 years

  15. Donna Perez Avatar
    Donna Perez

    I found out my dog is diabetic a few weeks ago. We are trying to stabilize her blood sugar but it is difficult, she is currently at 27 units twice a day, and still hitting the 500s. She is very big, 136 (down from 162). This article was very informative. Cleo is using NPH insulin, if you ask for it over the counter at most Walmarts it is only $25-30 a vial, a prescription is over $100.

  16. Kim Milia Avatar

    Max is a toy poodle who is 13 and just started showing signs of diabetes. Recent blood work confirmed my suspicions. Max and I are learning a new lifestyle and need info and support!

  17. Lillian Martinez Avatar
    Lillian Martinez

    I’m new on this diabetic issue..Need help on what to feed my dog now.

  18. Glenn Avatar

    Novelin N from Walmart is about $25 for a 1 month supply. It is as effective as Humulin (in my opinion). Buy your syringes there as well. Been using these for close to 5 years now and the dog responds very well to them.

  19. Judy Clark, RN Avatar

    Dynamite info to help keep my Diabetic dog healthy.

  20. Debbie Shea Avatar
    Debbie Shea

    This was the best information I ever read to help my diabetic dog.
    My Vet put him on Royal Canine but second ingredient chicken by products.
    She told me I could get Wellness Core.
    He had pancreatitis last week so it has to be low-fat. I tried Natural Balance GF and Fat lie and carbs calculated to be @ 8%.
    Is this dog food good for him?

  21. Joy Avatar

    Help have a dog with cushing and diabetics

    1. Jad Avatar

      We have 3 Boston terriers and 2 of them have had Cushing’s disease. We had to lay Crickett to rest last year because of it and that broke our heart. Cushing’s is a very tuff disease to manage but they do have medication that helps with it. When Crickett passed the vet did a necropsy on her and found she had the Cushings of the brain which was inoperable. Her sister Maxie is still with us and going on 11 years she also has Cushing’s and was recently diagnosed with diabetes. The vet says that is one of the problems that can occur to dogs that have Cushing’s. We have changed her diet to Nulo branded dog food and have started to give her insulin shots to counter the high blood sugar in her system. She also gets medicine for her Cushing’s. Since starting the insulin she has lost 5% of her body weight and her panting has decreased substantially. She still has a pot belly but that has also decreased in size. Her water consumption has gone down a little and we have noticed that her need to urinate has also decreased, she now goes less but for a longer period. Now we are currently trying to figure out the right dose of insulin for her as we have gone from 2mm all the way 5mm twice a day. This week we are going to put the Freestyle Libre patch on her to monitor her blood levels and get a better idea of her glucose levels. The vet said that taking care of the diabetes is the most important issue right now because that can cause a lot of other problems. Also remember that treats need to be high in protein and low in carbs because they can throw her levels all over. Hopefully this helps your furbaby out and anyone else in this situation.

  22. Mandy Avatar

    My 8 year old Chihuahua, Kiki, has just been diagnosed with Diabetes, although the vet did not say Type 1 or 2. Her panels were healthy last year. I have experienced 3 family members, but do’t want to make the mistake of comparison.
    Kiki has been on a lean, high protein, raw diet since l got her at 6 weeks. She is VERY picky. I don’t want her system to crash with the shock of change. Can you suggest a picky palate diabetic approved moist kibble for an easier transition? (She won’t eat dry, nor wet canned) Thank you.

  23. Gina W. Avatar
    Gina W.

    I have a 12 year old Labrador Retriever. She was just diagnosed with diabetes. My problem is she is allergic to chicken and all the diabetic dog food primarily use chicken. Is there any of these prescription type gig foods without chicken?

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Hey Gina – looks like Acana Appalachian Ranch might be a good fit (reviewed above). It has basically every meat except for chicken!

  24. Edward Hammond Avatar

    Nice Web site and Chuck full of Good Info ! In my case have a 14 yr old Cocker Spaniel who was spoiled by the owner ( me ) and is now paying the price with full blown Diabetes a regret I must carry

  25. Elaine Bonnell Avatar
    Elaine Bonnell

    My boy, Buster, has been diabetic for about five years now. When first diagnosed he also ended up with pancreatitis. Thought we were going to lose him.

    He absolutely hated the W/D prescription food. After messing around we finally settled on Costco’s Healthy Weight dog food. He, and my other dog Kaos both eat it without issue. I do top the dog food with shredded chicken breast and green veggies. For about the last month Buster has been turning his nose up at the food but only in the mornings. So now I give home a 1/4 cup of the kibble, 1/2 cup of whole wheat pasta, and 3 oz of lean protein . This seems to be working very well.

    You may also want to mention, especially for owners whose fur babies are newly diagnosed, that there are at least two really good support sites for canine diabetes on Facebook. They’ve been a lifesaver for me.

  26. Johnny Howard Avatar

    Our 10 year old Bichon has diabetes for about 18 months now. He was prescribed Hills Science Diet W/D. It’s available in a chicken stew and patte version. He’s picky, and doesn’t like the stew. It’s has been recalled. We substituted. His monthly blood glucose reading are all over the place, and mostly high. Since the recall I’ve switched to Purina Pro Plan Savor slices in gravy, beef & vegetable entry. I found a study on-line that states it’s a good substitute? He likes it, but no improvement on the monthly tests. I’m now looking at diabetes friendly dry foods on this website, and others. There are several available. Anyway, it’s a painful all the way around.

  27. Sam Brown Avatar

    While there are feeding and dietary strategies that can help keep their glucose levels low and well-controlled, they will usually require insulin injections lifelong. Thanks for sharing informative blog. Keep sharing!

  28. Sandi Wyatt Avatar

    Thank you for all the info. We are at our wit’s end with our toy poodle. He has been getting shots for 3 1/2 years and on w/d. We can no longer afford that high priced food. I am looking for an alternative. He ate the dry food at first but was making him very thirsty and getting up at night and peeing in the floor so we switched to the canned. He is always hungry, and seems to never be full. He is losing his eye sight and we have been considering putting him down. He has ruined my carpets and floors. We just can’t afford that food anymore. This has been very helpful.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      That is heartbreaking, Sandi. So sorry about your pooch. Glad we could help out a little bit.
      Best of luck.

  29. Lisa Adams Avatar
    Lisa Adams

    Thank you for the great info. I learned more about the food

  30. Sheryl Avatar

    Wilson is 12 and has had diabetes for 2-1/2 yrs. I’ve been using W/D and his blood is all over the place. I’ve switched to frozen raw meat from a holistic pet store. I have also purchased Honest Kitchen. What do u think about Honest Kitchen? I’m using the fish recipe. Your opinion would b greatly appreciated. Thank you

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Honest Kitchen is a fantastic quality food, but last time we looked at their numbers, they carbohydrate count was not especially low, so it may not be the best choice for a diabetic dog.

  31. Deborah Avatar

    My dog was diagnosed about 6 weeks ago, I was given Hills Science Diet W/D chicken stew in can and also the dry food.My dog doesn’t like either the wet or dry.She has lost from 22 down to 16 pounds. I am also trying to find an alternative food. I found a few homemade diabetic wet food recipes online. Has anyone tried to make your own food??

    I did find Milo’s kitchen Chicken Meatballs after watching more than a few youtube videos. It was recommended as something to give the dog in order to give insulin. Long story short I was putting food down for my dog to eat at 6am and by 8am still not eating. Now I give insulin and then reward with a few of the meatballs. I was late to work nearly everyday! The chicken meatballs can be found in any pet store, Amazon or Chewy.

    1. Gemma Avatar

      Hi we have had the same issue with our 7 year old Siberian Hisky (diagnosed jan 2019) lays week I took the decision to go back to using Orijen which was his original from puppy food until about two years ago when he decided he preferred the cheaper wellbeloved flavours. From first meal of offering Orijen Original he has been straight in there eating it all at one sitting. He has reduced his water intake and we have had no accidents in the house. We are still at the stabilising stage for the insulin but I take this as good sign. We also found that on the hills, which often need gravy added to it get him to eat, his coat became duller and less soft. After only a few days this seems to be changing back to the condition it should be. So I would say try a trial bag of Orijen if possible Original or Regional Red. Good luck

  32. LORI Avatar

    Are there any of the other Nutro recipes that would be beneficial for a diabetic dog? Do I need to stay away from the food containing rice?


    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Hi Lori, unfortunately we looked into Nutro and did not find any with a suitably low enough carbohydrate count. Bummer because usually Nutro is quite a good food!

  33. Kathy Boot Avatar
    Kathy Boot

    I have a recently diabetic diagnosis lab cross & am having a horrible time finding a good dog food the vet recommends & that he”ll eat.This article has been great giving me the knowledge I need.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Awesome, Kathy. Glad we could help!

  34. Christina Gautier Avatar
    Christina Gautier

    Is it any good Nature’s Receipe?

  35. Tom Avatar

    Ben, great information. Your website is the only one I have seen that has information on low-glycemic dog food. This information has saved me a ton of time trying to figure this out myself. Please update as new information is available. Thank you

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      So glad you found it helpful, Tom. Best of luck figuring out the best food for your pup!

  36. Kristie Heidbreder Avatar
    Kristie Heidbreder

    Hello I have found this information very helpful. I have a question about the HIlls Prescription Diet
    W/D digestive weight dog food. How does it rate compared to the list you have posted? I am guessing since it isn’t listed then maybe it is way down on the list? Your knowledge on this subject has been very helpful to me and my diabetic dog. Thanks.

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Hi Kristie! Hill’s Perscription Diet W/D Digestive Weight requires a vet’s prescription, which is why we don’t discuss it. Unfortunetly, the ingredient list is quite troubling. The first ingredients are listed as: Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Meal, Corn Gluten Meal. As you can see, animal protein is listed as the 4th ingredient, which is extremely unusual and very concerning to see in a dog food. Meat should always be listed as the first (and, hence, the largest composition) ingredient. Seeing corn and corn gluten in such large quantities is also a red flag. Ultimately we always recommend following the advice of your vet, but without knowing your dog’s full situation, I’d suggest seeking out another food – anything that has a better meat composition.

  37. Kris Avatar

    I was just wondering if anyone knows of a wet dog food for dogs with type 2 diabetes? My vet is trying to find one but we have been unsuccessful so far

    1. Tracy Avatar

      I just returned from the vet with my newly diagnosed Maltese. They sold us canned Hills Prescription Diet Digestive/Weight Glucose Management food in Chicken and Chicken Stew flavors.

  38. Cathy Avatar

    Our 9 yr old lab just got diagnosed as diabetic, nums in 600s! We started at 7IUs… changed food to Science Diet W/D, numbers in 350 at 11IUs, now at 16IUs to see how that hleps. Science Diet (sold by our vet) seemed to help drop the numbers but it doesn’t seem to be rated very high. Was wondering about switching to something else. Any thoughts about Science diet?

    1. LInda Avatar

      I am in a very similar situation. Any response back on this? This is a very expensive food. Is anything similar that would have the same benefits?

  39. Susan Aaron Avatar
    Susan Aaron

    Try Dr.Harvey’s dog food. There are many different types, and one can sample them for $5, to see if it works. My dog is diabetic, and the Paradigm is wonderful! [email protected]
    866-362-4123 Highly reccomend.

  40. Clelia longoria Avatar
    Clelia longoria

    Katie is a nine year old lab diagnosed with diabetes and we live in El Salvador .Dog food for diabetes is not shipped here. I always fed her Science Diet the mornings and fish with vegetables for dinner. At lunch she eats papaya and apple and loves it. She used to eat a lot of whole wheat bread as well. Bread i have eliminated from her diet but i am still feeding her papaya and apples since their great antioxidants. Is it safe? Please let me know

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Apples have great fiber, and both you’re right, they are good sources of antioxidants. However, the sugar could be a problem for diabetic dogs. I’d say talk to your vet about it to be sure.

  41. Cheryl Avatar

    Thank you! This is the best information I’ve found. My 11 year old Maltese was diagnosed with diabetes a week ago. Since I’d already started transitioning him to Wellness Core Raw Rev Small Breed, I continued with it and began insulin shots twice a day. I’ve requested an appt. for this Monday for testing to at least make sure he isn’t worse. He loves this food and so does my Chiweenie, but that’s not the point. The high protein content just made more sense to me than the fiber content that so many other foods claim are good for diabetic dogs. Yours is the first review that indicates I may be headed in the right direction. I’ll let you know what the numbers tell me after the vet appointment.

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Thanks Cheryl – yes, it’d be great to hear what the numbers come back as and what your vet says!

  42. Gary Pollock Avatar
    Gary Pollock

    Provide some scientific evidence for your statements and recommendations, For instance, dogs are ominivores, not carnivores, so why do they need a meat based protein. The molecules in any specific protein look exactly the same whether from plant material or animals.

    1. Renae Avatar

      I would say look at the dogs teeth. Are they made primarily for tearing meat or chewing grain?

  43. Dana Eminhizer Avatar
    Dana Eminhizer

    This was very helpful.Thank you.

  44. Linette Avatar

    What are the best treats to feed my diabetic dog between meals? I usually give my baby carrots, green beans and hard boiled eggs. Please send other recommendations.


    1. Martina Marin Avatar
      Martina Marin

      Our vet said no in between eating or snacking

  45. Rosalia Avatar

    What two did your vet suggest?

  46. Stacy Cate Avatar
    Stacy Cate

    If caretakers are having problem diarrhea with their dogs, you may want to check for EPI. The pancreas stops producing enzymes to break down the food. So the food just goes right through them.

  47. Debra Seaton Avatar
    Debra Seaton

    Our precious MinPin Badger was diagnosed today with Diabetes – we knew something was wrong when she began to drink excessive amounts of water, constantly passing urine and losing weight. Thank God I got her to the vet before she developed Ketoacidosis. We are devastated as our Vet advised us that sometimes the cost can be too much for families to bear and are forced to put the animal down. She is only eight years old. We appreciate your website and the information on the best foods to feed her as the Vet told me for now to just make sure she eats and we are starting insulin twice a day. My husband lived through Pancreatic cancer and is diabetic so I know that diet is key to control and feeling better. I’m a nurse so now I have two patients at home along with my work! I guess God really had a plan for my life. I cannot let this precious little girl go so websites like yours are key to the learning curb. God Bless.

    1. Loretta Avatar

      My black lab was hospitalized with ketoacidosis Dec.2015 diagnosed with diabetes. I was devastated, she was 5yrs 11minths old at the time, she is now 8yrs7mo.It took me almost 2yrs to get her regulated, 27units 2xdaily. I feed her Wellness core original grain free brown and orange bag.,autoships from every month. Ive found this to be the best food for her diabetes, lil pricey but a great food. Best of luck to you and your furbaby.

    2. Martina Marin Avatar
      Martina Marin

      My mini pincher was diagnosed to with diabetes, and I’m a little overwhelmed. My vet started her on insulin and Royal Cain she’s a picky eater so when she doesn’t eat that much it at 8am I’m stresses out cause then she can’t eat until 8pm and she acts like she’s starving

  48. Jacqueline Brinsmead Avatar
    Jacqueline Brinsmead

    I am trying to select a food for my overweight diabetic 10-year-old Labrador who is somewhat arthritic, can have major skin flare-ups, and who has large cataracts. I am very impressed with the Orijen dog food, but I am having trouble deciding with one would be best for our Theo. Orijen Customer Care recommended either the Senior or the Fit and Trim but I am also considering the Six Fish. Given Theo’s various issues which Orijen food would you recommend?
    Thank you.

    1. Loretta Avatar

      I have a diabetic black lab she was overweight I put her on wellness core reduce fat a fantastic food for diabetic overweight dogs

  49. Sue Avatar

    My jack Russel just got back from the vet two days ago and was diagnosed with diabetes .. she lost her eye sight in a matter of three days … it is not easy on us and so also not on her but we will get through it taking one day at a time .. we are considering eye operation .. as she is very young … the vet advices us on dry food. Royal canine
    Can I give her chicken cooked stew for supper instead and the treats how often and can the treats be at any time

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Hey Sue – we advise feeding your dog according to your vet’s instructions. You may be able to add cooked chicken, but you’ll still need to feed your dog a suitable diet with the nutrients she needs.

  50. Julieann Avatar

    My chihuahua was just diagnosed with diabetes. the vet indicated that the dry food I give him was good and no change was needed, but I also feed him wet food at night. Can you recommend some brands of wet food that would be good?

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      We’ll work on adding some wet foods to the list!

  51. Judy Deeck Avatar
    Judy Deeck

    Macey has gained a 1/2 lb since
    4/30. I weighed her this morning
    Before she ate breakfast. I was hoping for a small result so I’m pleased.
    Very hopeful. I feel we are on the right track. I’ll weight her again on Weds

  52. Judy Deeck Avatar
    Judy Deeck

    Our black lab is 10. She has had diabetes for a year. She was on human insulin but has been changed to vetsulin. She has been on
    Science Diet W/D Glucose, but I’m not happy because you cannot feed her enough to satisfy her. She has never gained any weigh back on the Science Diet. She just had an insulin curve
    done 2 weeks ago after changing her
    to the Vetsulin. We bought Merrick
    Today to see if we can get her to gain some weigh. I watch her very closely.
    Normally I listen to the vet but frustrated with the food.
    I will follow up with any changes.
    Thanks for the info on these dog foods.

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Thanks for sharing Judy – we’d love an update on how the Merrick works out!

    2. Selena Avatar

      Judy I am in the same boat. My Chihuahua mix is 11 years old and diagnosed 1st week of March. So 8 weeks in and he continues to lose weight. He is at 8.8 lbs now. He was at 9.6 in March, however Jan 2018 he was 14 lbs. His urination frequency thirst and sudden weight loss is what got our attention to the diabetes. They have him on Science diet WD soft chicken stew in the can. He does not like it and I have been told I am not helping matters by adding chicken or any kind of meat to get him to eat it. I would love to hear how your lab takes to it or if your vet agreed…

      1. Judy Deeck Avatar
        Judy Deeck

        I do buy the W/d chicken flavor in the can. I cut a slice into 4 quarters
        And bake them for 30 mins. She likes them . It’s solid not chunky.
        I will say she is no longer acting like she is starving. Much calmer no longer pacing. She is alert and sweet.
        The Merrick’s seems to be working!
        I will weigh her in a couple more days to see how she is coming along. Hope this helps a little.

        1. Selena Avatar

          you are golden…thank you so much for your info. I pray great thing are coming for your lab…

    3. Jacqueline Brinsmead Avatar
      Jacqueline Brinsmead

      Hi Judy,

      When my Labrador Retriever was diagnosed with diabetes five years ago we found that Hill’s Metabolic prescription dog food helped him lose weight and kept him satisfied. It was the second diet dog food we tried, one the first one he was always hungry and scrounging for food.

      Good luck with this new challenge with your furry buddy.

  53. D Mari Avatar
    D Mari

    Make liver treats my dog loves them

  54. Chantal Avatar

    Hi Ben,
    Love to hear more about diabetic foods for large breed dogs
    Thanks, Chantal

  55. Mariana Avatar

    My dog is taking hills prescription dog food as the vets recommended since she’s taken that one her glucose is better and she’s feeling good but I don’t like the ingredients on it . What should I do. It has so many chemicals

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Whatever your vet recommends is likely the best option for your dog. While we all would rather have food that’s 100% natural and preservative free, you sacrifice shelf-stability as well as open yourself up to contamination with raw. There’s no perfect dog food, only what’s perfect for you and your pooch in your situation!

      1. Autumn Kintz Avatar
        Autumn Kintz

        However, if you share your concerns with your vet about the ingredients, they can (and a good one will) either suggest some over the counter foods or will look at the ingredients of a food that you may be interested in. I feed my diabetic dog Instinct. I am a vet tech and didn’t like the ingredients (she has allergies as well) so we looked at a few and choose a couple that might work. Her glucose checks have been perfect!

        1. Selena jimenez Avatar
          Selena jimenez

          May I ask which INSTINCT food you use. I have a diabetic dog also with intestinal disease also. Having a hard time find a food for him that doesn’t cause diarrhea
          He’s a chihuahua mix 11yrs old. Down to 8 lbs. He was 14 lbs in January

        2. Yovanki Avatar

          What kind of instinct worked for your dog

  56. Jody Godden Avatar
    Jody Godden

    Looking for treats for my dachshund that didn’t help