Can you recommend a diabetic diet for my 9 year old Beagle mix?? I have opted
for a low carb diet……is this good ??
The short answer is yes, but perhaps not for the reasons you thought.
Dogs most often get Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes, which is a failure of the pancreas to make enough insulin. These dogs need insulin to manage the disease; and carbohydrates are not as critical.
Cats, on the other hand, most often get Type II diabetes. This type is most commonly the result of too many carbs in the diet. High levels of carbs in food trigger insulin to be released; ultimately the body tissues become overwhelmed and become resistant to insulin. This is the form that is very responsive to a
low-carb diet; and in fact, caught early, a large percentage of diabetic cats will reverse the disease, and will remain normal with dietary management.
While Type I diabetes can’t be reversed or managed with diet alone, food does play a role in regulating blood glucose as well as in overall health. A low-carb diet is more in line with the natural canine diet. Limiting carbs helps dogs lose fat and maintain lean body mass. When choosing foods for your dog, bear in mind that low or no grains in a food does not necessarily mean low carbs. Some foods substitute yams, potatoes, peas or other starchy vegetables for grains. To get a ballpark estimate of carbs, subtract the percentages of all the ingredients listed in the guaranteed analysis from 100. The remainder will tell the approximate carb content; look for 20% or less for dogs, less than 10% for cats. Canned foods are definitely better than dry foods in the low-carb department; but if you must use dry food, be sure to avoid corn as an ingredient
since it causes a dramatic increase in blood sugar.
You may also want to consider supplements, particularly antioxidants. Diabetic dogs may especially benefit from alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to be valuable in human Type I diabetics. (Note: cats are extra-sensitive to lipoic acid, and even small amounts can become toxic. Do not supplement cats with