Canine Diabetes FAQs

General Diabetes Information

What is Canine Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition that affects the concentration of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Diabetes is the result of when a dog’s body makes too little insulin or doesn’t process insulin properly.

When a dog eats, their digestive system breaks food down into various components, including glucose. The glucose is carried into the dog’s cells by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin, does not produce enough insulin, or cannot utilize it normally, their blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, an excess of glucose in the bloodstream.

What Type of Diabetes Do Most Dogs Get?

There are two types of diabetes, Type 1, lack of insulin production, and Type II, impaired insulin production and an inadequate response to the hormone.

Type 1 is the most common in dogs. It is when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin making the dog insulin-dependent. Insulin therapy (insulin injections) will be required for the dog to survive.

Can my dog lead a full life with Diabetes?

Yes! When diagnosed early and properly treated, your dog can live a full, happy life. Your dog will probably require a diet change along with insulin shots. With some knowledge, help from your Vet, and a willingness to manage your dog’s diabetes they can live as long as they would without diabetes.

Food & Treats

What food should I feed my dog?
Finding the right food for your dog is the most important thing to help you regulate your dog’s diabetes. The food and amount of food your dog eats directly affects your dog’s diabetes and their insulin requirements. Food that contains ingredients that convert to high amounts of sugar should be avoided. I recommend finding a food that is:

  • High protein
  • Low Carbohydrates, preferably Grain Free
  • Low in Fat.
  • Little to No Fillers – Corn, White Rice
  • Little to no non natural preservatives

Here is a list of dog foods you might consider:

My Vet Recommended Hill's Science Diet W/D, is this a good food?
I personally don’t recommend Hill’s Science Diet W/D. It is not a bad food, it is just not the best food for a diabetic dog. Although it has a lot of good diabetic friendly ingredients, you might find it difficult to get your dog regulated.
Can I Still Give My Dog Treats?

Yes! As long as the treat is diabetic friendly. Please consider the amount of treats and the size of the treat you are giving your dog as it can affect their glucose levels.

What Treats Should I Feed My Dog?

Dog treats can affect your dog’s diabetes and should be considered with their insulin needs.

Some recommended dog treats are:

Remember to stay away from treats with sugars: corn syrup, malt syrup, molasses, cane molasses, cane sugar, fructose, dextrose, or maltose, etc.


Should I Exercise my Diabetic Dog?

Exercise is very important for dog’s health and well being. Daily structured exercise is a good way to help keep your dog regulated.

The amount of exercise your dog needs and is capable of will vary. Please consult your vet for the types of exercise and the amount of exercise.