Preventing and Managing Canine Diabetes
Reprinted: Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM
Dr. Dobias’s Complete Article on Canine Diabetes
Diabetes in dogs in most instances can be prevented and if your dog is diagnosed it is one of the more manageable chronic diseases.
The incidence of dog diabetes has exploded in the last 10 years. Veterinary professionals do not a have a conclusive answer as to why but the consensus is that obesity in dogs along with increase in longevity is a leading cause of the disease.
Overweight dogs over 10 years old are more likely to develop the disease.
The Simple Explanation
Diabetes in dogs is a disease caused by a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. After a dog eats, the digestive system breaks food into different components, primarily glucose-which is carried to the cells by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, can cause health problems for a dog.
Symptoms of Canine Diabetes
If your dog shows the following symptoms, you should have them checked by your Vet because these are indicators that your dog has diabetes:
- Change in appetite
- Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
- Weight loss
- Increased urination
- Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
- Urinary tract infections
- Cataract formation, blindness
- Chronic skin infections
Strain and Inflammation of the Pancreas May Be the Primary Causes of Diabetes
The canine pancreas is not great at dealing with high levels of carbohydrates, but it is incredibly efficient in digesting protein. If a dog eats high-carbohydrate or even grain-free, but processed food, the pancreas gets stressed and inflamed. This inflammation leads to the destruction of pancreatic beta cells and the formation of antibodies against the pancreatic tissue. To summarize, highly processed foods lead to a strain on the pancreas, which leads to inflammation, which leads to antibody formation, the destruction of pancreatic tissue, and finally, diabetes.
How A Wholesome Diet and Veterinary Care Can Work Together To Help Diabetic Dogs
Diet: A Few Simple Principles.
- Avoid all grain and rice.
- There is no kibble that I recommend, even grain-free is not optimal for a diabetic dog.
- Raw, dehydrated diets may be the middle of the road. However, a raw or cooked diet is ideal.
- There is not much of a difference in results for raw and cooked diets.
- Feed about 50 to 65 percent raw or cooked meat, 10 to 25 percent raw bones and 10 to 25 percent green, leafy vegetables.
Diabetes Treatment: Choosing the Right Veterinarian
The most important thing is to work with an experienced veterinarian who is open to a natural approach to nutrition and who will not try to make you feed your dog processed food and make you feel guilty. If your veterinarian claims that raw or cooked homemade diets are unsuitable or even dangerous for your dog, consider finding another vet. As an alternative, have an open discussion about why you wish to feed a raw or cooked diet.
You may also ask whether he/she feels that recipes like the one below (from one of the major pet food companies) are good.
Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Mill Run, Chicken, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Lactic Acid, Caramel color, Calcium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Flaxseed, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C) , Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan, L-Carnitine, Iodized Salt, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, L-Threonine, Beta-Carotene, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors.
One does not need to conduct scientific research to see that this is not a species' appropriate diet for dogs