Hi everyone–I hope someone can help me out here! My mom has a 9 year old JR/Chihuahua cross who has had diabetes for about a year now. He is currently on Royal Canin Moderate Calorie Gastrointestinal Veterinary Exclusive dry and wet food, and has been on this since he was diagnosed with diabetes. He currently takes 8 units of insulin twice daily, and weighs about 15lbs.
Since adopting my own dog (mastiff/German shepherd/ lab cross) I have begun researching dog food and ingredients, and after reading the label of my mom’s dog’s food I am concerned that he is not getting the nutrition he needs. The first ingredients are brewers rice, chicken byproduct meal, corn, and brown rice. There are also several other ingredients noted as “controversial” according to DFA. This food is also quite expensive for the number of poor ingredients it contains ($40 for an 4kg bag of dry food, plus the canned food to mix with as he is a picky eater).
I was wondering if anyone here could recommend a low calorie dry dog food that would be suitable for him? I know it’s difficult to put a star value on therapeutic dog food, so something with higher quality ingredients and no byproduct meals would be excellent.
Thanks in advance!
MastiffMomma – hope this helps:
I know you are worried about calories but I feel that calories can always be adjusted by the AMOUNT of food you feed. For me it’s all about the carbs for a dog with Diabetes. Diabetes can be a devastating disease in people and dogs so my top priority would be to cut carbohydrates to below 15%. Commercial dog food companies have taken a different approach. Because starch is cheaper than protein they will try to use low glycemic starches and fibers to slow down the absorption of the carbs and avoid a spike in blood sugar (glucose). That would be fine if dogs needed a lot of carbs to survive. Since they don’t it makes much more sense to cut the ingredient that ALL diabetics have a problem with, SUGAR in any shape or form!
There are only 3 basic nutrient groups, Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate so a food that is low in carbs will be high in protein and fat. This is okay for MOST dogs. Some dogs will have a problem with high fats and some dogs will have a problem with high protein.
I would always unless there is a medical issue with fat or protein try a ultra-low carbohydrate food first. Without a doubt carbohydrates are the enemy to a dog with diabetes and cutting carbs can increase both the quality of life and the length of life for a diabetic dog.
Dry food kibbles need starch to hold them together so the lowest you can go in carbs is about 15% and most kibbles are MUCH higher. I estimate that the dry food he is eating now is 50% carbs. Dry foods can also tax the kidneys because they are so concentrated and low in moisture. Kidneys are one of the first things to be affected by diabetes so dry foods are not my first choice. I have listed a couple of dry foods because whatever food you choose to feed has to fit your lifestyle as well as your mom’s.
Canned foods do not need starches to hold them together so they can go all the way down to 1% carbohydrates on a caloric basis. They can also be of a higher quality due to less processing and and a more natural moisture content. The canned foods I have listed below are all below 10% carbs but their fat content is high.
Remember that any changes in diet will require a change in the amount of insulin your Mom’s dog will receive. Lowering Carbs will require you to lower the amount of insulin your mom’s dog gets on a daily basis. Changes should be made slowly and gradually and with the help of a VET. Home monitoring of the dog’s blood sugar will greatly help you to manage the dog’s diabetes.
It’s nice that you are looking out for your mom and her dog!!!
Thank you both so so much for your overwhelmingly helpful tips and suggestions!
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