Feeding and Treating your Diabetic Pet

If your dog or cat is diagnosed with diabetes, this will mean a lifetime of treatment for your pet, starting with insulin injections. When caring for a diabetic dog or cat, pet owners also must pay closer attention to their pet’s diet. There are a lot of important things to consider when feeding your four-legged family member suffering from diabetes, even if your pet is just starting to show early signs of this disease.


Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes is a medical condition where your pet’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. There are a few telling signs your dog or cat could have diabetes.
 
  • Increased Urination
  • Increased Thirst
  • Increased Appetite
  • Weight Loss

Caring for a Pet with Diabetes

There are several areas you’ll want to keep a close eye on when feeding a canine or feline suffering from diabetes. Below are some key points to remember:
 
  • Watch water intake. First, a major symptom of diabetes is when your pet drinks abnormally large amounts of water. Even after diagnosis, keep and eye on how much your pet drinks.
  • Get in a routine. Feed your pet the exact recommended amount of food ever day. Also, find a mealtime for your pet and stick to it.
  • Sweat with your pet. Make sure your dog or cat is getting regular exercise to help reach a healthy body weight. Then keep exercising to maintain that weight.
  • Inquire before the injection. It’s important your pet actually eats his or her meal to keep a consistent blood sugar level. If your pet doesn’t eat, contact your vet before giving your dog or cat an insulin shot.
  • Track treatment. Keep a very close record of your pet’s meals and insulin injections. If friends or family must care for your pet, ask they do the same. It’s important to eliminate any chance of an accidental insulin overdose.

Changing Your Pet’s Food for a Diabetic Diet

Your dog or cat will react better to medical treatment for diabetes if you keep them at an ideal body weight. When diagnosed, most cats need to immediately lose weight, while dogs need to find a consistent weight and maintain it. These diets can also help minimize blood glucose fluctuations helping to regulate your pet’s diabetes.

There are several diet foods on the market to help a dog or cat dealing with diabetes, including ROYAL CANIN Veterinary Diet food. Upon diagnosis, your veterinarian may be able to recommend an ideal food or guide you to a nutritional expert who can give you more information on feeding according to this health condition.


Switching Pet Foods

It’s best to combine the new and old diet over the span of a week. Start by mixing 25% of the new food in with 75% of the old diet. Every couple days, increase the amount of the new diet, until day seven, when your pet should be eating only his or her new diet. You can get more tips on switching your pet’s food by reading our How To Switch Pet Foods handout.

Talk to your veterinarian about diabetes
If you notice your pet exhibiting symptoms of diabetes or any other health issues, contact your local Banfield Pet Hospital and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Also, ask your vet about choosing a Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan®, with options that can best suit the unique needs of your diabetic dog or cat.

Learn More
You can also learn more about your pet’s health and diet in our Nutrition section and by reading the links below.
Research provided by ROYAL CANIN®, a registered trademark of Royal Canin USA.