Best Treats For Diabetic Dogs

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Diabetic Dog Treats

Most of us are aware of how serious a condition diabetes is among humans, and the kind of careful diet that is required to keep blood glucose levels on an even keel.

But did you know that diabetes is also an increasingly common disease among dogs? Just like humans, diabetic dogs need to watch what they eat.

But while most pet parents will organize with their vet a strict diabetes-friendly diet of three meals a day for their pup, what happens when it comes to treats?

Treats are an important way to train and reward your dog, and this is just as important when they have diabetes.

So, what should you be treating them with?

That is exactly the question we aim to answer below. We have shared a list of the five best diabetes-friendly dog treats currently on the market, all of which are great for your diabetic dog.

We have also put together a buying guide that covers what to look for in dog snacks for diabetic dogs and how to safely include them in your dog’s diet.

DISCLAIMER: We are not veterinarians nor canine nutritionists. If your dog is diabetic then you should consult with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist about what foods are best for your dog.

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Top 5 Diabetic Dog Treats

1. Nudges Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie Dog Treats

Nudges uses a very simple recipe to make the ideal treat for dogs with diabetes.

It starts with real chicken as its first ingredient, mixed with low-carbohydrate potatoes and peas to make a biscuit that your pup will love.

  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • 13 percent protein
  • 2 percent fiber
  • 9 percent fat
  • 39 calories per piece

Unlike many other biscuits, rather than relying on animal by-products, Nudges uses real chicken that pet owners would recognize on their own plates.

There are no artificial additives that might upset your dog’s stomach, and there is no corn, wheat, or soy, which can be problematic for diabetics.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Uses real meat and no animal by-products
  • No artificial additives
  • No corn, grains, or soy
  • Low in carbohydrates

Cons

  • Relatively low in fiber
  • Relatively high in fat
  • High in calories

While these make great treats for diabetic dogs, be warned that each biscuit is high in calories, so break them up and use them sparingly to help control your pup’s weight.

2. Ella’s Diabetic Dog Treats

If you prefer a vegetarian dog treat for your pup, then check out these popular treats based on low-carbohydrate oatmeal and pumpkin puree.

While it is not your traditional diabetes-friendly recipe, a lot of research has gone into making sure these treats won’t mess with your diabetic dog’s blood-sugar levels.

  • Pumpkin and rolled Oats
  • 13 percent protein
  • 2 percent fiber
  • 5 percent fat

The treats are made from all-natural ingredients and are sugar- and gluten-free too, so there should be nothing nasty to aggravate your pup‘s condition.

They are also available in sweet potato and chicken varieties, so you can feed your pup healthy variations.

Pros

  • Low glycemic treat
  • Vegan recipe
  • All-natural
  • Sugar- and gluten-free
  • Variety of flavors

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Relatively low in fiber

These treats were made by the owners of the online community Dogabetix, which provides loads of resources for anyone caring for a diabetic dog.

3. Full Moon All-Natural Human Grade Dog Treats

If you are willing to spend a bit more, you can get your pup diabetic-friendly treats that you wouldn’t turn your nose up at eating yourself, since they are made entirely from human-grade ingredients.

  • Human-grade chicken as the first ingredient
  • 55 percent protein
  • 0.5 percent fiber
  • 3 percent fat
  • 49 calories per treat

While the company makes a number of products, our top choice is their chicken jerky bites, which are made from human-grade, antibiotic-free chicken.

The jerky is made naturally using just chicken, vinegar, rosemary extract, and organic cane sugar.

While this final ingredient might send up a red flag for some pet parents, this is a beneficial type of sugar that is unprocessed and low in glycerin. In fact, these treats are advertised as containing no glycerin.

Just be careful how much you feed to your pup because they are high in calories.

Pros

  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Simple and digestible recipe
  • All-natural
  • No glycerin

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Low in fiber
  • High in calories

If nothing is too good for your dog, then you will be interested in these human-grade treats made only with ingredients that you will recognize and trust.

4. PureBites Freeze-Dried RAW Beef Liver Treats

Since treats for diabetic dogs need to be high in protein and low in carbohydrates, the best things you can feed them are meat-heavy options.

And you don’t get much more meat-heavy than these treats made from 100 percent beef liver.

  • Made solely from beef liver
  • 64 percent protein
  • 1 percent fiber
  • 5 percent fat
  • 5 calories per treat

The small meat pieces are raw and freeze-dried, ensuring that no nutrients are lost as part of the cooking process.

The resulting treats are delicious, and while they are low in fiber, they will still deliver positive results for diabetic dogs.

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Low in fat
  • Contain no carbohydrates
  • Freeze-dried for maximum nutrition

Cons

These are safe treats for diabetic dogs, and also a simple way to incorporate some of the goodness of raw foods into their diet.

5. Darford Zero/G Grain-Free Roasted Dog Treats

These treats are ideal for diabetic pups. They start with high-quality chicken as the first ingredient and the only source of protein for optimum digestion.

There are no carbohydrate-heavy grains, and the recipe is high in fiber for slow energy release.

  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • 14 percent protein
  • 5 percent fiber
  • 12 percent fat
  • 16 calories per biscuit

Each treat is low in calories, so these are ideal for diabetic dogs that need to shed a few pounds.

They are also enriched with vitamins A and C, antioxidants, calcium, iron, niacin, and other minerals, all of which have been shown to be beneficial to dogs with diabetes.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Single quality proteins
  • Low in carbohydrates and calories
  • Range of flavors
  • No gluten or grains

Cons

  • Relatively high in fat
  • Relatively new brand without an established record

Dog parents may not immediately reach for this brand as it is relatively new and unestablished, but their recipe is perfect for maintaining the health of diabetic pups.

Also available in lamb, salmon, and duck.

Other Natural Treats For Diabetic Dogs

If you prefer to buy your dog’s treats at the green grocer rather than the pet food store, there are lots of fresh vegetables and fruits that are great for diabetic dogs.

Choose from a range of low-glycemic vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, string beans, and pumpkin, all of which make great low-calorie treats. You can feed them to your dog raw, cooked, or even frozen. 

However, if you do decide to cook them, stick to plain steamed vegetables. Dog’s don’t appreciate the seasoning that you love, and many of the seasonings we eat can even be harmful to them. For example, garlic and onion are toxic to dogs, and there are few things worse than the concentrated levels of these found in seasoning powders.

A variety of fruits also make great treats, including bananas and blueberries, but avoid other fruits that are high in sugar, such as mangoes and peaches.

One of the best fruits that you can feed your diabetic dog is apple. Apples are high in fiber, and the pectin in apple skins helps moderate how your dog’s body absorbs glucose.

Buying Guide: Treats For Dogs With Diabetes

What Is Canine Diabetes?

Dog diabetes is a chronic disease very similar to the type of diabetes that affects humans.

It occurs when a dog’s body is not producing enough insulin, or is unable to use the insulin that it is producing, to correctly break down glucose for energy.

As a result, the dog’s body cannot get the glucose that it needs to function properly, and there is also a dangerous build-up of glucose in the bloodstream.

This means that the body is starved of vital fuel, and it will begin to break down other fats and proteins for fuel, which can lead to extreme weight loss.

The high levels of glucose circulating around the body can also cause damage to the organs, as this acts as a poison for the kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels, and nerves.

The primary symptoms that might indicate your dog has developed diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Loss of energy
  • Depression
  • Vomiting

If two or more of these symptoms are present, it is time to talk to your vet, who can test your dog’s glucose levels and start to determine whether they are affected by diabetes.

If they do have diabetes and it remains untreated, the most common complications are:

  • Cataracts
  • Enlarged liver
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Seizures
  • Kidney failure
  • Ketoacidosis

While diabetes cannot be cured, it can be managed successfully. In dogs this usually involves a combination of insulin injections and a diet designed to keep blood glucose levels stable.

The Best Diet For A Diabetic Dog

Diabetic dogs will usually receive insulin shots twice a day, and will have a diet that is designed to stabilize their blood glucose levels.

They will usually eat three times a day, rather than twice a day like most adult dogs. This is important, as you can’t give a dog insulin on an empty stomach.

Like all dogs, they need a diet that is full of lots of healthy protein, which should act as their primary source of energy.

But while most dogs will then need lots of healthy fat and a moderate amount of carbohydrates to round out the diet, diabetic dogs should have a diet that is low in both carbohydrates and fats.

Their diet should also be high in fiber, as this slows the entrance of glucose into your dog’s bloodstream, which means they will be better able to manage it.

Fiber will also help your dog feel fuller for longer. This is important, as diabetes is often caused by being overweight, so many diabetic dogs will also be on a diet designed to get them down to a healthy weight.

They will also need to drink lots of water, as the increased fiber in their diet means they will get dehydrated more quickly.

The other thing to be conscious of when it comes to dogs with diabetes is their exercise regime.

While they need lots of healthy exercise, it should be of moderate intensity. Their exercise should also be consistent each day in terms of its length and intensity.

Suddenly taking your dog on an intense hike can also mess with their energy levels, and their blood glucose levels can spike as their body tries to respond to the pressure.

For more information about the best diet for diabetic dogs, read our complete guide.

Diabetes-Friendly Treats

Treats can be some of the most problematic foods when it comes to dogs with diabetes.

First, they can be a major cause of weight gain, as pet parents don’t always take into account the number of calories in treats when determining how much to feed their dog.

Secondly, treats are more likely to include glucose-heavy ingredients to create something that gives your dog immediate gratification. This is exactly what a diabetic dog does not need.

Fortunately, many dog food companies are now designing treats specifically for diabetic dogs that not only won’t spike their glucose levels, but that also contain lots of the other things that these special dogs need.

But don’t worry, if you have more than one dog at home and only one of them is diabetic— diabetes-friendly treats will be healthy for your other pooch too, so you don’t need to worry about feeding them different treats.

The main things to look for when deciding if a treat is appropriate for a diabetic dog are:

  • A quality protein as the first ingredient
  • Low in carbohydrates and starches
  • High in fiber
  • No added sugar
  • No artificial additives

Dogs tend to be sensitive to artificial additives in their food in general, so when they already have digestion issues, it is best to go with all-natural treats that are unlikely to contain anything that will upset their stomachs.

The treats that are highest in protein, such as jerkies and freeze-dried meats, also tend to be the highest in calories, so should be fed to your pup in moderation.

FAQs

What Treats Can I Give My Diabetic Dog?

When choosing treats to give a dog with diabetes, you need something that won’t cause their blood sugar levels to spike.

That means something that is low in carbohydrates, sugars, and fats, and preferably high in protein and fiber.

Above all else, avoid any foods containing simple sugars, especially human foods as these tend to be much higher in glycemic sugars than dog foods.

What Human Food Can I Feed My Diabetic Dog?

Generally speaking, you should avoid giving your dog human foods. They tend to contain lots of little things that are harmless to you but can be toxic to your dog.

This is why it is never advisable to feed your dog scraps off your plate.

If you want to feed them fresh food as a treat, there are lots of vegetables that fit the bill. You can give them to your dog raw, cooked, or frozen.

However, if they are cooked, make sure they aren’t seasoned because, again, some of the seasonings we are accustomed to, such as onion and garlic powders, are toxic to dogs. 

Choose low-glycemic vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, cucumber, and pumpkin.

Can Diabetic Dogs Eat Scrambled Eggs?

Eggs are a great source of protein for dogs, including those with diabetes. And unlike many proteins, they are best ingested cooked rather than raw.

Boil or scramble eggs, but hold off on the salt. Your dog doesn’t need the extra sodium in their diet, and they don’t appreciate the salty flavor in the same way that you might.

Can Diabetic Dogs Have Peanut Butter?

Some dogs love peanut butter, and a good quality peanut butter, in moderation, shouldn’t pose a risk to your diabetic dog. But you do need to be very careful when choosing a brand.

Many peanuts butters contain a lot of added sugar and fat, which can destabilize your dog’s blood glucose levels.

Worse than this, some peanut butters contain the natural sweetener xylitol, which is harmless to humans but toxic to dogs even in small quantities.

Since this food is not dangerous to humans, it is not always specifically listed under ingredients. But be wary of anything that says that it contains natural sweeteners, as it may well by xylitol.

You can learn more about dogs and xylitol here.

The Verdict

Just like it is for humans, diabetes is a very serious disease for dogs, and if your dog develops diabetes, you will need to closely monitor their health.

But with the right treatment, diet, and exercise regime, your dog can continue to have an excellent quality of life and live for many years without being adversely affected by their condition.

But this does mean paying attention to every aspect of their diet. Nothing can be overlooked, including treats. So make sure to choose treats for them that will help maintain even blood glucose levels.

Have you ever cared for a dog with diabetes?

Share your experiences with the community in the comments section below.

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Top Picks For Our Dogs

  1. BEST PUPPY TOY
    We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack – Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
  2. BEST CHEW TOY
    We Like: KONG Extreme – Great toy for heavy chewers like our Labrador Retrievers.
  3. BEST DOG TREATS
    We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites – One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
  4. BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
    We Like: The Farmer’s Dog – A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer’s Dog.

For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the PuppyInTraining.com blog.

5 Best Treats For Diabetic Dogs was last modified: February 21st, 2021 by LTHQ



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