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A Definitive Guide to the Best Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs in 2024

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Did you know that every one in three hundred dogs suffers from diabetes mellitus? Yes, you read the right. The disease, although commonly associated with humans, affects dogs too. And it can be extremely detrimental to their health and well-being.

While doing my research, I learned that although dogs of all ages can suffer from diabetes, it’s more prevalent in middle-aged to senior dogs. Some female dogs may even develop a temporary case of diabetes while they’re pregnant.

If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s a problem that will need addressing since it cannot be reversed. Diabetes has genetic precursors you cannot eradicate — you can only treat the condition and keep it under control. You can do that by putting it on a special diet and introducing it to certain lifestyle changes. But what is the best dog food for diabetic dogs?

After a lot of research, I was able to put together this list of the best dog food for diabetic dogs.

Top Picks

Farmina VetLife Diabetic Formula

farmina vetlife diabetic canine formula

Farmina VetLife Diabetic Canine Formula

farmina vetlife diabetic canine formula - star rating
  • Prescription diet formulated by vets
  • Helps control postprandial glucose levels
  • Premium quality non-GMO ingredients
  • Good for adult dogs of all breeds

JustFoodForDogs Healthy Weight Pack

justfoodfordogs healthy weight variety pack

JustFoodForDogs Healthy Weight Variety Pack

justfoodfordogs healthy weight variety pack - star rating
  • Recipes contain human-grade novel proteins
  • Helps build muscle mass
  • Makes lethargic dogs energetic
  • Good for dogs with food allergies

Origen FIT & TRIM™ Grain Free Pack

origen fit & trim

Origen FIT & TRIM™

origen fit & trim - star rating
  • Freeze-dried and nutrient-dense kibble
  • Grain-free formula
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or additives
  • High protein, low carb

Top 10 Best Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs

Diabetes in dogs can happen because of two reasons: either their body stops producing enough insulin to metabolize glucose the way it is meant to. Or, the cells in their body become immune to the insulin being produced and, therefore, can no longer “process” glucose for energy.

In either case, the problem lies with the dog’s metabolism.

That’s why affected dogs need a special diet that can help them draw energy from the food they eat. Vets recommend a high-fiber, low-fat diet for such dogs, but maintaining a 10-12 hour gap between meals is also crucial to their well-being.

Foods with high insoluble fiber content that make your dog feel full without extra calories are a good choice. However, highly digestible food or treats can lead to weight gain, liver problems, and other related health issues in dogs.

Keeping all these factors in mind, I have reviewed the 10 best commercial dog foods for diabetic dogs. But I’d also advise that you consult the vet before making a dietary switch.

JustFoodForDogs Healthy Weight Variety Pack justfoodfordogs healthy weight variety pack - dollar sign

Best Moist Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs | justfoodfordogs healthy weight variety pack - star rating
best wet dog food for diabetic dogs - justfoodfordogs healthy weight variety pack
  • flavour iconFlavours: Fish & Sweet Potato, Venison & Squash
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: None
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 26 kcal ME/oz, 25 kcal ME/oz
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 7% (min), 9% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber: 3% (max), 1.5% (max)
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Chicken Breast Treat

justfoodfordogs chicken breast treat

Chicken Breast Treat
Wild Earth - Star Rating

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DIY Nutrient Kit – Fish

justfoodfordogs diy nutrient kit - fish

DIY Nutrient Kit – Fish
Digestion Dog Supplements

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Salmon Bark Treat

justfoodfordogs salmon bark treat 5 oz - dog

Salmon Bark Treat
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About the Product:

If your dog was on a raw diet before being diagnosed with diabetes or you don’t prefer commercial dog food, JustFoodForDogs is the brand to consider. The brand makes fresh, frozen whole foods in a variety of flavors and for various dietary requirements. The Healthy Weight variety pack contains fish & sweet potatoes and venison & squash – two recipes with the lowest calorie count.

Here’s why I love the Healthy Weight variety pack! For one, your dog gets to eat a freshly frozen meal with human-grade ingredients that just needs to be thawed before serving.

Second, you can scoop only as much food as prescribed by the vet and maintain portion control. And since there are no hidden or harmful ingredients, the food helps with quick and easy weight loss.

Although not specifically designed for diabetic dogs, the Healthy Weight Variety Packs turn lethargic dogs into energetic ones. That’s because the food contains complex carbs, the only kind that diabetic dogs can eat to regulate their blood sugar levels. Besides helping with weight loss/control, the food improves your dog’s bowl and eliminates bad breath. I’d highly recommend it to all dog parents.

Pros
  • Freshly made food with premium ingredients
  • Builds muscle mass
  • Aids in weightloss
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces food allergies and related symptoms
Cons
  • Not suitable for puppies or young dogs
  • Not made specially for diabetic dogs

Origen FIT & TRIM™ origen fit & trim - dollar sign

Best Grain-free Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs | origen fit & trim - star rating
best dog food for diabetic dogs - origen fit & trim
  • flavour iconFlavours: Poultry and Fish
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: None
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 401 kcal/cup
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 42% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber 8% (max)

About the Product:

Dogs suffering from diabetes have difficulty digesting carbs for energy and instead depend on other nutritional sources to meet their daily needs. Orijen’s Fit & Trim formula, made from freeze-dried fresh poultry and raw fish, is packed with high-quality protein. Diabetic dogs can easily digest this food to meet their daily protein requirements and also have enough left to burn for energy.

Lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, cod, flounder, and herring make this pet food nutrient-dense yet low in calories. So, it maintains your dog’s muscles and bones while helping with weight loss. The meat-forward recipe is grain-free too. Grain-free diets allow for better digestion, keep blood sugar levels in check, and help with weight loss.

Orijen Fit & Trim also has 8% crude, insoluble fiber content that helps diabetic dogs feel full without adding to their calorie intake. This recipe has almost everything a diabetic dog needs to keep its blood sugar levels under control and stay fit. The brand’s clean history and zero recalls make it one of the best commercial dog foods for diabetic dogs.

Pros
  • The first 5 ingredients are fresh or raw
  • Freeze-dried kibble, high nutritional value
  • Grain-free formulation
  • High-protein, low-carb
  • No artificial fillers, additives, or flavorings
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Chances of quality being compromised in the future as manufacturing has undergone a recent handover

ACANA Light & Fit Recipe acana light & fit recipe - dollar sign

Best Dog Food for Small Diabetic Dogs | acana light & fit recipe - star rating
best dog food for diabetic dogs - acana light & fit recipe
  • flavour iconFlavours: Chicken and Turkey
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: None
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 348 kcal/cup
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 33% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber 8% (max)

About the Product:

Diabetes mellitus can lead to obesity in dogs, especially if your dog is one of the smaller and lazier breeds like a Shih Tzu or a Frenchie. Despite portion control, these dogs tend to gain weight, leading to worsening health conditions and additional issues like joint problems.

Such dogs need an ultra-low-calorie diet because they have a low basal metabolic rate (BMR). The Acana Light & Fit Recipe can work very well for such dogs. The kibble is lower in calories than other whole pet foods at only 348 kcal per cup.

It contains skinless and boneless chicken and turkey – two extremely lean but rich sources of protein. Low in calories but high in protein, this dry food is great for diabetic dogs of all breeds. That said, I am not a fan of the legume content of the food – whether it’s peas, lentils, or pinto beans – all known to cause allergic reactions in dogs.

Pros
  • The first two ingredients are fresh or raw
  • Freeze-dried to preserve nutritional value
  • Grain-free
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Easy to digest
Cons
  • Contains a significant amount of peas and legumes
  • Contains poultry and fish meal
  • Only 60% animal ingredients

Royal Canin Glycobalance Loaf in Sauce royal canin glycobalance loaf in sauce - dollar sign

Best Wet Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs | royal canin glycobalance loaf in sauce - star rating
best dog food for diabetic dogs - royal canin glycobalance loaf in sauce
  • flavour iconFlavours: Chicken and Pork
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: None
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 307 kcal/can
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 7.5% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber 2.4% (max)

About the Product:

The Royal Canin Glycobalance Loaf in Sauce is a canned wet food for dogs suffering from severe diabetes. The formula is high in water content, so much so that it’s listed as the first ingredient on the label. Chronic diabetes makes dogs feel parched and gives them the urge to urinate frequently. Glycobalance ensures your dog gets hydration from its diet apart from the water it drinks.

Glycobalance is also extremely low in starch and helps prevent a sudden spike in glucose levels in dogs, especially after a meal. Since you might need to give your dog an insulin shot one hour after meal time, the postprandial glycomodulation this formula promises wins brownie points.

Dog food often contains vegetables, fruits, or non-animal ingredients that are rather starchy, even when the recipe is specially made for diabetic dogs. Like its other prescription diet recipes, the loaf-in-sauce formula is created to address such common concerns. I also like that the brand uses a mix of organ meat from lean pork and chicken as its two primary sources of protein.

Pros
  • Glycobalanced formula helps maintain post-meal glucose levels
  • Easy to chew chunks in gravy
  • Very low in calories and sugar
  • Good for adult dogs of all breeds
Cons
  • May not be appetizing to all dogs
  • Contains a few mediocre ingredients
  • Can only be bought with a vet’s prescription

Ketona Chicken Recipe Dog Food ketona chicken recipe dog food - dollar sign

Best Dry Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs | ketona chicken recipe dog food - star rating
best dry dog food for diabetic dogs - ketona chicken recipe dog food
  • flavour iconFlavours: Chicken
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: None
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 452 kcal/cup
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 46% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber 11% (max)

About the Product:

Founded in 2018, Keto Naturals Pet Food is a relatively new dog food brand that believes in eliminating the carbohydrate content from kibbles. And the Ketona Chicken Recipe, dry dog food, is a fine specimen of what the brand aspires to achieve. With less than 5% carbohydrate and 46% crude protein content, this dry dog food is a protein-forward formula made to mimic the natural diet of dogs. It helps build muscle mass and allows dogs to burn protein for energy.

The kibble is made of clean ingredients, with chicken and chicken liver as its main sources of protein. I always like brands that use organ meat in their kibble because it’s a quality source of protein and other essential nutrients. My only complaint is that Ketona also heavily relies on pea protein in their kibble, a controversial ingredient that could have links to canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Although dogs seem to enjoy the kibble as is, diluting it with some bone broth could be great for diabetic dogs. But please ensure the bone broth you use is suitable for diabetic dogs. Also, your dog can have this kibble dry, because it is fairly small and easy to chew, even for senior dogs with dental problems. When switching to Ketona, you don’t need to transition gradually.

Pros
  • Protein-heavy dry dog food
  • Less than 5% carbs
  • Reduces itching and allergies
  • Good for picky eaters
  • Small, easy-to-chew kibbles
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Can cause incontinence in some dogs
  • Contains pea protein

Farmina VetLife Diabetic Canine Formula farmina vetlife diabetic canine formula - dollar sign

Best Dog Food Diet for Diabetic Dogs | farmina vetlife diabetic canine formula - star rating
best dry dog food for diabetic dogs - farmina vetlife diabetic canine formula
  • flavour iconFlavours: NA
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: None
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 1459kcal/Oz
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 33% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber 7.9% (max)

About the Product:

I am a big fan of Farmina Pet Foods because it’s one of the rare brands that has been consistent with its product quality and has never had any recalls. The Diabetic Canine Formula from its VetLife range is a power-packed performer. And since it’s a specialty diet for diabetic dogs, you will need a vet’s prescription to purchase it.

The kibble helps with regulating diabetes mellitus and weight management. The recipe combines high-quality protein with minimal starch and foods with low glycemic index. It has limited ingredients that are clean and useful.

While dehydrated chicken protein, dried eggs, and hydrolyzed fish protein make for extremely concentrated protein sources, oats and dry beet pulp provide the fiber. content. Research shows that beets can reduce nerve damage caused by diabetes and lower blood pressure in dogs.

Farmina always uses non-GMO ingredients in its dog food and follows strict packaging guidelines that keep the food fresh. So you can rest assured that your dog will do better on a Vetlife Diabetes Formula diet than anything else. I also love that the food comes with a detailed feeding chart with measurements in kgs and lbs for convenience.

Pros
  • Vet-approved special formula
  • Unique and premium ingredients
  • Guaranteed quality
  • Good for all adult diabetic dogs
Cons
  • Can only be prescribed by a vet
  • Is comparatively expensive

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Entrée hill's science diet adult 7 entrée - dollar sign

Best Dog Food for Diabetic Senior Dogs | hill's science diet adult 7 entrée - star rating
best wet dog food for diabetic dogs - hill's science diet adult 7 entrée
  • flavour iconFlavours: Chicken and Barley
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: Yes, in 2019
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 28kcal/oz
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 4.7% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber 1.5% (max)

About the Product:

Studies show that metabolism slows down in senior dogs. So when your aging dog suffers from diabetes, it experiences a double whammy on its metabolism. That’s why your dog’s diet needs to be simple enough to digest while being nutritious enough to maintain muscle mass. The Adult 7+ Chicken & Barley Entrée from Hill’s Science Diet range strikes that perfect balance.

Hill’s uses chicken and pork liver as its two primary sources of protein – both lean but nutrient-dense ingredients your senior dog can enjoy. In addition, organ meat, especially the liver, rids your dog’s blood of toxins and improves its vision. And at only 28 kcal per oz of serving, it has one of the lowest calories per serving on this list.

But even better, the food comes as a dense loaf that can be thinned out with some water or bone broth. You can also cut it into chunks to exercise portion control. Because of its texture and consistency, it is effortlessly palatable for senior dogs on soft diets or with dental issues. You can also stuff the food inside a kong if needed.

Pros
  • Specially formulated for senior dogs
  • Easy to chew
  • Extremely low-calorie
  • Good for heart and kidney health
  • Delicious taste
Cons
  • Not suitable for younger dogs or lactating mothers
  • Can cause calorie deficiency in some dogs
  • Ingredients include some soy products

Natural Balance Fat Dogs Recipe natural balance fat dogs recipe - dollar sign

Best Diabetic Dog Food for All Breeds | natural balance fat dogs recipe - star rating
dog food - natural balance fat dogs recipe
  • flavour iconFlavours: NA
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: None
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 315 kcal/cup
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 26% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber 10.5% (max)

About the Product:

While researching the best dog food recipes for diabetic dogs, I realized that most formulations are specific to the size or age of the dogs. The Fat Dogs Recipe by Natural Balance is an exception – it can be fed to overweight adult dogs of any breed or size to help them with weight control.

If you glance through the nutritional information, you’ll notice this kibble with a 10.5% fiber content is high in fiber. Most of it comes from reliable ingredients like chickpeas and oat groats, which ease digestion in diabetic dogs and prevent constipation. Fiber also keeps your dog feeling full for longer.

But if you prefer a grain-free diet for your pet, I wouldn’t recommend this formula.

In addition to great fiber content, this dog food uses chicken and salmon meals as its primary sources of protein. It might not be of the best quality, but it’s certainly rich in protein, omega fatty acids, and other essential nutrients like L-carnitine. L-carnitine burns up the fat content in your dog’s body to produce energy, helping your dog lose weight while taking care of its heart health.

Pros
  • Contains L-carnitine that burns fat
  • Is high in protein and fiber
  • Affordable
  • Suitable for adult dog breeds of all sizes
Cons
  • Lacks quality ingredients
  • Not grain-free
  • Might be unappetizing for picky dogs

Rachael Ray Nutrish Weight Management rachael ray nutrish weight management - dollar sign

Best Affordable Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs | rachael ray nutrish weight management - star rating
wet dog food - rachael ray nutrish weight management
  • flavour iconFlavours: Real Turkey
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: None
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 385 kcal/can
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 8% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber 5.7% (max)

About the Product:

If you’re looking for the best canned dog food for diabetic dogs on a budget, give the Nutrish® Premium Paté Real Turkey & Pumpkin Recipe a shot. The formula comes as a paté made from turkey, chicken liver, pumpkin, and brown rice – a delicious mish-mash of protein and insoluble fibers that will help your dog feel full even on a small serving.

The food has a moderate calorie count that is good for overweight dogs who don’t suffer from chronic obesity. That said, you might need to thin the paté out with some low-calorie bone broth to make it more palatable. Hardly an inconvenience, especially for the price you pay.

But I find the brand’s labeling misleading. So, Nutrish Weight Management dog food claims to be free of poultry by-products. But the ingredient list shows chicken liver in the top 5 ingredients. Although it may not be considered a poultry by-product, Rachel Ray Nutrish needs to rethink its labeling to ensure that pet parents do not unknowingly expose their pets to potential allergies.

Pros
  • Rich in lean protein and insoluble fibers
  • Comes as an easy-to-chew pate
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Maintains muscle mass
Cons
  • Not safe for dogs with chicken allergy
  • Not the tastiest formula

IAMS™ Healthy Weight Dog Food iams healthy weight dog food - dollar sign

Best Dog Food for Weight Loss | iams healthy weight dog food - star rating
dry dog food - iams healthy weight dog food
  • flavour iconFlavours: Chicken
  • product recall icon Product Recalls: None
  • kcal icon Cal Per Meal: 304 kcal/cup
  • crude protein icon Crude Protein: 20% (min)
  • crude fiber Crude Fiber 5% (max)

About the Product:

IAMS Healthy Weight Dog Food is ideal for dogs that have gained weight due to diabetes or have become diabetic because of obesity. This carefully created formula is fortified with L-carnitine, which metabolizes fat for energy and therefore speeds up weight loss. But at the same time, it has a mix of common animal and unusual plant proteins that address loss of muscle mass, low energy levels, and high blood pressure.

So your dog will get slimmer but at the same time gain muscles and become more energetic. Besides premium quality chicken, the Healthy Weight dog food formula contains many insoluble fibers and prebiotics that improve gut health. Although not the tastiest food on the block, IAMS Healthy Weight Formula has uniquely shaped kibble that dogs enjoy munching on.

Even if your pet is a fussy eater, you would not have much problem transitioning it to IAMS. You will notice your dog’s gut health improve as a result. When transitioning your pet from another diet to IAMS Healthy Weight, you want to take it slow and easy.

This kibble relieves constipation and makes clean-up less bothersome for you. However, it can cause some dogs to be gassy.

Pros
  • Single animal protein from chicken
  • Crunchy texture
  • Improves metabolism and gut health
  • Speeds up weight loss
Cons
  • Availability can be a problem
  • Can cause diarrhea in some dogs

The Verdict

Canine diabetes is a relatively common occurrence, and once your dog is diagnosed with it, you need to consult your vet to know what dietary changes your pet needs. Ideally, a diabetic dog should be fed two portion-controlled meals in a 12-hour interval. You should administer the insulin shot only after the meal.

Do not switch your dog’s diet without consulting your vet because even minor changes in the diet can impact the health and well-being of your pet.

When searching for the best dog food for diabetic dogs, prioritize options high in protein, low in carbs, and rich in fiber. Diabetic dogs can benefit from diets with ample insoluble fiber since it allows them to pass stools comfortably. However, individual dietary needs can differ based on factors like size, breed, and age, so be vigilant in selecting the right food for your furry friend.

This guide gives you a detailed review of the 10 best dog foods that are made especially for diabetic dogs or are diabetes-friendly. Use this as a reference when making your final choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Brand of Dog Food Is Best for Diabetic Dogs?

Some of the most reliable dog food brands that manufacture high-quality, diabetes-friendly diets include Farmina, Orijen, Acana, and JustFoodForDogs.

From kibble to canned food and freshly frozen recipes, these brands offer a variety of dog foods that can help diabetic dogs with weight loss, controlling postprandial blood glucose levels, maintaining muscle mass, etc. Consult your vet to know which brand will suit your pet best.

What Dog Food Is Best for Diabetic Dogs?

It’s hard to crown one dog food brand as the best for diabetic dogs. Since the disease does not affect all dogs the same way, a formula that works for one may not suit another. In addition, some foods are also manufactured, keeping a dog’s breed, age, and size in mind.

Considering all these factors, Farmina’s VetLife Diabetic Canine Formula comes closest to being the most suitable for all diabetic dogs.

What Is the Best Wet Dog Food for Diabetic Dogs?

Royal Canin Glycobalance Loaf in Sauce is one of the best wet dog food formulations for diabetic dogs. With a low glycemic index, an easily digestible source of protein, and a tasty formula, this loaf in sauce has nearly no starch or sugars.

It is also very easy to chew and helps control the blood sugar level of dogs suffering from chronic diabetes.

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Meet Sheryl, a dedicated pet mom with over 20 years of hands-on experience as a pet mom to various dog breeds, from German Shepherds to Shih Tzus. Join her on her pet-centric journey as she aims to empower pet owners with practical tips and guidance. With her experience and passion for pets, she strives to make a positive impact in the lives of pets and their devoted owners.