What is Diabetes?
The first step toward controlling diabetes is to understand it. Diabetes occurs when the pet either has an insulin deficiency or when its body becomes resistant to insulin. As a result, the sugars in the blood are no longer able to enter the cells and provide energy. The sugar then stays in the blood stream, causing the glucose levels to get too high in the urine and in the blood.
Some animals are more prone to diabetes than others. There is no specific cat breed that is more likely to develop diabetes than others. Dog breeds such as Dachshunds, Keeshonds, Carin Terriers, Miniature Pinchers, Miniature Poodles, and Pulis, however, are more likely than other breeds to have diabetes. Similarly, female dogs are more prone to the disease than male dogs.
The most important part of helping your pet cope with diabetes is to put it on a feeding schedule. Be sure to feed it the same amount of food at the same time every day. Talk with your veterinarian about how often you should feed your pet and how large the portions should be.
Deciding What to Feed
When it comes to planning meals for your pet, keep in mind that certain foods take longer to digest than other foods. Carrots and sweet potatoes, for example, take longer than those filled with simply carbohydrates to digest. Therefore, foods containing rice flour and wheat flour are often a better choice for diabetic pets. Packaged foods with high concentrations of sugar should also be avoided.
Diets similar to the popular Atkins Diet, which is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, can be good for a diabetic animal. Some diabetic pets also benefit from eating foods high in dietary fibers, which help in preventing blood glucose levels from becoming too high and help your pet’s body create short-chain fatty acids. The liver can then use these acids to control the blood sugar levels in your pet’s body.
Remember to also provide your pet with any necessary medication. Many animals with diabetes need to have regular insulin injections, which are prescribed by the veterinarian. Research has also shown that nutritional supplements, particularly Omega 3 fatty acids may be beneficial in keeping diabetes under control.