Dogs tend to “meal feed” rather than nibble all day long as cats often do. Of course, some dogs are nibblers, but most will gobble up what their people give them as a meal right away. Because dogs tend to “meal feed”, we often choose insulins for dogs that are shorter acting than the insulins we might choose for nibblers.

Vetsulin was the only FDA approved insulin on the market for dogs in America, but it has gone off the market and we are unsure if it will return. Veterinarians are back to using non-FDA approved insulin products for dog diabetes. I often choose Humulin NPH, but there are several combination products available that are gaining in popularity. Your veterinarian will choose the insulin he or she feels is most appropriate for your dog.

Food choices for dog diabetes is a much different story than cat diabetes. Dogs usually do well on low-fat/high-fiber diets. We want the diet to be low in fat because obesity is a predisposing factor for diabetes, and many of our diabetic dogs are indeed tubby. We want high-fiber foods because we want a sustained source of energy. Dogs are omnivores, so the low-carb/high-protein diets (such as those we feed our diabetic cats) are not a natural choice. There are numerous commercial diabetic dog foods available. Your veterinarian can help you choose the diet that is best for your dog. Regardless of the food chosen, I feel it is important to measure how much you feed your diabetic dog at each feeding. Consistency is key to fine-tuning your dog’s diabetes control. Keep in mind that exercise, maintaining a healthy normal body weight and proper diet will ultimately improve glycemic control.

I hope you find my guidance helpful.


NOTE: Consult your veterinarian to confirm that my recommendations are applicable for the health needs of your pet.

Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr. Joi Sutton is a 1993 graduate from Oregon State University. She has practiced both in emergency medicine and general practice. Dr. Sutton has done extensive international volunteer work and is the President and Founder of Veterinary Ventures, a nonprofit organization that takes teams of veterinarians to undeveloped countries for humane medical care. She also runs a small animal practice in South Florida.
Dr . Joi Sutton