The most common treatment for diabetic pups is insulin therapy. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body’s cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. High blood glucose levels occur when the cells develop insulin resistance. Pet parents administer daily injections at home to elevate the dog’s insulin levels and increase the rate at which glucose enters cells.
Conventional medicine isn’t the only option for lowering your dog’s blood sugar, though. While such treatments are effective, it’s equally important to support the body’s natural processes with proper nutrition and exercise. Healthy lifestyle choices can help regulate blood glucose levels long after diabetic dogs finish insulin therapy.
Ask a vet if the following at-home diabetes treatment options are right for your pup.
- Monitor blood glucose levels: Before you attempt to lower your dog’s blood sugar, keep a close eye on their glucose levels to determine whether additional intervention is necessary. Dogs with diabetes tend to have high blood sugar, but they’re susceptible to dangerously low glucose, as well. Your vet may recommend a daily blood glucose test that you need to perform at the same time every day. Log the test results and contact your vet if you notice abnormally high or low glucose levels. From there, the two of you can discuss further at-home treatments.
- Build exercise into their routine: Weight management has the power to reverse insulin resistance and lower your dog’s blood sugar. Many diabetic pups are overweight or obese, so shedding the extra weight is an essential part of treating the disease. Speak with your vet about ways to gradually and safely help your dog lose weight. Weight management always involves some form of exercise, which can vary depending on the dog and their energy level. Whatever activity you choose, make sure you build it into your dog’s daily routine.
- Feed them protein, fiber and complex carbs: Protein should be the main energy source for all dogs, especially those with high blood sugar. Opt for low-fat, lean animal proteins like cooked chicken, turkey and trimmed beef. Fiber and complex carbohydrates work in tandem to help the digestive system pace itself and regulate the flow of glucose into the bloodstream. A healthy source of fiber is steamed vegetables, which pair nicely with your protein of choice. Toss in some whole grains to fulfill their need for complex carbs.
- Serve small, frequent meals: Lowering blood sugar isn’t merely about what type of food your dog eats. What’s also important is when and how much you feed them. Two large meals per day can easily spike blood glucose levels in diabetic pups. Large portion sizes give the dog’s body too many nutrients to process all at once. Divide their daily caloric intake into smaller meals that are evenly spaced throughout the day. This will help keep your pup’s blood sugar stable and under control.
- Supplement with essential fatty acids: The omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish can speed up the rate at which body cells absorb glucose. Over time, daily blood glucose tests may reveal a decrease in overall glucose levels. Diabetic pups require a low-fat diet, but limited amounts of essential fatty acids can go so far as to put your dog’s diabetes into remission. Talk to your vet before administering a daily fatty acid supplement, as this nutrient can interact with insulin injections.
- Add antioxidants to their diet: It’s common for many dogs with diabetes to suffer from a weakened immune system. In addition to lowering blood sugar, pet parents should focus on other aspects of diabetes like bolstering their dogs’ immunity. A daily multivitamin gives dogs a variety of antioxidants that are essential for counteracting oxidative stress on the body. Antioxidants help body cells perform their best, which can indirectly improve their ability to metabolize blood glucose.
High blood sugar can become serious but is easily manageable. Always consult a vet before incorporating these natural remedies into your dog’s routine to ensure you’re not doing more harm than good. Follow their instructions for administering conventional medicine first, then ask about how holistic methods fit into your dog’s treatment plan. The combined efforts of you and a vet will bring your pup’s blood sugar back to normal!