Diabetes in dogsDiabetes mellitus develops due to a disturbance in the sugar balance resp. in the carbohydrate metabolism in the body of the dog. The dog can then not properly utilize the sugar contained in the food. In this guide, you will receive background information on the subject of diabetes in dogs and tips on what you should pay attention to when feeding.
The dog has diabetes – what happens in his body?
First, let's take a look at the rough processes in the carbohydrate metabolism of a healthy dog compared to those in a diabetic dog.
The normal metabolism of a dog
As the food passes through the digestive tract, it is broken down into tiny particles for absorption by the body. Multiple sugars are broken down into simple sugars here. Get into the cells of the mucous membranes in this way. From here they go to the liver. Are converted into glucose. The liver can release glucose into the blood, then the blood glucose level rises. This is registered by the pancreas, it produces insulin, which is then released. Glucose travels through the bloodstream to the cells of various ties and organs, which use it as an energy source.
Insulin is needed for the cells to know that they should take up glucose. The faster and stronger the increase in blood glucose, the more insulin must be secreted. The insulin in turn then activates the satiety center. Because the cells absorb the glucose from the blood with the help of insulin, the blood glucose level drops and normalizes, which also reduces insulin secretion. If the blood glucose level drops too low, the pancreas registers this and activates the hunger center.
What happens to a dog with diabetes mellitus
In diabetes, there is a disturbance in the carbohydrate metabolism of the dog. The blood sugar level rises after eating, but because no or too little insulin is secreted by the pancreas (diabetes type 1 (the most common form of diabetes in dogs)), or. the cells do not respond effectively to it (type 2 diabetes (does not seem to occur at all in dogs and rather affects cats)), the glucose is not taken up and utilized by the cells. The consequences:
– The blood sugar level rises and stays high because the cells cannot process the sugar from the blood. – Sugar accumulates in the blood and urine: Sugar in the urine draws water, so there is an increased urge to urinate and increased thirst at the same time, which puts additional stress on the kidneys. – Since the satiety center is not activated, the dog is always hungry. – Because the cells cannot get the energy from the food, they suffer from an energy deficiency – the dog continues to lose weight.
How does diabetes occur in a dog?
The exact causes of diabetes in dogs are still unclear, but it is certain that there is a problem that affects the metabolism, pancreas and kidneys, and if left untreated can cause further metabolic and organ damage. However, possible causes include chronic pancreatitis, genetic predispositions, or the administration of certain medications that can affect carbohydrate metabolism (z. B. cortisone). Also an excess of sugary or starchy food. starchy food can cause this metabolic derailment. As in humans, there are different types of diabetes in dogs. insulin-dependent diabetes (type 1 diabetes) is the most common in dogs. In this case, the pancreas produces too little insulin or none at all. In the insulin-independent type (type 2 diabetes), enough insulin can be produced, but the cells do not respond well to it. They appear to be insulin resistant, because a normal amount of insulin is not enough to control blood glucose levels. Type 1 diabetes is most common in dogs, while type 2 diabetes is more common in cats and is thought to be related to obesity.
Diabetes symptoms: How do I know my dog has diabetes??
Initially, diabetes in dogs is manifested by increased drinking and urination. He seems to be hungry all the time, but is constantly losing weight, despite the fact that he is actually eating enough. As the disease progresses, you can see the dog's metabolism deteriorate because its cells are not getting the energy they need to do their job. The dog's coat becomes dull and dry, wounds heal worse and worse, eyes may become cloudy and vomiting may occur – the dog becomes lethargic and lacks strength.
It is imperative to consult a veterinarian, Because in untreated diabetes, other metabolic processes, such as fat and protein metabolism, may also stop working normally. Other organs can be damaged. The dog's life is in danger.
Diabetes in dogs: What influence does the food have??
Diabetes mellitus in dogs and the right dog nutrition are two topics that cannot be separated from each other. The food has a direct influence on the course of the disease. As already described, one should not only make sure that the feed is suitable for diabetes, because it should also be easy on the pancreas and relieve the kidneys.
The pancreas is not only responsible for insulin production and secretion, but also produces enzymes that are responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. If the pancreas is overloaded, it cannot perform this task adequately and additional problems arise. Too much of these basic nutrients, or "just" one of them, can put a great strain on the organism. The kidneys in turn are dependent on fluid. Relies on a balanced water balance in general. Conventional extruded foods can be a particularly big problem here, since they bind liquid in the body due to their swelling behavior. In addition, care should be taken to ensure an appropriate protein content (this should not be too high) and the amount of phosphorus should also be kept low.
Sugar in dogs – it depends on the food
If the dog has diabetes, it is important to pay attention to the sugar content of the food. If, for example, it contains a high proportion of carbohydrates, it is less suitable for the dog with diabetes. Since any dry food generally has more carbohydrates than a wet food, one should generally renounce the feeding of dry food, completely independent of the severity of the disease.
The food should therefore be as few carbohydrates Contain a particularly High fiber content own. This can help carbohydrates to be digested and absorbed more slowly, which can result in blood sugar levels not rising as quickly. Whole grain products are therefore generally more suitable than potatoes, pasta or white rice, as the crude fiber content is much higher here.
To compensate for the lower carbohydrate content, more protein and fat are needed so that the dog does not have to rely on its own reserves, i.e. fat depots and muscles, for its energy supply. If you include the pancreas and kidneys, it is clear that you should not increase the protein and fat content indefinitely, because the two organs could suffer from it.
Diabetes in dogs: How you can support with species-appropriate food
This is where the quality of processed ingredients comes into play. There are feeds with valuable ingredients that provide high quality proteins, fats and carbohydrates, consisting of high quality meat, select fat sources and gluten-free, digested yet high fiber carbohydrate sources (if grains should be included, it is best to use the whole grain).
On the other hand, food with inferior ingredients, such as vegetable or vegetable-based food, is not recommended. animal by-products, e.g. from worn out shells, roots, beet fiber or other leftovers from the food industry for humans or. Claws, hooves, feathers and the like from the slaughtered animal. At no great cost, these ingredients provide good-sounding analytical ingredients in the feed, but no added nutritional value.
The food for the dog with diabetes should necessarily consist of high-quality and purely natural ingredients and completely avoid synthetic additives, so as not to further promote irritation of the metabolism. A conventional feed with synthetic ingredients such as preservatives and flavorings can stress the metabolism instead of supporting it. Any type of synthetic can overacidify the ties, causing irritation to the pancreas and metabolism in general.
Often recommended diet foods do not offer a good solution for dogs with diabetes. They consist mostly only of grain and grain residues or contain potatoes, which should be a taboo already because of the contained starch, since they are not diabetes-fair and can load the pancreas very much with continuous feeding.
In addition to the high proportion of carbohydrates, which are often not digested to a high standard, and the synthetic additives, many of the often-recommended diet foods also contain wheat gluten or wheat oil. Gluten and molasses, beet pulp and other by-products from sugar production, which are particularly problematic in diabetes. Many of the common feeds are extruded feeds, which, due to their swelling behavior, mean an additional load for the stomach and, due to the often sprayed-on fat layer, an additional load for the pancreas, since this is also responsible for fat digestion.