Whole Grains for Dogs with Diabetes

by Brian McCracken
    Dog's are more dietarily flexible than cats, who are carnivores through and through.

    Dog's are more dietarily flexible than cats, who are carnivores through and through.

    Janie Airey/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Professionals still debate whether or not grains should be included in a dog's diet. The key is balance. While no grains are not good, the diet should not be primarily grain-based. It is especially important that diabetic dogs have a diet that is protein-based, with a high percentage of fat and some whole grains.

    Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the pancreas creates too much or too little insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood. The glucose level gets too high and ends up being eliminated from the body and isn't properly utilized for energy. Diet is a major cause that triggers diabetes in dogs. Like humans, dogs can develop health issues when they don't get enough of the proper nutrients and variety in their diet, often due to the deficiency of poor quality commercial dog food.

    There is a debate in regards to whether or not grains should be included in a dog's diet. The answer is not either-or, but rather depends on the quality and the quantity of grains present in question. Grain-based dog foods, where grain is the first item listed as an ingredient, are deficient of the critical components of meat protein and living enzymes needed and are difficult for dogs to digest. Grains aren't necessarily a deal-breaker, though. If used, they should be a part of a diet that primarily consists of protein and fat.

    Dogs that are in a diabetic state should have a meat-based food with higher protein and fat levels and lower carbohydrate content. Whole grains such as barley, oats and amaranth are OK, too, though, because they have a higher fiber level than carbs such as potatoes, which are present in some foods. Ideally give your pet dog a multiple protein diet with 25 to 30 percent protein content and a 15 to 20 percent fat.

    As with diabetic dogs, healthy dogs should live on a diet that is protein-based with quality sources of meat. However, healthy dogs have a higher capacity for whole grains, which can provide slow-burning glucose that helps energy levels and brain function. Puppies in the developmental stages from weaning to 6 months of age especially benefit from the inclusion of whole grains in their diet. Dogs do well with a protein-based diet that contains 6 to 10 percent whole grain.

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    About the Author

    Brian McCracken lives in Portland, Ore., where he writes on pets and animal wildlife as well as a wide array of other topics, ranging from real estate to personal development.

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