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What you feed your diabetic dog will play a huge role in their health and management of their illness and associated symptoms. You want to do everything you can to keep your dog healthy, stabilize their blood sugars, and manage the disease. A huge part of that comes down to diet, including special treats.

But do you really need to purchase specialized dog treats for a dog with diabetes? What should you be looking for?

In a short answer—yes. Diabetic dog treats are specifically formulated with your dog’s blood sugar levels in mind. And, as such, are chock full of the ingredients that your dog needs to feel their best.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Canine Dog Treats

With only 4.5 calories per treat, these low-calorie treats are diabetic-friendly and, as an added bonus, help support digestive health.

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“These treats are customized to the low carb, higher fiber/protein diet that diabetic dogs need to follow,” says Dr. Jim D. Carlson, a holistic veterinarian, and owner of Riverside Animal Clinic & Holistic Center.

How do diabetic dog treats differ from regular treats?

The main difference between these and other types of dog treats lies in how they’re made and what they contain—and how those formulations and ingredients interact with your dog’s system.

“[They] have lower carb loads and higher fiber or protein. The fiber takes time to break down in the system so the dog doesn’t get a big rush of carbohydrates,” says Carlson. “Diabetic treats maintain blood sugar levels, keeping them stable with filling fiber and protein.”

Can non-diabetic dogs eat these treats?

Obviously, diabetic dog treats are created with diabetic dogs in mind—but treats that are high in fiber and protein (and low in sugar and calories) can be a healthy choice for any dog.

“While diabetic dog treats are meant for dogs with the disease, it’s perfectly fine to give them to dogs who aren’t diabetic,” says Carlson.

So if you’ve got a two-dog household and only one pet needs low-glycemic treats, no worries. They can share.

Ingredients to look for

Like any other kind of dog treat, not all brands and types are created equal. To start, take a close look at the ingredients on the labels. You want:

  • Protein first
  • Low or no carb or starch ingredients
  • No added sugars

“Check the labels for starches and grains and the placement of them on the label. Are they first or second? Then that treat might not be the best choice,” says Carlson. “If you see plenty of fiber and filling protein with lower starch, sugar or grains, then it’s the right mix of ingredients for a diabetic dog.”

Also, look for treats that are free of additives, chemicals, and other unnatural ingredients. And, if it says “low glycemic” or “low glycemic index” on the label, that’s a good sign.

The Best Diabetic Dog Treats for 2021

Managing fat and total caloric intake is important for diabetic dogs.

The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Canine Dog Treats are low in both calories and fat, making them an ideal choice for diabetic dogs. (Also, if your dog has tummy issues, these treats are formulated to support digestive health!)

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Canine Dog Treats

With only 4.5 calories per treat, these low-calorie treats are diabetic-friendly and, as an added bonus, help support digestive health.

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Packed with all-natural and organic ingredients that can help manage blood sugar (including alfalfa), these low-fat treats are designed for diabetic canines.

Also available in tiny for the little guys.

Old Dog Cookie Co. All Natural Diabetic Dog Treats

These all-natural treats are made with herbal-based ingredients that are known to help regulate blood sugar.

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Ella’s Dog Treats are high protein, made from ingredients that are all organic, all-natural, and low on the glycemic index.

You can also find them in variety packs and in flavors like chicken and pumpkin.

Ella’s Dog Treats

Made with organic ingredients that are low on the glycemic index, these diabetic dog treats come in several different flavors and combo packs.

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PureBites are made from one ingredient, and one ingredient only—chicken. These freeze-dried treats are made from chicken breast 100% sourced and made in the USA, and their high protein and low-calorie content (only 3 calories per treat!) make them an attractive option for pet owners with diabetic dogs.

Purebites Chicken Breast For Dogs

These single-ingredient freeze-dried treats are made from chicken breast, making them high in protein and low in calories.

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Another single ingredient dog treat, the Canine Cravers Single Ingredient Dog Treats are air-dried and made from high-quality, high-protein single ingredients (including chicken, beef, cod, and pork), making for a nutritious, healthy snack for diabetic dogs.

Canine Cravers Single Ingredient Dog Treats

Available in your pet’s choice of chicken, beef, cod, or pork, these single-ingredient treats make great high-protein snacks for diabetic dogs.

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Made from duck and a variety of highly nutritious (and low glycemic index!) superfoods like blueberries, chia seeds, and dry kelp, these oven-dried treats can be a healthy addition to your diabetic dog’s diet.

Darford Zero/G Roasted Duck Dog Treats

Bursting with flavor, these treats are made from roasted duck and other low-glycemic ingredients.

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Next steps

Ongoing veterinary care is key for your diabetic dog. Your vet has the best understanding of your dog’s history and condition and can make diet recommendations to support your pet’s health.

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