The 10 Best Dog Foods for Diabetic Dogs

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Diabetes impacts dogs in much the same way as it does humans.

All dog owners will be aware that furballs tend to suffer from many of the same problems as we do.

One of the most common conditions, and one that can also trigger serious consequences, is canine diabetes. This is a disease where the smooth functioning of the pancreas is impaired.

What does this mean for your dog, then?

Well, an unhealthy pancreas will force your dog’s blood sugar levels out of kilter. If the issue is not treated, diabetes can lead to a laundry list of negative outcomes, sometimes even death. If you suspect your pooch has diabetes, you’ll need to work closely with your vet to manage the problem, and part of that involves nutrition.

Today, we’ll be showcasing the best dog foods for diabetic dogs, so you can do your part to ensure Rover lives a long and healthy life, without being blighted by flagging energy levels and imbalanced blood sugar levels.

While there are some differences, diabetes impacts dogs in much the same way as it does humans.

After you or your dog eat food, the body breaks the food down into its core components (mainly fats, proteins, and glucose. With this process complete, the body releases a substance called insulin. Insulin helps the body to efficiently process glucose.

Sometimes, though, the pancreas will stop producing insulin. This is classified as type I diabetes. Type II diabetes, by contrast, occurs when the cells in the body respond improperly to insulin. Either type of diabetes is serious, and has the same end result: the body is rendered unable to properly process glucose.

By far the most common type of canine diabetes, type I diabetes is believed to result from an autoimmune response to the pancreas’s insulin-producing cells. Perhaps genetic in origin, the condition is not fully understood.

Type II diabetes is typically associated with obesity. With this form of diabetes, the body is flooded with insulin to the extent the cells start becoming sensitized to this vital hormone.

The unused glucose in the body resulting from diabetes is not put to good use. Instead, it can create a shower of adverse health problems.

Diabetes in dogs has no cure, but it’s eminently treatable, even if it’s a lifelong condition.

Part of this treatment may involve tweaking your dog’s diet further to your vet’s advice. You should:

  • Closely track his caloric intake
  • Consider a diet that’s low in carbs (20 to 25%) and high in fiber
  • Feed your dog foods with a low glycemic index to prevent spikes in blood sugar
  • Be prepared to experiment if you don’t immediately find a food that works for your diabetic dog
  • If all else fails, investigate a prescription diet

To save you time and money, we’ve reviewed a collection of the best dog foods for diabetic dogs, so explore this fine batch of foods and see if any look right for your hound. is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

  Product Details    
Merrick-Grain-Free-Dry-Dog-Food Best Overall: Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food • Dry formula with sweet potato
• Designed for adult dogs
• Best for all breeds with diabetes
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Orijen-Dry-Dog-Food Runner Up: Orijen Dry Dog Food • Dry formula with fresh regional ingredients
• Designed for all life stages
• Best for all breeds with diabetes
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Acana-Grain-Free-Dry-Dog-Food Acana Grain-Free Dry Dog Food • Biologically-appropriate dry formula with fresh regional ingredients
• Designed for all life stages
• Best for all breeds with diabetes
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Hills-Prescription-Diet-Dry-Dog-Food Hill’s Prescription Diet Dry Dog Food • Glucose management dry formula developed by nutritionists
• Designed for all life stages
• Best for all breeds with diabetes and weight problems
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Nulo-Adult-Dog-Food Nulo Adult Dog Food • Grain-free dry formula
• Designed for all life stages
• Best for all breeds with diabetes
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Ketona-Dry-Dog-Food Ketona Dry Dog Food • Dry grain-free formula
• Designed for adult dogs
• Best for all breeds with diabetes
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The 10 Best Dog Foods for Diabetic Dogs

1. Best Overall: Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (5 out of 5 stars)

  • Type: Dry formula with sweet potato
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal
  • Best for: For all breeds with diabetes
  • Price: $$

Merrick serves up a highly effective dry dog food that’s a smart choice for diabetic dogs. How does this formula stack up, then?

Loaded with 65% protein, you’ll provide Fido with ample energy, crucial since this is a low-carb formula ideal for dogs with diabetes. This protein comes from the deboned beef featuring as the primary ingredient.

The formula is grain-free and packed with just the right amount of good fats for your pup’s optimum health. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids encourage bring out the very best in your furball’s skin and coat.

There is no poultry and no poultry by-products in this formula and it’s also grain-free, so makes a smart choice for dogs with allergies or diabetes.

Hip and joint health is promoted thanks to the chondroitin and glucosamine in the formula.

Made from real whole foods and packed with fiber, this dry dog food is a nutritional powerhouse, and it won’t spike your mutt’s blood sugar levels either.

2. Runner Up: Orijen Dry Dog Food (4.8 out of 5 stars)

Orijen Dry Dog Food
  • Type: Dry formula with fresh regional ingredients
  • Design: All life stages
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, flounder
  • Best for: For all breeds with diabetes
  • Price: $$$

Orijen is a highly reputable brand in the dog food space known for producing biologically-appropriate foods ideal for a range of applications. In this case, the formula is derived from chicken, turkey, and wild-caught fish.

All of these ingredients – and they are the first three on the list – provide your pup with lashings of protein to promote lean muscle growth without piling on fat.

The food is made from real animal ingredients, so you’ll be giving your dog a taste of the wild. These include meat, cartilage, and bone pulped down into a lip-smacking dry dog food Rover will wolf down greedily.

One of the key selling points is that formula is made using raw ingredients with all their nutrients intact.

Ideal for all life stages and breeds, this food is well worth trying out if you need to switch up your dog’s food due to a diagnosis of canine diabetes.

If you’re transitioning your dog to this food, the manufacturer recommends going so gradually over a two-week period. Start by introducing 25% Orijen with 75% of his old food, then tweak the ratio over the following fourteen days.

3. Acana Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (4.6 out of 5 stars)

  • Type: Biologically-appropriate dry formula with fresh regional ingredients
  • Design: All life stages
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned beef, deboned pork, deboned lamb
  • Best for: For all breeds with diabetes
  • Price: $$

Next up in our quest for the best dog foods for diabetic dogs comes this grain-free formula from Acana. Why does this work well if your dog has diabetes, then?

Firstly, you’ll be giving his overall health some powerful benefits with the ingredients of this food all derived from high-quality animal products.

Packed with nutrients and with elevated levels of protein, the carb content of this formula is suitably low, perfect for dogs with diabetes.

The all-natural ingredients shouldn’t cause any unwelcome spikes in Rover’s blood sugar, giving you no cause for concern and your dog some of the tastiest food he’ll have experienced.

There’s no grain in this stuff, and there’s no corn or gluten either. The food is made in the United States and all ingredients are biologically-appropriate.

If your dog is suffering from diabetes, you owe it to him to help out as much as possible when it comes to nutrition. By investing in some of this dry diabetic dog food from Acana, you’ll be stepping up to the plate for Fido.

4. Hill’s Prescription Diet Dry Dog Food (4.6 out of 5 stars)

  • Type: Glucose management dry formula developed by nutritionists
  • Design: All life stages
  • First 3 ingredients: Whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, powdered cellulose
  • Best for: For all breeds with diabetes and weight problems
  • Price: $$$

Hill’s Prescription Diet food might not be cheap, but it’s one of the very best dog foods for diabetic dogs.

As a veterinary-backed diet, the food is formulated by vets and nutritionists to fully meet the needs of dogs with diabetes.

The kibble is expressly designed to help you manage your dog’s glucose levels, and it will also help smooth the digestive process.

You’ll get a helping hand managing Fido’s weight here, too. The formula is low in calories, and you’ll also get the perfect blended mix of fiber and insoluble fiber perfect for diabetic dogs. High fiber foods can easily inflame diabetes while also potentially prompting obesity in dogs.

The all-natural ingredients will minimize any chance of an insulin spike in your pooch, and he’ll also appreciate the flavor and aroma of this food.

Every purchase of Hill’s food sees some of the profits go towards animal shelters. The company has already helped 11 million dogs in need. The only question that remains is whether they will be helping your dog to thrive without being dragged down by diabetes.

5. Nulo Adult Dog Food (4.7 out of 5 stars)

  • Type: Grain-free dry formula
  • Design: All life stages
  • First 3 ingredients: Deboned salmon, grain wheat, turkey meal, fish meal
  • Best for: For all breeds with diabetes
  • Price: $$$

Nulo offers some dry dog food that’s not cheap but delivers in fine style if you need to give your diabetic dog some extra nutritional help. What do you get for your money, then?

The formula contains all-natural ingredients, so your pup’s weight should stay in check as well as his glucose levels.

Grains frequently trigger allergies in dogs, so you’ll get none of those in this food. There is no corn, wheat, soy, or gluten either, and no cheap fillers or bulking agents.

Instead, this food is laden with protein while low in fat, the optimum combo for diabetic dogs. Designed with the needs of adult breeds of all dogs in mind, you’ll be doing your part to keep your furball strong and healthy in the face of a diagnosis of diabetes.

Protein comes from real meat as the first ingredient, and your dog will also benefit from all the fatty acids he needs for immune system support, and a healthy coat and skin.

While this dog food for diabetic dogs is pretty pricey, we feel it represents outstanding overall value for dogs of all breeds with special needs.

6. Ketona Dry Dog Food (4.3 out of 5 stars)

  • Type: Dry grain-free formula
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken, pea protein, ground peas
  • Best for: For all breeds with diabetes
  • Price: $$

Ketona dog food is a low-carb, high-protein formula that keeps the needs of your furball uppermost if he’s suffering from diabetes.

This dry dog food contains a whopping 46% protein that comes primarily from chicken, the first ingredient here. This chicken is sustainably-raised and non-GMO, so you’ll be treating Fido to an impeccable source of protein, and in sufficiently elevated quantities.

For dogs with diabetes, the main draw is the low carb content of this grain-free food. With just 5% soluble carbohydrates, you’ll be getting up to 85% less carbs than delivered by most leading grain-free   foods.

The absence of grains also helps to minimize your dog’s chances of allergies.

Starch and sugar content is also commendably low, so you’ll prevent any imbalance in your pup’s glucose levels.

This formula was created by famous dog author Daniel Schulof and makes arguably the best dog food for your diabetic dog.

7. Wellness CORE Natural Wet-Grain Dog Food (4.4 out of 5 stars)

  • Type: Wet dog food with turkey and chicken liver
  • Design: Dogs and puppies
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken broth
  • Best for: For all breeds of dog
  • Price: $$

While dry dog food is universally recognized as the most nutritious option for your furball, some dogs just won’t eat that kibble. If your dog is a lover of wet food, there’s no need to stop supplying it because he has diabetes.

This all-natural food is perfect for dogs of all breeds and life stages, making it a smart choice if you have multiple dogs at home and want to avoid the stress of feeding them all different foods.

The premium proteins are derived from real meats. Treat your dog to an extravaganza of turkey, turkey liver, and chicken liver so he has all the energy he needs without an excess of carbs, something that can be damaging for diabetic dogs.

This version is grain-free, but the formula also comes in grain form. Either way, you’ll get no cheap and low-quality fillers spoiling the mix.

You can use this as standalone food, or you can mix it in with dry dog food to suit your dog. When switching your pup’s food, always do so gradually over the course of a week or two. Slowly increases the ratio of new food to old until he’s flying with his new diet after a fortnight or so with his old food fully decommissioned.

The food has been created by vets and nutritionists, so it ticks all required boxes when you’re looking for the best dog food for diabetic dogs. You can rely on Wellness to deliver as promised.

8. Nutrisca Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (4.4 out of 5 stars)

  • Type: Dry formula with chicken and chick pea
  • Design: Adult dogs
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, peas
  • Best for: For all breeds with diabetes
  • Price: $$

As we edge to the end of our curated dog foods for diabetic foods, we have an affordable and highly effective formula from Nutrisca.

Grains can often irritate dogs, with many pet owners swearing by grain-free formulas. This chicken and chickpea recipe follows that winning idea and gives Rover the best chance of enjoying his food without suffering any digestive issues. Chelated minerals in this stuff are included to further promote good digestion and absorption of nutrients.

There are no potatoes in this low-carb food, and there are no potatoes or tapioca starch either. Every element of this formula has been thoughtfully created from the ground up to fully target the needs of diabetic dogs.

The food comes in three sizes (4, 15, and 28 pounds), so if you’re just trying your diabetic dog on this food for the first time, try your luck with one of the smaller bags first. If he laps it up, take advantage of the better value with the bumper bags next time.

The high-protein formula is made using cage-free chicken, and it’s absolutely stuffed with antioxidants. These protect dogs in the same way as humans, and you’ll bolster Fido’s immune system with this food.

For a tasty and nutritious dog food that supports diabetic dogs, Nutrisca’s food is well worth popping on your shortlist.

9. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dry Dog Food (4.6 out of 5 stars)

  • Type: Glycobalance formula
  • Design: All life stages
  • First 3 ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, barley, corn gluten meal
  • Best for: For all breeds with diabetes and weight problems
  • Price: $$$

Royal Canin is a highly reputable brand in the dog food space, so how does this dry dog food from their Veterinary Diet line stand up?

Firstly, this is a dedicated Glycobalance formula designed to support dogs with diabetes, so you’ll be getting a specialized solution from a company you can trust.

Available in a 7.7-pound or 17.6-pound bag, the food is loaded with protein while continuing a reduced level of starch. This will help your pooch to pack on some lean muscle without straying into obesity. Fat content is accordingly moderate.

The formula is riddled with antioxidants ideal for strengthening your dog’s immune system.

You will need a pet prescription for this food, but this can be uploaded and verified at the time of purchase, so don’t let this put you off.

While making general modifications to your diabetic dog’s diet can pay dividends, buying a dedicated diabetic food gives you an even stronger chance of successfully managing your pup’s condition.

When transitioning your pet to any new food, mix a small amount of new food with old food. Over a week or two, slowly introduce more and more of his new food until he’s fully transitioned.

10. All-Natural Diabetic Treats (4.7 out of 5 stars)

  • Type: Diabetic cookies
  • Design: All life stages
  • First 3 ingredients: Flour, oats, apples
  • Best for: For all breeds with diabetes
  • Price: $$

Last but certainly not least, we have something slightly different. Sparingly giving your diabetic dog some appropriate treats is a great idea, especially if he has been forced into blander food as a result of his health condition.

Made in the USA from certified-organic and all-natural ingredients, you won’t need to feel guilty or worries about pepping up your dog’s diet with these delectable treats. Instead, you’ll be giving him everything he needs and nothing he doesn’t as a diabetic dog.

The treats come in a 10oz bag. There are no additives, no chemicals, and no dyes. You won’t find any animal by-products in the treats either, so there is nothing in these things to trigger a problem for your diabetic dog.

All of the ingredients in these treats are selected with insulin management in mind, so buy with total confidence and the knowledge you’re doing your best for your furball.

This company has been helping dogs with diabetes live the best possible lives for over twenty years, so why not buy into all that expertise and give your dog an all-natural and diabetic-appropriate treat.


1) What are some of the most common signs of canine diabetes?

If you notice your dog is thirstier than usual, or perhaps urinating more frequently, both issues could point to diabetes. Any appetite changes and unexpected weight loss should also be checked out by the vet to rule out diabetes as an underlying cause. Unexplained fatigue or depression can also be triggered by diabetes. The same applies to chronic skin infections, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections. In all cases, schedule an appointment with your dog’s vet.

2) How can I best treat my dog if he has diabetes?

Diabetic dogs will need their blood tested regularly, and they’ll also need maintenance injections of insulin to remain healthy. The insulin injections ensure your dog is able to process the glucose in his body. You may also need to make some simple dietary adjustments for the benefit of your furball. Liaise closely with your vet throughout.

3) Is it worth trying a homemade diet for my diabetic dog?

Homemade diets polarize opinion among dog owners. The main criticism of homemade foods is that it’s very awkward to make food at home that will target all your dog’s nutritional needs. This may not present an immediate problem, but could lead to long-term health problems and nutrient deficiencies over time. Given the unique dietary needs of diabetic dogs, we would strongly recommend leaving it to the experts.

4) Is portion control important with diabetic dogs?

Portion control is important with all dogs. Obesity in dogs can lead to a variety of knock-on health conditions, so always feed Fido the right amount of food for his life stage and breed. Type II diabetes is often caused by diabetes, so cut right back on portion size in this case. Find out from your vet precisely what your dog needs by way of nutrients so you can take the guesswork out of feeding time, and you can accurately weigh out his food.


Well, maybe you pitched up at BarkVA today fretting about what food to choose for your diabetic dog. As always, we highlight the benefits of the products we review without ever disguising the flaws. If there’s something wrong with any product, you should know this before whipping out your credit card.

Bear the simple guidance in mind concerning what type of dog foods make the best choice for diabetics, and don’t object to digging a little deeper. If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to brace yourself for some ongoing expenses, including high-quality and biologically-appropriate food.

Take a second to bookmark our blog and pop back soon. We have a super-busy content calendar for the coming months, so see you very soon!

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