"My dog has diabetes. Is a vegan diet safe for him?" -- Helena N.
In humans, a plant-based diet can dramatically decrease insulin needs. This is due in part to weight loss (when needed) and increased fiber which lowers blood glucose. Additionally, a vegan diet can increase insulin sensitivity.
Diabetic dogs require a fairly consistent diet to avoid changing insulin needs. I believe that a vegan diet can be healthy for most diabetic dogs. It is however very important to monitor blood glucose while changing diets (any diet change) and change insulin dosage accordingly. Ideally, caregivers can use a home monitor like Alpha Trak and work with their vet to adjust insulin if needed. Signs of low blood sugar include weakness and disorientation. This should be treated immediately with oral sugar like Karo syrup and calling the vet ASAP.
With proper monitoring, a plant-based diet is not only safe for most diabetic dogs, it can potentially decrease their insulin needs.
I recommend making any diet change for diabetic dogs in coordination with your vet.
All the best,
Lorelei Wakefield, VMD
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