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What not to feed dogs with epilepsy or diabetes

Approx. 6 minutes read

Your dog’s health is shaped by the food they eat, so it’s critical to ensure you’re feeding them the correct canine dietary requirements from the very beginning. But what if they’ve got an existing medical condition like epilepsy and seizures, or if they have diabetes? In this article, we focus on what not to feed dogs – especially dogs with seizures and diabetic dogs.

The foods dogs should not eat

There are a number of human foods that are dangerous for our furry friends to eat. If you’ve ever wondered what food is poisonous to dogs, here are just some of the main culprits:

To read more on the specifics of what makes these foods toxic to dogs, read our article on Dangerous foods you should not feed your pet.

What not to feed a dog that has seizures

While the list of foods that are toxic to dogs applies to all dogs, there are still more foods that are dangerous to dogs that have pre-existing conditions. The following foods can trigger seizures in dogs:

The reason these foods cause seizures is because they are toxic to the dog’s liver; they cause an electrolyte imbalance (such as with salty food); they can disrupt brain activity; or they trigger or depress the central nervous system. This is what can happen to healthy dogs, so for a dog who already has epilepsy, these foodstuffs are especially dangerous.

Other conditions and nutrients that may be dangerous to epileptic dogs include:

  • Homemade diets – Pet pawrents who implement a canine diet of homemade food often do so without veterinary guidance. Unfurtunately, this can lead to deficiencies in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, which can cause seizures (among other health issues).
  • Hypomagnesaemia and/or hypocalcaemia – These are levels of magnesium or calcium in the bloodstream that are too low, resulting in abnormal brain activity that triggers seizures, especially in pregnant dogs.
  • Hypoglycaemia – This is low blood sugar, which can cause a dog to have a seizure.
  • Glutamate – This is a nutrient found in many commercial dog foods. It’s an amino acid, which is also naturally present in food such as:
    • grains (oats, barley, wheat)
    • corn
    • rice
    • dairy
    • beans & legumes
    • soy
    • meat from grain-fed animals
    • peanuts
    • high-fat meats like turkey & oily fish

Try to avoid ingredients with high levels of glutamate if your furry friend is prone to seizures (see more below).

Ingredients in dog food to avoid if your dog has seizures

Always check your dog’s dog food ingredients list on the back of the packaging and make sure that none of the following culprits are in your pup’s daily meals:

There are a variety of premium pet food brands that offer limited ingredient dog foods for dogs suffering from allergies – these are also appropriate for dogs with epilepsy, as their ingredients are less triggering. Be sure to confirm the best dog food for your epileptic dog with your veterinarian, as each dog’s needs are different.

What food is good for dogs with seizures?

It’s helpful to know which foods to avoid if your dog has seizures, but it’s more valuable to know what to feed your epileptic or seizure dog. We’ll begin with the proteins, since there are high levels of glutamate in meats such as beef, chicken, turkey and oily fish. If those proteins aren’t appropriate, then what meat is good for dogs with seizures?

  • Lamb has the lowest glutamate content of all meats used in pet food and is a good option for epileptic dogs or dogs who have seizures.
  • Grass-fed beef, but only if beef is safe for your dog and has not triggered seizures or allergies.
  • Eggs are also recommended for dogs with seizures, but again – only if your dog is not sensitive to eggs as an allergenic.

There is growing evidence that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet is beneficial for dogs that suffer from seizures, and can reduce the frequency of their seizures. The ingredients in these diets need to be of high quality to have the most positive benefit on your dog’s body and brain. On a low-carb, high-fat diet, your dog will get most of their energy from fats (a process called ketosis) and will rely mostly on medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are found in coconut oil.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) are essential in brain protection. They can be found in oily fish, fish oil, algae, and grass-fed beef.
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamins C and E – natural antioxidants that protect neurons and brain tissue
  • Animal fats
  • CBD oil – It’s been shown to decrease how often a dog has seizures, to reduce the severity of seizures as well as protect the dog’s brain during and after seizures. Always look for the highest quality organic CBD oil and, with your vet’s guidance, start your dog slowly on a CBD regimen.

What not to feed a diabetic dog

Diabetes in dogs is caused by the same reduced production of insulin that causes diabetes in humans. If your dog has diabetes, it means their blood sugar needs to be carefully controlled. Your vet will have provided insulin injections for this, but there is a lot you can do to also keep your dog’s blood sugar steady with their diet. A spike in blood sugar or even sustained high blood sugar can damage your dog’s internal organs and may even be fatal, so diet and exercise are their best bet for a healthy life. There’s no better reason to play with your pup than to give them a long and happy life!

The first thing to do is to avoid foods that can raise your dog’s blood sugar quickly.

What foods raise blood sugar in dogs?

Many commercial dog foods have carbohydrates listed as their main ingredients, or mix their proteins with starches to bulk up the food. Diabetic dogs should not eat dog food containing white rice, sweet potato, wheat flour or wheat gluten, or corn (corn gluten). These types of foods as well as baked dog treats and canned dog food contain too much sugar and quick carbohydrates – which may taste great to dogs, but they convert quickly to energy and send their blood sugar sky high.

What should diabetic dogs eat?

Similar to diabetic human diets, any food that converts to blood glucose too quickly (causing a rapid rise in blood sugar) is not good for diabetic dogs. What they need is slow-release energy in the form of high-quality proteins, low fat, and a low dose of complex carbohydrates, as well as a good helping of fibre. The fibre slows down the process of emptying the dog’s stomach, reducing the quick digestion of carbohydrates and stabilising their blood sugar levels.

A diet that keeps your dog’s blood sugar stable, paired with regular exercise will help your dog to stay healthy. It’s very impawtant than your diabetic dog not gain weight – a reduction in weight may actually reverse insulin resistance, so keeping your pup lean and well exercised is crucial to their overall health.

How many times a day do you feed a diabetic dog?

Diabetic dogs need regular small meals to assist with blood sugar stability. It’s crucial to work with your vet to work out the number of calories your dog needs for daily functioning, and how many of those calories should comprise proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The total amount of food should be evenly divided into three or four small meals fed at regular intervals throughout the day.

There are some basic guidelines when it comes to dog nutrition, but every dog is built different. You will need to take your dog’s age, genetics and pre-existing conditions into account when choosing the best dog food for your furry friend – especially if they have special dietary needs. Be sure to stay in close consultation with your dog’s veterinarian, but it’s up to you and your tight bond with your dog, to ensure they are thriving on the daily diet and exercise routine you are able to give them.

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