Best diabetic dog treats 2023 for healthier rewards

Best diabetic dog treats
(Image credit: Getty)

By offering the best diabetic dog treats to a pooch living with diabetes, you can ensure that your canine companion doesn't have to miss out just because of a medical condition. At the same time, you don't need to feel restricted either. Just like the best dog treats, these diabetic-friendly varieties can help you when training your dog to reinforce good behavior.

Just as in humans, diabetes in dogs is caused by an inability to produce insulin. Blood sugar levels can, therefore, become dangerously high and the condition needs to be managed. Diabetic dog treats – along with the best diabetic dog food – are low in sugar and they contain complex carbohydrates that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. They are made to a recipe that contains food with a low glycemic index such as grains, vegetables, meat, and fish.

Isuru Gajanayake, head of clinical nutrition at Linnaeus-owned Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in Solihull, England said, “I tend to manage diabetic dogs with meal feeding – that is, two meals of the same food given in equal amounts, at the time of the two insulin injections each day. However, treats can be incorporated into a stable diabetic dog's feeding regimen.”

Although you could try making a delicious diabetic dog treat yourself, those available to buy are more convenient. The important thing is to carefully check the packet. You're generally on safe ground if the treat explicitly states it's diabetic-friendly but make sure it is low in carbs and doesn't have a high glycemic index rating. Avoid corn syrup, for example, as well as additives and preservatives, and look for treats that are higher in protein and fiber.

“The main things to avoid in a diabetic dog are diets that are not nutritionally balanced, diets that are high in carbohydrates and that contain simple carbohydrates,” adds Dr Gajanayake. So let's take a look at some of the best diabetic dog treats available to buy today.

Dr Isuru Gajanayake
Dr. Isuru Gajanayake

Isuru graduated from the University of Sydney in 1998. After spending two years in mixed practice in rural Australia, he moved to the United Kingdom to work as a small animal vet locum and also traveled around Europe. He then joined Willows' general practice clinic in 2002. During the following three years in this post, Isuru developed an interest in medicine and successfully completed the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Medicine. In 2005, he moved to the Royal Veterinary College to undertake a one-year rotating Internship, followed by a combined Residency in small animal internal medicine and clinical nutrition. Isuru was the first resident to undertake a clinical nutrition training program in the UK. Following the end of his residency, Isuru successfully achieved specialist status from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2010. He became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition in 2016.

Expert opinion in this guide is provided by:
Dr Diana Hasler
Expert opinion in this guide is provided by:
Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

Dr. Diana Hasler graduated with distinction from the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 2018. She has experience working as a small animal veterinarian in general practice, where she has treated many dogs, cats, rabbits, and rodents. Here, Dr Hasler gives her opinion on each of the products in our guide.

PetsRadar's pick of the best diabetic dog treats

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Old Dog Cookie Co. Diabetic CookiesBest buy award

(Image credit: All Natural)
Best overall diabetic dog treats

Specifications

Size: 10 ounces
Grain free: No
Flavor: Generic
Age range: All

Reasons to buy

+
All-natural ingredients
+
Includes organics ingredients 
+
No additives

Reasons to avoid

-
Generic flavor
-
Not grain-free

These treats are high in fiber, which can help regulate glucose in diabetic dogs, and they do not contain any added sugars. If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, it is important to discuss diet (including treats) with your veterinarian so that they can determine the appropriate diet and insulin dose required to keep your dog’s condition under control.

Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

To keep your diabetic dog healthy, they need to be fed the right diet, but this doesn’t mean they have to miss out on a tasty treat. Specially formulated for diabetic dogs, these all-natural diabetic cookies from the Old Dog Cookie Co are ideal for helping you manage the insulin requirement of your pet pooch. 

They contain a long list of natural ingredients that provide a healthy snack any time your fur friend deserves a little extra treat, and are known to help reduce blood sugar levels. Also, you won’t find any additives, chemicals, dyes, or any other by-products lurking in these tasty treats. 

Included in the ingredients line up are fiber and herbs, which are there to help slow your dog’s food metabolism rate, which in turn helps better manage your dog’s diabetes. There is natural pectin gleaned from the ingredients, which boost your fur friends’ immune system, and are great for their all-round health, contributing to controlling sugar in the blood. As an added bonus, it also brings vitamin C to the party. This is an important antioxidant that doesn’t affect your dog’s diabetes, but does help reduce inflammation and cognitive aging.

Elsewhere, there is squash that provides a source of vitamin A, an essential component for healthy skin, coat, muscles, and nerves. And to help with thyroid function – again helping skin and coat – is kelp. Every ingredient has been specially selected to help improve your dog’s general health and ensure you can keep their diabetes under control. 

Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Dog Treats

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Dog Treats

Best budget diabetic dog treats

Specifications

Size: 12 ounce pack
Grain free: No
Flavor: Chicken
Age range: All

Reasons to buy

+
Crunchy texture
+
Low in sodium
+
Easy to digest

Reasons to avoid

-
Hard texture that may be difficult for tiny teeth

Tasty, nutritious and designed to help support healthy weight loss and maintenance, these crunchy, bone-shaped biscuit treats pack a flavor punch and are crammed full of goodness. And best of all? They're vet-approved.

Created with wholesome ingredients with moderate fat & increased fiber to help support a healthy weight, these chicken and rosemary treats are moderate in calories, protein and phosphorus, low in sodium and have increased fiber to support digestion. 

Ideal for sensitive stomachs, they're the only treats specifically formulated to compliment the nutrition of Hill's Prescription Diet and are made with quality ingredients that will support the health and wellbeing of your canine companion.

Brutus & Barnaby Sweet Potato Dog TreatsPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Brutus & Barnaby)

Brutus & Barnaby Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Best premium diabetic dog treats

Specifications

Size: 8 ounces
Grain free: Yes
Flavor: Sweet potato
Age range: Senior

Reasons to buy

+
Single ingredient
+
No preservatives
+
Good source of fiber
+
Gluten-free
+
Grain-free
+
Inexpensive

Reasons to avoid

-
Meat-free

These treats are made up of only dehydrated sweet potatoes, which are high in fiber. They do not contain any fat or added sugars. It is crucial to keep your diabetic dog’s diet (including treats), exercise, and insulin consistent from day to day to keep their glucose levels under control. If your dog’s diabetes is not yet stabilized, you should strictly follow your vet’s dietary recommendations, even if this means that your dog can’t have any additional treats.

Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

If you are looking for a meat-free, low-odor treat that will keep pet pooch occupied for a little longer than the average treat, these dehydrated thick-cut sweet potato slices could be just what you are looking for. Their size alone will mean that your happy hound won’t be able to wolf them down with one quick chew. They deliver a more rounded treat experience, and at the same time provide a great source of natural fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Plus they are packed with nutrients. This means your dog can get all their nutritional needs without having to resort to supplements to boost its diet.

You can go guilt-free every time you give your dog the treat. They have zero fat, no added sugar, and the fiber in them helps balance blood sugar levels, making them ideal for diabetic dogs. And they are gluten and grain-free, making them easier to digest, and ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs. 

Any dog can get their paws on these tasty treats, but they are meant for small to large dogs. Extra small and toy breeds might struggle to get to grips with them due to their size. But you can simply break or tear them up before you give them to your little fur friend. Alternatively, you can try Sweet Potato Sticks or Sweet Potato Fries from the same manufacturer. These provide the same nutritional qualities, but are cut into easier-to-digest strips for smaller mouths.  

The Sweet Potato Sticks offer two hard-to-resist flavors – Apple & Cinnamon and Pumpkin & Cinnamon – while the fries are great for older dogs with dental issues or as a tasty topper for regular kibble.

Ella's Diabetic Dog TreatsPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Ella's)

Ella's Diabetic Dog Treats

Best organic diabetic dog treats

Specifications

Size: 8 ounces
Grain free: No
Flavor: Chicken
Age range: All

Reasons to buy

+
Organic
+
All-natural ingredients
+
Free from additives and preservatives

Reasons to avoid

-
Not grain-free

These treats come in three different flavors—sweet potato, pumpkin, and chicken. The brand claims that they are sugar free and that they will not cause spikes in blood glucose, however, they do not openly advertise their ingredients list. If you wish to feed these treats to your diabetic dog, I recommend discussing the ingredients listed on the packet with your vet to determine if these will be safe for them.

Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

Dogs might not seem like fussy creatures when it comes to treats – they are happy to take them when the opportunity comes. But sometimes they say no, so it’s important that you choose the best one for your dog. If your dog is diabetic, it’s even more important that you make the right choice. 

Specifically developed for dogs with canine diabetes, these chicken-flavored treats are a great choice for your pet pooch. They are made from all organic, all-natural, low-glycemic index ingredients. The glycemic index is a scale – that goes from 1-100 – that helps determine which foods are less likely to impact blood sugar levels significantly, so dog treats with low-glycemic ingredients are much more likely to stop your dog from falling ill. 

To help promote your happy hound's general health, these tasty treats are free from additives and preservatives, as well as being sugar-free, potato-free, corn-free, flour-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free, so they are also ideal for dogs that have other conditions or issues such as allergies and sensitive stomachs. 

Chicken not your dog’s favorite flavor? Then you are in luck, as Ella's Diabetic Dog Treats do come in a couple of different flavors. Completing the current collection is Sweet Potato and Pumpkin. If you find that your dog loves any of these flavors, you can invest in combo packs, or sign up for a 6 or 12-month subscription to save yourself a few dollars and get them delivered to your door.

PureBites RAW Freeze Chicken Breast Dog TreatsPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: PureBites)

PureBites RAW Freeze Chicken Breast Dog Treats

Best chicken diabetic dog treats

Specifications

Size: from 1.4 ounces
Grain free: Yes
Flavor: Chicken
Age range: All

Reasons to buy

+
Just chicken
+
Freeze-dried to keep freshness
+
High-quality ingredient

Reasons to avoid

-
Not cheap

These treats contain only 1 ingredient, freeze-dried raw chicken breast. It should be noted that raw meat can cause bacterial infections, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter, in the gastrointestinal tract in both your dog and anyone who interacts with them or handles their food or feces. Gastrointestinal infections can influence diabetic dogs’ blood glucose levels and how much insulin is needed, thus exacerbating their diabetes and potentially leading to hypoglycemia, which can be life-threatening—for this reason, these treats should be fed with caution in diabetic dogs.

Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

These treats are made from one simple ingredient: chicken. No added grain, no added sugars, no added preservatives; just chicken. This makes them a perfect snack for any fur friend that has diabetes, and an ideal treat for any dog. If you have more than one dog, you can still happily feed these treats to your diabetic dog and their fur friend.

Pure Bites uses raw human-grade chicken breast, which ensures that your dog is getting a high-quality treat. Just in case you are not sure, turn over the packet and check the ingredients list. It’s short, concise, and simple, as it only has one ingredient on the list. Yes, you have guessed it - chicken.

To keep the chicken breast fresh-tasting, it is cut into bite-size chunks and put into a freeze-drying chamber. Here, any water is gently drawn out of the chicken. This leaves delicious pieces of pure freeze-dried meat that still contain all the natural nutrients and vitamins, along with the texture and aroma that dogs love. 

The one-ingredient simplicity of these chicken treats means that they are good for more than just diabetes. If your pet pooch has other health conditions, such as a gastrointestinal disorder or allergies, then these chicken bites are ideal for managing these issues. 

At around three calories a treat, they help contain any weight issues your happy hound might be suffering from. If you want to make sure that you don’t feed them too many, you can invest in a small entry-size 1.4-ounce bag. But if your dog loves them, you can invest in a much bigger 18.5-ounce bag to keep them happy. 

Darford Zero/G Minis Grain-Free Roasted Lamb Dog TreatsPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Chewy)

Darford Zero/G Minis Grain-Free Roasted Lamb Dog Treats

Best oven-dried diabetic dog treats

Specifications

Size: 6 ounces
Grain free: Yes
Flavor: Roasted Lamb
Age range: All

Reasons to buy

+
Made from real meat
+
Free of grain too
+
Full of goodness

Reasons to avoid

-
Bit larger than "mini"

If you want a treat that packs protein and doesn't pile in unnecessary extras, then the Zero/G Minis by Darford should definitely be on your list. Crucially, for dogs who are diabetic, these treats are low glycemic so they won't pose a problem. They are also free from grain, gluten and GMO and should be very tasty indeed given that lamb is the primary ingredient.

Each treat is shaped like a heart and, as one pet parent points out, these can be easily snapped in half if you want to control the portions you give to your dog. You may actually want to do this because, in reality, the treats are not as mini as the packet makes out. But at just 16 calories per biscuit, and with no added salt or chemicals, they're not going to pack on the pounds.

One thing which caught out eye is that each one is made using real meat. The manufacturer says no meals or by-products go into the treats. The ingredients also include blueberries, chia seed, dried kept and whole quinoa and they offer vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and niacin. No wonder the company claims to be offering a “power-packed superfood”. They actually sound good enough for us to eat as well (not that we would!).

ACANA Singles Duck & Pear Formula Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog TreatsPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Chewy)

ACANA Singles Duck & Pear Formula Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Treats

Best duck-based diabetic dog treats

Specifications

Size: 1.25 ounces
Grain free: Yes
Flavor: Duck
Age range: All

Reasons to buy

+
Contains natural raw ingredients
+
Each treat is just five calories
+
Freeze-dried to lock in nutrients

Reasons to avoid

-
Be good to have more in a pack

These treats will be perfect for any dog, let alone a pooch with diabetes. Its 100 per cent natural, raw duck ingredients (duck and duck liver) make up more than 70 percent of each treat, with only pears and a preservative added. This means you can be sure that the treats are extremely low in sugar and lacking in carbs. In fact, their mainly protein, fat and fiber.

What's more, you can be sure that you're not going to activate any doggie allergies, not least because they don't contain grain. It's also going to be very difficult for your pooch to pack on the pounds with these treats given that each one contains just five calories. And since they are freeze-dried, you can be sure that the nutrients have been locked away. The only downside is that there's not more of them in a pack!

On top of all that, is the animal welfare issue. Acana raises its animals naturally and the ingredients are delivered fresh to the kitchen. The company only makes food under its own brand too, and you can see that as a badge of quality in many respects. It's all very impressive, giving confidence that your pet will be healthy and happy.

Wellness CORE Power Packed Jerky Treats

(Image credit: Amazon)

Wellness CORE Power Packed Jerky Treats

Best grain free diabetic dog treats

Specifications

Size: 4 ounces
Grain free: Yes
Flavor: Beef and venison
Age: Adult

Reasons to buy

+
All natural
+
Protein rich
+
Real meat

Reasons to avoid

-
Texture is inconsistent

These tasty, grain free jerky treats are made with two kinds of fresh meat for a flavor and texture your dog will love. Packed with real beef and venison, they're small on size but big on flavor and contain just five calories per treat. 

All natural and protein rich, they're made with minimal ingredients and are free from grains, soy, and artificial flavors and preservatives, making them ideal for dogs with allergies. 

With high quality proteins to support muscle health, prebiotics to support the digestive system and minimal ingredients, these delicious and nutritious treats are sure to be a hit with your canine companion. 

How to choose the best diabetic dog treats

If your pet pooch is diabetic then it is paramount that you feed it the right snacks. If you choose the wrong type of snack - typically those with added sugars - you can raise the sugar levels in your dog’s bloodstream and make them ill; something no owner wants to do. So the ingredients in a treat are the most important component to consider. 

Treats that market themselves as diabetes-friendly are the best snacks to look out for. These will have no added sugars, and contain a selection of ingredients that help manage your dog’s condition. 

To be on the safe side, avoid any dog treats that have added corn syrup, molasses, fructose, dextrose, or maltose. None of these are ideal for dogs with diabetes. 

A couple of secondary considerations are flavor and size. If you know your dog is not keen on a specific flavor then it is best avoided. If you’re not sure then let your fur friend try a treat. You never know; they might love sweet potatoes. Finally, consider the size. If you have a toy or small breed dog then they will have a smaller mouth than larger dogs, so will need a smaller treat to truly be able to enjoy it. 

Can you give a diabetic dog treats between meals?

Yes. Dr Isuru Gajanayake, head of clinical nutrition at Linnaeus-owned Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in Solihull, England, says it is fine to give a diabetic dog treats between meals “provided these are consistent in terms of the type, amount, and time given.” In other words, keep a close eye on how many treats you are giving to a dog and try not to load a dog up on them close to meal times either. 

Is peanut butter good for dogs with diabetes?

Dr Isuru Gajanayake said you need to be cautious about giving peanut butter to dogs with diabetes.

“Peanut butter is generally considered safe in people with diabetes as it mainly contains fat rather than carbohydrate,” he says. “Although a small amount of peanut butter will be fine as a treat for diabetic dogs, I usually avoid such human foods in my patients.”

What should you not feed a diabetic dog?

Having a dog living with diabetes means your pet must follow a more restrictive diet. “The most important aspect of a good diet for a diabetic dog is that it is balanced, so a commercial canned/dry diet or a home-cooked diet which has been formulated by a veterinary nutritionist,” says Dr Isuru Gajanayake.

“Secondly, a diet which has more of the calories provided from fat and protein (compared to carbohydrate) may help with diabetes. Thirdly avoiding carbohydrates that are rapidly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream can help reduce the blood sugar peaks after eating. Complex carbohydrates and fibre can help reduce the blood sugar peak after eating.”