Susan Hudson RN, MSN, CCRN successfully
treated her diabeticTerri-Poo, Hilde,
for seven years on a homemade diet.
I found this of great interest because
Queenie has always been fed a
homemade diet and has been a diabetic for
The standard food that most vets recommend
is w/d made by Hill's.
I want owners to know that if your dog
refuses to eat this dogfood
you can feed your diabetic dog a homemade
diet and still control diabetes.
as told by Susan Hudson
any questions ask Susan
All our pets were fed from a combination of table food(not junk food)
prepared foods (usually Pedigree). Hilde started out the same
way: puppy food with
whatever she could mooch from us around meal / snack time. Sometimes
never anything with chocolate in it. There were times, even when
she was a baby, that she
would get the most awful smell to her breath (sewer breath, we called
it). The odor
would go away as mysteriously as it came. When she reached the
age of 8, the sewer
breath came more frequently. I had her in to the vet countless
times to have her teeth
and gums checked - always negative. There were times when she
couldn't get enough
water to drink or wouldn't eat anything for hours and hours.
Then the poor thing started
having infections (mostly gastrointestinal) and was using more and
One particular GI infection was causing her to dehydrate more then
usual. I dragged her
into the vet, where she promptly received a big old injection of penicillin
and liquid drops
to take for the next few days. Before I made it back to the house
(5 miles), the poor thing
was panting and going crazy! I pulled over and noticed her muzzle was
puffy and that she
was getting hives on her belly. I turned right around and rushed
back to the vet. Hilde had
an allergic reaction to the penicillin that required aggressive treatment
prednisone). After that incident, the sewer breath came and stayed
for longer periods of
time. It was always worse on certain flavors of Pedigree.
Once I made this connection,
we switched to IAMS. Well, the only IAMS she would eat was the
Small Crunchy Bites
and the Adult Lite (when it finally became available). This lasted
for almost a year until
she had a bout with pancreatitis. She stayed in the hospital
for 2 or 3 days, recovering
quite nicely. We brought her home with antibiotics, and instructions
to feed her "boiled
hamburger and rice". She loved her new food, and guess what ?
The sewer breath hardly
made an appearance the whole time she was fed that diet. Soon
we were instructed to
start her back on "regular" dog food. Because of her allergies,
I decided to get her food
from the vet. At the time, they carried Science Diet and had
a variety for dogs with allergies.
It was $100 a case, but I bought it. Hilde ate it for about 2
weeks until she started having
sewer breath and GI problems again. I finally made the connection,
and put her back on the
boiled burger and rice diet. She turned around nicely.
I returned the food and told the vet that
"it's making her have sewer breath and diarrhea". The vet says
"her pancreas is pooping out,
leave her on the hamburger and rice - it won't hurt her one bit".
Once I heard those words,
I knew I would have to watch her for diabetes (thank gosh for my nursing
stayed on this diet which our good friend (a kennel owner) said was
a staple at her kennel.
Well, poor thing got a little intestinal bug that required a shot of
prednisone and a round of
antibiotics. After about 2 days, I noticed that she was drinking
a lot of water. What I didn't
realize, was that all 4 family members were filling her dish all day
long ! I got a call at work
on the 3rd day(I worked nights and my sister called me in a panic in
the morning). Hilde had
drank at least 12 dishes of water throughout the previous evening (around
1.5 gallons!), and
was urinating constantly. She started throwing up around 2 or
3 am, and by 7am when I got
called, was bloated, grunting, and had had a small seizure. I
left right at the end of my shift,
and rushed HIlde to the emergency animal clinic.
I told the vet "If I didn't think it was possible,I would think the
little dog is in diabetic ketoacidosis !
She's acting just like our human diabetic patients do when their blood
sugars are too high."
Well, the vet took one look at her and said"she is in diabetic ketoacidosis,
and we might not be able to save her because of her age."
We were devasted, and I kicked myself all the way home in between
Insulin Treatment Begins
$700 later, we had Hilde back home and on insulin.
She ate boiled burger and rice until her pancreas settled down.
Hilde started out with about 6 units of NPH. She quickly
got up to 18 - 21
units until I realized that the type of insulin was probably not working
because of a combination of her allergies and commercial diet.
Her neck was
sore to touch and had little red spots on it one morning. I figured
it was an
allergy to the brand of insulin, as I had seen this in our human patients.
Once I switched from Pork or Beef insulin to Humulin, she did much
With a home cooked diet, Hilde stayed on 13 units of NPH every morning.
time we switched her back to commercial preparations, the insulin dose
go back up to anywhere from 18 - 21 units. When Hilde was back
and had that GI infection, her insulin went up to 26 units (all the
just too much for her). Hilde weighed 24 lbs for the majority
of her life -
32lbs at her heaviest when she was 6yrs old. Hilde was semi -
football, fetch, ran up and down the stairs, chased all yard intruders,
swam with us in the pool during good weather. She was a couch
potato in the
winter, but we still played fetch and ran up and down the stairs whenever
possible. We never have really walked any of our dogs on a routine
we aren't walkers ourselves (bike riding is more our speed).
Hilde had an
awful habit of just laying down whenever she got tired of walking (not
physically tired, just didn't want to walk anymore !!). About
the 3rd or 4th
time we had to lug that sack of potatoes 3 miles back to the house,
went right off her activity list !! (That's a smart terrier for
you !!) At
the time of her stroke, she was still 24 lbs and on 13 units of NPH
homecooked diet. Preparing the diet was inexpensive and quite
We went to Sam's club and bought frozen mixed veggies in the large
and also hamburger there whenever prices were good ($0.69 / lb for
ran all the turkey and burger sales, specially turkey in the frozen
(very low to none in preservatives). We kept a small stock in
the freezer, so
that we always had a months worth of food on hand (great for those
year that meat gets expensive). At first, we made food once a
week until we
got the hang of what portions were needed. This took about a
month. Once we
got the portions figured out, we made food once a month. Boiled
batches of burger, turkey, and brown rice (more fiber). When
the meat was
done, we would toss in the frozen veggies and let them thaw.
everything in a big old strainer, mixed in the rice, and then bagged
it up in
ziplocks to go back into the freezer ! It was actually a lot
of fun, as we
all pitched in (even Hilde !!). We taste tested, Hilde taste
tested - that's
how we knew what she liked. I (and my Vet Grand Blanc Vet Clinic
Blanc, MI) attribute her 7 years on insulin to her homecooked diet
easier to digest which places less stress on pancreatic and GI function).
She also loved fruit(watermelon and cantaloupe) which I let her have
amounts every day. I had her sugars checked by the vet every
We used the "sewer breath/amount of water"technique to monitor her
at home. I would sometimes use a dipstick when she went out in
for a little better measurement. Hilde was taken from us by a
six and a half years after her diagnosis of diabetes.
Thank you for letting me share Hilde's Story.
Susan Hudson ...and... "The Girls"
Susan Hudson RN, MSN, CCRN
Home to Pet
Diabetes and Home of Queenie
Always take your diabetic pet to the vet because diabetes mellitus is a
serious disease but is not a death sentence.
Do not change your dog's diet without consulting the vet in charge.
Remember two shots of insulin a day will keep high blood glucose away.