How Ruby was Diagnosed with Diabetes
Ruby became sick in August of 2008. He was urinating a lot, had increased water consumption, and looked thinner than normal. He ended up in a veterinary hospital where he was diagnosed with diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, and pancreatitis. Ketoacidosis can be a life-threatening complication for those suffering from diabetes. It occurs due to a lack of insulin which the body responds to by burning fat for fuel and producing ketones. High levels of ketones can poison the body. Simply put, Ruby was quite ill. In an attempt to comfort Ruby, I would crawl into his hospital kennel, hold him, and sing to him. ‘You Are My Sunshine’ was on regular rotation. Perhaps I did less singing and more pleading and praying. Either way, after a week in the hospital I was able to take my sunshine home.
My Trick for Injecting a Diabetic Dog
It was a challenge to convince Ruby that getting two insulin shots a day was actually a good thing. I had success after following some great advice: use his food as a reward for receiving the shot. I started by putting his full food bowl on the counter while prepping his shot. Like any food-motivated dog, movement of his food bowl commands his attention. But then the approaching needle would make him run away. After he ran away, I would put his food bowl in the cupboard. That movement of his bowl would bring him back again. Round and round we went until he realized the simple equation of food bowl on counter + shot in dog = food bowl on floor + full dog belly. See, Ruby, insulin shots are a great thing! Now he rushes each injection along so he can eat.
My Recipe for Homemade Diabetic Dog Food
The hospital sent us home with a few samples of diabetic dog food. I sought advice from Ruby’s vet on both packaged and homemade diabetic dog food. Dr. Old Vet was quite ambivalent and offered little to no opinion or advice. His disinterest got me frustrated and angry and it got Dr. Old Vet fired. In walked Dr. New Vet, who had experience with canine diabetes, and Dr. New Vet’s wife, who had experience with homemade pet food. At this point, I really wanted to try and make Ruby’s food. I set out to develop a recipe which would later be known as Ruby Stewbie. I first researched which foods rank low on the glycemic index (GI). These foods are especially important to a diabetic in order to keep blood sugar levels from spiking. My research led me to this amazing article and its subject: a beautiful yellow bean from India called chana dal. When I first saw them, I was struck by how much chana dal resemble little suns. Since chana dal ranks incredibly low on the GI, I made it one of the main ingredients of Ruby Stewbie. I ran my recipe by Dr. and Mrs. New Vet, and they both approved. I have been making this homemade diabetic dog food recipe for over seven years now, and today I am happy to share it with you. Welcome to Ruby’s Diner!
- 28 cups water
- 1 bag (4 pounds) chana dal, rinsed
- 2 bags (1 pound each) brown lentils, rinsed
- 2 bags (1 pound each) black-eyed peas, rinsed
- 2 bags (1 pound each) green split peas, rinsed
- 1 pound pearl barley, rinsed
- 5 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 can (29 ounces) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
- 2 bags (16 ounces each) frozen broccoli cuts
- 2 bags (16 ounces each) frozen crinkle cut carrots
- 2 bags (16 ounces each) frozen green beans
- 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach
- Pour water into a 20-quart pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add chana dal, brown lentils, black-eyed peas, green split peas and barley. Reduce heat to medium, stir occasionally.
- Cut and add chicken breast.
- Add ground turkey.
- Stir in pumpkin.
- Add in the frozen vegetables. (My pot will not accommodate all of the vegetables so I add in as much as I can and thaw the rest to be added in before storage).
- Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally until most of the water is absorbed. Let stand and cool before storing.
Storage for Homemade Diabetic Dog Food
I lay out six large storage containers on the counter. I scoop 12 cups of Ruby Stewbie, including the vegetables, into each container. One container goes straight into the refrigerator and the others go into the freezer. As one container gets about half eaten, I move another from the freezer to thaw in the refrigerator. Ruby eats 4 cups of this recipe daily. Each container lasts three days and each batch lasts 18 days. I supplement Ruby’s diet with one cup of dry food daily. I am always on the lookout for new and improved dry food and am currently actively seeking a new one. What do you feed your dog(s)?
Ruby rarely leaves my side, but he stays especially close on cooking day. He spends the whole time waiting for some chicken to accidentally fall in his direction.