Homemade Diabetic Dog Food Recipe

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.

Ruby My Sunshine

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! Before we knew it, he rushed each injection along so he could eat.

Insulin Injections for Diabetic Dogs

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!

Ruby's Diner, Homemade Diabetic Dog Food

Ruby Stewbie - Diabetic Dog Food

Welcome to Ruby's Diner! I made my diabetic dog this homemade recipe from 2008 to 2016. Control canine diabetes with a low glycemic dog food made with love.

Servings:  18 quarts
Author:  Joanne Becotte


  • 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


  1. Pour water into a 20-quart pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add chana dal, brown lentils, black-eyed peas, green split peas and barley. Reduce heat to medium, stir occasionally.
  3. Cut and add chicken breast.
  4. Add ground turkey.
  5. Stir in pumpkin.
  6. 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).
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally until most of the water is absorbed. Let stand and cool before storing.

Recipe Notes

SERVING SIZE: This recipe is based on a 48 pound dog eating four cups of Ruby Stewbie and one cup of dry food daily. An example for a 20 pound dog would be about 1 1/2 cups of Stewbie and roughly 1/2 cup of dry food daily.

20/48 = .41 x 4 = 1.6 cups of Stewbie

Calculate a comparable amount for your dog's weight by substituting the bold amount in the formula above.

For more information on the glycemic index of each ingredient, see glycemicindex.com.

CALORIES: There are 265 calories per cup of the Ruby Stewbie.

DRY FOOD: Ruby's vet suggested Hill's Science Diet Adult Light Dry Dog Food and Pet Canine PowerFood from Only Natural Pet.

Storage for Homemade Diabetic Dog Food

I laid out six large storage containers on the counter and scooped 12 cups of Ruby Stewbie, including the vegetables, into each container. One container went straight into the refrigerator and the others into the freezer. As one container got about half eaten, I moved another from the freezer to thaw in the refrigerator. Ruby ate four cups of this recipe daily. Each container lasted three days and each batch lasted 18 days. I supplemented Ruby’s diet with one cup of dry food daily. His vet suggested Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Dry Dog Food, and it’s the kibble that agreed with him best. I tried other dry dog food, but he always had one issue or another. So we’d return to the old standby. He really loved the dry Pet Canine PowerFood from Only Natural Pet.

Homemade Diabetic Dog Food Storage

Ruby rarely left my side, but he stayed especially close on cooking day. He spent the whole time waiting for some chicken to accidentally fall in his direction.

One Happy Diabetic Dog

Ruby’s Legacy

On May 4th, 2016, Ruby passed peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his pack. He lived 14 glorious years, eight of them with canine diabetes. Always a lover not a fighter, we know he’s looking down and wagging his tail at all the dogs feasting on his Ruby Stewbie. Learn about other ways we continue to give back in his honor at FriendsOfRuby.org.