Dog Diabetes and its Treatment

Dog Diabetes
issues and the consequences of overfeeding!

It has been truthfully said that a dog is man’s best friend. If you are a dog owner/lover, it is only natural that you would want the very best for your canine companion and any illness it endures will be greatly stressful for you. Did you know that diabetes does not affect only humans, but dogs and other animals too?

Just as it is in humans, diabetes in dogs has no cure but you can manage it if you know what you are doing. Remember, if your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, the most important thing you should do is to not panic.

Diabetes melitus, also known as sugar diabetes, comes in two different forms and is most likely the form of diabetes your dog will develop. A metabolism disorder, it affects the conversion process of food into energy. This process requires two separate things. First, glucose which provides fuel for the cells in our body. It comes when nutrients from digested food are broken down and is an essential source of energy for various cells and organs.

Second, insulin, which is what delivers this fuel to the body. In dogs, there are two forms in which diabetes occurs: insulin-deficiency diabetes, which is when the dog’s body produces an insufficient amount of insulin due to a damaged pancreas or not functioning properly. This is the most common form of diabetes that can be found in dogs.

The second form is known as insulin-resistance diabetes. Here, the dog’s body produces insulin, but the dog’s body isn’t using the insulin properly. The cells are unresponsive to the insulin and so the glucose remains inside the blood and isn’t distributed to the cells. Older and obese dogs are particularly prone to this form of diabetes.

Now that we’ve established the two forms of diabetes that dogs can develop, let’s take a look at some of the effects this disease has on the dog’s body. The effects are the same irrespective of the type of diabetes. The cells do not receive the vital fuel that they need and the body responds by breaking down its own supply of fat and protein to make up the deficit.

The high sugar level that runs through the bloodstream results in organ damage as high levels of glucose begin to develop in the blood without the presence of insulin to convert it into fuel. Some organs which may be damaged as a result include the kidneys, heart, blood vessels and nerves.

What are the symptoms to look for if you suspect your dog has developed diabetes? The first to look for is excessive thirst in your dog. He or she may drink frequently and you may find yourself having to refill their water bowl more often. They may also urinate more frequently than normal and this could result in little “accidents” occurring round the house. This happens when the body attempts to rid itself of excess sugar via urination.

Even though your dog may continue to eat as normal, they may still lose weight. This occurs because the dog’s body isn’t sufficiently obtaining nutrients from food. You may also notice a steady increase in your dog’s appetite, which is caused by the body not receiving the amount of required glucose, even though they may be eating regular sized meals. These are all early signs of diabetes in dogs.

More advanced signs may include a loss of appetite, a lack of energy, depression and vomiting. If left unchecked, diabetes can devastate a dog’s body which is why an early diagnosis and prompt treatment are vital. A case of diabetes in a dog can lead to other ailments such as kidney failure, cataracts and an enlarged liver.

If you are concerned that your dog may have diabetes, you should take them to the vet immediately. They will perform a series of tests including blood tests to determine whether or not diabetes is present in your animal. If a diagnosis is made, there are various forms of treatment that may be recommended. For example, your vet may recommend that your dog take up a diet with a relatively low-fat content and once that is rich in protein and fibre and carbohydrates.

The effect of a diet like this will be to slow down the absorption of glucose. To protect against drops in the levels of glucose as well as sudden spikes, you may be encouraged to introduce a fairly moderate but nevertheless consistent exercise regimen for your dog.

Lastly, you will have to learn how to administer daily injections of insulin under your dog’s skin. Although this may seem like a daunting prospect for both you and your dog initially, it is a relatively easy procedure to carry out and within a short timeframe can become a quick and easy practice that will cause neither you nor your dog undue distress.

Most cases of diabetes in dogs can be handled without any complications. The onus will be on you as the owner to ensure that your dog receives their daily injections promptly, keeps to any exercise regimen that your vet advises and keeping an eye on your dog’s glucose levels but this does not mean you will be alone.

Your vet will work with you to decide which treatment will be the most effective for your dog and will provide a management plan containing the necessary information regarding injections, dietary and exercise recommendations, a system for monitoring glucose and a list of warning signs to watch out for.

A diagnosis of diabetes means you will have to make some changes but it does not mean the end. Once you get yourself and your dog into the right routines and you have mastered the act of providing injections, there is nothing to suggest that both of you won’t enjoy many more happy years together. If you are unsure of anything, your vet will be on hand to provide any advice and support that you may require.


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