Diabetes in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment
How Is Diabetes Treated?
Diabetes treatment is based on how severe the symptoms and lab
work are and whether there are any other health issues that could complicate
therapy. Each dog will respond a little bit differently to treatment, and
therapy must be tailored to the individual dog throughout his life.
- Some dogs may be seriously ill when first diagnosed and will
require intensive hospital care for several days to regulate their blood
- Dogs who are more stable when first diagnosed may respond to
oral medication or a high-fiber diet that helps to normalize glucose levels in
- For most dogs, insulin injections are necessary for adequate
regulation of blood glucose. Once your pet’s individual insulin treatment is
established, typically based on weight, you’ll be shown how to give him insulin
injections at home.
- Spaying your dog is recommended, as female sex hormones can
have an effect on blood sugar levels.
Your vet may also show you how to perform glucose tests at
What Should I Know About Treating My Diabetic Dog at Home?
As your veterinarian will explain, it’s important to always
give your dog insulin at the same time every day and feed him regular meals in
conjunction with his medication. This allows increased nutrients in the blood
to coincide with peak insulin levels, and will lessen the chance that his sugar
levels will swing either too high or too low. You can work with your vet to
create a feeding schedule around your pet’s medication time. It is also
important to avoid feeding your diabetic dog treats that are high in glucose.
Regular blood glucose checks are a critical part of monitoring and treating any
diabetic patient, and your veterinarian will help you set up a schedule for
checking your dog’s blood sugar.
Please also consult your vet about a consistent, daily exercise
program and proper nutrition for your dog to help keep his weight in check.
How Can Diabetes Be Prevented?
Although a certain form of diabetes-the type found in dogs less
than a year of age-is inherited, proper diet and regular exercise can be very
effective in helping to prevent onset of diabetes in older dogs. Aside from
other negative health effects, obesity is known to contribute to an ability to
respond normally to insulin.
What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Diabetes?
If your dog is showing any of the clinical signs listed above, please
see your veterinarian right away.
What Can Happen If Diabetes Goes Untreated?
If diabetes progresses without being treated, dogs can develop
secondary health problems like cataracts and severe urinary tract problems.
Ultimately, untreated diabetes can cause coma and death.