Although diabetes is not very common in dogs, it can be devastating if it is not properly managed. The way diabetes affects your dog’s body makes it a lifelong health problem. However, with early diagnosis and steady care, your pet can live a long and happy life. Here’s how to recognize the signs of diabetes in dogs so you can seek treatment. 

How Do Dogs Get Diabetes? 

Diabetes in dogs is the same as diabetes in humans and in cats—it is an insulin deficiency that causes high blood sugar. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, lowers blood sugar by moving it from the bloodstream into the cells, where it is used to create energy. A deficiency of insulin means the cells do not get the nutrients they need to function properly. 

Dogs can develop diabetes due to obesity, genetics, or other health conditions. Older dogs and female dogs are more likely to develop canine diabetes. Unchecked diabetes can cause many problems for our canine friends, including:

  • Kidney failure
  • Seizures
  • Enlarged liver 
  • Cataracts leading to blindness

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs 

Understanding the symptoms of diabetes in dogs can help you spot the signs and seek treatment before the disease becomes unmanageable. Signs of diabetes in dogs include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Chronic infections
  • Cloudy eyes

How to Care for a Diabetic Dog

  • Make checking their glucose a habit.
    Regularly checking your dog’s glucose levels with a glucometer will help you determine  If your pet is receiving the appropriate amount of insulin. Understanding when they are commonly high and low will help you manage their treatment better in the long term. 
  • Monitoring insulin responses can help you care for your dog.
    Insulin has the power to do damage if misused. Monitoring your dog’s insulin response is important for that reason. Hypoglycemia (also known as low blood sugar) can be a concern if too much insulin is given.
  • Talk with your vet about a diet change.
    Switching your dog’s diet can have a positive effect in most cases. Lowering the amount of treats or changing the type of foods your dog eats can help you manage their glucose intake.
  • Find small ways to exercise and train your dog.
    Exercise and training are great ways to help your dog maintain a healthy weight, and these activities also build trust between you and your dog. Trust can help you care for your pet when you need to administer insulin or check their glucose levels, since both of these treatments require a prick of the skin or a shot. 

Veterinary Care for Your Diabetic Dog

When caring for a diabetic dog, you need to work closely with a veterinarian you trust. Here at East Valley Animal Hospital, we have a team of sympathetic and highly trained doctors, technicians, and support staff. From diagnosis to management, your diabetic dog is in great hands at our clinic. If you’ve noticed any symptoms you’re concerned about, or if your dog is due for a yearly checkup, contact us today to make an appointment. 




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/30/24). Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash.