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Signs and Symptoms of a Diabetic Dog

Updated on November 29, 2014
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Signs and Symptoms of a Diabetic Dog

Diabetes in dogs is becoming more and more prevalent. It seems that dogs are getting some of the same diseases and issues that humans get. I have to wonder, is it the way we feed them? It is very possible and in many cases it is the reason, just as in humans.

Diabetes is something that occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin; this is type one diabetes and affects dogs. However, there’s type two diabetes. This type is caused as a result of insulin resistance that is most often linked to being overweight, or obese. Strangely, type 1 is what is seen in dogs, and type 2 is more in cats.


There are the classic symptoms and they include excessive thirst, increased urination, and weight loss in spite of increased or normal food consumption. If left untreated it can cause cataracts, damage to other organs, coma and death.

Canine Diabetes can be complicated or uncomplicated, and may or may not require hospitalization. There are also secondary problems that go along with diabetes such as urinary tract infections, high cholesterol, enlargement of the liver, and protein in their urine.

Urinary tract infections become common in dogs with diabetes because sugar is a great incubator for bacteria. Also, dogs with diabetes become susceptible to mouth and gum infections. It is important to watch out for these things.

Is your Dog at Risk?

Many concerned pet owners may be asking themselves this very question. There are some predetermining factors that can be looked at. Diabetes commonly occurs in middle aged and senior dogs. However, over 70 percent of dogs are over the age of seven. It is very rare to find a dog less than 1 year of age with diabetes; it is more common in neutered males than the intact ones, and more common in female dogs. There isn’t any clear evidence linking obesity to diabetes in dogs.

Cataracts are a side effect of diabetes in canines. Cataracts are the clouding of the eye lens it can cause blindness in humans and dogs. Many times a dog will develop cataracts within six months of a diabetes diagnoses. Evidence shows that even with well controlled diabetes cataracts can occur.

What are your dog’s chances of survival with diabetes? Well, very high actually if it is well controlled. They can live just as long as any other dog the same age and gender with very little problem. It is true, that diabetic dogs are more likely to die from and infection, or pancreatic or kidney issues before they will die from diabetes.


See your veterinarian for help with controlling and monitoring your dog’s diabetes. There are different products and different reactions and individual response is varied. How your dog will be treated for this disease is up to your veterinarian. Often times they are given shots of insulin, but don’t be surprised if you dog requires some “experimentation” to find the correct medicine for their particular case.

When your dog is first diagnosed close monitoring is necessary to ensure the safety and well being of your pet. After you pet has become stable, they should have blood work every six months to ensure that they are remaining stable.

The Right Diet for Your Diabetic Dog

For dogs with type1 diabetes a certain, single diet is not recommended. In other words, there is no perfect diet for them. This makes it exceptionally hard to manage. Veterinarians have found that a diet they will eat is the most important factor. They should be given a food that they like and will readily eat. An adult maintenance diet is recommended and a prescription diet is unnecessary.

What is important is that they be fed the same amount daily, two times a day at 12 hour intervals. It must be the same type of food and at the same time each day. This is because any change in carbohydrates will affect the amount of insulin needed to maintain your dog. Keep in mind that some dogs will need a “treat” between meals in order to help keep their glucose levels from falling dangerously low. Honestly, there has not been a “perfect” diet for this disease.

The most important thing to understand is consistency. It is vital that the diet remain consistent and properly balanced with the insulin.

Keeping your diabetic dog on track and healthy is a time-consuming, stressful and expensive endeavor. Have faith, the diagnosis is the most overwhelming part.


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