What do I need to know about backpacking with my 11 yr old diabetic dog?
Max was dx in 11/10 with insulin dependant diabetes...I am still working with our vet trying to regulate him...as of today, his level was 275 ( down from 600) we are at 38 units twice daily, as well as a special diet... Do you have any suggestions/advice if I should even attemp this trip? It's 18 miles in 2 days, I bought a Frio wallet to keep the insulin cool, but am concerned that the exercise will be too much for him. Please advise. Thank you
For an 11 year old dog, that is quite a very long trip. As long as you have his medication, and lots of cool to room temp. water he should do fine with frequent breaks. I would stop every 1/2 hour or so to give him rest in shade and make sure that he's not over exerting himself. When you give him water make sure it's not ice cold, for then it will shock his system and can cause death. The water should be cool to room temp. for they are the same as humans when it comes to drinking cold water on a very hot day or very cold day and that we shock out system and do damage to ourselves that way.
As long as you take certain precautions, make sure he gets lots of breaks, is well hydrated, and gets his meds., Max should do ok.
Hope this helps, and good luck,
Annie The Pet Nanny
Make sure you have his insulin and give it on the regular schedule. Also carry some Karo Syrup with you in case he has an episode of low blood sugar. if he does, rub some on his gums. You'll be able to tell because he'll get very weak, stumbling, etc. Being an older dog, you'll definitely need to follow AnnieThePetNanny's advice with frequent breaks and lots of water.
I am ALL for regular exercise for a diabetic dog. But I personally would be a little wary about attempting the trip if you are still trying to regulate his insulin. Insulin gets processed a little faster when the body is active, so now you are adding another factor into the mix when adjusting his insulin dosage. And you didn't say about his current fitness.
In my OPINION if you walk him few miles a day already, and this hike is more casual than strenuous, you and your dog might be good. The wallet is fine for keeping the insulin cool. Also, consider taking a glucose monitoring kit to keep an eye on his sugar and 1-2cc of karo syrup which can stabilize a pet in an emergency.
And you should confer with your vet who knows your dog.
Update on Max: I have decided that I will not take him on this trip as we are still working to get him regulated. Instead we will enjoy some very mellow "car-camping" ...no real hiking required. Max is very good health despite his DM, but the strenousness of this particular hike may be too much for him....either way, I love my dog too much to risk this. Thank you all for you time and input. It is appreciated.
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