Diabetes in dogs has become increasingly common in today’s society. While the news that your dog may have diabetes can be shocking, it’s not a death sentence and certainly is a manageable disease with the proper knowledge and plan in place.
The first step is knowing what diabetes is exactly so you can understand what it is your dealing with.
Canine diabetes comes in several forms but they all point to the issue of having too much glucose in the blood. This happens when your dog's pancreas is not functioning properly resulting in either no insulin being produced or not enough. Insulin is the hormone that manages glucose (sugar coming from carbohydrates in food) by turning it to energy for your body or storing it up for future use. Unfortunately, if insulin cannot properly do its job, it can introduce a host of problems linked to diabetes which for canines comes in two forms: Type I diabetes and Type II diabetes.
- Type I: Insulin-deficiency: When a dog’s pancreas is not producing a sufficient amount of insulin.
- Type II:Insulin-resistant: When a dog’s pancreas is producing insulin but the body is not responding to it or utilizing it properly.
Note: Type I diabetes is considered the most common form of K-9 diabetes.
Now that you know what it is, let’s first talk about prevention- after all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Prevention and Causes of Diabetes in Dogs
The most common cause of diabetes in dogs obesity. Because most processed dog foods contain an absorbent amount of carbohydrates (most carbs aren’t even a dietary need for dogs), all that gets turned into sugar in your pet’s body. Feeding your pet a portion-controlled and organic diet can help reduce your dogs’ chances of developing diabetes significantly.
Another cause of diabetes in dogs is the lack of exercise. Taking time out of your day to ensure your pet is burning carbs is another step you can take to keep them healthy in happy. Investing in a running belt to walk your dog conveniently is a great option for busy pet parents.
Other causes of canine diabetes include autoimmunity, breed, GMOs, chronic inflammation, metabolic syndrome, yearly vaccinations, and chronic pancreatitis.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs
The signs of canine diabetes can be hard to spot especially in the early stages. There are certain behaviors you should look out for, however, in order to catch it as early as possible.
The sooner you are able to identify the disease, the easier it will be to treat. Dogs with diabetes can still live a long and happy quality of life but you need to be aware of the following changes:
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst and/or hunger
- Increase in sleep/Lethary/No energy
- Cataracts/Vision problems
- Skin Infections
- Kidney Failure
Treatment of Diabetes in Dogs
Should your vet diagnose your dog with diabetes, which is done via a simple blood test, a strict regimen will be needed to manage the disease. It will involve a commitment to monitoring your pet’s glucose levels, daily injections, and regular vet visits. Once a routine is established, you and your pet will know exactly what to expect and what needs to be done.
Just as a proper diet and exercise are important for preventing diabetes, they are also a vital aspect of treatment as well. Having a close relationship with your pet will help ease any worries or fears you may have concerning your pet’s care. Including any family, friends, or pet care partners such as a dog walker will also help in managing tasks. Diabetes in dogs is usually a highly preventable disease. Taking the proper steps to make sure your dog is healthy will not only prevent their chances of developing diabetes but many other health issues as well.