Living with dog diabetes

Mar 1, 2024 2:42:22 PM

What is dog diabetes?

Diabetes in an animal is a condition that isn’t completely curable although you can do a number of things to help your pet live a longer and more comfortable life. Alongside veterinary advice, you can help your pet through diet and exercise. The good news is that it can be managed successfully in many cases.

In simplistic terms, diabetes is a metabolism disorder – and this means that it affects how the body converts food to energy. In diabetes the body doesn’t allow glucose, the body’s essential fuel, to be delivered effectively via the hormone insulin. The two main types of diabetes present as insulin deficiency (not enough being produced) or insulin resistancy (when the body isn’t using the insulin correctly). The most common type is insulin deficiency.

Whichever kind of diabetes is diagnosed, the outcome is the same – excessive sugar in your dog’s bloodstream that can’t get to the cells that need it. Once this happens it can lead to damage of various organs, blood vessels and nerves. As worrying as this sounds, there are measures you can take to help.

What are the warning signs?

Early signs         

Excessive thirst

Increased urination

Weight loss

Increased appetite

Sweet-smelling breath

Advanced signs

Loss of appetite

Lack of energy

Depressed/low mood

Vomiting

Sudden onset blindness

 

What can you do about it?

At the earliest opportunity take your pet to the vet. They will carry out blood and/or urine tests and advise you accordingly. The blood tests will provide all sorts of useful indicators and is the first step in treatment.

Although not curable, diabetes is something that can be treated so that your dog can have a relatively normal life, when diagnosed early enough. Daily insulin injections are often prescribed and you’ll quickly get used to administering these – as daunting as it sounds.

Diet

The next steps you’ll need to discuss with your vet are diet and exercise. Our Nutritional Advisers (face-to-face or online) come into their own with any issues where diet and weight monitoring are required. They will match your dog’s requirements with one or more of our food types: typically low fat with a high quality protein and fibre and complex carbohydrates to help with the absorption of glucose. They will work with you to make sure your dog’s weight is at the right level, consistently, for as long as required.

You’ll need to feed your dog at the same time each day – this is an important part of regulating blood sugar levels.

Exercise

A moderate, consistent amount of exercise will help your pet avoid spikes or drops in glucose levels. Agree this with your vet but regular, consistent exercise is key.

What else can you do?

Working with your vet, our Nutritional Advisers and making a daily commitment to your dog will have an enormous effect on his health going forward. Ask about how you can monitor glucose levels, any specific warning signs to watch out for and continue with an excellent diet and supportive exercise regime.

Where to go for more information…

Diabetes UK

https://www.diabetes.co.uk/info/DogsWithDiabetes.html

Animal Trust

https://www.animaltrust.org.uk/conditions/diabetes-dogs/

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