Canine Diabetes - Does Your Dog Have it?
Canine Diabetes: A Serious Dog Disease That is Completely
Canine diabetes is a serious disease that causes there to be
too much glucose in the blood. If your pet has any of the signs,
a dog health exam will help you find out with certainty. Canine
diabetes symptoms usually include the following:
- drinking excessive amounts of water
- frequent urination
- weight gain (or weight loss in some cases)
- increased lethargy during the day
A simple blood test can tell the vet if the glucose counts
look suspicious. You should have a full physical exam done on
your dog annually, even if he seems perfectly healthy. Be sure to
ask your vet to include a full blood work-up, to rule out
diabetes (as well as many other diseases). It's well worth the
If your pet has been diagnosed with canine diabetes, don't
panic. While it is a 'special needs' issue that will influence
many daily decisions, it is a manageable disease in dogs. You
just have to learn some simple steps and stick to a schedule.
The first goal after a canine diabetes diagnosis is to get the
glucose levels down to a normal (or only slightly elevated)
level. This will not require thorough dog health exams like the
original blood test. The vet can draw some blood and test the
levels fairly quickly, with minimal cost to you.
Canine diabetes means someone must administer insulin
injections (in most cases). They are easy to do and will quickly
become routine. One person in the family should be responsible
for the shots, but everyone should know how to give them (age
teen and up) in case of a dog health emergency. I highly
recommend posting a printout of how to give the injection to your
pet in every room in your house, just in case.
In our house, where we have a diabetic dog, we made a canine
diabetes "Dog Health Cheat Sheet" for potential problems, like
- too much insulin is accidentally injected
- the needle breaks off while in the dog
- there's a seizure (not common, but can happen occasionally)
The cheat sheet includes the vet's emergency number and some
basic actions to take in each scenario. We made several copies to
be posted all over the house, but especially by the phone, the
fridge (where the insulin is kept), and the bed (where our dog
hangs out a lot).
The other goal with canine diabetes is to maintain the glucose
level (with your vet's help). It is crucial to take your pet
periodically to the vet for a whole day (8-hour period at least)
so they can check blood sugar levels throughout the day. Just as
in humans, blood sugar levels fluctuate in your pet throughout
the day. Having your vet monitor and take several blood readings
during a longer stretch of time helps ensure that your diabetes
treatments are actually working as intended.
It's a little more work to care for diabetic dogs, no doubt
about it. But our pets are family members and we love them
dearly. Right? They give us their devotion, protection, and love,
so the least we can do in return is give them proper health care,
especially if they have problems like canine diabetes. Going the
extra mile for them will help them live happier lives with less
pain and more enjoyment. Can there be a nobler goal?
John Schwartz is a freelance writer, webmaster, and dog lover.
He has written many published articles on subjects that include
shopping for dog supplies, improving pet health, and good dog
training practices. Please visit my dog supplies website
for more dog and puppy tips.
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