Diabetes in dogs

Canine diabetes is an incurable disease that occurs when a dog cannot control their blood sugar level, which is caused by a lack of insulin in the body. Insulin helps feed the sugar from food into cells around the body to help a dog thrive and grow, without which the sugar grows to dangerously high levels.

Without treatment, it can affect a dog’s vital organs and other bodily parts, so being able to recognise the signs can ensure your dog gets the help they need.

Symptoms of diabetes in dogs

There are many symptoms of diabetes in dogs, which can vary depending on the severity of the condition but often include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss despite the increased appetite
  • Increase in urination

Advanced signs can be more pronounced and may include:

  • Tiredness or lack of energy
  • A sweet-smelling breath
  • Vomiting
  • Blindness due to cataracts

What causes diabetes in dogs?

It’s not completely known why some dogs develop diabetes, with some breeds possibly more genetically prone than others. While some factors, like age and obesity may increase the risk of developing this complex disease. Cushing’s disease and pancreatitis can also lead to a diabetic diagnosis, so it’s important to be able to recognise the signs of these conditions and seek veterinary attention if you spot them in your dog.

Prevention and treatment

Taking preventative measures is not a guarantee that your dog won’t develop diabetes but making sure they lead a healthy life can help reduce the risk. Here are some steps you can take to help keep your dog as healthy as possible throughout their lifetime:

  • Keep your dog at a healthy weight
  • Feed them a balanced diet
  • Provide enough exercise for their age

Once diagnosed, a vet will be able to provide your dog with an ongoing treatment plan.

Ongoing care

Although some cases may be more challenging, diabetes in dogs can usually be managed successfully without complications. While your dog’s management plan and ongoing care advice provided by your veterinarian will probably include:

  • A specific diet
  • Consistent exercise
  • Insulin therapy

A dog that’s provided with a well-controlled treatment plan with regular monitoring will often live a long and happy life.

If you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour, or you think they have developed diabetes, why not book a Joii vet consultation? This is free if you have an Animal Friends dog or cat policy. Otherwise, speak to your vet.


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