What are the signs of diabetes in pets? – Noticing the early signs of diabetes is the most important step in taking care of your pet. If you see any of the following signs, your pet should be examined by a veterinarian. The earlier the diagnosis, the better chance your pet may have for a longer and healthier life.
Excessive water drinking and increased urination Weight loss, even though there may be an increased appetite Decreased appetite Cloudy eyes (especially in dogs) Chronic or recurring infections (including skin infections and urinary infections)
What happens to a dog with untreated diabetes?
Illustration of a dog’s pancreas. Cell-islet in the illustration refers to a pancreatic cell in the Islets of Langerhans, which contain insulin-producing beta cells and other endocrine related cells. Permanent damage to these beta cells results in Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes, for which exogenous insulin replacement therapy is the only answer.
- Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas either stop producing insulin or can no longer produce it in enough quantity for the body’s needs.
- The disease can affect humans as well as animals such as dogs.
- The condition is treatable and need not shorten the animal’s life span or interfere with quality of life.
If left untreated, the condition can lead to cataracts, increasing weakness in the legs (neuropathy), malnutrition, ketoacidosis, dehydration, and death. Diabetes mainly affects middle-age and older dogs, but there are juvenile cases. The typical canine diabetes patient is middle-age, female, and overweight at diagnosis.
- The number of dogs diagnosed with diabetes mellitus has increased three-fold in thirty years.
- In survival rates from almost the same time, only 50% survived the first 60 days after diagnosis and went on to be successfully treated at home.
- Currently, diabetic dogs receiving treatment have the same expected lifespan as non-diabetic dogs of the same age and gender.
The condition is commonly divided into two types, depending on the origin of the condition: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called “juvenile diabetes”, is caused by destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas, The condition is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, meaning exogenous insulin injections must replace the insulin the pancreas is no longer capable of producing for the body’s needs.
- Type 1 is the most common form of diabetes and affects approximately 0.34% of dogs,
- Type 2 diabetes can develop in dogs, although it is not as prevalent as type 1.
- Because of this, there is no possibility the permanently damaged pancreatic beta cells could re-activate to engender a remission as may be possible with some feline diabetes cases, where the primary type of diabetes is type 2.
Two additional less common forms of diabetes are diabetes insipidus, which is a condition of insufficient antidiuretic hormone or resistance to it, and gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually occurs during pregnancy. It may be a result of glucose intolerance during the pregnancy period.
Can I test my dog at home for Diabetes?
Background – If your pet recently has been diagnosed with diabetes, home monitoring of your pet’s blood sugar (blood glucose) can help your veterinarian make sure the correct amount of insulin is being given. Measuring glucose if your pet seems “off”, or not quite themselves, can also help rule out low blood sugar related to insulin administration.
Checking the blood glucose levels at home is easy and can provide more accurate results than when the pet arrives at the veterinary hospital. Many pets become stressed when visiting the hospital, which can temporarily elevate the blood glucose and give an inaccurate reflection of the diabetes. This is especially common in cats.
Monitoring the blood glucose levels is easy. It can take some time to become comfortable with the technique, but it is important to understand that it is a safe and comfortable procedure.
How long do dogs with diabetes live?
Average lifespan of dog with diabetes – Many dogs who show symptoms of diabetes and are diagnosed with it do not actually die from diabetes if given the proper treatment. In fact, if your dog lives past the first 3 to 4 months of being diagnosed and is not left untreated, both you and your furry friend can still spend lots of time together.
The median survival for dogs with diabetes is two years, and there are many who live much longer than that, provided that they receive proper treatment and are regularly assessed by the vet. Thus, dogs with diabetes generally live a full, happy life that is free of symptoms when given the proper treatment.
However, without treatment or insulin therapy, dogs who are suffering from diabetes mellitus are at high risk of developing complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis which can cause multi organ failure. Many dogs who pass away due to diabetes often do so because they were diagnosed late and/or before the disease could be regulated.
How do you rule a dog with diabetes?
What might a urinalysis indicate if my dog has diabetes mellitus? – A urinalysis is necessary for the diagnosis of canine diabetes mellitus. Urine from healthy dogs typically does not contain any glucose (sugar). Glucose in the urine (called glucosuria ), as well as persistently increased blood glucose levels (called hyperglycemia ), in a dog with appropriate clinical signs is diagnostic for diabetes mellitus.
The presence of glucose in the urine makes conditions ideal for bacterial growth, so urinary tract infections are common. Urine is evaluated for the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, and bacteria. If a bacterial infection is identified or suspected, a urine culture is indicated to identify the types of bacteria and determine the most appropriate antibiotics to treat the infection.
The presence or absence of ketones in the urine should be evaluated in diabetic dogs. Ketones are byproducts of fat metabolism. Increased mobilization of fat occurs in diabetic dogs because their insulin deficiency causes poor use of carbohydrates as an energy source.
Does diabetes in dogs affect their legs?
diabetes in dogs – Limb weakness – your dog could develop weakness in their hind legs caused by diabetic neuropathy. This means they appear shaky and unable to move or jump as normal. Sweet-smelling breath and urine – untreated diabetes causes the dog to go into starvation mode and metabolise its own fat stores.
What should diabetic dogs avoid?
There is no ‘one-diet-fits-all’ approach to diabetes: body condition, pet preferences, and other diseases or medical conditions will guide the best diet for a dog with diabetes. Though there are some differing approaches for optimal nutrition in dogs with diabetes, the one strategy that is most agreed upon is to keep the diet consistent – use the same food, same treats, and feed and give insulin at the same time every day ! What kind of diabetes do dogs get? You may be familiar with ‘Type 1′ and ‘Type 2′ diabetes in humans.
- Type 2 is much more common in people and is associated with obesity (this is also the kind of diabetes that cats usually get) and the body becoming resistant to the effects of insulin.
- Dogs are more commonly diagnosed with something similar to ‘Type 1′ Diabetes, or what we might call ‘insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus’ (IDDM).
Animals with Type 1 can no longer make insulin, often due to an auto-immune condition. Diet can play an important role in the management of both types of diabetes, but it should be used along with medical management and diet will never replace the need for insulin or other medications in diabetes for dogs or cats.
- What nutrients are important for diabetic dogs? Before selecting a ‘diabetic diet,’ we need to consider which nutrients are most important for your specific dog and use this to guide the optimal nutrient profile.
- The main nutrients to consider for diabetic dogs include water, calories, carbohydrates, and fiber.
Many dogs with diabetes have increased thirst and increased urination, so fresh, clean water should be available at all times. The ideal number of calories per cup or can of food will depend on your dog’s body condition and whether she needs to gain or lose weight to obtain ideal body condition.
If your dog has another disease such as heart disease or pancreatitis or has high levels of fat in his or her blood, other nutrients such as sodium or fat will also be important to consider. Some studies have shown benefits of increased dietary fiber for dogs with diabetes as well. How does fiber help? Fiber can be useful in canine diabetes, however, there are various types of fiber which can have different properties and benefits.
The different types of fiber can be defined in a few ways, though dividing fibers into soluble (able to dissolve in water) and insoluble (bulking fibers) are good ways to categorize fiber. (For more information on the details of fiber, see our previous article here ).
- Insoluble fibers, such as cellulose, add bulk and can slow digestion and absorption of dietary carbohydrate, which can be a benefit to sugar regulation for diabetic dogs.
- While the term ‘high fiber diets’ can be confusing, a rough estimate to the amount of insoluble fiber in a food is the crude fiber content.
Of note, the percentage of fiber on pet food labels is ‘guaranteed analyses’ and thus only a maximum and cannot be compared between diets of different moisture or calorie content. In addition, the crude fiber only measures insoluble fiber so it will not include any soluble fiber in the diet.
For more information on comparing fiber contents of diets, see our previous article with a built-in calculator, What about carbs? Though it would seem logical to reduce dietary carbohydrate in dogs with diabetes for better blood sugar control, clinical studies have shown carbohydrate content in diets is not as helpful as fiber content for dogs A diet is more than just the food you’re feeding! Not only do we need to make sure we pick a diet with the right combination of nutrients, but we need to feed it consistently! Consistency of diet is an even more important aspect of diabetes management for most dogs than individual nutrient levels.
Feeding the same food at the same times each day (and picking just one or two treats and giving them consistently at the same time!) will help the dog’s body to better regulate blood sugar. Along with consistency and treats comes feeding an appropriate amount.
- Even the best diet, if we feed too much or too little, can make it harder to control the signs of the diabetes.
- Dogs with diabetes can be underweight, overweight, or even ideal weight, so focusing on achieving or maintaining ideal body weight can help you pick the right diet for your dog (along with your veterinarian’s guidance).
Higher calorie diets will be best for underweight dogs while lower calorie diets important for overweight dogs. Some lower calorie diets are also higher in fiber. This is an example where there is no ‘one size fits all’ diet for diabetes in dogs: in the instance of an underweight dog, a high fiber, low-calorie food would be harmful if that dog cannot eat enough of the food to meet his calorie needs to maintain an ideal weight! Will weight loss help my overweight diabetic dog? While being overweight isn’t a risk factor for the development of diabetes in dogs, it can contribute to difficulty controlling diabetes once it develops.
- Excess body fat can cause insulin resistance, meaning that the same amount of insulin has less of an effect.
- All overweight diabetic pets should be encouraged to slowly lose weight once initial diabetic control is reached.
- It is VERY important that your veterinarian monitor your dog closely during weight loss as his diabetic control will likely change and adjustments in his insulin may be needed to avoid overdoses.
Do I need a therapeutic or ‘vet’ diet? There are diets that you can obtain from your veterinarian or with your veterinarian’s approval that are designed specifically for the management of diabetic dogs. However, these diets are not ideal or necessary for every diabetic dog.
High insoluble fiber nutrient profiles can also be found in some over-the-counter foods. One advantage of therapeutic diets is that they may have better consistency due to more strict processing protocols compared to over-the-counter diets, which may have more batch to batch variability. It is also generally easier to obtain specific nutrient information from the manufacturer.
You and your veterinarian may decide to stick with your pet’s regular diet initially but switch to a therapeutic diet if you are having trouble with diabetic control after starting insulin. Regardless of the diet you pick, you should always beware of substituting flavors, textures, or even dry and canned versions of the same food.
- Each product may have a different effect on your dog’s diabetic control and you should talk with your vet before switching and monitor their diabetes carefully during and after a switch.
- Anything I should avoid? Because we want consistency in the diet, home-cooking is not recommended because of batch to batch variability as well as the lack of testing to determine how various nutrients interact with each other (e.g.
fiber) and are absorbed and utilized by the dog. Veterinary therapeutic diets from companies with strong nutritional expertise are typically tested for digestibility. Also, semi-moist dog foods should be avoided because they contain sucrose, fructose, and other simple carbohydrates that can result in higher blood sugar levels, so watch for ingredient lists that include ‘sugar,’ ‘corn syrup,’ or ‘honey’ on the label if your dog has diabetes.
Make sure you keep a diet journal and tell your vet everything your dog gets, including treats, chews, table scraps, and food used for medication administration. An example diet history of what to write down can be found online at the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Nutrition Toolkit,
When considering higher insoluble fiber diets, the increased fecal bulk will result in more frequent trips to go to the bathroom. This may mean you need to schedule more walks during the day to avoid accidents. Dog diets specifically designed to be higher in fiber are a better source of fiber in most cases than just adding fiber to a regular diet as they can be formulated to still provide all the right nutrients to dogs (added fiber may make it harder to absorb all the nutrients from the diet). Canned pumpkin is popular with clients as a fiber supplement, but the amount needed to see an effect may unbalance the total diet (meaning the pumpkin would provide significantly more than 10% of the dog’s total calories).
Avoid fiber supplements containing added flavors or sweeteners such as xylitol, which can be harmful to dogs.
What foods raise blood sugar in dogs?
Best Types of Food for Dogs With Diabetes Mellitus – The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) guidelines say the type of food fed to a dog with diabetes is much less important than the consistency of the diet. As long as the food is a high-quality diet that is complete and balanced, your diabetic dog will do fine with it.
If you haven’t been paying much attention to your pet’s diet, talk to your veterinarian to get recommendations for a balanced diet. One thing to avoid is food with simple sugars. These will raise your dog’s blood sugar level. Avoid giving any treats or table scraps that contain sugar or sweeteners such as corn syrup, as well as high glycemic foods that quickly boost blood sugar, such as white rice and bread.
Have a discussion with all of your family members about why it is not good to give your dog treats or scraps, no matter how much your dog begs. If your dog is overweight, increasing the soluble and insoluble fiber can help in weight management. Some dog food is formulated in this way and it can help improve blood sugar control as well as weight loss.
How much does it cost to see if your dog has diabetes?
A non-routine appointment to diagnose dog diabetes can run from $225-500, including necessary blood tests. The veterinarian will diagnose whether your pup has type 1 diabetes (which is more common in canines) or type 2, the severity of the condition, and then prescribe the proper level of insulin therapy.
Why is my dog suddenly drinking so much water?
Excessive Thirst in Dogs: Is it Normal or Serious? Have you noticed your dog drinking lots of water all of a sudden? Excessive thirst in dogs, also known as polydipsia, is a common observation amongst dog parents, and one you shouldn’t ignore. There are many possible causes of excessive thirst in dogs, and some of them can be life-threatening if they aren’t addressed in time.
- If your dog is suddenly very thirsty for a day or so, it’s usually not a cause for concern.
- Dogs may drink more if they’re very hot, bored, have eaten certain foods, or have recently exercised.
- Very active dogs and nursing dogs drink more than other dogs.
- If your dog has started consistently draining the water bowl and hitting up the toilets, however, and it has been going on for more than a few days, then it’s time for a checkup with your veterinarian.
Your vet might check your dog for these more common medical reasons for excessive thirst.
How long can a 14 year old dog live with diabetes?
How Long Can a Dog Live with Diabetes? – With appropriate treatment and a speedy diagnosis, your dog can have a long and healthy life even after being diagnosed with diabetes. The lifespan of a dog with diabetes will vary massively from case to case, but the ‘average’ time frame, given by vets and medical experts, is two to three years following diagnosis.
How can I lower my dog’s blood sugar quickly?
Walk the Dog – Regular exercise will also help your pooch lose weight and lower blood sugar levels. It’s best to have your dog exercise for the same length of time and at the same intensity every day. An unusually long or vigorous workout could cause blood sugar levels to drop too low.
- Planning a tough hike? Talk to your vet about adjusting your dog’s insulin first.
- It can take a few months to get to “cruise control,” so try not to worry if your pup’s blood sugar levels aren’t under control quickly.
- Also, losing weight may lessen your dog’s need for insulin, so check their levels often.
Caring for a dog with diabetes can be hard at first. But soon the changes will become part of your daily life. The extra care and attention you’ll give them may even strengthen your bond.
Can a dog tell if your blood sugar is high or low?
Can Trained Dogs Alert Diabetics To Low Blood Sugar? : Shots – Health News Trained dogs are increasingly being used to help people with diabetes detect hypoglycemia. One study finds the dogs can indeed do that, but aren’t as reliable as a continuous glucose monitor.