Diabetes is a disease that is found in both humans and dogs. The disease is very similar across both species. This chronic disease also affects other animals as well, but it can’t be cured in any species. Fortunately, dogs with diabetes can live a normal life with the help of diet, exercise, and insulin.
If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, it is important that you work closely with your veterinarian to determine an appropriate course of treatment that will keep your dog healthy and happy for the rest of their lives. Following this course of treatment will give your dog a mostly normal life.
Signs Dogs Can Live a Normal Life with Diabetes
Most dogs can live a completely normal life despite being diagnosed with diabetes. With an appropriate diet and exercise regimen, as well as daily insulin injections, dogs with diabetes can be both happy and healthy.
Dogs with diabetes will often want to eat constantly and drink excessively before treatment is started. After treatment, your dog’s symptoms should start to fade away. Once insulin injections, diet changes, and an exercise schedule are implemented, dogs with diabetes will be perfectly healthy. Unfortunately, these dogs do need extra care to stay this way.
Insulin injections are needed every day, so owners of dogs with diabetes will need to learn how to give their dogs the injections. Typically, dogs with diabetes need to be fed the same food in the same amount at the same time every day, as well as the insulin injections. Other than that, your dog’s life will be completely normal.
Remember that if you go on vacation, you will need to leave your dog at a place that can follow their regular schedule. Dogs need the insulin to live, but that doesn’t mean that there will be an emergency if you are a little late every now and then, but it shouldn’t become a habit, or your dog’s health will decline.
History of Dogs Living a Normal Life with Diabetes
Since diabetes was first discovered in dogs, veterinarians have been able to gather more information about the disease. Early on, it was estimated that nearly one in every 152 dogs had diabetes. Now, it is believed that only one in every 500 dogs has the chronic disease. While there are now fewer cases of diabetes in dogs, more dogs are able to live better lives with the illness.
Dogs generally develop the disease after four years of age, and certain breeds are more prone to the disease, including Beagles, Miniature Pinschers, and Keeshonds. Unspayed females are also more likely to develop diabetes, so you may want to consider this when deciding to spay your female dog.
Surprisingly, diabetes can also lead to other diseases if not properly treated. Complications of diabetes include cataracts and diabetic ketoacidosis, both of which usually affect dogs who have only had diabetes for a short time.
It is entirely possible, however, for dogs to live completely normal lives. You will need to provide insulin injections, monitor food intake, and provide consistent exercise, but dogs with diabetes are able to do everything that other healthy dogs can do. A diabetic dog may have a special diet, however, and going off the diet could make your dog ill.
Science Behind Canine Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body doesn’t metabolize glucose properly. Dogs can have two different kinds of diabetes: insulin-deficiency and insulin-resistance. Insulin-deficiency diabetes occurs when your dog’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin, while insulin-resistance diabetes occurs when the pancreas is producing some insulin, but your dog’s body doesn't utilize it the way it should.
Dogs with diabetes not only have excess sugar in their bloodstream, but they also have cells in the body that need that sugar that can’t access it, so they are actually dealing with two major problems that leave them feeling hungry all the time, but their body is breaking down and they are lacking energy.
Dealing with a Diabetes DIagnosis in Your Dog
Diabetes sounds like a scary diagnosis, but it actually is fairly easy for you and your veterinarian to treat. Owners of dogs with diabetes need to take care that they understand the diagnosis and how it should be dealt with. Your veterinarian will need to teach you how to test and monitor your dog’s blood sugar levels, as well as perform the injections of insulin that your dog needs to stay alive.
In addition, your veterinarian can recommend a diet that is appropriate for a dog with diabetes. Most dog foods are high in carbohydrates, but dogs with diabetes will need a lower-carb diet. This food will be part of a health regimen that will keep your dog’s blood sugar balanced.
Exercise is also beneficial and necessary for dogs with diabetes. Too much exercise can result in low blood sugar, while not enough exercise can lead to high blood sugar. Both high and low blood sugar can be dangerous, so it is important that exercise is carefully monitored.
If you are ever unsure of your dog’s blood sugar level, you can test it and attempt to adjust it accordingly with food and exercise, as well as insulin injections in the case that it is high.
While it seems like your dog will forever live under your strict control, most dogs with diabetes regulate fairly quickly with proper treatment and lead completely normal lives without much change from their previous routine. As long as you keep up your end of the deal, your dog will stay happy and healthy for years to come.
By a Pomsky lover Chelsea Mies
Published: 03/26/2018, edited: 04/06/2020