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Can Dogs Get Diabetes?


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When you adopt a dog, they quickly become the most cuddled and adored member of the family. You shower them with affection, healthy treats, and more presents than you give your partner. But can your dog also suffer with the same illnesses you can? Take diabetes, for example. There are two types, but essentially it’s a condition that causes people’s blood sugar levels to become too high. It can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness. Caution must be taken when managing diabetes because if left untreated, the complications can be severe. Can your beloved dog also suffer from diabetes?

Can Dogs Get Diabetes?


While many people assume diabetes is an illness that only humans suffer from because it can sometimes be caused by lifestyle choices and environment, dogs can absolutely suffer from diabetes too. And, as with humans, diabetes in dogs may be due to genetic predispositions, but they too are at risk of developing diabetes.

Does My Dog Have Diabetes?

Diabetes can be a serious, debilitating illness, but how can you tell if your dog might have it? Has your dog’s appetite drastically increased? Is your dog losing weight, even though their appetite seems to be climbing? Are they excessively thirsty and urinating more frequently? Have they recently had a bladder or kidney infection? All of these symptoms could be signs of diabetes.

What causes your dog to develop diabetes? While the cause is unclear, certain traits seem to increase a dog’s likelihood of getting diabetes. If your dog is obese or if they are female, they are much more likely to develop diabetes. Viral infections, pancreatitis, and autoimmune disease increase a dog’s chances also. Plus, if your dog is over the age of 7, the risk of diabetes is much higher.

Diagnosing diabetes must be done by a vet and the sooner it is done, the less chance of serious problems. Your vet will perform a physical examination, radiographs and blood work, to look for an enlarged liver, kidney stones, and high glucose levels. For detailed information, visit Diabetes in Dogs.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Diabetes?

Treatment for this serious health condition may be ongoing throughout your furry companion's lifetime. Insulin injections may be required. Your vet can teach you how to administer them, but they may be required once or twice a day. Your vet will also regularly measure your dog’s blood glucose levels. In some cases, pet parents take a daily reading at home. This measures how effective the insulin is in curbing the disease. Changes in the amount of insulin being administered may be required as time goes on.

Treatment will also entail changes to your dog’s diet and exercise. A consistent, high-fiber diet will need to be followed. Plus, regular exercise is essential. Your pooch will need to be a healthy weight to help stave off the negative effects of diabetes.

For first-hand accounts from owners with diabetic dogs, read Diabetes in Dogs.

How Is Diabetes Similar in Dogs and Humans?

In many ways, there are lots of similarities in the way diabetes manifests itself in dogs and humans. Some of those similarities are outlined below:

  • Both dogs and humans may be excessively thirsty and need to urinate frequently.

  • In both humans and dogs, diabetes can cause weight loss, even in conjunction with an increase in appetite.

  • Abdominal pain and vomiting can be a symptom of diabetes in both dogs and humans.

  • Slow and deep respiration can often be a sign of diabetes in dogs, humans and other animals.

How Is Diabetes Different in Dogs and Humans?

While yes, there are lots of ways diabetes manifests itself in similarly in dogs and humans, there are also several ways in which their symptoms are not quite the same. For example:

  • In dogs, it is easier to detect a sweet smell to their breath.

  • While both dogs and humans can suffer from mental dullness, it is much harder to identify this in your dog.

  • Coughing in dogs is a clearer sign of diabetes than in humans, who may cough for a variety of other reasons, such as smoking.

Case Study

Snickers was a 9 old Poodle. He was lethargic and not interested in his usual walks and playtime. An appointment at the vet revealed that he had diabetes. A regular regimen of insulin shots was prescribed, and soon after, Snickers was ready for walks around the block. Along with consistent checkups at the veterinary office, insulin management from home can be an effective way to keep on top of your dog’s diabetes and ensure they still have a good quality of life.

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