Dog diabetes, like diabetes in a human or other mammal, can be a serious matter if not taken seriously. This is why it is important to look out for signs of diabetes in dogs. But while there’s no cure, a diabetic dog who is well-looked after can lead a relatively normal and happy life
Dog diabetes occurs when your dog fails to produce enough insulin, which delivers the ‘fuel’ of glucose around the body. Or it could happen when your dog’s cells fail to respond correctly to insulin, and to draw glucose from it. This second type is more common in older or obese dogs.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs
When your dog’s cells fail to ‘metabolize’ these energy sources properly, her body starts to exploit its own proteins for fuel instead. Meanwhile, that unused glucose builds up in the blood, causing damage to your dog’s organs. This can affect her sight, or create trouble in her kidneys, heart, or elsewhere.
You need to look out for signs of diabetes in your dog so as to catch the disorder as soon as possible.
You may notice that she is drinking a lot and, as one thing leads to another, peeing a lot, too. Similarly, she may have an increased appetite for food. This can be hard to spot in some dogs who’ll eat as much as they can, anyway!
But despite this additional consumption, your dog’s weight may plummet, since her body isn’t processing that food properly. Her cells will start to burn up tissue to make up for the insulin problem. She may also throw up, which can indicate that she also has pancreatitis, a disease which is associated with diabetes.
And your dog may seem weak or tired all the time, since her body is not delivering the energy she needs to be her normal bounding self.
Other things that may lead to diabetes in dogs
Your dog may be more susceptible to diabetes if she’s older, or if she is, indeed, a she. Pancreatitis impairs your dog’s body’s ability to process energy, which can also lead to diabetes, especially if he or she suffers from it repeatedly. Cushing’s disease and autoimmune disorders and viral diseases can also cause lead to diabetes, as can continued use of steroids.
Obesity is another major cause, which is why it is so important to monitor your dog’s fat intake, as well as giving her a nutritious diet and plenty of exercise. Watch out for carbs in your dog’s diet. She doesn’t need them, but they can be found in many processed dog foods. On the other hand, antioxidants and probiotics can be helpful.
But if you are concerned about dealing with a dog with diabetes, you can also bear in mind the type of dog you choose for your home. Beagles, boxers, dachshunds, Dobermans, German shepherds, and golden retrievers, are all among those breeds that are more likely to get diabetes. Check before you invite a dog to join your family if diabetes is a concern for you.
Advanced symptoms of diabetes in dogs
If your dog’s diabetes isn’t treated properly, the symptoms will start to appear as brand new health conditions. Cataracts, urine infections, seizures, or an enlarged liver, can all be signs that appear in response to untreated diabetes. They will need to be treated on top of the diabetes itself.
What to do if you spot symptoms of diabetes in dogs
Your dog can’t tell you how she feels in words, and you’re not a vet (or are you?) so as with any troubling symptoms you spot you should take her to a vet to see what’s what.
Your vet will take blood and urine tests, and should be able to make a straightforward assessment of whether your dog has diabetes. If she catches it early, you have a much better chance of giving your dog a good life.
If your dog has diabetes, your vet will likely prescribe a disciplined diet, exercise, and medicine routine. Your dog will need to eat a low fat diet with plenty of good proteins, fibre, and complex carbohydrates. Regular exercise is important, although she shouldn’t overdo it.
And just like a person, a dog with diabetes will need its insulin shots. You’ll need to check on her glucose levels daily, so that you and your vet can react to any anomalies as soon as possible.