All You Need to Know about Your Diabetic Dog
Before you find out how to test blood sugar in dogs, it is appropriate to first get the ground information about diabetes in dogs, which will help you understand your options.
Contrary to popular belief, even dogs with a healthy diet and exercise routine can have diabetes. Just like with diabetic humans, at times a dog’s body may either stop generating the required amount of insulin or it may be unable to utilize the generated insulin. In either of the situations, the result is diabetes mellitus.
This chronic disease or condition can affect animals like dogs, cats, pigs, apes, and horses. Although it might not be possible for you to cure your dog’s diabetes, you can manage and control the condition successfully.
What causes Diabetes in Dogs?
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is caused due by a lack of insulin production and Type 2 is caused by impaired insulin production with an insufficient response to the hormone. The most common type of diabetes in dogs is Type 1, which is the insulin-dependent form of diabetes.
An incurable disease, diabetes represents the inability of your dog’s body to properly utilize the carbohydrates or sugar in the body. This happens because either your dog’s pancreas does not produce enough of the hormone or insulin the body needs.
The drawback of this vital irregularity in the utilization of carbohydrates means that the most basic source of energy – nutrients and sugars – are not able to enter the body cells of your dog. Instead, they go to waste by staying back in the bloodstream while your dog’s body literally starves due to lack of energy or sugar.
Even though the exact cause of your dog’s diabetes may be unknown, autoimmune disease, obesity, genetics, exposure to certain drugs, chronic pancreatitis and abnormal deposition of protein in the pancreas could be few key reasons for the development of the condition. However, many studies show that when it comes to diabetes in dogs, genetic predisposition has a larger role in diabetes mellitus than other factors like obesity or contact with the certain medication.
Symptoms of Canine Diabetes
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes in dogs?
Some of the early signs and symptoms of diabetes in dogs that an owner might notice are:
1. Your dog is excessively thirsty. He or she may drink more frequently and empty his or her water bowl more often than normal.
2. Your dog is urinating more frequently. You may notice your dog is asking to go outside more often or he or she may even start to have accidents inside the house. The increase in urination and thirst is because your dog’s body is trying to lose the excess sugar via urine, together with body water that comes in contact with the sugar.
3. Your dog is losing weight. Losing weight, despite maintaining the same food portions, diet choices and amount of exercise can be one of the early signs of diabetes. This happens because your dog is no longer efficiently utilizing nutrients from food.
4. Your dog has an increased appetite. You may notice your dog to be hungry all the time. This happens because his or her body cells are not receiving energy or the glucose that they need, even with a normal, healthy diet.
Once the disease becomes more pronounced, the advanced signs and symptoms of diabetes in your dog could also include a loss of appetite, lack of energy, uninterested or depressed attitude and vomiting.
Diagnosis of Diabetes in Dogs
If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms in your dog, make sure to take your dog to the veterinarian so they can perform some basic tests on your dog for diabetes such as testing for an excessive sugar level in the blood and urine. Sugar level is not the only way to diagnosis diabetes. High liver enzymes and electrolyte imbalances also indicate diabetes, which can also be determined through a blood test.
The sooner your dog’s diabetes is diagnosed and treatment has begun, the better chance your dog has for a normal, healthy life.
Treatment of Diabetes in Dogs
Ask your veterinarian for the recommended diet plan for your diabetic dog. Normally veterinarians recommend a high-quantity protein and fiber diet and suggest avoiding foods with high carbohydrate and fat counts, which will help slow down the glucose absorption process.
Veterinarians highly recommend maintaining a moderate and consistent routine of exercise, which is specifically very important for diabetic dogs to avoid sudden highs and lows in the blood glucose levels.
You will have to consult your veterinarian for what therapy method they put your dog on. Often, diabetic dogs need a daily dose of insulin injections, which most often you, as the owner, will have to learn how to perform. This process is rather simple, quick and easy to get used to for both the dog and the owner.
Managing and monitoring the condition of your Diabetic Dog
Diabetes in dogs can usually be successfully managed, without any complications. However, some cases may be somewhat more challenging than others. You have the primary role to play in successfully maintaining your dog’s diabetes, from monitoring your dog’s sugar level to giving them injections. Hence, it is important that you are committed to providing the necessary care and keeping up with your dog’s daily routine.
Discuss with your veterinarian and work out a management plan that works best for your dog. It is normal to have frequent visits to the vet for regular tests and medication adjustments during the initial phase of the plan. Hopefully, you and your dog will soon come to the right balance of medication, dosage, diet plan and home-based monitoring, which will help your dog live a long, happy life.
Lastly, when making your diabetic dog’s management plan with your veterinarian make sure to cover the following points:
1. Insulin therapy – the dose of medication and how to inject your dog
2. Diet plan and exercise routine
3. How to test the blood sugar level in dogs – the best monitoring system for your dog
4. If you should watch out for any warning signs
I am Linda Jones and I am part-time blogger. I like to write about subjects that can really help my readers like cleaning hacks for pet owners, tips for people with diabetic pets, blood glucose monitoring system for pets and how to test blood sugar in dogs.