Do you have a diabetic dog? Do you want to learn more about how to test blood sugar in dogs?
Diabetes in dogs is a chronic condition that impacts dogs and cats, as well as many other animals. Canine diabetes is quickly becoming one of the common medical conditions around the world. It is important to know the basics about the condition for pet owners to provide the best possible care for a diabetic dog. Learn more about canine diabetes: symptoms, treatment options, and how to test blood sugar.
Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes commonly affects humans, dogs, and cats globally. It is a serious medical condition that could be life-threatening if the dog doesn’t receive the proper medical attention. However, a balance of medical and home care can provide a diabetic dog with a happy and long life.
Diabetes is a rather sensitive medical condition. Without proper medical care, it can increase a dog’s vulnerability to other disease and infections, such as skin, bladder, and kidney infections. Sometimes diabetic dogs also suffer from fat accumulation inside the liver, which may lead to an enlarged liver.
Proper and timely treatment is very important for diabetic dogs. When deprived of it, a diabetic dog might also develop neurological problems like showing an abnormal gait. Developing diabetic ketoacidosis is also common, where acids, ketones, and by-products of fat accumulate in the blood. A diabetic dog may start using the fat as an immediate source of energy that might cause ketone buildup, as they often have insufficient glucose for energy.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs
It is essential to diagnose diabetes in your dog as early as possible to provide care for them accordingly. Since many pet owners only take their dog to a veterinarian once or twice a year, it is important to know some common symptoms of diabetes in dogs.
A knowledgeable pet owner can recognize symptoms of the condition and then get the appropriate veterinary care and interventions.
Some of these symptoms include:
- lack of energy
- loss of appetite
- frequent urination
- extreme thirst
- weight loss
- urinary tract infection
- fruity or sweet smelling breath
Preventing Canine Diabetes
While diabetes can occur at any age and within any breed, there are a few things that can be done to lower the risk of diabetes,
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity in dogs can be put that at a much higher risk of becoming diabetic. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way to preventing diabetes.
2. Portion Control & Diet
Not all dog foods are created equal. Speak with your Veterinarian to ensure your dog’s food is healthy and promoting a proper nutritional balance. Overfeeding can lead to weight issues, which can impact your dog’s risk of becoming diabetic.
3. Healthy Immune System
Proper immune support can keep your dog healthy. Proper health monitoring and vet visits can help to keep your dog in good health. And immune system disorders may attack the pancreas and lead to eventual diabetes. Ensuring your dog gets the proper medical care can extend their life and keep them healthy.
What Makes a Dog “At Risk” for Diabetes?
Here are a things that put dogs at risk of becoming diabetic:
- Age – senior dogs are at a much higher risk of diabetes
- Genetics – specific breeds may be prone to diabetes
- Gender – female dogs are more likely to become diabetic
- Obesity – obesity can lead to insulin resistance
- Medical Conditions – underlying health issues and even certain medications can lead to a higher risk of diabetes in dogs
Treatment for Diabetes in Dogs
How simple or complicated your diabetic dog’s treatment program is will depend on the severity of his condition. In some cases, you might have to hospitalize your pet until his blood glucose level gets stable.
On the other hand, if a diabetic dog’s condition is not very serious, the veterinarian may only put the dog on an insulin prescription. Whatever your treatment process might be, you will be required to make some lifestyle changes for your dog, such as shifting to a healthier diet and following a proper fitness schedule.
Insulin therapy is one of the most commonly prescribed treatment programs used globally for humans and animals. It basically involves giving insulin injections to your diabetic dog to support the insufficient amount of insulin hormone the pancreas produces.
However, these are a few of the most basic elements of caring for a diabetic dog besides medical care:
- healthy meal planning
- a fitness schedule
- an effective blood sugar monitoring system
How to Test a Dog’s Blood Sugar Levels
This aspect of home care can be challenging for many pet owners with diabetic dogs. When measuring the blood glucose level of a dog there are a number of elements that may lead to wrong results, such as the amount of exercise done, food consumed, stress levels, and other medication the dog is taking.
Many times, veterinarians recommend pet owners use a home-based glucose monitoring system. That’s one place where these elements are standardized and don’t impact the results. This way, pet owners can maintain a record of blood glucose readings for their pet.
Keeping this record may also help out your veterinarian. This information is helpful for veterinarians when analyzing the right insulin type and dose for a diabetic dog. They can determine how well the current insulin prescription is working for the pet and what adjustments need to be made.
In addition, when you perform a blood sugar test at the veterinarian’s clinic, it may lead to inaccurate results. Pet can feel stress when taken to unfamiliar or confined spaces, or because the visit disturbs their appetite and exercise routine. That’s exactly why many veterinarians recommend using home-based glucose monitoring systems as a back-up.
Impact of Canine Diabetes
Even proper care and treatment of a dog’s diabetes does not prevent the condition from impacting other aspects a dog’s health. A diabetic dog’s liver can become enlarged, urinary tract infections are common and even eyesight can be impacted. Within the first year of being diagnosed with diabetes almost every dog will contract cataracts. Diabetic cataracts can appear quickly and vision loss can occur seemingly over night.
If your diabetic dog’s glucose level is well controlled and managed, you could benefit from keeping a record that might be useful to you or your veterinarian when trying to understand your dog’s progress. If you have questions about your diabetic pet’s condition or the blood glucose monitoring system you are using, make sure to contact your veterinarian to best maintain the health of your pet.
Thank you to guest blogger Mike Hutson for this post. Mike believes you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat their pet. He is an animal lover and pet owner himself and uses his blog to raise awareness for how one can take better care of their pets, by talking about diabetic dog treatment options, and other general precautions. Follow him on Twitter