02 Nov Could Your Dog Have Diabetes?
The majority of people are aware of the risks of diabetes in humans, but do people know about the risks of diabetes in pets? November is Pet Diabetes Awareness month, and in honor of that, we’ve compiled a list of signs and symptoms to look out for, risk factors, as well as some tips on how to best care for your doggie after diagnosis.
What to Watch Out For
- Excessive Thirst – You may notice your pup is emptying their water bowl more often than usual. Drinking large amounts of water is one of the early warning signs of diabetes.
- Increased Urination – Frequent potty trips outside and the return of indoor accidents are red flags as well. Increased urination (like increased thirst) occurs because the body is trying to get rid of excess sugars through the urine.
- Sudden Weight Loss – Even if your pup may seem as hungry (if not hungrier) than normal, they may still be losing weight fairly quickly. This occurs because your dog’s body cannot efficiently convert the nutrients in their food. Cells can’t use sugar without insulin, therefore the body will start burning off tissue to create more glucose, resulting in weight loss.
- Increased Appetite – If your dog is scarfing down their kibbles and crying for more, it could be an early warning sign of dog diabetes. Your pup may be hungrier than normal because their cells aren’t receiving all the glucose they need from their normal amount of food.
- Weakness or Fatigue – Is your pooch a lot more tired than usual? When the cells of the body are deprived of sugars, your dog will begin to lack the desire to go on walks, run and play. A need for more sleep and overall lethargy is more common in dogs suffering from Type II diabetes.
- Thinning Hair – Particularly along the back, if your pup is losing hair or their hair has lost its luster, it’s a symptom of illness, not necessarily exclusive to diabetes. If your pet is frequently and excessively losing hair, it’s best to take them to the vet immediately to determine the cause.
Risk-Factors for Pet Diabetes
- Age – Diabetes can occur at any age, but it is most prevalent in middle-aged to senior dogs. Most dogs with diabetes were over the age of 5 when diagnosed.
- Gender – Gender also plays a role in the likelihood that your dog may develop diabetes, unspayed females have almost double the risk as male dogs do.
- Pancreas Damage – If your dog has had chronic or repeated cases of pancreatitis, permanent damage may come to that organ, resulting in diabetes.
- Obesity – Dogs who are overweight are at risk for developing a resistance to insulin, which over time may lead to diabetes.
- Steroid Medications – When these medicines are used long-term, they put your dog at a higher risk.
Life Post Diagnosis
If it turns out your pup does have diabetes, take a deep breath. With lots of love and the right kind of care, your furry little one can lead a long, healthy and happy life. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind, along with your vet’s instructions, of course.
Similarly to humans with diabetes, it is important to keep your dog in shape. If they are a bit overweight, now is the time to do your best to get them up and moving to help shed some excess puppy pounds. Losing weight will help your dog’s cells to better use insulin, making it much easier to turn food into energy.
Your vet will go over with you approximately how many calories your dog will need per day, and as long as you’re committed to keeping a close eye on what they’re eating and how much, they should start losing weight and their sugar levels should remain in check. It is important to make sure they’re eating though, giving a dog insulin on an empty stomach could have a negative effect.
If your dog isn’t very interested in their new, healthy, diabetes-friendly food, you may be able to convince them to eat by adding some shredded chicken or scrambled eggs to their meals. Low-sodium chicken broth has also worked for some dogs. Make sure to get approval from your vet before making any further changes to your pet’s diet.
Regular exercise is an important addition to any dog’s daily routine, but getting your diabetic pup up and walking will benefit them greatly. Taking them for walks daily and lightly exercising for the same amount of time every day is best. An unusually long or vigorous exercise session may cause blood sugar levels to drop.
Overall, the best thing you can do for your pup is pay attention to their behaviors, if they exhibit any of the listed above signs or symptoms, consult your veterinarian. Some dog’s medical conditions go undiagnosed for much longer than necessary due to lack of information. We’re hoping to spread awareness with this post, not fear!
“Diabetic Dog: Tips to Manage His Diet”, WebMD Pets, 2016.
https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/diabetes-dog-diet#2. Accessed 1 Nov. 2018
“Diabetes in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment”. American Kennel Club, 2016.
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/diabetes-in-dogs/. Accessed 1 Nov. 2018.
“Top Ten Signs Your Pet Has Diabetes”. PetMD, 2018.
“What Causes Diabetes In Dogs? The Signs, Symptoms, And What To Do About It?”, Dogs Naturally Magazine, 2018. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/diabetes-in-dogs/. Accessed 1 Nov. 2018
“Nine Signs Your Pet Could Have Diabetes”, Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker, 2010.
Last updated: January 08, 2019
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