Most people are probably familiar with diabetes in humans, but other animals like apes, pigs, and horses can also get diabetes. But what causes diabetes in dogs? Is there a way to cure diabetes in dogs? Let’s take a look at why a dog might get diabetes and what you can do to help.
What is Diabetes in Dogs?
Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your dog converts food nutrients into energy. Normally it’s caused by your dog having either a lack of insulin in their system or their body is not properly equipped to use the insulin.
If your dog is not producing enough insulin or if their body cannot utilize the insulin then have properly, their blood sugar will rise. This rise in blood sugar is what can make your dog feel ill or worse. Take a look below for the symptoms of diabetes.
What Puts a Dog at Risk for Diabetes?
There are many factors that put a dog at risk for developing diabetes, but the most significant are genetics and diet. There are some breeds that are more susceptible to developing diabetes. These breeds include Pugs, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles, Puli, and Australian Terriers.
While a certain breed may be more at risk than others, there are other factors that can influence if they are at risk of diabetes. Diabetes can occur at any age, but it is more likely to occur in middle aged or older dogs. Dogs who are overweight are more likely to develop diabetes.
Lastly, any dog who already has a health condition or genetic condition can be more prone to developing diabetes.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Diabetes?
If you suspect that your dog has diabetes, take a look for these symptoms:
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Weight loss for no apparent reason
- Changes in their appetite
- Their breath smells “sweet”
- They lack the energy they used to have
- They start getting urinary tract infections
- Their vision becomes poor or they lose it altogether
If you notice that your dog has any of these symptoms, you should consider bringing them to
your vet. If they suspect your dog has diabetes, they will carry out a blood test to help diagnose your dog.
If your vet’s tests conclude that your dog has canine diabetes, they will be able to suggest the best course of action.
How to Treat a Dog with Diabetes
There are three ways to help treat a dog with diabetes. These treatments can actually help any animal or person who suffers from diabetes. There is no known cure for diabetes, though treatment can allow an animal with diabetes to enjoy a perfectly normal life.
To help a dog with diabetes, you’ll have to take a look at their diet. For the most part, a diabetic dog’s diet will consist of good quality protein, fiber and a relatively low-fat content. You’ll likely include some complex carbohydrates as well. These carbs are slower to break down and will thus allow for a slower absorption by the body.
Exercise is another important key in fighting diabetes. Diabetes is much more common in dogs who are obese. So, exercise is one of the best ways to combat the disease. Exercising your dog helps to keep their blood sugar at a more constant rate. Without exercise, eating can cause a spike in blood sugar, and this can be followed by a sudden drop.
The only other treatment for diabetes in dogs is medication. A dog with diabetes will require a shot of insulin each day. The shot needs to be put under the skin. This insulin shot helps your dog better regulate their blood sugar.
Normally these three treatments are all that’s needed to keep a dog’s diabetes in check. Though, some cases can be a bit more difficult to manage. In all cases, you will be the person to make sure your dog is healthy.
It will be on you to check your dog’s blood sugar levels daily and administer insulin shots if they are deemed necessary. As always, your vet is going to be your best resource when trying to figure out exactly what your dog will need on a daily basis.