Dog Diabetes: What Is It? Symptoms, Treatment & Costs

Dog Diabetes

Much like humans, dogs can develop and suffer from diabetes. Diabetes can be broken down into two categories: either Type I where there is a lack of insulin production, or Type II where there is diminished insulin production along with a poor response to the hormone.

The most common type of diabetes in dogs is Type I, where they require insulin therapy treatment in order to survive. Type I diabetes in dogs is hereditary, whereas Type II can be developed over time, and especially in old age, through poor diet and lack of exercise.

Although diabetes in dogs can be expensive to treat if misdiagnosed, it can be managed over time so that your dog can live a happy, healthy life with you. Dogs with diabetes can get back to a healthy lifestyle with the help of their caring owner.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where insulin in the body is either not produced at all, or not produced in large enough quantities to adequately control the level of sugar in blood causing hyperglycemia.

Type I diabetes is generally a genetic disorder that is passed down through parents to their pups.

Type II diabetes can be developed over time due to poor food quality, lack of exercise, and unhealthy living conditions.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dog

There are several symptoms and indications of diabetes to be aware of.

Most important are an

  • Increase in thirst
  • Increase in urination
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Sudden change in appearance of the eyes which indicates cataracts forming.

Notably, at the beginning stages of the disease, you could notice an increase in your dog’s appetite; however, dogs may experience a decrease in appetite as the disease progresses in severity.

If you notice your dog suffering from one or any combination of these symptoms, it is best to see advice from a vet immediately.

How to Treat a Dog with Diabetes

Treating diabetes can be easy once you have the right treatment plan for your dog. Discussing with a vet can lead to developing the right plan that will help your dog lead a happy and healthy life with a great life expectancy. Firstly, changing diets to a low carbohydrate and high fiber diet is important as it can help reduce the amount of sugar in your dog’s blood.

The main treatment for dogs suffering from diabetes is Insulin administration via injections. While this may seem like a daunting task at first, it is very important to master this treatment method, so your dog can get back to a healthy lifestyle.

How to Take Care of a Dog with Diabetes

Caring for a dog with diabetes may be difficult at the start, as they could become very ill very quickly leading to several days of intensive care at a vets office. Once your dog has reached a healthy blood sugar level or once they are able to return home, you will need to be sure to administer the proper treatment plan discussed with your vet and to change your lifestyle to fit the needs of your dog.

Most notably, weight management will be very important, and so you will have to ensure you are exercising your dog appropriately. This is the best way in which to care for your dog, so they can live a healthy life.

What to Feed a Dog with Diabetes

Dogs who suffer from diabetes will not have the right amount of insulin to carry the glucose converted from their food to their cells, which results in a much higher blood sugar level. Most dog foods are rich in carbohydrates which yields a higher risk of increasing blood sugar beyond a manageable level. As such, the healthiest diet for a dog with diabetes is a diet low in carbohydrate and high in fiber. This will optimize your dog’s energy levels and help them to sustain a healthy amount of blood sugar.

Another route to take would be to look into organic, antibiotic free foods for your dog. Other than having the right balance of carbs and fiber for diabetic dogs, they can yield other health benefits such as giving them a healthy coat of fur, promoting good oral health, and taking care of their digestive system.

Will My Dog Need Insulin?

The short answer is that yes your dog will need to take insulin injections daily. In order to treat your dog’s diabetes properly and effectively to maximize their chances at leading a healthy and happy life, they will require insulin shots up to twice a day in order to maintain the correct amount of blood sugar for their weight.

While a healthy, low-carbohydrate diet and plenty of exercise are also essential to managing diabetes, insulin injections are the foundation to the treatment plan.

Life Expectancy of a Dog with Diabetes

During the early stages of learning to manage dog diabetes, life expectancy was quite low. However, over time and with advances in science and animal medications, the life expectancy for dogs with diabetes is approximately the same as dogs without diabetes. This is fantastic news for dog owners, as pets can truly be part of the family.

The Treatment Cost of a Dog with Diabetes

Insulin injections are quite pricey for dogs, although they are required for the proper treatment and control of diabetes. Insulin injections costs vary depending on the amount of insulin they require. Some vets may offer discounts if you purchase insulin in bulk, but the costs will still be relatively high.

As well, vet fees for the check-ups and any intensive care that may be required while determining the correct treatment plan to manage your dog’s diabetes will vary depending on your veterinarian.

Not to forget the special diet your dog will require, you will likely need to an increased spend on healthier foods to help your dog lead the healthiest life possible. Diabetes is an expensive disease, but your dog is worth the extra expenses!

You can always talk to your vet about costs and how to manage the expense long term.



Note – If you are unsure about the health of your dog then please consult your vet. This article is not intended to be a replacement for advice from your vet.