Canine diabetes can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be if you know more about it. Your dog isn’t just a dog; they’re your best friend. They never leave your side and love you unconditionally. They’re there for you when you need a hug and when you “accidentally” drop a food scrap on the floor. They won’t let you down. And now, you won’t let them down either.
These five tips for managing your dog’s diabetes will turn a scary diagnosis into something manageable. You and your best friend can have many more happy moments together. Here’s some more on canine diabetes.
What Are the Signs of Canine Diabetes?
Diagnosis for canine diabetes isn’t always obvious, but if you know the signs, you can get Fido in for a check-up to confirm your suspicions. Common signs of canine diabetes include dehydration which manifests in increased thirst and urine output. You may also notice an increase in your pup’s appetite and weight loss.
And if they act a bit more lethargic than usual, this could be another sign of canine diabetes. Cataracts, while already a concern for your dog’s vision and quality of life, are another common sign that they may have diabetes.
Remember, just because you notice a change in your dog’s behavior doesn’t automatically mean they have diabetes. But you should pay attention to these signs, especially if your dog is at risk of getting the disease.
What Makes Dogs At-Risk for Canine Diabetes?
One of the most common at-risk factors for canine diabetes is age. While dogs can develop it at any age, most diagnoses will occur around seven to 10 years. Females are also twice as likely to get diabetes than males. Other risk factors include obesity and breed.
Some breeds are predisposed to diabetes, such as Alaskan Malamutes, labs, pugs, and poodles. Again, just because you may have a dog at risk for canine diabetes doesn’t mean they’ll get it. Visit your vet if concerned.
Is Dog Diabetes the Same as Human Diabetes?
Dog diabetes is classified into three types: Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 or gestational diabetes. As in humans, Type 1 diabetes in dogs is known as insulin-dependent, meaning that the body cannot make its own insulin. In both dogs and humans, you can control Type 2 diabetes with a change in health and diet and is non-insulin-dependent. Type 3 diabetes, more commonly known as gestational diabetes in humans, is typically related to pregnancy and hormone changes.
Dogs are most commonly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, while humans are more commonly diagnosed with Type 2. If your dog has canine diabetes, you’ll probably need to monitor glucose levels and give them insulin injections. But don’t fret; you’ve taken care of your dog for a long time. You’ve got this.
5 Tips for Managing Your Dog’s Care
With the following five tips to help manage your dog’s care, you’ll be good to go with the confidence to follow. Working alongside your vet, you’ll learn how to monitor glucose levels and get them back to where they need to be. You can also help control your dog’s diet while monitoring their exercise to help keep him healthy.
And if your pup happens to be a female, getting her spayed as soon as possible also helps manage your dog’s health and wellness. But one of the most important tools for managing your dog’s care is regular checkups with your vet.
Monitor Glucose Levels
Monitoring glucose levels isn’t as hard or complicated as you think. With the help and approval from your vet, you can easily monitor glucose levels at home, often using home glucose monitoring kits. Working with your vet, you’ll know what your dog’s levels need to be and when to administer insulin. You’ll need to give them a daily insulin shot, but most dogs won’t balk much because the needle is small, and they trust you.
Whether you need to administer insulin or not, controlling your dog’s diet is the best way to help manage his canine diabetes. Once diagnosed, your vet can also help you determine the best type of dog food. Generally, this means a high-fiber diet with balanced fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Combine the right food at the right time. Feed diabetic dogs the same food at the same time every day. This and the high-fiber diet make it easier to maintain the proper amounts of blood sugar your dog needs.
In addition to watching glucose, dog foods can have other dangers lurking. Find out if a pet food sensitivity test is right for your dog’s health.
Exercise also impacts blood sugar, so monitoring your pet’s activity is crucial to maintaining balanced blood sugar levels. It is also vital that your dog gets daily exercise. Like humans, dogs need to stay active throughout their lives to maintain a healthy weight.
And this is even more important with dogs diagnosed with canine diabetes. Once again, your vet can help you determine an appropriate exercise regime that matches their overall health and age.
Schedule Regular Checkups
Regular checkups become even more important when your dog has diabetes. While you can monitor glucose levels at home, this should be supplementary care. Your vet should be the only one making changes in the dosage and frequency of insulin. So to properly monitor your pet’s needs, take them in for regular checkups. These are some of the best ways to keep Fido healthy.
Type 3 canine diabetes occurs with pregnancy. You can prevent this by getting your female dog spayed. If they have had a previous pregnancy and were diagnosed with Type 3 diabetes, which generally goes away after birth, they can get it again in future pregnancies. And this type of canine diabetes can quite often be fatal. Get her spayed to avoid this.
Pro Tip: Caring for a dog with a chronic illness like diabetes may be easier than you think! Learn more here.
What Happens If Canine Diabetes Is Left Untreated?
If the body cannot regulate its own blood sugar and goes untreated, diabetes can result in death. Leading up to that, dogs can experience seizures, liver disease, and neuropathy resulting in partial paralysis of the hind legs. Dogs can also develop cataracts. If you notice a change in behavior in your dog, visit your vet. Together, you can decide on the next steps and best care.
How Long Does a Dog Live After Being Diagnosed With Diabetes?
Life expectancy after diagnosis will depend on many factors and can vary greatly from dog to dog. These factors include what type of diabetes, how early the diagnosis was, your dog’s response to treatment, and the age and overall health condition of your pet at the time of disease onset.
Unfortunately, many dogs do not survive more than a few months after diagnosis. However, some dogs can live comfortably for 2 to 3 years or more with the proper care and disease management. It’s important to work through a realistic timeline and treatment plan with your veterinarian and watch for the signs of various phases of the disease. Above all, listen to your dog and what their telling you their quality of life is.
Give Your Dog the Best Life With Proper Care
A diagnosis of canine diabetes is not an immediate death sentence. It’s simply something that you’ll need to take care of properly. And with the right care, your furry friend can continue to hike with you and keep you company on the couch. If you feel your dog may have diabetes, get them checked out immediately with your veterinarian.
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