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Diabetes in dogs, what is its treatment?


Did you know that diabetes in dogs exists? Well, it does. This disease is not exclusive to humans and is also differentiated into two types of diabetes that are produced by different causes.
If you want to know how diabetes in dogs is diagnosed and treated, you just have to continue reading this article that we have prepared from Las Almenas.


What is diabetes in dogs?

Diabetes in dogs is a chronic metabolic disorder that, due to the inability of the body to produce or properly use the hormone insulin, makes it impossible for glucose to enter the muscles and generate energy. Therefore, this glucose accumulates in the blood, producing multiple consequences.
There are different types of diabetes in dogs, the most frequent are:

1-Type 1 diabetes

It is the most common type of diabetes in dogs. It is produced because the pancreas does not produce or produces very little insulin. In the face of this insulin deficit, it will be necessary to administer it before food intake. That is why this type of diabetes in dogs is also known as insulin-dependent.
The reason why the pancreas stops producing insulin is unknown, but sometimes there is a certain genetic predisposition to suffer from it. It is not that diabetes is inherited, but that there is a certain predisposition to have it if the parents are also diabetic.
There is also talk of the genetics of certain breeds that predispose dogs to diabetes. This is the case of the Samoyed or miniature Schnauzer breeds.

2-Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is not insulin-dependent. In this case, the pancreas does produce insulin, but the body develops resistance to it. This hinders the action of insulin and, therefore, the metabolism does not work properly. The failure of the organism may be due to obesity, an excess of inadequate food, lack of physical exercise or the age of the dog, since the older the dog is, the more prone it is to develop this disease.



Symptoms of diabetes in dogs

Diabetes is also known as the three “p” disease because its initial symptoms are polyphagia, polyuria and polydipsia, but there are also others to take into account:

  • Polyphagia

This is the increase in appetite and food intake. In spite of this, the dog usually loses weight and is tired and fatigued because its muscles and other cells do not receive the necessary energy.

  • Polydipsia

Increased thirst and water consumption is another symptom of diabetes in dogs. The need to drink more water is because the body needs to eliminate the blood sugar that is accumulating.

  • Polyuria

If you notice that your dog is peeing more frequently and in greater quantity, it may be because the kidneys are working harder to eliminate the excess glucose in the blood.

  • Tiredness and weight loss

As we say, especially in type 1 diabetes, and despite the fact that the dog eats more, we see that the animal is losing weight for no apparent reason. This is due to the fact that glucose does not reach the tissues, the muscles, and this causes weakness, tiredness?

  • Vision problems

When diabetes in dogs progresses and is not properly controlled, the blood vessels begin to be affected. Precisely the blood vessels of the eyes are the most affected by hyperglycemia, and cataracts can appear quite easily and suddenly.



  • Poor healing

Since the blood usually has excess glucose, wound healing is worse. Moreover, ulcers and other skin infection problems are more likely to occur.

  • Poor coat appearance and quality

Since diabetes is a disease that affects the whole body, the coat can also worsen because it does not receive the necessary nutrients.

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis

Since glucose does not pass into the cells, the body starts to burn fat to get the energy it needs. This causes excessive production of ketone bodies resulting in electrolyte changes in the body which, in turn, can cause vomiting or weakness, even seriously endangering the dog’s life.


Diagnosis of diabetes in dogs

Before any of the symptoms we have mentioned, it is necessary to go to the veterinarian to confirm or rule out that it is diabetes in dogs.
With a blood test we can detect if there are indeed rises in blood sugar or if there is glucose in the urine, something that is very common when diabetes occurs in dogs and also in people.
However, even if you are very familiar with human diabetes, keep in mind that the treatment is different when it comes to diabetes in dogs. Therefore, you will have to follow to the letter what your veterinarian tells you in order to control your dog’s blood glucose levels.


Treatment of canine diabetes

The first thing to keep in mind about diabetes in dogs, and also in humans, is that it is a chronic disease. That is, once it has set in, there is no cure.
Once your veterinarian has confirmed the diagnosis, you will need to provide essential care for your dog:

  • Administer insulin several times a day.
    In the case of type 1 diabetes in dogs, and since the body does not manufacture insulin, you will have to administer it through the skin, with subcutaneous injections. Your veterinarian will give you guidelines as to when to administer rapid-acting insulin (before meals) or basal insulin (which is slow-acting and prolonged during the day).By applying insulin correctly, you can help your dog regain his quality of life.


  • Check your dog’s blood glucose levels.
    You will have to check, with some frequency, certain parameters to make sure that the treatment is working and that the blood sugar is maintained at the right levels.


  • Encourage physical exercise.
    You will have to increase your dog’s sport and exercise. This will lower his blood sugar and also help him to maintain an optimal weight, which is essential for good control of diabetes in dogs.


  • Take care of your dog’s diet as much as possible
    In the control of diabetes in dogs, food plays a very important role and is decisive for the life of our furry friend. Therefore, you must be aware of this and try to educate your dog in this aspect.
    With food we can reduce the overweight of the animal, minimize the stimulation of pancreatic cells by glucose and stimulate the secretion of insulin.Therefore, it is necessary that the dog follows a diet low in fat, but that allows him to maintain the muscular mass, thanks to the proteins.


As for carbohydrates, we will have to opt for those that are processed slowly, such as cereals or dietary fiber, since with fast-acting carbohydrates we can provoke hyperglycemia.
The contribution of fiber is very important, since it delays the absorption of glucose and minimizes the glycemia after digestion.

Your veterinarian will also indicate the daily amount to be ingested depending on your dog’s exercise and weight. It is essential that you comply with this aspect to the letter.

Can diabetes in dogs be prevented?

In the case of type 1 diabetes, it is not possible to prevent its onset, but in type 2 diabetes we can prevent or at least delay its onset. For this, exercise and proper nutrition are essential, as we have explained.
A timely visit to the veterinarian, in case of any suspicion or symptom, can also help us to detect a glucose problem before it becomes type 2 diabetes.

Remember also that, although diabetes is not hereditary, there is a genetic factor that predisposes to suffer from this disease. Therefore, when acquiring a dog, it is advisable to avoid breeds that are more prone to suffer from this disease. It is also interesting to know the health of their parents and even grandparents and if any of them suffered from canine diabetes. For this, it is important that, at the time of acquiring the puppy, you go to a professional and legal breeder, such as Las Almenas, where we can guarantee the good health of their parents.

If at any time you have had to deal with diabetes in dogs, tell us your experience and your tricks to improve your pet’s feeding, sport or medication. You know that in Las Almenas we love to learn from your experiences, so you can leave us your comments just at the end of this article or on our profiles on  FacebookInstagram and the Las Almenas YouTube channel. We hope this information will help you avoid diabetes in dogs or help you improve your furry friend’s treatment. We look forward to seeing you in the next Las Almenas post!

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