3 Ways to Monitor Your Pet’s Blood Sugar Levels Without a Glucometer
Other Ways to Monitor Your Pet’s Blood Sugar Levels
While using a glucometer is still the best way to keep track of your pet’s blood sugar levels, there are plenty of factors that can affect its results. This includes stress, improper storage of test strips, and an inadequate blood sample.
Knowing other ways to tell whether or not diabetes is being effectively controlled in your pet can help you detect developing issues regardless of the glucometer reading. On top of that, it’ll allow you to get your pet help in situations where there are no glucometers around. You can never be too safe! That said, here are 3 ways you can monitor your pet’s blood sugar levels without a glucometer:
Weight and Appetite
When it comes to monitoring diabetes in pets, the proportion between weight and appetite is always something to keep an eye on. If your pet’s condition is properly managed, they should be eating normally and not losing nor gaining a significant amount of weight.
Glucose comes from food, but for glucose to be converted to usable energy, there needs to be enough insulin. Like a key is to a doorknob, insulin is the one that “unlocks” the cell barrier and allows glucose to enter the cells, stimulating the conversion process.
If there’s an insufficient amount of insulin, your pet’s body will start breaking down protein and fat stores as alternative sources of fuel, thinking there isn’t enough glucose for cells to absorb. This will cause your pet to feel hungry all the time and eat more than usual but continue to lose weight.
Another thing to look out for is excessive drinking of water (polydipsia), which normally goes along with frequent urination (polyuria). When blood sugar levels aren’t controlled, the body tries to compensate by pushing out excess sugar into the urine.
However, since sugar attracts water, it causes diabetic pets to urinate more than usual and in larger quantities. This leads to increased thirst and therefore, increased water consumption.
If you notice that your pet is drinking more water than usual, let your veterinarian know immediately. If you’re following your pet’s treatment plan to the T, your veterinarian may need to make adjustments to correct the imbalance. It’s also very important that you let them know if you’ve made any changes in your pet’s diabetes management plan so they can act accordingly.
If you’re someone who gets squeamish at the sight of blood, then urine testing is a great alternative to using a glucometer. You’ll simply need to collect a sample of your pet’s urine, dip a test strip into the container holding the urine, and wait for a color change. It will check for glucose and ketones, which are produced when the body breaks down fat for energy.
While the presence of glucose alone normally means that blood sugar levels are just higher than normal, the presence of ketones is a clear indication that a complication is likely to develop very soon. So if there are ketones in your pet’s urine, contact your veterinarian immediately. Never attempt to make any changes to their insulin dose on your own.