Unfortunately, Canine Diabetes is not a fully curable condition. However, it can be managed. The goal is simply to maintain the levels of glucose in the blood as close to normal as possible. It may sound a bit daunting at first, but once you team up with your veterinarian, you will see that it is completely doable. With the proper treatment plan, a healthy diet, and ample amounts of exercise, diabetic dogs are capable of living long, complication-free lives.
In order for your veterinarian to come up with an effective treatment plan, they will need to take into consideration the severity of your dog’s condition, as well as his or her age, size, weight, underlying diseases or infections, and current medication regimen. Additionally, since there are various types of insulin, there may be a need for a bit of experimentation before you and your veterinarian find the right one.
Insulin comes in different strengths and forms, varying in terms of how fast they take effect, how quick they reach full potency, and how long they last. However, insulin can never be taken orally as a pill because it would not be able to withstand the acidic environment of the stomach. It will need to be injected under the skin to reach the bloodstream. Types of insulin commonly used in dogs include:
Once you and your veterinarian find the right insulin for your dog, you will be given instructions on proper insulin administration and dosing frequency. Your veterinarian will also teach you how to care for, and monitor, your dog at home. They may discuss with you the necessary diet changes, exercise routines, and regular blood glucose monitoring that will help your dog stay healthy and free of diabetes-related complications.
Diet plays a huge role in controlling Canine Diabetes. Without a carefully measured diet plan, you could risk overfeeding your dog. To prevent that from happening, it is best that you ask for your veterinarian’s help. He or she will be able to create a meal plan that can provide just the right amount of calories to support your dog’s health and daily activities. There is no specific diet for diabetic dogs, but most veterinarians recommend a high-fiber, low-fat diet. Check out some of the most top rated dry dog food for diabetic dogs below:
Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Weruva Grain-Free Natural Dry Dog Food
Ketona Dry Dog Food
Fiber slows down the digestion rate of macronutrients, including carbohydrates and fats, preventing sugar from getting absorbed too quickly. It also helps dogs feel full for a longer period. However, since fiber pulls water from the body, it is important to make sure that your dog drinks plenty of water to prevent constipation and other digestive problems.
Low-fat foods, on the other hand, have fewer calories. In combination with high-fiber foods, they can help your dog shed uncessary weight and maintain normal glucose levels. Remember to always feed your dog the same food, in the same amount, at the same time every day to keep his or her blood sugar levels stable and within normal range.
Type II Diabetes is common in overweight dogs. If your dog is bigger than he or she should be, then exercise should be a part of his or her daily routine. In some cases, type II diabetes is reversible, meaning if your dog sheds enough weight through proper diet and exercise, it is possible for him or her to recover from the condition. Similar to the feeding schedule, it is important to always exercise your dog in the same way, at the same time every day.
Blood Glucose Monitoring
Regular blood glucose monitoring may also be a part of your dog’s management plan. It can be done by your veterinarian in the animal clinic but you can also get a blood sugar test kit or a portable glucometer and test strips so you can do it at home. You may need to check your dog’s blood sugar levels a few times or several times a day, depending on the type of Canine Diabetes that your dog has. Make sure that you speak with your veterinarian about the proper frequency of blood glucose testing.
Whenever you check your dog’s blood glucose levels, it is very important to record the results. This will make it easier for you and your veterinarian keep track of your dog’s health status and spot abnormalities right away.
Regular Veterinary Checkups
Since Canine Diabetes is generally done at home, you will need to maintain routine vet checkups. This will allow your veterinarian to monitor the overall condition of your dog and make sure that the treatment regimen is working. Regular physical examinations will also prevent developing diabetes-related complications from going unnoticed.
To prevent your dog from developing Canine Diabetes, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle that involves a nutritionally-balanced diet, regular physical activity, and routine vet visits. If your dog needs to lose weight, you may need to consult with your veterinarian to come up with the right diet plan and exercise routine. Additionally, if your dog ever needs to take steroids, make sure that you follow your veterinarian’s dosage instructions very carefully to avoid overexposing the pancreas to the medication.
Always consider the nutritional value, as well as the long-term effects, of the foods that you feed your dog. Make sure that he or she is getting the right amount of vitamins, nutrients, and calories from his or her daily meals. Ideally, around 30% to 40% of the calories in a dog’s diet should come from meat-based protein and only 10% to 15% should come from carbohydrates and fat. Additionally, refrain from giving treats excessively, especially high-carb or high-fat variants. In fact, it is recommended that treats do not make up more than 10% of a dog’s diet. (American Kennel Club, 2018).
Along with a healthy diet, establish a daily exercise routine for your dog. Whether he or she is of a small or large breed, it is best to maintain at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. However, when choosing exercises for your dog, it is important to take his or her energy levels into consideration. For instance, if your dog belongs to a low-energy breed, such as bulldogs or basset hounds, a short stroll around the neighbood may be a better option than a rigorous activity, like hiking.
Adding anti-diabetes supplements to your dog’s diet can also reduce his or her chances of developing the condition. L-carnitine, for instance, is known to improve the digestion of fat and help the body maintain lean muscle mass while losing weight. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, are also proven to reduce the levels of unhealthy fat in the body, while also promoting steady weight loss, supporting immune function, and enhancing heart health.
If you are planning to include supplements to your dog’s diet, talk to your veterinarian first. It is important that a veterinary professional go over the supplements to determine the right dosage and whether or not it is okay for your dog to take them. If your dog is currently on medications, some supplements may interfere with the outcome of the treatment regimen or even cause complications.
Annual Physical Exams
Getting your dog checked regularly is one of the best ways to prevent Canine Diabetes, as well as other diseases and infections. Not only does it allow you to detect a developing illness early but it also gives you the opportunity to start treatment before it becomes worse. Catching a disease in its early stages makes the treatment more effective and increases your dog’s chances of making a complete recovery.
Top 5 FAQ
Can diabetes in dogs be treated?
Unfortunately, Canine Diabetes cannot be completely cured. However, the condition can be controlled through insulin therapy.
What causes diabetes in dogs?
There is no specific cause for Canine Diabetes, but an unhealthy lifestyle, obesity, genetics, and certain health problems, like autoimmune disease (body attacks healthy cells), chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and Cushing’s syndrome (overproduction of the steroid hormone cortisol), can increase a dog’s chances of developing the condition.
How much does the treatment of diabetes in dogs cost?
Generally, owners of diabetic dogs spend around $40 to $200 a month on insulin alone. At-home blood glucose testing adds about $10 to $40 a month for lancets and test strips, on top of purchasing a $20 to $500 portable glucometer. In animal hospitals, veterinarians usually charge $10 to $20 per blood glucose sample.
What does diabetes in dogs look like?
The four main warning signs of diabetes in dogs include frequent urination (polyuria), excessive thirst (polydipsia), inability to control urine (urinary incontinence), and increased appetite (polyphagia).
Is diabetes in dogs reversible?
Unfortunately, no. Most dogs that are diagnosed with Canine Diabetes will need to receive regular insulin shots, along with the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes, in order to live a normal, complication-free life.