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Diabetes in dogs - Discover its symptoms, causes and treatment

Diabetes en perros - Descubre sus síntomas, causas y tratamiento

Lobo Azul |

As with people, dogs develop diabetes due to different circumstances , being a disease that can destroy the animal's body if it is not treated in time.

The worst thing about diabetes in dogs is not the immediate symptoms, which are usually very bad in themselves, but rather that in the long term it affects a large number of organs until many of them stop functioning correctly.

What is the diabetes?

To stabilize blood glucose levels, dogs' bodies (and ours) generate a hormone called insulin, which the pancreas is responsible for.

In this way, the correct levels are established and glucose, which provides energy, does not cause problems, but that is different when diabetes appears.

This is a chronic disease, which will not be cured as long as the dog lives, and which causes either the pancreas to not be able to produce enough insulin or our best friend's body to not use it as it should .

Among other problems, in the short term it causes glucose levels to rise and fall without control, potentially killing the animal due to either an excess or a deficiency of this hormone, since both scenarios are equally serious, perhaps a little worse. abrupt descent.

Types of diabetes

In order to complicate things even more, there is not only one type of diabetes in dogs, but the veterinarian has to face two possibilities and do tests to find out which of them our dog suffers from, since the treatment is different.

Type I Diabetes

It is the most common and the one that is most difficult to treat, since as a general rule the animal becomes dependent on the injected insulin.

Your body is not able to produce this hormone, so your blood glucose levels skyrocket.

Type II Diabetes

Less common and with a simple treatment, since it is not necessary to inject our best friend with insulin daily.

It usually occurs because the body does not adequately use the insulin that the pancreas produces, or because it generates too little for glucose levels to be stable.

Symptoms of diabetes in your dog

The symptoms of diabetes can be confused with other diseases, or sometimes we don't even think that something strange is happening to him, but rather he is going through a period of less activity or when he is more hungry.

You must always be attentive to changes in behavior, since this sudden lack of energy may not be due to the heat, but rather because your blood sugar levels are very high or low.

One of the clearest symptoms is weight loss . Little by little we notice that even though he eats more, the dog is losing weight, which should put us on alert, in the same way as when we notice that he drinks more water and urinates often.

We may think that it is normal that he urinates more now, but what is not natural is that he suddenly drinks so much water, going so far as to pee inside the house when he had never done so before, or at least not since he was a puppy.

It is also possible to notice that the animal lacks energy, stops playing or sleeps more than necessary, which is due to sudden changes in glucose levels.

Almost always these changes in the dog's attitude appear combined, so it is easier to get alarmed, although just one of them should make us make an appointment with our trusted veterinarian right away.

Causes of diabetes in dogs

Diabetes usually has a series of causes, or at least there are some that favor its onset, which can sometimes be avoided or delayed as long as possible.

Genetic factors

There are breeds such as the poodle , the schnauzer or the dachshund that are more likely to suffer from this disease, although dogs of other breeds and even mixed breeds also have it if one of their ancestors has suffered from it.


As the years go by, the body begins to function worse, as if it were getting tired, and unfortunately for us, this happens early in dogs, who from the age of seven already enter what we call old age.

For this reason, it is after seven years that most cases occur, which are very rare in puppies and younger dogs.

Thus, as the dog's age advances, the possibility of having diabetes increases, although we should not be scared because it is not a very common disease.


At the beginning we said that in some cases diabetes in dogs can be prevented and this is the situation in which we can intervene so that diabetes does not appear.

In fact, the main cause of diabetes in pets is obesity , so if our dog is overweight, we must take action on the matter as soon as possible, always in agreement with the veterinarian.

There are specific foods that help dogs lose weight without going hungry, adding more fiber so they feel full sooner, and moderate exercise helps speed up the process.

Life expectancy of a diabetic dog

The life expectancy of a dog with this disease depends a lot on when it is detected and if appropriate treatment is given.

If detected early, life expectancy does not have to be significantly shortened, so that a diabetic dog will live the same as one that does not have diabetes receiving appropriate treatment.

Solutions or treatments

There are several solutions that manage to control diabetes in dogs, and which must always be combined under strict veterinary monitoring that must be periodic, since the animals have to be checked every so often.

One of the solutions is through exercise . This keeps obesity away and also ensures that glucose is used up, since the dog's body burns it when it does sports.

This exercise must be adapted to the breed, age and weight of the animal, since a young German shepherd will not be able to do the same sport as an old one or a dog like the English bulldog.

It is very important to stick to the foods that the veterinarian tells us, so that the idea of ​​giving him what we are eating, such as pieces of bread, chips, etc., is over, and the family must be made aware so that Do the same, especially to children.

We must always keep in mind that this disease is chronic, which means that it cannot be cured and that it will accompany our dog for the rest of its life, so we can even change some of our own lifestyle habits, going out more for walks with our dogs. he.

Specific food for diabetic dogs

In addition to insulin, a fundamental part of treating diabetes in dogs is diet.

It has to be very rich in protein, low in fat and with little starch, and contain a good amount of fiber, which makes glucose absorption slower.

It should have more L-carnitine than normal, an amino acid that stimulates the body to produce insulin.

Luckily, this stopped being a problem years ago and right now on the market there are several brands that offer both wet and dry food, with which we will not have to worry about offering our best friend adequate food.

It is true that these feeds that many call “veterinary diet” may be a little more expensive than normal feeds, but the price does not increase too much compared to a premium feed of the best quality .

Now it can be purchased easily through the Internet , and the veterinarian will also bring them to us if we ask, the best option if we have time, because this way we can take advantage of it in order to ask him a question.

If we want to give him food made by us, we must ask the veterinarian, brown rice will work very well as a base, and also some fruits such as apples, which dogs usually love for their flavor.

Specific medications

In the case of type I diabetes, which occurs because the body does not produce insulin, there is no other remedy than to administer insulin in the form of injections , with which we will avoid the complications of the disease.

The veterinarian will be the one to explain to us how to do it, how to use it and what dose to use. It is very important that we respect the initial dose and that we learn to adjust it ourselves depending on the blood glucose levels.

We will know these levels thanks to the controls we will do at home, with a glucose meter that works by putting a little blood on a test strip.

It is crucial here that the meter is specific for dogs, since the calibration has to be different from that of human devices because glucose is more concentrated in the plasma in dogs.

It will be necessary to carry out check-ups from time to time at the veterinarian, so that he can perform the necessary tests in order to monitor the evolution of the disease.

We should not worry about having to prick dogs daily, since there are cases of animals that "seek" for us to give them the injection, as they quickly associate that when we give them they feel better.

There are also a series of supplements in the form of tablets , almost always coming from plants, that can help keep glucose more stable, and that will be suitable for both types of diabetes in dogs.

You have to talk about it with the veterinarian, because some do use them and others won't want to, although the truth is that we don't lose anything by trying it for a while and measuring the results.

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