Understanding Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs

November marks National Pet Diabetes Month. This pet health awareness event is designed to spread the word and encourage dog and cat owners to learn more about diabetes. Diabetes mellitus occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, stops making insulin, or is unable to use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone naturally produced by the pancreas that converts dietary sugar (glucose) to energy for cells in the body. When glucose can’t be converted into energy, extra sugar can build up in the blood. High concentrations of sugar in the bloodstream lead to health problems. This blog is all about dogs, but don’t worry, cat owners! We have a whole other post Diabetes Mellitus in Cats.

Know the Risks

Just like humans, certain dogs are more prone to diabetes. Diabetes can be diagnosed in dogs of all ages and breeds. Some risk factors can be managed, while others are due to aging or genetics.

  • Obesity
  • Age – Older dogs are more prone
  • Unspayed females
  • Genetics
  • Other health conditions, including pancreas and hormone disorders
  • Breed type – Some breeds are prone to the disease, including Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Toy Poodles, Doberman pinschers, Schnauzers, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, and Terriers.

Detection is Key

There are common warning signs associated with diabetes. If detected, visit your veterinarian soon to have your dog examined. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent complications and other serious health conditions.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination – may include accidents in the house
  • Change in appetite
  • Lack of energy or lethargy
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Dull or thinning haircoat

 Diabetes Diagnosing and Testing for Dogs

There are a variety of ways that your veterinarian can test and diagnose your dog for diabetes. These may include:

  • General physical exam
  • Urine testing for ketones or glucose
  • Blood testing to determine glucose levels
  • A1C Testing with A1Care

The A1Care A1C test is a blood test that measures the average blood glucose levels over the past 110 days in dogs. It’s used for diagnosis and early screening of diabetes. Because this test provides long-term monitoring, it shows how well your pet’s treatment plan is working. The A1Care test is also available for cats.

Diabetes Treatment Options for Dogs

Currently, there is no cure for diabetes in dogs. Fortunately, with proper treatment methods, this disease and its symptoms can be managed successfully. Regular vet check-ups help spot changes in your dog’s condition.

  • Regular check-ups
  • Insulin Injections
  • Blood glucose monitoring
  • Dietary changes to manage weight and energy needs. This may include therapeutic foods.
  • Plans for regular exercise or physical activity
How is Insulin Given to a Dog?
Insulin is injected subcutaneously, just under the top layer of the skin.

  • Traditional injections are a common method of choice. The correct dose of insulin is drawn out of a vial using a needle and syringe and then administered to your dog.
  • Insulin pens are a device that holds multiple doses of liquid insulin inside a chamber and can be reused. Pen needles attach and detach from the top of the pen for each injection.

While the thought of giving injections and managing diabetes may seem overwhelming, most dogs continue to live a long, happy, and good quality of life when their health is maintained. At VetRxDirect we provide a full selection of medications and products for diabetic dogs and cats. We will work closely with you and your veterinarian to help you manage your pet’s health.

Does your dog have diabetes? Is there a particular medicine or product that worked well? Please share your experience with us, and don’t forget to support #petdiabetesmonth

Pet Diabetes Month

This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease and is purely educational. Please seek advice from your pet’s veterinarian with any questions regarding your pet’s health.