Preventing and Treating Canine Diabetes

July 17, 2014

diabetes daily inventionBy Langley Cornwell

The diabetes epidemic is a problem in humans, but did you know that this insidious set of metabolic diseases is also a problem in the canine community? As in humans, diabetes mellitus is a result of a dog’s inadequate response to or total lack of the hormone called insulin. Other than that, though, it appears the diseases are slightly different in dogs than in humans.

Humans are susceptible to three different types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. In humans, Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent form of the disease. In dogs, it is generally thought that Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes is the most common. This assumption is under scrutiny, however, because there are currently no globally accepted definitions of canine diabetes.

Many experts, including the United Kingdom’s Royal Veterinary College, have come to recognize only two kinds of dog diabetes. There is the canine insulin-resistant type (IRD) and the canine insulin-deficient type (IDD), and neither of these forms of diabetes matches human diabetes precisely.


It’s impossible to prevent diabetes. One type, the kind that’s found in juvenile dogs, is inherited. But plenty of exercise and nutritious, wholesome dog food such as the CANIDAE Grain Free Pure formulas, can help prevent the onset of diabetes in adult dogs.


A lack of insulin production is the general cause of diabetes. Genetic predisposition, autoimmune disease, drug-induced diabetes, chronic pancreatitis or abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas may also contribute.

Even though obesity isn’t a primary contributing factor, it’s still important to manage your diabetic dog’s weight because obesity may limit his response to insulin injections.


diabetes carterseDiabetes is not easy to detect; some people call it a silent disease. Even so, as responsible dog owners, you will probably notice changes in your dog’s routines and behaviors, especially if you know what to look for. Be aware of any changes in your dog’s appetite; he may be hungrier and thirstier than usual. He may also urinate more frequently or develop a urinary tract infection. Weight loss, lethargy and vomiting are additional indicators to watch out for.

If you notice any of these common symptoms, ask your veterinarian to run a blood test to measure your dog’s glucose levels. Even though a high glucose level doesn’t necessarily mean diabetes, it’s a good start. Your vet may opt to run further tests to be sure.


It is impossible to summarize a canine diabetes treatment plan because dogs react differently to treatments. However it’s accomplished, the goal is to keep your dog’s blood glucose levels in a normal range. When achieved, this will prevent, or at least slow down, the onset of typical diabetic complications.

Blood glucose monitoring will likely be an aspect of treatment. This involves lightly pricking your dog’s skin, gathering a few drops of blood and running it through a blood glucose meter. Most treatment plans also involve one or two insulin shots daily.

All breeds can be affected by diabetes, but it is more widely found in Australian Terriers, standard and miniature Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Samoyeds and Keeshonds.

If your dog has been diagnosed with canine diabetes, please don’t despair. At first the blood glucose monitoring and insulin shots may seem overwhelming, but they will eventually become part of your daily routine. Furthermore, with a few small adjustments your dog can live a full and happy life.

Top photo by dailyinvention
Bottom photo by carterse

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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