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Pet Health

How to Manage Diabetes in Dogs


Like humans, dogs can be affected by diabetes too. Around 0.2% to 1.2% of dogs are affected, especially breeds like Samoyeds and Tibetan Terriers that may be predisposed. If your dog has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, it can be hard to come to terms with knowing they will need treatment.

Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that is caused by problems with insulin, an important hormone that processes food into energy. Diabetes in dogs is most often related to type 1 diabetes in humans, in which no insulin is being produced. Some dogs, however, can get type 2 diabetes, which is caused by obesity or hormonal changes and results in not enough insulin being produced. Unfortunately, diabetes is not curable. However, it can be managed in dogs with appropriate treatment options like insulin.

Signs and symptoms of diabetes in dogs

Signs and symptoms of diabetes in dogs are similar to those found in humans. These signs and symptoms may include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Changes in vision
  • Fatigue

If left untreated, these signs can progress into more serious complications. That’s why it’s important to monitor your dog for these signs and symptoms to ensure your dog gets appropriate treatment.

Managing diabetes in dogs

Insulin Most dogs will need to be treated with insulin after a diagnosis. Your veterinarian will help determine the best insulin and dose for your dog. They will also discuss the best ways to monitor your dog’s blood sugar levels while on insulin. Monitoring blood sugar levels can help you keep track of your dog’s blood sugar levels and ensure they don’t experience hypoglycemia, or dangerously low blood sugar levels.

Medications Dogs with type 1 diabetes should be treated with insulin and are rarely given oral medications. However, in some cases, dogs may be given oral medications, especially if they have type 2 diabetes. Oral medications may include an antidiabetic medication like Glucobay.
Other considerations

Diet Your veterinarian will typically recommend a prescription diet for your dog with diabetes. You will need to keep track of what you’re feeding your dog in regard to caloric intake and the types of food given. You should pick foods that are a source of high protein and low carbohydrates. A low-carb diet can help manage your dog’s blood sugar levels and ensure they are nourished and healthy.

Exercise While exercise is a great way to keep your dog healthy, activity levels may need to be monitored. If your dog uses up more energy and glucose while exercising on insulin, they could be at risk of hypoglycemia. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s potential activity levels, especially before going on a hike or engaging in another strenuous exercise.

Regular checkups It’s important to get regular checkups for your dog. Checkups will help make sure your dog is being adequately treated. The veterinarian can determine whether the insulin is working and make adjustments accordingly. Your dog may need to see the veterinarian every month or at least once a year depending on the severity of the diabetes.

Keep on top of your dog’s treatment

Insulin is often necessary to help manage diabetes in dogs. Depending on the type of insulin prescribed, prescription costs can be high. Pet insurance may help cover the cost of insulin and other antidiabetic medications. Other savings options are also available for pets that are uninsured or underinsured. Prescription discount cards for pets like the one provided by Inside Rx can be useful to lowering the price of medications.

Inside Rx has a specific prescription discount card for pets! The Inside Rx Pets card can be used at over 60,000 pharmacies nationwide. Inside Rx Pets offers discounts on human medications commonly prescribed to pets. You can easily search your pets medication and compare the cost of your dog’s insulin or other medication at pharmacies near you. Then, you can instantly download, print, text or email the card to yourself for free. Simply show the card to the pharmacist at check out to see if you can save! Most pet parents find that they can save up to 75% on brand and generic medications through Inside Rx Pets.

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