Type 2 Diabetes Guide

Diabetes in Dogs: Canine Diabetes and High Blood Sugar

The most common form of is diabetes mellitus, or "sugar diabetes." This occurs when the animal's body doesn't produce insulin, the hormone that allows the glucose in the blood to be delivered to the body's cells for energy. The result is .

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The excess high blood sugar is expelled through the urine. Dogs with diabetes will drink and urinate excessively. A housebreaking accident inside the home is often the first sign that alerts pet owners that something may be wrong. Other signs of diabetes in dogs include increased appetite, weight loss, recurring infections, and an intolerance to exercise. Sometimes dogs will suddenly become blind due to the development of cataracts.

The Effects of High Blood Sugar on Dogs

Dogs with high blood sugar are more prone to experiencing additional health complications. Some of these include:

  • Infections, like urinary tract infections or dental infections;
  • ;
  • Cataracts, leading to blindness;
  • Kidney problems.

Controlling High Blood Sugar With Insulin

Canine diabetes is diagnosed by a vet who will review the symptoms and order blood tests and sometimes urine tests as well. Once diagnosed, there is a period where the correct dosage of insulin for your pet needs to be determined. There is no standard dosage so the process may take some time. Some dogs may only require one insulin shot per day, others will need more. A vet might also recommend feeding a prescription food.

Note that there are many different types of insulin. It could take time to figure out which product works best for your dog.

Initially, dogs must be monitored frequently until the veterinarian feels that they are stable. Monitoring can be done less often after the dog is stable.

Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)

Once the dog starts receiving insulin, owners should be aware of the possibility of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Insulin works to lower blood sugar, so if your dog doesn't eat his meal or exercises too much, or if he is accidentally "double dosed" with insulin (eg. two members of the household each give him an insulin shot), then hypoglycemia can occur. This condition is not usually fatal, but it can be.

Mild symptoms of hypoglycemia include sudden hunger and lethargy. As it progresses the dog may begin to stumble, stagger, experience convulsions, and even drop into a coma. If you notice the signs of hypoglycemia, treat the dog immediately by offering him food or treats to get his blood sugar back up. The symptoms should ease. If your pet will not eat, rub some Karo or corn syrup on his gums.

You can prepare for a possible hypoglycemia attack by keeping syrup or sugar handy. Buy small travel containers to hold corn syrup in case of emergency. Keep one in the car, in your purse or backpack, or even attach it to your dog's leash with a pouch. Another option is to fill syringes with caps (without the needle part) with the corn syrup. You can also buy individual honey packets, as an alternative.

Canine diabetes and high blood sugar are treatable. Your veterinarian can show you how to administer the insulin shots, tell you what to watch for, and help you understanding how diet and exercise will affect your dog and his insulin dosages. Dogs with diabetes can be successfully managed and live long and happy lives.



The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience, and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual situation should be directed to your doctor.