Medication For Diabetes In Dogs

Insulin is the primary medication for diabetes in dogs. Once your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, he will need daily administration of insulin.

The most commonly used insulins for dog diabetes treatment are:

  • Vetsulin
  • Humulin N 
  • Caninsulin
  • Detemir (Levemir)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved ProZinc (protamine zinc recombinant human insulin) to manage diabetes mellitus in dogs in 2019.

A droplet coming out of a needle

Let’s discuss each of these medications briefly.


Vetsulin (porcine insulin zinc suspension) is the first veterinary insulin approved by the FDA for feline and canine diabetes management.

Key Vetsulin Features

  • It is an intermediate-acting insulin, which means it takes 2 to 4 hours to work fully, and its effects last up to 18 hours.
  • Does not only control blood sugar levels in your diabetic dog but also reduces the symptoms of diabetes. 
  • It has two delivery options: a U-40 insulin syringe & a convenient pen design.
  • Unlike human insulin, Vetsulin has the same amino acids as natural canine insulin. As such dogs using it are less likely to develop resistance against the insulin

Humulin N 

Humulin N is injectable intermediate-acting insulin for the management of diabetes in dogs. It allows the blood sugar to be delivered to the cells so it can be used as energy.  Humulin N is created by mixing human insulin with other dog treatment ingredients. 

Humulin N Key Features.

  • Slow and more prolonged activity.
  • Rapid improvement of blood glucose levels and improved diabetic symptoms.
  • Recommended control of blood glucose levels in diabetic dogs.


Caninsulin is intermediate-acting insulin presented in a 40 IU/ml aqueous suspension of highly purified porcine insulin.

An injection filled with insulin

As with Vetsulin, Caninsulin has the same amino acids as natural canine insulin. This makes it less likely to cause resistance in dogs.

Key Features of Caninsulin

  • Caninsulin takes 4 hours after subcutaneous administration to reach its maximum effect and lasts for about 8 hours.
  • Caninsulin controls blood sugar levels in your diabetic dog and reduces the clinical signs of diabetes.
  • Has two administration modes: Caninsulin U-40 insulin syringe 2.5 ml/10 ml vials & VetPen® Convenient pen design 2.7 ml cartridges.

Detemir (Levemir)

Detemir, or brand name Levemir, is a long-acting insulin, meaning that it can work for an entire day. It is used to treat hyperglycemia and the clinical signs of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

It is originally human insulin that’s modified to manage diabetes in dogs and cats effectively.

Key Features of Detemir 

  • Administered as a subcutaneous injection.
  • As long-lasting insulin, it has a prolonged absorption and, therefore, a steady treatment action.

Research has shown that lower dosages of Detemir are required than for other insulin medications. This also means it should be used with caution in smaller dogs. 


ProZinc (protamine zinc recombinant human insulin) is a feline and canine diabetes management drug. It is specifically used to reduce hyperglycemia and the related clinical signs in canine diabetes mellitus.

The canine diabetes medication was approved in 2019 by U.S. FDA. It is known to give effective results for high blood sugar with a single dose daily for most dogs. 

ProZinc is administered immediately before or after meals.

Key Features of ProZinc

  • Extended duration of action (between 16 and >24 hours).
  • Effective glycemic control with low variability in blood glucose levels during the day.
  • Notable improvement in canine diabetes clinical signs, including polyuria, polydipsia, and weight loss.

Dog Diabetes Medication FAQs

Dog owners often have these questions about dog diabetes medication.

There are oral diabetes medications that have been successfully used to treat diabetes mellitus in dogs. For example, Acarbose 50 mg tablets have been proven effective in controlling high blood sugar in diabetic dogs.

According to VCA, however, dogs do not respond very well to oral diabetes medications. They are best treated with insulin shots.

The cost of dog diabetes medication will depend on the type of insulin prescribed by the vet for your dog and the dosage. Overall, you can spend around $40-$80 for small-sized diabetic dogs. For larger diabetic dogs you might be looking at around $80-$150 every month.

Final Thoughts

There are different types of dog diabetes medication that your dog’s vet can prescribe to control and manage your dog’s diabetes. 

Always work with your dog’s vet for any issue regarding your dog’s diabetes medication. Also, avoid any form of auto medication as this could complicate your dog’s diabetes situation.