Treatment For Diabetes In Dogs

Once your dog has been diagnosed with canine diabetes mellitus, you’ll need to start treatment immediately. It is crucial to bear in mind that treatment is not meant to cure your dog. Instead treatment for diabetes in dogs is about managing the disease for your dog to live a great life. 

Canine Diabetes Treatment Options

Canine diabetes treatment entails a combination of the following care and lifestyle options:

A vet checking a dog

Dog Diabetes Insulin Therapy

Most diabetic dogs require daily administration of insulin. You’ll need to learn to give your dog diabetes insulin injections under the skin. The typical dosage is two shots of insulin daily, best administered around the same time every day.

Your dog’s vet will recommend the best type of insulin for your dog. The most commonly used types of dog diabetes insulin are:

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

Diabetes Prescription Diet

Work with your dog’s veterinarian to create the best dog diabetic diet plan for your pet. Usually, a diabetic dog requires a high-protein diet with low fat, plenty of fiber, and a recommended amount of complex carbohydrates. Such a diet slows down glucose absorption.

If you opt for commercially prepared diabetic dog food, be sure to discuss it first with your vet. The vet will recommend the most appropriate type of diabetic food for your dog. 

You can also opt for a homemade dog diabetes diet. If you do, be sure to discuss this with your dog’s vet as well before proceeding to give it to your pet.

Dog Diabetes Exercise

A dog running on the sea bank.

Dog diabetes exercise helps you keep your dog’s weight in check. Healthy weight is crucial in regulating the production and use of insulin in the body. Regular but moderate exercise also helps in preventing a sudden spike or drop in glucose levels.

According to the Veterinary Centers of America (VCA), your diabetic dog should live indoors to provide a uniform living situation. As such, exercise should be more of indoor play. You should provide controlled uniform conditions if you opt for outdoor exercise.

Diabetes often comes with related infections. The most common are Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). The occurrence of UTIs in diabetic dogs happens due to three reasons:

  1. Diabetic dogs have more dilute urine than usual. As a result, bacteria can easily flourish because the chemicals usually present in concentrated urine which help kill bacterial are absent.
  2. Diabetic dog urine has high sugar levels. Sugar attracts bacteria and sustains its growth.
  3. A diabetic dog has a distended bladder due to frequent water intake. This enlarged bladder size allows bacteria to stay in the bladder longer than it should.

Other related dog diabetes infections include:

  • Dental disease
  • Eye infections (mostly cataracts)
  • Skin infections

Dog Diabetes Monitoring 

Dog diabetes monitoring is done in two ways: 

  1. Checking your dog’s behavior and attitude for any signs of distress, extreme weight loss, excessive urination and drinking, hypoglycemia, or ketoacidosis
  2. Measuring your dog’s blood sugar levels by performing a dog diabetes test. A dog diabetes blood sugar test is usually done at home. The dog diabetes urine test is not recommended as blood glucose in urine fluctuates a lot.

Spot glucose checks done at a particular time are good in detecting hypoglycemia. But they will not tell you how your dog is fairing generally. As such, multiple spot tests should be done to create a diabetes glucose curve in an interval of 2 hours for 12-24 hours. You’ll need to work with your dog’s vet to learn how to monitor your dog’s blood sugar with the diabetes glucose curve.

Dog Diabetes Treatment FAQs

A few frequently asked questions about dog diabetes treatment are worth including here.

Most diabetic dogs can live a normal life. However, that means a complete commitment from the dog’s owner to provide proper treatment with daily insulin, a proper diabetes diet, regular but moderate exercise, consistent monitoring of your dog’s blood sugar levels, and the timely treatment of diabetes-related opportunistic infections. 

According to PETMD, the life expectancy of a diabetic dog with no treatment can be as low as 3 months. The median survival for untreated dogs with diabetes is 2 years. 

However, dogs with diabetes should be treated since doing so will prolong their life expectancy. Also, untreated canine diabetes will cause your dog consistent pain and suffering. And that’s no way for any dog to live!