Understand Your Dog’s Blood Glucose Levels

Canine diabetes mellitus management greatly depends on the owner’s understanding of their dog’s blood glucose levels. That implies knowing what normal blood sugar levels are and when your dog has high or low blood sugar.

Normal Canine Blood Sugar Levels

The normal glucose level in your dog’s blood is 80-120 mg/dc (milligrams per deciliter), equivalent to 4.4-6.6 mmol/L (millimoles per liter).

In healthy dogs, blood glucose levels can rise after meals to around 250-300 mg/dl (13.6-16.5 mmol/L). 

Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetic Dogs

A chart having information about glucose level

If a Dog’s Blood Glucose Levels are above 200mg/dl (11.1 mmol/L) that is already an indication of high blood sugar, whether your dog has diabetes or not. However, in clinically healthy dogs, such a reading is only temporary, usually after meals. 

In diabetic dogs, instead, blood sugar levels usually rise to around 400-600 mg/dl (22-33 mmol/L) and can go up to 800 mg/dl (44 mmol/L) in some dogs, causing diabetes hyperglycemia. Because of this, you will find high sugar levels in your diabetic dog’s blood or urine.

Canine Blood Sugar Levels in Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a common clinical condition in dogs characterized by blood glucose levels of less than 60 mg/dl (3.3 mmol/L).

This condition happens in diabetic dogs when there is no balance in glucose production and utilization. In other words, glucose utilization in your dog’s body exceeds glucose production. 

The situation can be caused by:

  • Low glucose levels in the diet.
  • Hyperinsulinism (increased glucose uptake).
  • Liver dysfunction.
  • Endocrine abnormalities.
  • A combination of more of the above factors.

Clinically, hypoglycemia signs (extreme lethargy, trembling, seizures, and skin discoloration, among others) do not manifest until your dog’s blood glucose levels are around 40 mg/dL-50 mg/dL (2.2 mmol/L-2.8 mmol/L). 

To stay on the safe side, feed your dog a meal if the pet’s blood sugar levels are below 60 mg/dl (3.3 mmol/L). 

If your dog is already showing signs of hypoglycemia and cannot eat or is unconscious, rub honey, corn syrup, 50% dextrose, or glucose syrup on the gums or other tissues of the mouth. Proceed to give the same solution once your dog can swallow or feed a normal meal. Then call or visit a vet immediately.

The Bottom Line

Canine diabetes treatment aims to maintain a blood glucose level as close as possible to the normal blood sugar range. A normal blood sugar level will prevent unhealthy or even fatal hypoglycemia. 

For a diabetic dog, a stable blood glucose range should be around 100–250 mg/dl (5.6–13.9 mmol/L) for the most part of the 24 hours in a day.

Dog’s Blood Glucose Levels FAQs

A couple of FAQs on dog blood sugar levels will complete your knowledge on the topic.

Hyperglycemia is when your dog has abnormally high levels of glucose and can manifest the following symptoms:

  • Polydipsia (increased thirst)
  • Polyuria (increased urination)
  • Excessive hunger
  • Severe depression 
  • Depression
  • Dehydration 
  • Bloodshot eyes 

Persistent hyperglycemia will lead to:

  • Weight loss
  • Obesity
  • Cataract
  • Nerve and tissue damage
  • Liver enlargement

Hypoglycemia will cause extreme symptoms in diabetic dogs if not addressed immediately, such as seizures and extreme weakness. If the blood sugar levels go below 18mg/dl (1mmol/L), hypoglycemia has devastating effects on your dog’s neurological system, which will easily cause your dog to die.