Diabetes is relatively common in dogs, especially as they grow older. The symptoms are easy to overlook, too, potentially leaving diabetic dogs without the support they need to stay healthy. Fortunately, National Pet Diabetes Month aims to change that by building awareness about this disease through November and beyond. Ready to get started on this learning journey? Here are some things you need to know about providing diabetic dogs with your full support.
Understand the Risk Factors of Diabetes
Dogs can develop diabetes at any age, but their risk increases as the years go by. In fact, most dogs get diagnosed with this condition at five years of age or older.
Beyond age, there are many other risk factors to pay attention to, such as:
- Sex: Diabetes occurs in unspayed female dogs at twice the rate of males.
- Obesity: Excess weight leads to insulin resistance, potentially causing the metabolic system to go haywire.
- Genetics: The breed of your dog can potentially increase the risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
Certain health diagnoses, like pancreatitis, Cushing’s disease, and autoimmune disorders, point to an increased risk of diabetes as well. Long-term use of steroids can increase the risk of diabetes, too, especially when combined with other risk factors.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs
If you’re not actively watching for the signs and symptoms of diabetes in dogs, they’re rather easy to miss. Potentially serious health complications could arise as a result due to the lack of fuel going to the cells.
To avoid that, simply watch your dog for the most common signs and symptoms, including:
- Excessive thirst
- Always seems hungry
- Unexpected weight loss
- Increased urination
Your dog might even start having accidents in the house due to their inability to hold their urine.
As diabetes progresses, it’s common for dogs to lose their appetite and suddenly have zero energy for their daily activities. A depressed attitude can make it even harder to get them to go on walks or even play. Sometimes, dogs start vomiting as their body reacts to the metabolic changes.
In the end-stage disease, the symptoms may include urinary tract infections, kidney failure, and seizures. Cataracts are common in dogs with uncontrolled diabetes, potentially causing them to go blind. Ketoacidosis is a serious risk as well. This potentially life-threatening condition occurs as ketones, or blood acids, build up in the bloodstream.
Proper Management is Key in Helping Your Dog Thrive
Diabetic dogs can live happy, healthy lives with help managing their condition. They tend to fare the best when the disease gets diagnosed and managed early. But it’s possible to control even advanced cases of diabetes with the right approach.
The way you’ll care for your dog with diabetes depends on whether they have the insulin-deficient or insulin-resistant form. Your vet will let you know which type you’re dealing with upon making a diagnosis. Then, they will provide info on how to care for your dog through the coming years.
Depending on their recommendations, you may need to monitor their glucose and adjust their insulin levels each day. A glucose monitoring system makes it easy to complete regular checks. And your vet will show you how to give insulin injections as needed to help regulate your dog’s metabolic system.
A Healthy Diet and Exercise Routine Can Help Greatly
Dogs with diabetes greatly benefit from eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise every day. Excess sugar and fat can prove problematic, so it’s best to feed a high-fiber, low-fat diet. Aim to skip the beef in favor of fish and poultry or you can cut to the chase by choosing an insect-based dog food, like Cravin’ Cricket.
If you want to give treats, remember to select a high-fiber, low-fat snack as well to keep blood sugar levels stable. Good Grub Training Treats, for example, don’t just offer a prebiotic-rich protein source but also bump up the fiber with oats and pumpkin in the mix.
As for exercise for your dog, go for 15- to 30-minute daily walks at the very least. If you’d like to get your dog even more active, you can go for a job, try bikejoring, or just throw a ball for them. Dog sports, like flyball and disc, are also fantastic for dogs that need to run off their energy. Just remember to match the activity to their breed, age, and physical abilities to avoid injuries along the way.
Since it’s National Pet Diabetes Month, share your newfound knowledge far and wide. You never know whom you will help spot the signs of diabetes in their dogs, so send this guide to all your friends and family in hopes of helping the pets in your life.
Your Friends at Jiminy's
To create the perfect formula every time, we follow that up with whole food ingredients that offer natural probiotics in every bite. Together, the naturally prebiotic insect protein and probiotic-rich foods help build a strong gut microbiome. Our innovative protein doesn’t trigger allergies like traditional pet food ingredients either, resulting in better gut health for food-sensitive dogs.
Beyond that, our products are eco-friendly, humane, and safe for dogs of all sizes. So, you can definitely feel good about feeding your dog Jiminy’s – and your dog will enjoy our tasty Cravin’ Cricket and Good Grub flavors.