Diabetes in dogsDiabetes is one of the most common metabolic diseases in dogs, ca. one in 100 dogs is affected. Most dogs develop the disease between the ages of seven and nine. Certain dog breeds have a generally higher risk of developing diabetes. Mixed breeds and dogs weighing less than 22 kg are also particularly at risk. Female dogs and neutered males are also more often affected by the disease than other dogs.
If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, it's important to adjust his lifestyle and diet accordingly. Even if diabetes cannot be cured, a normal dog life with this disease is possible. However, he will probably have to be injected with insulin every day. If left untreated, diabetes can quickly lead to serious health problems – even death. We help you understand the causes and symptoms of diabetes in your dog and how to best support your dog.
What is diabetes in dogs?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body of the dog can not properly process the sugar contained in the food. The sugar balance or carbohydrate metabolism is disturbed.
After eating, the various nutrients from the food, including glucose, are utilized in the body. Glucose is normally transported through the body under the action of the hormone insulin to provide energy to the cells. If the dog has diabetes, the effect of insulin is disturbed or the hormone is not produced by the body.
When this happens, the glucose cannot travel through the body and supply the cells with energy, but instead accumulates in the blood. This increases blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), which can be problematic for your dog's health if not treated. After feeding, the blood sugar level of dogs with untreated diabetes rises rapidly. This is due to insulin deficiency, as insulin normally ensures that blood glucose levels change in moderation between meals. Dogs actually always get type 1 diabetes. In this case the insulin producing cells in the pancreas lose their function and an insulin deficiency occurs.
Diabetes in dogs: symptoms
If your dog is drinking a lot and needs to urinate very often, you should take notice. Especially if he is constantly hungry, eats a lot, but still emaciates. These are the most obvious signs of diabetes in dogs. Here you can find all possible symptoms at a glance:
– Severe thirst – Increased need to urinate – Frequent hunger pangs accompanied by weight loss – Lethargy (listlessness / increased need for sleep) – Cloudy eyes – Thinning or dry, dull-looking coat – Poor wound healing – Vomiting
Why do dogs get diabetes?
The exact background of canine diabetes is not yet known. Possible causes, however, can be a chronic pancreatitis, genetic predispositions or even the administration of certain drugs (such as.B. cortisone), which have an influence on carbohydrate metabolism. In non-spayed bitches, hormones can be responsible for diabetes. In this case, neutering is usually recommended.
Diabetes can occur in any breed of dog, but the following have a higher basic risk:
– Alaskan Malamute – Beagle – Cairn Terrier – Chow-Chow – Dachshund – Doberman Pinscher – English Springer Spaniel – Golden Retriever – Labrador Retriever – Poodle – Samoyed – Schnauzer – Spitz – Tibetan Terrier – West Highland Terrier – Dwarf Pinscher – Dwarf Schnauzer
How to diagnose diabetes in a dog?
If you notice symptoms of diabetes in your dog, your veterinarian can diagnose it with blood and urine tests.
What to do when the dog has diabetes?
If your dog suffers from diabetes, this disease must be treated for life. However, with the assistance of your veterinarian, his average life expectancy will not be affected. He can lead just as full a life as a healthy dog. There are several points that you should pay attention to when your dog has diabetes:
1. Regular insulin injections are essential for dogs with diabetes. Are needed at least once a day. The needles are very small, so some dogs don't even notice them. Insulin is best administered immediately after feeding. It is important that you adjust the insulin dose to the dog food eaten, in this case this means: If your dog has only eaten half the portion of food, then he also only gets half the dose of insulin! If you have given him too much insulin and the dog is shaky and weak, you should give him sugar immediately. You can then give him z.B. Spread honey directly on the gums or put special sugar solutions in the mouth. Of course, the best thing to do in this case is to seek advice from your veterinarian!
2. Diabetes in dogs: The right diet
Diabetes and diet are closely linked, so it's important to monitor your dog's feeding habits. The ideal food avoids a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and provides your dog with energy slowly and steadily throughout the day. Two meals a day with approx. 7 to 8 hours break in between is recommended. You should always feed at the same time if possible. You should be extremely careful with snacks and treats for diabetic dogs, it is best to leave them out altogether. Of course, you should also avoid that your dog becomes overweight.
3. Make sure you have the right routine and get enough exercise
The treatment of diabetes in dogs is more effective if feeding and insulin injections take place at fixed times every day. Regular exercise is also important, but in moderation. This allows your dog's muscles to better absorb and utilize the insulin. In addition, physical activities have a positive effect on blood glucose levels. Ask your veterinarian about the right daily routine for you and your dog.
4. Diseases and stress
As your dog's companion, you should know that general illnesses and stress can have a negative effect on his blood sugar level and that the need for insulin is then often increased. If your dog is sick, you should also discuss this with your vet right away.
Diabetes in dogs: Life expectancy
With the right diet and moderate exercise, the dog can have a life expectancy similar to a healthy dog even with diabetes. It's important to detect and treat diabetes in dogs early on. If the dog is well "adjusted" in terms of the amount of insulin needed and receives regular check-up examinations at the veterinarian, then this reduces the risk of concomitant or secondary diseases of diabetes.