Dogs are a man's best friend, so it stands to reason that we would want to protect our four-legged pals as much as possible, especially from something so severe as diabetes.

It's a well-known fact that diabetes is a disease that affects many millions of Americans, but did you know that this chronic condition can affect animals too? There are around 90 million dogs in the USA. Whether they're kept as pets or working dogs, there is some risk they could end up with diabetes.

How Common is Diabetes in Dogs?

Diabetes roughly affects one in every 308 dogs, so that means there are over 29,000 dogs in the USA with the disease. But the important question to ask is, how do you spot it? Since dogs can't tell us how they feel, it's important to understand and recognize the symptoms that dogs display when they have diabetes.

If you have identified that your pet might be suffering from diabetes, it's time to get it checked and confirmed by your local vet. The good news is that diabetes in dogs can be managed with the right pet medicine and your dog can continue to live a happy life.

What is Diabetes in Dogs?

Like human diabetes, diabetes in dogs takes two different forms:

  • Insulin deficiency: This occurs when the pancreas is damaged or not functioning correctly, and therefore the body doesn't produce enough insulin. This is the most common type of dog diabetes and is managed by giving the dog insulin shots.

  • Insulin resistant: When the dog's body produces insulin, but it isn't processed properly. Glucose remains in the blood instead of being pulled out into the body's cells. This kind of diabetes is typically seen in older, overweight dogs.

The Top Symptoms of Dog Diabetes

- Frequent Urination

One of the most immediate and noticeable symptoms is that your dog needs to pee more often. Called Polyuria, this happens because the kidneys cannot filter glucose fast enough, so the blood sugar ends up spilling from the bloodstream into the urine. When this happens, water gets pulled in with it, which causes the dog to urinate more frequently.




- Unquenchable Thirst

This is a side effect of the frequent urination. As your dog becomes more and more dehydrated from passing water, it will need to drink more to replace it. 

Often, it is mistakenly thought that the reason a dog is urinating more because of the amount of water it is drinking. Actually, it is the other way around. The dog is drinking to replace the water it passes. If you notice your dog drinking and urinating frequently, it's time to get him checked out by a medical professional.



- Insatiable Hunger

We know that dogs are pretty hungry most of the time and will eat pretty much anything that comes their way. A dog suffering from diabetes, however, may howl and cry for food constantly.

The reason for this is that the imbalance of insulin causes the body to fail to recognize that glucose is present. When this happens, the body thinks it is starving and therefore needs to eat.


- Weight Loss Despite Eating Normal Amounts

Because the insulin isn't doing the job it's meant to, the body will start to break down fat and muscle to use as energy instead of using glucose. When this happens, the dog will start to lose weight, despite eating usual or increased amounts of food.

It's important to understand, however, that weight loss is a common symptom of many different diseases. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, therefore, don't jump to the conclusion that its diabetes. Get your dog checked out to determine what's wrong.


- Your Dog’s Eyesight Starts to Suffer

Cataracts cause eyes to go cloudy, affecting the vision and eventually resulting in blindness. Cataracts occur in dogs with diabetes because glucose cannot be processed out of the eye fluid.

If left, cataracts can cause the dog to go completely blind. Simple surgery is available to remove the lens of the eye. This procedure will remove the cataract, but the dog will suffer permanent loss of vision as a result.

Vision impairment is one of the most long-lasting issues that arise from dog diabetes and it can become total and permanent. It can occur over a few months or even in as little as 24 hours. As soon as you notice any cloudy/milky effect in your dog's eyes, take it to the vet.



- Vomiting Without Cause

If the diabetes is unnoticed and, therefore, untreated, the dog can eventually go into something called ketoacidosis. This is where the body produces an unsustainable amount of ketones to compensate for the lack of insulin.

When this happens, the dog will appear very lethargic, have little to no appetite, and will vomit. Another sign of this condition is that its breath will have a distinct smell - a bit like acetone (nail polish remover). If your dog starts to display these symptoms, consider it an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.


Treatment and Management of Dog Diabetes

If your dog is diagnosed with the disease, then you will be advised to make changes to the dog's lifestyle and/or be given pet medications to treat your dog. Thankfully, with careful management and administration of the right kind of pet meds, you can manage diabetes in dogs and your dog can lead a relatively normal life.

  • Exercise: Consistent and moderate exercise is key to avoiding spikes and dips in your dog's glucose levels.

  • Diet: Your vet will recommend the most appropriate diet for your dog to help manage the condition. A typical diabetic diet will be low-fat and contain high-quality protein along with complex carbohydrates and rich fiber.

  • Insulin injections: Dogs with an insulin deficiency will require a shot of insulin administered under the skin.

  • Oral Medication: Dogs with type-2 diabetes, insulin resistance, can be given an oral medicine to help manage their condition.

Buying Pet Medications Online

A lot of online pharmacies will also include a range of pet drugs where you will be able to fulfill your pet prescriptions and have them delivered to your door. Using one of these services is often much cheaper and quicker than going to your local pet pharmacy or veterinarian.

If you’re looking for the best online pet medications, Global Pharmacy Plus carries a full line of pet medications and costs up to 70% less than local vet pricing.

By remaining vigilant to your dog's behavior and learning to recognize the early signs of diabetes, you will be able to seek help and treatment before the condition gets too severe. If you are unsure of your dog's symptoms, get them checked out anyway so that you and your dog can enjoy peace of mind and a happy, healthy life.