Diabetes in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

dogsCanine diabetes, is when a dog’s body is unable to make enough blood sugar to survive. Diabetes in dogs is nearly identical to Type II diabetes in humans. Known as a silent killer, if not detected is a serious disease that strikes both people & dogs and if left untreated can cause serious health complications. The key to prevention is first knowing the symptoms & causes for canine diabetes. So, we are here to help by giving you the facts which can ultimately save your pets life.

Its important for all pet owners to recognize the signs of diabetes so you can seek proper vet care. But do keep in mind to always seek the advice of your vet for a proper diagnoses since many ailments can have similar symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Canine Diabetes? Here are a list of symptoms that are diabetes red flags and if your dog has any multiple of these symptoms seek a vet immediately for proper care.


1. Extreme thirst. This is the body’s attempt to rid itself of excess glucose.

2. Frequent urination. The dog may even have accidents in the house because he’s unable to hold it long enough to get outside.

3. Shivering or shakiness can be a symptom of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, which is an emergency. Wrap the pet in a blanket to keep him warm, and take him to the vet right away.

4. Unexplained weight loss, even though the dog is eating ravenously.

5. Weakness and lethargy. The pet is tired all the time, and seems to have lost interest in life.

6. Lowered resistance to infections. Recurring urinary tract infections are common in diabetic dogs because the high sugar content in the urine encourages bacterial growth.

7. Breath smells sweet or fruity. If the dog’s breath smells like nail polish remover, this is a symptom of ketoacidosis, which requires immediate veterinary treatment.

8. Abdominal Pain. Some owners notice that the dog will yell when getting up or lying down, or when petted in the abdominal area. Damage to the pancreas is the reason for the pain.

9. Sudden Cataracts. Cataract forms when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and opaque resulting in blindness, vision loss & impairment. When diabetes strikes, the blood sugar levels rise all over the body. Glucose in the eyeball is absorbed into the lens. In turn, this causes the lens to absorb more water, which causes the cloudiness and vision loss in cataracts.


Pinpointing the causes of diabetes can lower your pets risk of developing this disease.  So what are the causes of canine diabetes?

1. Canine Obesity. Dogs that are overweight have a higher risk of getting diabetes. If your dog is obese, his body will require an increased amount of insulin; when the required amount exceeds the amount your dog’s pancreas can produce, the result is diabetes.

Your dog should be eating a high-quality canned food high in fiber and low in fats and carbohydrates. Some dog owners are even going the extra mile by making their own dog food. We know it can be tempting with those puppy eyes, but avoid feeding table scraps and treats, which are very high in sugar.

2. Reproductive Hormones. Fluctuations in your dog’s hormonal cycle can disrupt insulin regulation. Therefore, spaying your dog not only curbs the problem of pet overpopulation, but can reduce your dogs risk of being diagnosed with diabetes. Particularly, middle-aged females are 2-3 times more likely to develop diabetes in canines than male dogs are. The hormone estrogen  can interfere with insulin production.

3. Dogs Breed Genetically Predisposed. Although any dog can develop diabetes, there are certain breeds at higher risk for developing diabetes. The list includes: Dachshunds, Miniature pinchers, Golden retrievers, Beagles, Keeshonds, German shepherds, Poodles, Schnauzers, Cairn terriers, Cocker spaniels.

4. Steroids. If your dog is being given regular doses of glucocorticoids or progestagens, he could develop diabetes. Steroids can disrupt pancreas function, causing the under-production of insulin.

5. Illness. Diabetes can be triggered by another illness. If your dog already suffers from certain conditions, such as chronic pancreatitis or Cushing’s disease, she is at higher risk for developing diabetes.

What is treatment for diabetes?

Management of your dogs diabetes starts first with a proper diet that consist of  low fat and low sugar meals.  Speak with your vet to determine a strict eating regimin of what your dog should or should not be ingesting. It will be necessary to feed the dog twice a day to avoid dips and spikes in blood sugar levels. You will also have to learn how to monitor the pet’s blood glucose levels, and also how to give insulin shots twice a day.

Daily, consistent & low impact excercise such as walking or swimming is a great natural way to regulate your dogs blood sugar levels & trim the waistline. Consult your vet prior to setting up a canine excercise program for your diabetic pup. As always keep a close eye on your dog to make sure your dog does not suffer from hypoglycemia. Sure sign that your dogs blood sugar levels are low is dizziness and shakiness. One trick is to carry  little syrup or honey in a dropper to squirt in the pet’s mouth or to rub on the gum’s to increase the blood sugar to normal levels.

Here are a list of natural herbs straight from mother nature can be helpful in controlling your dogs diabetes:

1. Fenugreek is high in fiber, which slows down digestion causing glucose to enter  the bloodstream more slowly, preventing spikes in blood sugar after a meal. This herb stimulates the release of insulin. It also slows down the enzymes that break down carbohydrates, which helps to regulate blood glucose levels.

2. Goat’s Rue herb helps lower blood glucose levels & reduce the risk of cataracts in dogs

3. Astragulus is a herb that helps regulates blood glucose levels & reduce the risk of cataracts. It also helps supports the immune system reducing your dogs risk of getting urinary tract & infections.

Remember that being diagnosed with diabetes does not mean the end of the world for you & your dog. Good news!! With proper diet, regular vet checkups, and being aware of causes & symptoms your dog can live a long healthy life!

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