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Canine Diabetes - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

16 Nov 2015 | by | Posted in: Health


Diabetes Mellitus, popularly known as Diabetes is one of the most common ailments afflicting children and adults. Unfortunately, recent times have also seen an increase in diabetes amongst our furry friends too. More and more pets are being diagnosed with diabetes and the numbers have worried the veterinarians like never before.

Types of diabetes in dogs

There are two types of diabetes that a dog may develop:

  • Type 1 Diabetes – A form of diabetes where the production of insulin does not take place. It is one of the most common forms of Diabetes in Dogs. Dogs diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes will require insulin therapy to survive as their pancreas is unable to produce insulin which is required by the body to function normally.
  • Type 2 Diabetes – It is a form of diabetes where the production of insulin in the body is impaired. Type 2 diabetes is prevalent in cats.

Who are at a risk?

Veterinarians attribute obesity as one of the key factors associated with the onset of diabetes. Obese dogs are at a high risk of developing diabetes and the complications associated with diabetes than dogs that are healthy and have a fixed exercise schedule.
Veterinarians also suggest that female dogs that have not been spayed and are over the age of 6 years are also at a risk of developing diabetes. Apart from that, certain breeds such as – Australian Terriers, Standards Schnauzers, Miniature Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Poodles, keeshonds, Samoyeds, Labrador Retrievers and Golden retrievers are at a high risk too.


Diabetes presents similar symptoms in both humans and dogs alike. If your dog has developed diabetes, you will you will notice the following symptoms:

  • Sudden change in appetite – Your dog may feel excessively hungry or may just lose interest in eating his / her favourite meal.
  • Excessive thirst
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Fruity or sweet smelling breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Increased Urinary Tract infections
  • Vomiting and retching
  • Formation of cataracts
  • Skin infections


Diabetes in dogs is primarily caused due to lifestyle habits. Many a times we feed our food to our dogs which increase the risk of developing diabetes as dogs are not able to process the complex food that we give to them. Some of the common causes for diabetes in dogs are:

  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor food habits
  • Genetics
  • Onset of autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic pancreatitis


If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, please connect with a veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will take in-depth information on medical history and will advise blood tests and urinalysis. Based on the test results, the veterinarian will suggest a course of treatment.


One has to understand that once diagnosed with Diabetes, your dog will require treatment for a lifetime. A veterinarian will determine the course of treatment based on the blood test reports and the urinalysis.

The treatment will be based on how severe the symptoms were and what the test reports indicated. Many a times, dogs develop other health issues related to diabetes. A veterinarian will have to ensure that the treatment does not interfere with other ailments; else it could give rise to complications.

Every dog is different, so you will have to be patient and also understand that each dog will respond differently to the treatment. 

  • Dogs may require daily insulin injections to perform normally.
  • They may require an intensive hospital care in case the symptoms and blood reports are drastically high
  • Regular glucose tests may be advised.

Living with a Diabetic Dog

Undoubtedly, it will be one of the most difficult times for you and your family, but with care and precaution you improve their health and longevity.


  • Inject insulin at the same time everyday
  • Provide fibre rich diet at regular intervals
  • Do not skip medication at all. Skipping medication can alleviate glucose levels and pose a risk to your pooch’s life.
  • Get a feeding plan or a nutrition diet chart for your pooch from a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist
  • Opt for treats and food that is diabetes friendly
  • Regularly monitor blood glucose levels
  • Maintain a regular exercise schedule
  • Keep your dog’s the weight under control as obesity can create complications for the body.

A diabetic dog is vulnerable to infections and chronic health issues. Your care, love and patience can help in managing the blood glucose levels of your dog and keep him / her healthy.

About the Author


"An ardent writer, a devoted pet parent and a foodie at heart, I believe life is all about new experiences and expressions"

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