If your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with diabetes, it is important to make some changes to his diet and his lifestyle. Although diabetes can’t be completely cured, it can be managed to help your dog lead a normal life.
This article is intended to help you understand some of the causes and signs of diabetes, as well as some actions you can take as an owner to help your dog.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a complex disease caused by the body not being able to correctly use sugar from food.
After eating, the food is broken down into various ingredients including sugar called glucose. It is usually spread throughout the body by a hormone called insulin to provide energy to the cells. But with diabetes, the body can either not produce insulin, or it does not allow it to function properly.
When this happens, glucose does not reach the cells, but accumulates in the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels increase (this is called hyperglycaemia), which, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems.
After eating in dogs with untreated diabetes, peak blood sugar levels are obtained. This is due to a shortage in their insulin systems, in which usually blood sugar only rises and decreases slightly between meals.
What are the signs of diabetes in dogs?
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Excessive hunger while losing weight
- Lethargy (inactivity / long sleep)
- Blurred eyes
- Thin, dry and glossy fur
Why do dogs get diabetes?
The exact cause is still unknown. However, prolonged inflammation of the pancreas, genetic causes, and some medications may make your dog more likely to develop diabetes. In most cases, this occurs in middle-aged dogs. However, non-castrated female dogs are twice as likely to get diabetes than male dogs.
Diabetes can affect any breed, but some have a higher risk. These include:
- Caerner Terrier
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- English Springer Spaniel
- Golden retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- West Dutch White Terrier
How is diabetes diagnosed?
If your dog shows signs of diabetes, your veterinarian can do a blood and urine test to confirm the diagnosis.
How to treat diabetes?
If your dog has diabetes, you will need treatment throughout his life. But with the help of your veterinarian, diabetes will not stop him from enjoying a happy, fulfilling and long life. There are usually three things you should do:
1. Give your dog regular insulin injections
They are essential for controlling diabetes and are usually needed twice a day. The needles are very small and some dogs do not even feel them.
2. Adapt your dog’s diet
Diabetes and diet are closely related, so controlling what your dog eats is one of the best ways to know his condition. Properly selected foods prevent peak blood sugar levels and release energy slowly throughout the day.
3. Get measures your dog to have a sustainable regime
Treatment is more effective when giving him food and injections at the same time each day. Regular exercise is also important. Ask your veterinarian for advice on the best regimen for you and your dog.
Proper diet is essential
Ask your veterinarian for Diabetes Management. Scientifically formulated for effective nutrient control over the condition, it contains:
- Dietary fiber to help slow carbohydrate absorption
- White bean extract to control blood sugar after a meal
- Antioxidants to support the immune system of dogs with diabetes and neutralize free radicals