Dog Diabetes

Understanding Dog Diabetes

A proper diet, plenty of exercise, and regular vet visits – your dog’s health is important, which is why, as a responsible pet parent, you take all of the necessary precautions to keep them in tip top shape. However, just like humans, some diseases in dogs can’t always be prevented and are embedded deep within their genes – diabetes being one of them. 

From excessive thirst, to unexplained weight loss or gain, you may be wondering if your pet’s health is off, and dog diabetes (aka: canine diabetes) could be to blame. To learn exactly what canine diabetes is, and how you can help prevent it (or catch it early on by identifying the signs and symptoms!) read on for the 411. 

What is Canine Diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus, as it’s known to veterinarians, is the most common type of diabetes seen in dogs, and affects how a dog’s metabolism converts food into energy, most specifically glucose. When a dog has diabetes, their glucose-insulin connection doesn’t function properly, leading to diabetes which can occur in two forms

Insulin-deficiency: This is the most common type of diabetes in dogs, and occurs at any age as a result of a dog’s inability to produce enough insulin.

Insulin-Resistance: This type of diabetes, most common in elder and obese dogs, occurs when a dog’s body isn’t using insulin as it’s intended, resulting in glucose being pulled out of the blood and into the cells.    

When it comes to what causes diabetes, there really is no one answer. Causes can range from your dog’s age and weight – the primary factors leading to insulin-resistance – and simply genetics, type of breed, and even medical conditions like pancreatitis and obesity. 

Signs of Diabetes

The signs of canine diabetes can vary depending on its stage and your dog’s age and overall health condition. However, the most common early warning signs in dogs include:

  • Excessive drinking of water along with increased urination
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • A decrease in appetite 
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Recurring or more frequent skin or urinary tract infections  

If you notice any of these symptoms showing up in your dog, it’s imperative to contact your veterinarian and get your pup in for a check up as soon as possible. The earlier the diagnosis, the better your chance of helping your dog prolong their life, while also getting them the comfort and care they need.

How to Help Prevent Diabetes in Dogs

As we explained, some types of diabetes develop simply due to a dog’s breed or genetics. However, when it comes to insulin-resistant diabetes (the kind due to weight gain or age) there are ways to help prevent the disease – and it starts in the kitchen. 

Feeding your dog a healthy, nutritious diet is key to keeping diabetes at bay. This means, along with good-quality kibble, you’re also limiting the amount of treats and table scraps they get to keep their insulin in check.

Next, be sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise each day so they can avoid packing on extra pounds. Because overweight pups are the primary culprit for developing diabetes, exercise and proper nutrition can help ward off diabetes (not to mention other weight-related health issues).

And finally, remember to stay consistent with regular checkups at the vet. By visiting yearly (or twice per year for senior dogs!), your vet can be a powerful partner in helping to assess and monitor your dog’s weight, blood panels and results, and overall health to help identify any small issues before they evolve into something bigger. And, if your pup does have diabetes, they can help ensure your canine is on a proper treatment plan, along with providing wellness tips and strategies to keep your dog in the best possible health.

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