Caring For Your Diabetic Dog

The most important message that owners of diabetic dogs should remember is that diabetes in dogs cannot be cure. However by caring for your diabetic dog in the right way your dog can still live a quality life.

Tips on Caring For Your Diabetic Dog

An owner caressing his dog

Here are 8 crucial tips for dog diabetic care:

1. Follow a Treatment Plan

When managing diabetes in your dog, the primary goal is to keep the blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible (80-120 mg/dl). For this reason, it is important to keep a uniform treatment plan to prevent abrupt drops or spikes in blood sugar levels. 

Be consistent in treatment schedules by:

  • Feeding your dog at the same time and with the same amount of calories daily.
  • Injecting your dog with insulin at the same time.
  • Exercising your dog at the same time and in a similar rhythm; not too much exercise one day and too little the next day.
  • Monitoring your dog’s blood sugar levels to ensure they do not go too high or too low.

Be sure to work with your dog’s veterinarian to draw an appropriate treatment plan.

2. Keep a Record of Insulin Injection Schedules

As a rule of thumb, insulin injections should be given to your dog every 12 hours. This can, however, change with the type of insulin and your dog’s diabetes condition.

Keep a record of the exact time your dog receives the insulin shot, especially if more than one person administers the insulin. This will prevent cases of double-insulin injections or skipping the treatment, which disrupts the insulin balance in your dog’s body and can cause diabetes complications.

3. Feed Your Dog Right

Maintaining the right food-insulin balance is key in canine diabetes management. A regular schedule of 2 to 3 meals a day should be given

A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet is what your dog should feed on. Talk to your dog’s vet about the number of calories your dog should take at each meal, as this will vary with each dog. 

These pointers to healthy feeding in canine dogs should be borne in mind;

  • Avoid treats and table scraps between meals. 
  • Include vegetables in your dog’s diet.
  • Do not leave sweats or other foods lying around, as your dog can easily help himself to these if he feels hungry.
  • Work with other family members to ensure everyone who has the responsibility of feeding the dog works with the same schedule. Teach children against feeding the dog out of feeding schedules.

4. Keep Your Dog Hydrated

High amounts of blood sugar are eliminated from your dog’s body through the urine. That also means lots of water goes out of the pet’s body, causing excessive thirst and the need to keep drinking. 

If your dog does not get the right amount of water, he could become dehydrated. Ensure your diabetic dog stays hydrated by allowing him to drink all that he can. The amount of water your diabetic dog drinks will stabilize as the blood sugar levels are regulated with treatment.

5. Exercise Your Dog Daily

Staying lean is vital in canine diabetes management, and exercise is essential in making your dog stay lean. 

For dogs with normal weight, the usual daily exercise should be continued. For overweight dogs, exercise can be used to lose weight. This should be done gradually and at regulated exercise levels. 

Do not overdo exercise, as spending too many calories at one point in time can lead to low blood sugar. It’s best to work with your dog’s vet on a healthy exercise plan for your diabetic dog.

6. Monitoring Your Dog’s Blood Sugar Levels

Monitoring your dog’s blood glucose levels is important in telling if the overall treatment is regulating blood sugar as it should.

Taking a blood test is the recommended home monitoring method using a glucometer and blood sugar test strips. Watch this video by the American Animal Hospital Association to see how to test your dog’s blood sugar at home.

7. Spay Your Female Dog

Female dogs produce the hormone progesterone in the period after the heat cycle. Despite this being natural, research has confirmed that progesterone has a negative impact on the working of insulin in the dog’s body. 

In fact, a study in the US found that unsprayed female dogs had 3 times the risk of developing diabetes mellitus compared to their male counterparts.

8. Always Work with Your Dog’s Vet

Vets are the experts in your dog’s health. Work with your dog’s vet to determine what treatment options work best for your diabetic dog.

A vet standing next to a dog,

Work with your dog’s vet to determine:

  • The right type and insulin dosage for your dog.
  • A good diet for your diabetic dog.
  • The right amount of daily exercise for your diabetic dog
  • Diabetic dog conditions for which you should see a vet immediately (hypoglycemia, extreme loss of weight, and loss of consciousness, among others).

Caring For Your Diabetic Dog FAQs

It is important to answer a couple of frequently asked questions on caring for your diabetic dog.

Diabetic dog care costs around $30-$200 per month. Costs can vary depending on:

  • The stage of diabetes. Diabetes treatment is higher in the initial stage and can lower significantly later).
  • Whether you buy medication from a vet, an online pharmacy, or give generic brand meds. Using a pharmacy benefits management can dramatically lower the cost.
  • The type of insulin and the dosage.

The cost of insulin varies depending on the type prescribed for your dog, where you buy the insulin, and how you buy it. Depending on these factors, a vial of insulin can cost between $20 and $90. It’s always best to compare options and go for what suits your budget best without compromising the quality of your dog’s medication.