How to know if my dog ​​has diabetes?



In this post we are going to talk about diabetes in dogs, a fairly frequent problem since it is estimated that 1 in 500 dogs may suffer from it.

Diabetes is a disease caused by the body's inability to produce or use insulin, which causes the dog to have too high blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas and allows cells to take sugar (glucose) from the blood and use it to function. The Mellitus diabetes It appears when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when cells cannot use insulin to pick up sugar. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes instead happens when there is enough insulin but the body cannot use it, or when the pancreas produces insulin but not all that the body needs. The vast majority of diabetic dogs have type 1 and therefore the administration of insulin for life is necessary. Type 2 diabetes is more common in cats and people.

The most affected dogs are those of medium or advanced age and within these non-sterilized females. There are also a large number of breeds predisposed among them Poodles, Pinschers, Schnauzer, West Highland White Terrier, Beagle ...


Diabetes can take time in our animal before we notice anything. The clinical signs may vary depending on the stage of the disease, but in general they are the following:

  1. Polyuria - urine too much
  2. Polydipsia - drink too much water
  3. Polyphagia - increased appetite despite weight loss
  4. Lethargy - little active animal

We will see an animal that urinates and drinks too much. He also has an increased appetite but loses weight, because despite eating more than normal glucose is lost, which is an important source of energy. Finally they are less active dogs.

These symptoms may appear in other diseases, so when you go to the clinic we will carry out the necessary tests to confirm the diagnosis.


If we suspect that an animal has diabetes, after performing a complete physical exam, we will recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis:

- Blood count and biochemical profile: this will provide us with information about our pet's organs and allow us to detect changes that can occur with diabetes such as the continued increase in blood sugar. It is important to note that this persistent increase in blood sugar of a diabetic animal is not related to food intake.

- Urinalysis: if an animal has diabetes there may be sugar in the urine.

- Fructosamine: it is a blood protein that binds strongly to glucose and tells us more safely what blood sugar levels have been during the last 2 or 3 weeks. Since there are times we can have high blood sugar due to stress or other factors.


A diabetic dog will have to be on insulin treatment all his life since the pancreas will not synthesize it again.

The life expectancy of a dog stabilized with insulin is similar to that of healthy pets of the same breed. Good communication between owner and veterinarian in addition to compliance with the treatment regimen is essential. With exercise, a correct diet and insulin therapy you can successfully control the health of your animal.

The insulin needs of each diabetic dog are different. The dose of insulin depends on the weight and needs of each dog. By checking blood, urine and watching how much your dog eats and drinks, the veterinarian will adjust the dose of insulin until he finds the correct one. Although in most cases the dog remains admitted to perform a glucose curve.

A glucose curve consists of pricking insulin to the animal while hospitalized to be able to look at the sugar every couple of hours. In this way we will know if the insulin administered to the dog works and how often it does it, the effectiveness with which it reduces blood sugar and for how long it takes effect.

In the clinic we will provide you with the necessary veterinary insulin and we will give you the necessary guidelines to learn to prick it correctly.

- It should always be stored in the refrigerator: take it out only when preparing an injection.

- It should not freeze because it is destroyed.

- Always leave it upright so that insulin does not crystallize around the vial stopper.

- The vial must be gently inverted about ten times before use to get the correct insulin mixture.

The diet is very important to successfully control diabetes mellitus. Ideally, the diet should be exactly the same every day and always be provided at the same time.

Avoid treats and snacks between meals. If you want to use prizes from time to time you will have to buy them suitable for diabetic dogs.

Ideally, give a meal rich in complex carbohydrates (starch and fiber), as sugars are released more slowly and in a controlled manner. If we give food with a lot of sugar or fat, it rises too much in blood at once.

In the market there are special prescription diets for diabetic dogs (Hill’s, Royal Canin…). We will advise you on which one is best for your dog.

We must also bear in mind that some dogs will not like a fat-free and high-fiber feed and that in the end we will have to give it a normal one but controlling more. There are times that if the dog is too thin a diet with a lot of fiber will not do well either and we will have to give him additional supplements until he reaches his ideal weight.

Finally say that dogs are better controlled if they are at their ideal weight since those obese animals need higher doses of insulin for the body to respond. That is why we should make them lose weight slowly and always under veterinary supervision.

Exercise causes energy to be consumed and helps prevent hyperglycemia. In addition, the increase in blood flow produced by exercise can improve insulin absorption. Ideally, your dog's activity be regular and remain unchanged.


The sterilization of bitches is necessary to control diabetes, because after heat the dog produces progesterone, a hormone that has negative influences on the role of insulin. Therefore, if we remove the ovaries and therefore this hormone normalizes insulin needs.

The most common complication of diabetes in dogs is cataracts. Too much blood sugar causes you to turn white and the dog can't see well.

If the animal has gone blind because the cataracts are very serious, the only way to solve it is surgery.


In diabetic dogs we can have two types of emergencies, too low or too high blood sugar levels.

Contact us if you have a diabetic dog and observe the following symptoms in your animal:

- Excessive thirst for more than 3 days.

- Lots of urine for more than 3 days.

- He doesn't want to eat

- Epileptic seizures or weakness.

- Behavioral changes, muscle contractions or anxiety.

Permanent thirst

This is one of the main symptoms of diabetes, because when glucose levels are extremely high, there will be a strong dehydration box in your canine, which makes you feel like drinking more water than usual permanently.

As expected, Given this fact, you will notice that your dog will urinate much more, including places where it normally does not, since you will not be able to support your needs.

When you notice all this it is important to take it immediately to a specialist to determine your health status. Also, let him drink as much water as he wants, since this is what his body will need.

Sleep and weakness

Although this is a sign that is a bit difficult to detect for some, it turns out to be one of the most enlightening when determining if your dog suffers from this delicate disease.

And is that when they have diabetes, they sleep much more than normal, due to the weakening they feel in their body, because their cells cannot absorb the sugar they consume.

While they are awake their movements are slower and their attitude is of constant lethargy, which makes them feel selfless to any stimulus.

As in the previous case, It is very important to let your little friend rest, since he is only doing what his body asks.

Increased appetite

If your furry companion is suffering this evil, you will notice that from one moment to another he will be much more hungry and will begin to consume more food, which is because your body is not properly metabolizing sugar.

When this occurs, the canine will not be limited to consuming more food than you give, but strangely, even if you have become accustomed and trained, it will constantly seek to eat anything. This will cause long-term malnutrition that will significantly lose your desire to eat.

Although, you should immediately go to the vet when you notice all this, it is best to take it when you still have a strong appetite, since this way your treatment can be more effective in detecting the disease in less time.

Other symptoms

When the four-legged friend suffers from this disease, there are other very common symptoms to which you should be very aware. These are the most prominent:

  • Strong feeling of lethargy
  • Vomiting (which may have traces of blood, in more advanced cases)
  • Coma
  • waterfalls
  • Sudden blindness, product of diabetic retinopathy
  • Neurological problems
  • Enlarged liver
  • Greater susceptibility to infections

When you manage to determine any of these symptoms in your dog, you should immediately go to a specialist to determine glucose levels in your bloodstream, and to ensure that diabetes has not affected any vital organ.

Which dogs are more prone to diabetes?

Although all canines can suffer from this terrible disease, some, due to different physical characteristics, race or age, are much more likely to suffer from it than others.

For example, females are more likely to be diabetic than males, which manifests itself in a surprising proportion of three to one.

Similarly, it is important to note that there are some races that are more likely to have this disease than others. These are the most prominent:

  • German shepherd
  • Keeshond
  • Poodle
  • Golden retriever

Remember that If this disease is not detected in time, the complications will be greater and the possibility of your dog recovering will be few.

Dogs with diabetes: how they live the disease

Age. Diabetes mellitus affects dogs from the age of 5 and can occur until the age of twelve.

Risk factor's. Overweight, obesity, frequent weight variations, poor physical activity and aging.

Next, we present the main clinical signs, although you can identify them with observation, you will need to go to a specialist.

Polyuria It refers to the constant and abundant excretion of urine.

Polydipsia Pathological condition, associated with diabetes mellitus that consists of the intense and urgent need to drink liquids: "thirst exaggerated and desperate."

Polyphagy Intense hunger, difficult to control and urgent to satisfy.

Weightloss. Despite the polyphagy, the dog may lose weight suddenly.

Other clinical signs that may occur, although less frequently are cataracts and hepatomegaly.

According to publications in Veterinary Fan, 50% of cases in dogs are of type 1 diabetes, while the rest is distributed between type 2 diabetes and diabetes associated with right-handed or pancreatitis.

Diagnosis. A dog will be diagnosed with diabetes mellitus when it has a positive result of hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) and glycosuria (high blood glucose).

Three tests can be performed to reach the diagnosis of the disease in your pet: biochemical profile, blood count and uroanalysis.

Treatment. Veterinary doctors decide which is the best treatment for each patient. They may recommend the use of insulin, a balanced diet and frequent exercise.


Lugia Stella Gonzalez says

Very good information. Thank you. I have an American Akita. He gave pyometra with the first heat and his reproductive system was removed. Relatively healthy, its beautiful fur and weighs 46 k. It turns out that a hard, painless mass came out about 10 cm from the root of the tail. (the dough is in the tail on the left side). I took her to the vet and examined her, she feels no pain on palpation, it is hard t is about 1 cm and a half, round. He was ordered prednizoo 20 two tablets daily. It turns out that my dog ​​began with excessive thirst and lots of abundant urination. He desperately asks for water at night and in the early morning, therefore he urinates inside the apt. She is down, tired, going to the park is looking for where to do her needs and lie down. I take the medicine for two days and I stopped it because of the adverse effects. She eats natural, I prepare her diet by guiding me through recipes I have found online by certified veterinarians. I hope you can clarify my doubts and know if the medicine caused irreversible damage. Thank you for your attention.
Att. Ligia Stella Gonzalez.

Maria Gutierrez says

Hello, I have an 8-year-old fox terrier puppy a month ago he was diagnosed with diabetes, I am supplying him with rapid insulin, which my dad uses, and on the doctor's recommendation I also give furesemide so that he can eliminate liquid in the morning and night, The first few weeks he urinated a lot and drank a lot of water, it has been regularized over time, I also bought him a special meal but some days he is unappetizing and does not want to eat boiled chicken. On the other hand he has damaged the liver, kidney failure, and two weeks ago he gave conjunctivitis he applied a few drops has improved. My question is about insulin, I have the fast and the slow one, the doctor told me that I should try, for the moment applying the action accionapida is that correct? Or should it be the slow one? There is not much information or specialists here in Lima Peru regarding the disease I hope your comment, thank you.

Maria L Montes says

Hello, my baby has diabetes, she doesn't want to eat, she sleeps a lot, she injects her insulin every 12 hours. pus what can I do I already buy antibiotic and medication is normal ezto my baby is my puppy and I love him