We often think of diabetes as a human condition, but sadly, man’s best friend can develop diabetes, too. Canine diabetes happens when your dog’s body is not producing enough insulin, or when the pancreas is producing insulin but the dog’s body isn’t using it the way it should.
The first type is called insulin deficient diabetes and the second type is called insulin-resistance diabetes. Diabetes can’t be cured, but the good news is it can be managed successfully.
What Causes Diabetes in Dogs?
Obesity is a significant risk factor for diabetes in dogs. Unspayed female dogs are twice as likely to develop diabetes than male dogs, and middle-aged to senior dogs are more at risk than younger dogs. Genetics, some autoimmune disorders and viral diseases are also known triggers of diabetes in dogs.
Warning Signs of Diabetes
Diabetes can be managed, but it’s important to be on the lookout for the early warning signs. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better chance your pet has for a healthier and longer life. Here are a few behavioral changes you will want to watch for:
- Excessive thirst
Your dog is drinking more water than normal, and you find yourself refilling the water bowl more often.
- Increase in urination
Your dog is signaling to go outside more often or having accidents because he or she can’t get outside fast enough. This is a sign the body is trying to rid itself of excess sugar by sending it through the urine.
- Appetite changes
You notice your dog is hungry all of the time. The body’s cells can’t replenish the glucose they need from the dog’s normal food serving.
- Weight loss
Despite wanting to eat more often, your dog is dropping weight. Nutrients from the food are not converting efficiently in the dog’s body.
- Chronic or recurring infections
Your dog suffers from repeated skin or urinary infections.
If the disease has advanced, you may see the following more serious signs:
- Loss of appetite
Your dog goes from feeling famished to not wanting food at all.
They have an upset stomach and can’t keep food or fluids down.
- Low energy
Your dog is sluggish, sleeps more than usual and doesn’t enjoy the activities he or she once did.
- Depressed personality
He or she is not the lively, energetic pet you know.
- Sweet smelling breath
This is due to the increased ketones in their bloodstream.
If you notice any of these signs in your dog, it’s important to contact your vet right away. The vet will probably perform a blood test to confirm the diagnosis, and then advise you on the course of action.
Dog Day, Every Day! is a Cincinnati-based doggy day care and spa that provides a positive and safe environment for dogs to socialize, learn dog speak, and play and burn off energy. We get to know and love our clients’ dogs while they are with us, and are always on the lookout for changes in behavior that could indicate health problems. If you would like to learn more about the doggy day care or spa services we provide, please contact us!