Dogs and Diabetes

Dogs and Diabetes: Know the Risks

A diabetic dog’s body is unable to successfully convert food to energy. Sadly, diabetes is on the rise in canines. Banfield Pet Hospital reported that the cases of diabetes in dogs rose by 80 percent in a study carried out between 2006 and 2015. 

Approximately 99 percent of all canines have what is referred to as diabetes mellitus which is commonly called ‘sugar diabetes’. Dogs will have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. 

What Causes Canine Diabetes?

Diabetes in dogs occurs when the cells of the body that produce insulin are destroyed which renders the body unable to regulate blood sugar. Inflammation of the pancreas plays a critical role in the development of canine diabetes. 

Currently, experts truly do not know what causes the pooch’s endocrine system to stop regulating blood sugar. However, there are identifiable risk factors associated with the development of the disease such as it being more common in certain breeds of dogs with females being twice as likely to develop the condition than males. Likely, there is probably a genetic component involved in the disorder that hasn’t been completely isolated because the following breeds are at an increased risk for developing diabetes : 

  • Cocker spaniel
  • Golden retrievers
  • Toy poodles
  • German shepherds
  • Samoyeds
  • Terriers
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Dachshunds
  • Keeshonden
  • Pomeranians
  • Doberman pinschers

Risk Factors

Certain risk factors are often associated with diabetes in dogs such as:

  • Obesity
  • Female who has been spayed
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Use of steroids or progestogens
  • Acromegaly

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

Sadly, the symptoms of diabetes in dogs do not always show up until the canine is profoundly ill.

Symptoms of diabetes in dogs include:

  • Muscle loss
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Poor coat quality
  • Blindness
  • Decreased strength in the dog’s legs 

Diagnosing Diabetes in Dogs

Do you suspect that your dog has diabetes? Then a trip to the veterinarian might be in order. The vet will evaluate the dog’s medical history, perform a physical exam, order blood work, and carry out a urinalysis. The tests will determine if your pooch has diabetes and the conditions’ severity. 

Diabetes is a disorder that must be managed to maintain the dog’s blood sugar levels. If you do not manage the dog’s diabetes then the animal might start to lose his eyesight and develop rapid kidney failure. 

Managing Diabetes in Dogs 

In severe diabetes, your dog will require insulin injections and diet changes. You’ll need to feed a diet that is high in fiber to the dog. Fiber also helps slow down the glucose within the canine’s bloodstream. If your dog is overweight then it is imperative that the animal lose a few pounds, so you’ll need to increase his daily exercise 

Fido will require regular visits to the vet to make sure that the animal’s blood glucose level is being adequately controlled. In most cases and with the dedication of the owner, the diabetes in the dog can be adequately controlled so the pooch lives a long and fulfilling life 

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Wow! This is great information! My rescue dog, Henry is we think is a cockapoo. So, I guess he would be at risk since he’s part Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. He’s already on prescription food for suspected colitis. I will definitely be keeping me eyes out now for the symptoms of diabetis.

I’m sharing this article with my dog friends. 😊💖🐶


What would I look for in Boxers ? He is about 10 ( rescue) & drinks a lot of water. Eats good food. Salmon & peas from Sams club. thanks Kathy

Kathy A Schilling

Sadly my baby, Carrie Sue, had Diabetes for 5 years prior to her passing.
Being a Trauma Nurse for 30 years made me very astute to her symptoms. She was part lab and part corgi. She began to pee so much I could hardly get her to the door in time.
I gave her Insulin shots for 4 1/2 years since diagnosed. Sadly she developed horrible cataracts and was completely blind when she left me.
She never showed me that she was in any pain on her last day that I took her to the doctor. Her vet and I had an understanding that I would not take her for anymore blood work or anything unless it was for comfort.
My heart sank when I had taken her because I noticed her eyeball was swollen. Her doctor told me that she was in excruciating pain secondary to her entire eyeball had ruptured as a result of her diabetes, despite me doing everything I could since diagnosed.
If you have even a notion that your baby may have diabetes, please please get them to their doctor.
Carrie Sue was the LOVE of my life for 14!years and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her terribly and hate what she crossed The Rainbow Bridge from.
I have a new LOVE, Tori Mae, although she’s just not Carrie Sue…..xoxoxo


My pit is diabetic and I give her insulin twice a day. My vet told me that the shots should be 12 hours intervals. So, I’ve started giving her the shots twice a day, with the time beginning around noonish and the other around 10ish pm. Once she didn’t eat breakfast until about 1:30ish pm so I dropped her dose to 8.5 units from 17 units. It didn’t seem to make a difference to her daily activity. Now I’m giving her a full dose of 17 units in a 10 hour window and she seems more active. Are there any other parameters I should be aware of?

Steve Galbreath

We’re on yr 3 of treating our Lab with insulin. I worry about not knowing the “what to do ifs”.
I appreciate your info and hope you will go deeper. Will your blog discuss food treats to avoid🍰? If dog doesn’t eat normal meal quantity what amount insulin to give.

Debbie CREAN

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