No one wants to see their pet sick or suffer. Diabetes is a common condition that can occur in dogs, especially in middle aged to older dogs. If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, then most likely she will need insulin for the rest of her life. So it can save you a lot of time, money and effort if you arm yourself with enough knowledge about diabetes in dogs, and how it may be caused.
While there are several factors that can lead to diabetes in dogs, the good news is that with proper education, you can be a great pet parent to help prevent the disease, or at the very least, minimize the risks!
First know the broad categories of diabetes seen in dogs
Like humans, there are two broad categories of diabetes in dogs
This kind of diabetes occurs in dogs when the pancreas don’t produce enough insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes in dogs.
It happens when your dog's body is producing insulin, but the hormone doesn’t have its usual effects on blood glucose. Insulin-resistant diabetes occurs more often in older or overweight dogs.
What are the Kind of Diabetes seen in dogs?
- Type 2 Diabetes ( by far the most common)
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is observed around the period of pregnancy in female dogs and is usually caused by hormonal changes. This is far less dangerous than Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in dogs.
What causes Type 2 diabetes in dogs?
Middle aged and older dogs are prone to Type 2 diabetes (though it is being reported increasingly in younger dogs), and has two causes:
- The beta cells don’t make enough insulin, or
- muscle cells resist insulin’s help and don’t take in enough glucose (or both).
As a result, blood glucose levels climb.
What causes Type 1 diabetes in dogs?
When the immune system disrupts regular functioning of the beta cells, and insulin production is affected, Type 1 diabetes is reported. The reason for Type 1 diabetes is thought to be a combination of genetic predisposition plus exposure to a trigger (research into possible triggers is ongoing). Excessive Glucose is retained in the blood, and the glucose counts skyrocket.
You may have heard that dogs generally get Type 1 diabetes, but the reality is more complicated. It's not all genetic.
Pet owners can watch for the early symptoms of diabetes in dogs and get a head start on treatment.
Read up on our in-depth article on the symptoms and how to prevent diabetes in dogs by the author of Dogs, Dog Food, and Dogma.
Managing Canine Diabetes
There are several ways to manage diabetes in dogs. Be sure to consult with your vet on what is right for your dog. Insulin deficiencies do require a daily insulin shot. The significant part of caring for a pet with diabetes is diet and exercise. Your vet will prescribe a specific hard and soft food that you'll have to carefully measure. By eating the right portions, you'll know they're getting the proper nutrients and not too much of any one area.
Daily exercise is essential for your dog with diabetes. The more active your dog is, the better he or she can manage their weight. Additionally, daily walks can help you both maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Animals with diabetes can live a long, happy life with proper treatment. Like all chronic conditions, management is the key to success. After learning about the types of diabetes in dogs and the different changes you'll need to make to their diet and fitness, you have the tools necessary to improve their wellness and quality of life.