Canine diabetes symptoms

A dog with diabetes

Many dog owners have no idea that their pet dog can get diabetes. It is important therefore to know what canine diabetes symptoms look like. Reading this could save your best friend’s life!

Diabetes is a common disease in humans but it is also a common condition in our pets including cats and dogs. Diabetes can strike for any number of reasons, but the vital factor is the ability to take action.

Canine diabetes symptoms

Dogs can die from diabetes if they are not treated

The statistics suggest that one in every 200 dogs will develop diabetes. The good news is that with extra love and care your dog can continue to live a normal, happy life despite the disease.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that can affect a lot of our pets including horses, guinea pigs, mice, cats and dogs. The good news is that although there is no cure for diabetes it can be successfully managed.

Risk factors

There are several factors that put a dog at risk of getting diabetes. These include breed, gender, age, weight, and diet. Statistics say that a mixed breed of dog is more prone to diabetes than a pure breed. A dog that has a diet higher in fat is more prone to diabetes, whilst older, overweight, female dogs are at the most risk of the disease.

What are canine diabetes symptoms?

Knowing what to look for is half the battle. Being mindful of these symptoms is the other half. At big risk are older dogs. Overweight dogs are also at a heightened risk. There is also more cases in female dogs. The early warnings signs or symptoms are –

  • Excessive thirst or hunger in your dog (especially thirst)How to tell if your dog has diabetes
  • Excessive urination (this may be hard to track) but they may start urinating inside
  • Abnormal, noticeable and unexplained weight loss
  • Lethargy and lack of spark/ energy in your dog
  • Unexplained vomiting

The first port of call is your vet

If your vet suspects that your dog maybe diabetic he or she will usually order a blood test straight away. Just because your dog has high blood sugar levels does not necessarily mean that he or she is diabetic. Sometimes your dog will need a series of tests to evaluate his or her condition. That will be when your vet decides on the best course of action which may include insulin therapy. This may mean that you will have to give your dog daily shots of insulin. After the treatment begins your dog will need further check-ups at the vet to check that the medication is having the desired effect.

What happens if your dog’s diabetes is not treated?

The list of complications is long. There are always new complications being discovered by vets across the world. The main point once again is to get treatment or advice if you see any of the above canine diabetes symptoms. Here are some of the long term complications your dog will face if not treated –

  • Infections including urinary tract infections
  • Kidney failure
  • Your dog potentially going blind
  • Seizures
  • Ketoacidosis which is a life threatening condition that can be accompanied by rapid breathing, vomiting and dehydration.

How to treat your diabetic dog

Your vet will outline a good plan to counter the effects of diabetes on your dog. The action points will include –

Diet. There are various types of speciality food that can help dogs manage their diabetes. Some of the brand names are listed in this blog post on the best diabetes dog food brands. Basically your dog will need a good mix of protein, complex carbs and fibre to help the absorption of glucose in his or her body. A low fat diet may also be a good option for your dog.

Exercise. You will have to play extra close attention to the amount of exercise that your dog gets, as exercise can lower your dog’s blood sugar levels to dangerously low levels. Again, exercise is crucial but over exercise downright dangerous and can kill your dog on the spot.

Medication. Unfortunately most diabetic dogs will require shots of insulin to manage their diabetes. The good news is that insulin shots are relatively painless for your dog. It is just something that you will have to get used to administering on a daily basis.

Some dogs can help people with diabetes

Diabetes assist dogs
There is such a thing as diabetes assist dogs that can use their acute sense of smell to detect diabetes or hypoglycaemia (very low blood sugar levels). These dogs have been trained to detect scents in the human breath that can warn humans of low or high blood sugar levels.

Heal your dog naturally

Once you have taken your dog to the vet  he or she maybe prescribed insulin or other medications to treat his/ her disease. Many people want to know how to naturally treat your dog to give them a healthier, longer, happier life the natural way. This book holds the answers that you seek. I highly recommend it for all dog owners looking to give their dog a healthier life the natural way. This book can help diabetic and non diabetic dogs alike. Please go here to learn more.


It is important to keep an eye and be mindful of your dogs behaviour. You should ensure that he or she gets plenty of exercise and that they eat a healthy diet that is not too high in fat. You must watch over dogs that are at higher risk of diabetes as mentioned above. Just because your dog gets diabetes does not mean that they will not be able to live a normal, happy, healthy life. They will just require extra love and attention from you.

Please see my other blog post a how to tell if your dog has diabetes for supplementary information on the subject.

Please leave a comment below if you can add any further insight into canine diabetes symptoms.

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  1. Martina

    Awesome post! I did know that dogs could develop diabetes but I didn’t know how to go about detecting it. I have an older 10 year old lab and a young 2 year old portie. They’re both females so I’ll look out for these signs in the older one – she’s probably the higher risk.

    1. Ben (Post author)

      Hi Martina, yes it pays to be aware of the symptoms. I remember when I was at school our principal’s black lab got diabetes because all the kids used to feed him all the time. Labs like all dogs are “garbage guts” meaning that will eat anything, anytime, anywhere so that may put them at higher risk & because she is older and female it may also be a factor.


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