Diabetes in Dogs
As a dog owner, it is important to know that dogs can get diabetes just like humans, how to detect if they do, and how to care for it. We wouldn’t want our canine friends to go uncared for, and diabetes can be just as harmful to them as it can to us. Diabetes in dogs is a very complicated disease caused by one of two things, either a lack of insulin production or an improper response to insulin in the system. Just like us, when your dog eats, they digest the food and break it up into all its base nutrients, including glucose. Glucose is an essential sugar that is distributed to cells via a hormone called insulin, which is produced in the pancreas (Just like us!). Having a similar digestive system, dogs are susceptible to the same problems we are, including the fact that they can develop diabetes type 1 or type 2. If a dog is hindered or incapable of producing insulin, their blood sugar will elevate, causing a condition known as hyperglycemia. Left unchecked, this can cause major health complications for the dog, and can become life threatening.
But take heart! Although diabetes in dogs can be harmful and dangerous when left unchecked, with very simple treatments it is a very easy health problem to deal with, and your pooch pal can easily lead a very happy and healthy life! A diabetes diagnosis is most certainly no reason to give up on your dog, with some simple but effective diet changes, exercise, and a little attentiveness, diabetes can be treated very successfully… just like, you guessed it, humans! Most dogs that develop diabetes will develop type 1, which is a lack of insulin production from the pancreas. A dog that develops type 1 diabetes will require insulin therapy to survive, as insulin is a necessary part of their digestive system. Type 2 is an improper response to insulin and is more often found in cats than dogs. Although the exact cause of diabetes is unknown, it is attributed to genetics, autoimmune disease, overeating, pancreatitis, and bad reactions to medication. Most dogs who develop diabetes do so as a relation to their genetics or diet. As such, obese dogs are at much higher risk of developing diabetes than dogs of a healthy weight.
If you think your dog has diabetes, it is very important to take them to the vet, as this is the only way to truly confirm and develop a treatment plan (bloodwork and all that medical mumbo jumbo). It is usually pretty easy to tell if your dog has developed diabetes, however. Some of the most common symptoms a dog will display are: Being thirsty all the time, sweet smelling breath (fruity), vomiting, lack of energy, weight loss, and a general change of appetite.
Diabetes in dogs is treated on a case by case basis, and there is no simple blanket cure for all dogs. Each dog will display different symptoms, and have conditions specific to its case, and thus, the dogs diet will need to be regulated to the individual dog. Although this may sound scary, it is not a very hard disease to take care of. Your local vet can guide you through all necessary changes, from the dog’s diet, to how to administer insulin. You and your canine friend can live happily ever after, minus a few donuts!