Canine Diabetes: Risk Factors and Symptoms

August 25, 2019
In today's article, we want to tell you how to recognize symptoms of canine diabetes, and explain what you can do to help your pet.

Many of the illnesses that affect humans can also affect our four-legged friends. One example of this is diabetes. Canine diabetes is a complex disease that requires long-term care and attention.

In today’s article, we want to tell you how to recognize symptoms of canine diabetes, and explain what you can do to help your pet.

Canine diabetes: risk factors

There are a number of factors which can increase the chances of your dog developing diabetes. These include:

An overweight pug.

  • Obesity: overweight dogs are much more likely to suffer from diabetes. If you’re not sure whether your dog is overweight, simply examine their rib cage. You should be able to feel their ribs easily. If you can’t, it’s possible that your dog is overweight. Taking steps to control their weight is essential if you want to avoid major health issues in the future.
  • Fight against obesity: if you think your dog is overweight, talk to your vet to decide the best way to help your pet lose weight. This is essential for preventing diabetes. However, it’s not just overweight dogs that can suffer from this disease.

Money will buy a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy the wag of his tail.

-Henry Wheeler Shaw

  • Age: just like humans, age is a major risk factor for diabetes. Dogs over 7 years old are generally at greater risk of developing the disease. Why? Older dogs are often less active than younger dogs. This often leads to obesity, as they are unable to burn the calories they consume.
  • Some breeds have a genetic predisposition to diabetes. Breeds such as the dachshund, the beagle, the schnauzer and the cairn terrier are more likely to develop diabetes than other dogs.

Symptoms of canine diabetes

  • Excessive water intake: High blood glucose levels can cause an animal to feel permanently thirsty. If you notice your dog drinking and urinating more than usual, it’s possible that it’s suffering from diabetes, or may be starting to develop the disease. However, it’s important not to limit their water intake. If their body is asking for it, it’s because it needs it.
  • Sleeping more than usual: Sleeping more than usual is a clear sign that your dog has, or is developing, diabetes. Increased tiredness is caused by the fact that the cells can no longer absorb sugar properly. As a result, they don’t have as much energy as healthy dogs.
  • Check their eyesight: like people, diabetic dogs can have problems with their vision. Elevated sugar levels can even cause sudden-onset blindness in dogs.
A golden retriever.

What to do?

  • Talk to your vet: If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your pet, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Your vet will do a blood test to check if their blood sugar is elevated, and to make sure the disease hasn’t damaged any vital organs.
  • Tests: As well as a blood test, there are a number of other tests that can be used to check whether your dog is suffering from diabetes. Canine diabetes is a very serious disease, and can even be fatal. As such, we recommend seeking urgent treatment. Urine tests, a CBC or hemogram, and other tests may be necessary to confirm whether or not the disease is present.

Your vet is the best person to advise you on which tests are necessary, and how best to care for your pet. If you notice any other unusual symptoms, always seek professional help. If your dog does have diabetes, this is the only way to make sure it receives the best possible treatment.