Just like humans, dogs too can get diabetes. There are various reasons why they get it. Processed food is one of them, but over vaccination is another major cause of canine diabetes. Research predicts that canine diabetes may be hereditary as some breeds like Miniature Pinsher, Poodles, Huskies, Samoyed etc are prone to it. But its diagnosis and treatment is not as scary as it sounds.
A study in America shows that more diabetic dogs die from euthanasia than the actual illness itself. Families euthanize diabetic pets out of fear of costs involved in extensive monitoring and treatment. The truth is, diabetes can be monitored through proper medication and simple dietary habits at home. So, if you have a diabetic dog, or you suspect your dog is diabetic, don’t worry. In this article we will show you how detect canine diabetes and how to regulate it.
Diabetes mostly affects dogs above 7 years of age. Rarely would you see a puppy or a young adult canine with this condition. There are certain signs that indicate diabetes. If you suddenly detect excessive thirst, sudden weight gain or weight loss, it may be because of diabetes. Polyurea (excessive urination) is also another symptom of diabetes however, according to Ellen Miller, in the “polyurea may be a symptom of poor glycemic control or other underlying diseases such as hyperthyroidism” (Long Term Monitoring of Diabetic Dog and Cat, pp. 572) This is why it is important to keep an eye on these signs and consult your doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
Many believe that a sudden weight gain may be a cause of diabetes or that it may lead to diabetes. Though obesity can cause a resistance to insulin, a sudden weight loss should also be a reason for concern. If your dog is loosing weight despite normal food intake it may be the first signs of diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes is often diagnosed in dogs through the blood glucose curve. In this method the patient’s blood glucose levels are plotted on a graph. An ideal graph should show a smooth parabolic line but a sudden spike or depression may indicate diabetes. This is a very effective way to detect diabetes but vets opine that it must not be the only method involved.
As with humans, canine diabetes also differs in terms of severity. If your dog is too thirsty, constantly urinating and is unwilling to eat suddenly, they will need immediate medical health. However, most canine diabetes can be regulated with proper treatment and care. Make sure to feed them at a fixed timing with a 12 hour gap between each meal. Try not to change their meal times as that may lead to fluctuations on blood sugar levels.
Along with meals, make sure you regulate the amount of daily workout. Try to keep it consistent depending on your dog’s energy level. Another good habit is to initiate light workout half an hour before meal times.
Since you will give a 12 hour gap between two meals, it is important to provide your dog with snacks in between to regulate blood sugar levels. Try to keep their snacks low on fats and sugars as diabetes can lead to pancreatic or liver problems. Give them snacks that have a mixture of soluble and insoluble fibers like carrots, apples, lightly cooked broccoli etc. You can also give your dog lean meat like boiled chicken breast or chicken feet.
Remember that there are many products that are marketed for diabetic dogs. Be sure to go through their labels carefully before buying them. For instance, chicken jerkeys are excellent snacking options for diabetic dogs, but many companies use preservatives that have lead to kidney failure in the past. Avoid treats that contain glycerine, sulphites and bisulphites, antibiotics, antivirals and artificial food colours and flavours (like red food colouring).
As for meals, go for a low fat high protein diet. Their meals should also contain an addition of both soluble and insoluble fibers. However, the dietary requirement for each diabetic dog defers from one another. Some respond better to a high fibrous diet as it lowers blood sugar while others can get diarrhoea because of their gut’s intolerance to insoluble fibers. Hence it is important to monitor your dog and make gradual changes.
Interestingly, your pooch’s life expectancy does not shorten with diabetes. In fact, most diabetic dogs die of age, pancreatitis, liver problems and euthanasia. So, if your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, you must not worry. With proper moderation your canine can live a perfectly healthy and agile life.