Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the endocrine system. It is caused by a deficiency of insulin - the hormone that regulates how sugar is absorbed and utilized by the cells and tissues of the body. It is the most common hormonal disorder in dogs.
1. Dogs with diabetes usually drink more water, go to the bathroom more frequently (may start to urinate in the house), and can begin to lose weight.
2. It is a wise practice to have your dog checked yearly by your vet, and urine and blood screens (usually fasting) should be a part of that checkup. If you notice any of the symptoms visit your vet immediately. The earlier diabetes is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment. Your vet will have to perform tests, including a blood test, to diagnose diabetes, and to prescribe the proper dose of insulin.
3. Undetected/untreated diabetes can lead to greater urinary tract infections and cataracts.
4. There is no cure for diabetes. If diabetes is found and treatment is required, the treatment will be daily injections of insulin; there are no oral medications available for animals. Your vet will show you the proper way to administer the treatment, and provide a time schedule. Stick to the schedule!
5. It's very important for you to monitor how your dog responds to the injected insulin dosage. You do that by testing the urine with test strips usually available at drug stores or pet shops. The test strip will tell you how much sugar is present in the dog's system, and you may have to adjust the dosage of insulin based on the results. Have your vet teach you how to use the test kits, what results to look for, and when to administer higher or lower dosages.
6. Keep a record of the test strips results, amount of insulin given, and your dog's eating behaviors and attitude. This will not only help you understand the dog's condition, but will help your vet if other problems arise.
7. Dogs with diabetes need to maintain a strict diet. Foods high in fiber and protein, with restricted fats and carbohydrates are the best. Feed your dog at the same times every day as what they eat, and when they eat it, will affect sugar/insulin levels. Check with your vet about how much and when to feed.
8. Set up an exercise program and stick to it. If you decide to walk your dog, or play catch for 20 minutes every day, you need to be consistent. Exercise will affect the "sugar" levels in the dog's blood stream - and you don't want that level "up" one day and "down" the next. The "up and down" isn't good for the dog. If your dog is overweight, you'll have to put it on a diet to lose weight slowly.
9. If your dog is a female, talk to your vet about spaying (if she isn't already). Spaying eliminates the interaction of the female hormones with blood sugar levels and this will help toward stabilizing insulin levels.
10. Above all, continue to give your pet loving attention. They will not understand why they feel the way they do. Dogs want love and attention, and to know they're safe.
11. More dogs with diabetes are obese, but this is not
always the case. In some breeds it can be genetic. The best way to
check for obesity is by checking your dog's rib cage. Run your hand
along your dog's rib cage and feel for the ribs. You should be able
to feel the ribs easily. If not, your dog may be obese.
12. Make sure your dog visits the vet at least once every year. If you have any concerns, you should always ask your vet.
13. The main signs of Diabetes are: Excessive eating, excessive drinking, Excessive urination, and weight loss. Many times pet owners will find out about this after their pet starts urinating in the house or in their bed.
14. If you think your dog has diabetes, visit your vet immediately. Diabetes that isn't treated can lead to further health complications.
15. Your vet will need to perform blood tests to see how high the levels of glucose are in the bloodstream and to make sure there are no other complications that have been caused by the diabetes. They will also want to perform a urinalysis to check kidney function and monitor for urinary tract infections; which are common in diabetics.
16. Following the diagnosis of diabetes in your pet your vet may need to make a glucose curve study. Your vet will monitor glucose levels throughout the day and see if the dose of insulin given to the pet is the correct amount and how well the diabetes is being controlled.
17. Ideally, the pet should also be on a special high fiber/low fat diet that helps regulate insulin levels and promotes weight lose if needed.
- Don't limit your dog's access to water. This is very
crucial, because the dog will drink all the water it needs. This
will prevent dehydration.
- Lifestyle and dietary changes play an important role in treating canine diabetes. Sometimes these adjustments are enough to control the disease and insulin injections can be avoided.
Feeding dogs that beg or steal food
Feeding our pets a balance nutritional food is important. Feeding our pets one large bowl of food a day is a bit like humans skipping meals - you go all day feeing hungry than compensate buy eating large amounts of food that make us feel good.
Humans and pets need to eat a balanced diet that is spread throughout the day. To work out how much and when to feed your pets, talk to your vet and check their daily nutritional requirements. Make sure the food you are using is nutritionally balanced and high in fibre. Divide it into at least two meals. This will help keep your pets stomach full for longer and reduce their desire to forage for food in places like compost heaps and rubbish bins.
Feeding pets table scraps is definitely not an option - especially when they need to lose weight.
Distract our pets and keeping them busy is also useful when modifying established patterns of behaviour such as steeling food. Grooming and playing with them not only shows them affection, but occupies them, keeping their mind off food.