Controlling Canine Diabetes
You know you should eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to avoid developing Type 2 diabetes. But did you know that your dog should do the same thing?
Diabetes mellitus, sometimes called sugar diabetes, is becoming increasingly common in canines. Researchers estimate that one in 200 dogs will develop the disease. It is most commonly found in golden retrievers, German shepherds, miniature schnauzers, and poodles, but all breeds have some risk of developing the disease.
Signs that your dog may have diabetes:
- sudden increase in appetite
- desire to eat more food
- frequent urination (some dogs start having accidents in the house)
- drinking lots of water
- unexplained weight loss
- lethargy and weakness
Testing for canine diabetes
If you suspect that your dog may have diabetes, have your veterinarian do tests to establish your dog's blood glucose curve. This involves a series of blood sugar tests conducted over 12-24 hours to see when your pet's blood glucose hits highs and lows.
Treating canine diabetes
Treatment for your diabetic canine is much the same as treatment for a human with diabetes: dietary control and insulin injections. Some vets will prescribe human insulin injections for your dog; others will suggest that you use Vetsulin®, the only veterinary insulin FDA-approved for dogs and cats.
Your goal is to keep your dog's blood glucose levels between 65 and 120 mg/dl. In order to stay within this range, avoid feeding your pet all the day's calories at one time. Instead, divide your pet's daily food allowance between 2 or 3 meals. Also, feed your pet at roughly the same time every day.
The best diet for your diabetic dog
Obesity will make your dog less responsive to his insulin injections. In order to maintain a healthy weight, feed your pet a high-fiber, high-carbohydrate diet such as Hill's Prescription Diets, Purina OM, and Fit and Trim Dry. Avoid soft, moist foods and treats due to their high sugar content.
If your dog has lost a great deal of weight because of his diabetes, you should feed him a low-fiber diet. Try a brand like Alpo Light (canned) and Iams Less Active (dry).