Although there is no cure for canine diabetes, if your dog suffers from the condition you can manage it with medication and special treatment. November is National Pet Diabetes Month, and we wanted to take time to share a few things you should know when it comes to monitoring your pet for signs of this growing canine disease.
Canine diabetes can sneak up on pet owners. The signs are often subtle, and when unrecognized, may result in life-threatening complications. Be aware of any change in your dog’s urination, water intake and body weight so you can detect possible early signs of diabetes. If you are concerned, collect a small amount of urine and check its glucose levels, then take your dog to your veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis.
Most of the time, diabetes affects middle- to older-age dogs. It results when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, which allows sugar into the bloodstream to enter cells where it can provide calories and energy for cell function.
High blood sugar in dogs
Much like human diabetes, the most obvious signs of high blood sugar in dogs are increased water intake, increased urination and weight loss. Without early detection and treatment, canine diabetes will progress to a much more serious form known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a life-threatening alteration to the body’s normal metabolism that could lead to brain damage.
Although there are at-home tests to check your animals for diabetes, the definitive diagnosis should be made by a veterinarian.
Diabetes and diet
While you can help manage diabetes through your dog’s diet, there is no diet or supplement that will reverse diabetes in dogs. It’s important for dogs with diabetes to eat a diet with moderate amounts of carbohydrates and increased levels of fiber. Pets with diabetes also need to eat specific amounts at specific times to help minimize fluctuations in blood sugar levels. If you’re concerned your pet is not getting enough nutrients, be sure to give them a high quality nutritional supplement for dogs (and cats) tod support a healthy and consistent diet.
Again, remember that any time you have a concern about your pet’s health – particularly when it comes to diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, be sure make an appointment with your veterinarian!
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