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Diabetes Week – Caring for dogs with diabetes

With the right care, most dogs who have diabetes can lead a comfortable, happy life. It’s Diabetes Week so we thought we’d look at how to spot the signs of, care for and treat a dog with diabetes.

Dogs susceptible to diabetes

Certain breeds of dogs such as dachshunds, miniature schnauzers, beagles and pugs are more susceptible to diabetes. Most dogs with diabetes are middle-aged or older and many are overweight. Dogs with chronic pancreatitis can go on to develop diabetes and interestingly, diabetes is more common in female dogs.

Symptoms of canine diabetes

An increase in drinking, urinating or hunger and/or weight loss are all symptoms of diabetes. If your dog displays any of these symptoms, take them to see a vet. The vet will test your dog for high blood sugar levels, known as hyperglycaemia, and they’ll test for sugar in the dog’s urine.

Treatment

Diabetic dogs will usually require insulin injections twice a day, spaced 12 hours apart, and they’ll require a special high-protein diet to manage their condition, which your vet will be able to advise you on. Meals will need to be given at specific times each day. Your dog will also need to be checked by a vet regularly. There is no cure for canine diabetes, but the right treatment should ensure their daily lives are not too affected by the disease.

Exercise

Diabetic dogs need exercise just like any other dog. In fact, exercise can have a positive affect on their condition by lowering their blood sugar level. Conversely, too much intense exercise can lower their blood sugar level too much and lead to hypoglycaemia, depriving the brain of energy. Therefore, it’s best to avoid high intensity exercise. Daily, moderate walking or jogging is recommended, but speak to your vet if you are unsure.

Preventing canine diabetes

Sometimes diabetes is inherited so it’s not possible to prevent it in those instances. In other cases, ensuring your dog gets plenty of exercise, maintains a healthy weight and eats a healthy diet will go a long way in keeping diabetes at bay.

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