How to Care For a Dog with Diabetes
You've just come back from the veterinarian's office; your dog has diabetes. A million thoughts are running through your mind do I have to give me dog shots? Is this my fault? Will my dog live a normal life? Will I have to put my dog to sleep? Fortunately, diabetes in pets can be controlled just as it can for humans. Managing your dog's diabetes is similar in practice to the way humans manage it by monitoring blood sugar levels, injecting insulin and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise. With some education, a few precautions and some support, you can manage your dog's diabetes and give it a happy, healthy life.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. The body needs insulin to move glucose, or sugars, into cells and provide energy. In diabetics, the glucose doesn't do this, but instead builds up in the bloodstream. This is what you test for either in the urine or blood. Type I diabetes, sometimes called juvenile onset diabetes, occurs in puppies younger than one year and is a result of an abnormal pancreas which does not produce enough insulin. Type II diabetes, or adult onset diabetes, occurs after one year, where the pancreas formerly produced insulin, but now does not produce enough. So, regardless of the age, diabetes is a result of the pancreas producing abnormal amounts of insulin.
How Do I Care For My Diabetic Dog?
Your veterinarian will explain what your dog's special needs are and will show you how to give the injection and monitor blood and urine glucose levels. You will need to test your dog's urine with a urine test strip (from your veterinarian or a pet store). The test strip will tell you how much insulin your dog needs.
Tips on Insulin Injections
Here are some common tips for injecting your dog with insulin.
- Remember, if you are calm your dog will be calm. Maintain a confident manner when approaching your dog with the syringe.
- Show your dog a treat before the injection and then give it the treat immediately following.
- If you are nervous, practice the injection on a piece of fruit. Your vet will also show you how to administer a shot.
- Keep a journal of dog's daily insulin levels. This will help you and your vet better monitor its needs.
- Be sure to feed your dog at regular intervals and administer insulin shots about the same time every day. This will keep your dog comfortable and calm as it will know when to expect food and the insulin. Have your vet recommend a dog food.
- Regular exercise for your dog will help manage its insulin levels.
- When on walks, bring some honey or Karo syrup in case your dog's sugar levels are low.
- Put a tag on your dog along with your name and address, which says it is diabetic. In case the dog gets lost, those who find it will know its medical needs.
Your Dog Can Live a Healthy Life with Diabetes
Remember, diabetes is not the end of the world. Your diabetic dog can live a full and happy life with the proper management. Diabetes will require attentive management on your part, but will not interfere with your dog's quality of life.
Photo Credit: p lorant