Diabetes in dogs is a hormonal disorder that generally affects dogs of ages 5 to 9 and especially those who are obese. Again, females are at the highest risk. The main symptoms, due to a high concentration of blood sugar are excessive water consumption, urination, loss of weight, weakness, loss of appetite and dehydration. However, several important measures are required to be taken along with a course of treatment to keep the diabetic dog’s condition under control to enable the dog lead a normal life. Timing of detection of diabetes in dogs is important as the earlier the diabetes is detected, chances of successful treatment increases. There is no cure for diabetes. There are no oral medications available for animals and hence injecting insulin is the only treatment available.
A diet of a diabetic dog should consist of diets high in fiber and proteins, restricted in fats and carbohydrates. However, a discipline in feeding the dog must be enforced; feeding the dog at the same time daily as the content and timing of food will impact swings in their sugar/insulin levels. No table leftovers or extra feeding of snacks is to be fed to the dog.
Along with a good diet for the diabetic dog, setting up an exercise program and consistency in exercise is very important. Exercise affects the sugar levels in the blood stream and helps them stabilize. If the dog is overweight, it will have to be put it on a diet for a gradual weight loss.
Excessive urination along with excessive water intake is one of the first noticeable signs of diabetes. Diabetic dogs are likely to lose weight because their body breaks down stored fats and protein to make glucose. Other signs of a diabetic condition could be changes in appetite, decrease in physical activity, lethargy and chronic infections.
A diet for diabetic dog should be drafted by a qualified veterinarian who will work out the type and quantity of food in the diet. For a large population of diabetic dogs, a high-quality balanced diet works well, though in a few cases the veterinarian may suggest a specially formulated diabetic diet. A diet ideal for one diabetic dog may not be suitable for another.
Fiber-enhanced foods are nutritionally complete and are prescribed in addition to insulin for management of diabetes in dogs. Extra fiber results in slowing the digestive process and absorption of carbohydrates. This in turn helps in reducing the blood glucose levels post meals.
A reasonably consistent exercise routine for the dog is a necessity. Prescription of insulin is based on the daily amount of exercise. In case of substantial increase in exercises or strenuous exercises, the insulin doses will have to be adjusted accordingly.
To prevent the diabetic dog from over feeding, all pets at home must be fed at one time only. This would discourage the diabetic dog from eating normal food from the bowls of the other healthy pets which could be disastrous for the diabetic dog.
With a proper diet, dogs with diabetes can live a long and happy life as other pets and both the owner and the dog can enjoy each others company for long time.