Life-Threatening Complications of Pet Diabetes

Living With A Diabetic Dog: How To Keep Your Dog Healthy, Prevent Common Problems And Avoid Complications

When diabetes goes undiagnosed, or when it is difficult to control or regulate, the complication of diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) can occur.

DKA develops because the body is so lacking in insulin. Insulin starvation causes the body to start breaking down fat in an attempt to provide energy (or a fuel source) to the body. Unfortunately, these fat breakdown products, called “ketones,” are also poisonous to the body.

Clinical signs of DKA include the following:


2.Not moving ( hanging out by the water bowl)

3.Not eating


5.Excessive thirst and urination (strong yellow urine)

6.Large urinary clumps in the litter box .

7.Weight loss

8.Flaky skin coat

9.Abnormal breath (typically a sweet “ketotic” odor like pear drop sweets)

In severe cases DKA can also result in more significant signs:

1.Abnormal breathing pattern

2.Abdominal pain

3.Tremors or seizures



Diagnosing DKA

Treatment, typically, is required for 3-7 days, and includes the following:

1.A special intravenous catheter called a “central line” (That aids in ketone reduction and helps dehydration by injecting insulin regularly in very small doses.)

2.Aggressive intravenous fluids

3.Blood sugar monitoring in order to check that the ketones are disappearing.

4.A fast acting or ultra fast acting insulin, regular or Lispro, typically given intravenously or in the muscle

5.Blood pressure monitoring

6.Nutritional support (often in the form of a temporary feeding tube)

Preventing DKA

In order to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis regularly monitor your dog’s blood glucose levels and check for ketones using a ketone meter.

Help keep your diabetic pet healthy – after all, it’s treatable!

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Treating Canine Diabetes

A blood test that measures your dog’s blood glucose level is the most common method of diagnosing diabetes.

Once your dog is diagnosed, his/her veterinarian will give you a diabetes management plan for your dog which will help you manage his/her condition.

Your vet will advise you on what insulin dose to give your dog,how often you need to inject your dog with insulin and the correct diet and exercise plan for your pet.

After treatment starts, your dog will need to be routinely tested to see how well the treatment is working.

The dog is given a HbA1C blood test which gives an indication of the average blood glucose level for the past three months.It is very important that the dog is given a HbA1C blood test every three months.

Pets with type 1 diabetes are given insulin injections and may need changes in diet, and may need to lose weight. Pets with type 2 diabetes do not need insulin because they can usually be controlled with diet, weight loss, and oral medication (Glipizide).

PetTest Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit

Blood glucose monitoring will  be an important aspect of treatment. This involves lightly pricking your dog’s skin on one of the paws and alternate paws everyday, gathering a drop of blood onto a test strip and running it through a blood glucose meter. Most treatment plans involve two insulin shots daily.

Which Types of Insulin Do Pets Use?

Ultimately your pet’s veterinarian will recommend the best types of insulin your pet will need. Below is a list of the more common types of insulin pets use that are diagnosed with diabetes:

1.Regular crystalline insulin, which has a rapid onset and short duration of action, perhaps only a few hours.

2.Intermediate-acting insulin, such as NPH (Isophane), which has an intermediate duration of about 12 hours (Vetsulin Insulin) (ProZinc can last up to 24 hours)

3.Lente insulin, which has an intermediate duration of 12 hours, but lasts as long as 24 hours in some pets.

4.Ultralente insulin, which is long-acting, usually as long as 24 hours, but it may be only as long as 12 hours in some pets.

Pets use insulin made from  a combination of beef and pork.

Insulin is injected with special syringes that are calibrated in units. The syringes have tiny needles because they are intended to deliver insulin below the skin.

Why Is Insulin Injected?

Insulin is a protein that is destroyed by stomach acid when it is swallowed. Instead, insulin is injected under the skin and is picked up by the blood and circulated throughout the body.

Are Options Other than Insulin Available for Dogs with Diabetes?

Unfortunately, other options for treating diabetes in dogs have proven to be less than successful. At one time, there was hope that the oral hyperglycemic agents that act to lower blood glucose when given by mouth would be useful in treating diabetic dogs.

Reasons Why Insulin Is the Best Treatment for Diabetic Dogs

The primary reason that insulin is the best treatment for canine diabetes is the fact that dogs with diabetes almost always suffer from insulin-dependent diabetes. This means that the cells in the pancreas that normally secrete insulin are no longer functional and the pancreas can no longer secrete insulin in quantities sufficient to regulate your diabetic dog’s blood glucose levels.

 It is extremely important to pay attention to your pet’s diet, supplements, exercise, and weight control.

At the moment I am reading an excellent autobiography called Becoming The Supervet listening to the animals by Noel Fitzpatrick which highlights the importance of animals in our society!

Noel tells his journey from a bullied farm boy from Ballyfin, Laois, to national treasure, who puts prosthetic limbs on bunny rabbits, grows new feet on dogs from bone taken from their tails, and pioneers 3D hip and shoulder replacements for our furry domestic friends. He is, quite simply, bionic: Visionary, restless, ultra-focused, ultra-driven.

Companionship, pleasure, service, conservation, and stabilization of the economy are but a few of the contributions animals make that help our society function. Throughout our history, animals have been used to till the soil, aid in transportation, and build structures.

At Noels surgery, there are no cages, just glass walls; the animals he treats do not have ‘owners’, but ‘family’. He hugs everyone, humans and animals alike, and speaks openly of the devastation of not being able to save an animal!

He tells us how prosthetic limbs for animals are ten years more advanced than for humans; he says that animals have been used to advance human medicine without ever benefitting from it, and wants to change this!


If you have any information,questions, or feedback you would like to include in this post.

Please email or leave your comments below.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs?

Hachi and Bruno going for a spin in the car

Hachi is a young dog so he is full of health and vitality as he is only four years old wheras Bruno is an older dog of thirteen years and has some health problems.

He has arthritis in his back legs which means he finds it difficult to walk.

This means that he cant exercise much so he is inclined to put on weight.That is very common for old labradors and also he likes his grub so Brendan and myself are a bit worried he could get type 2 diabetes so we are trying to cut down on his food and take him for small walks down the road as far as our next door neighbour’s David and Grainne.

Bruno exhibits none of the following symptoms yet Thank God!

These  symptoms should be investigated as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes:

1.Change in appetite

Your pet might grow hungrier over time because high blood sugar levels(hyperglycemia) and ketones in the urine.

If your pet has low blood sugar levels(hypoglycemia)they also are hungrier and they need some form of carbohydrate to feel better.

For example Pedigree dog nuts which my dog Bruno loves more than the cheaper priced dog nuts.

2.Excessive thirst/Increased Urination

These two signs are an indication of a diabetic condition, so you’ll want to watch closely for them, especially as your pet ages.

Unfortunately, increased thirst and urine output are also signs of other serious health problems, so regardless of the age or condition of your dog or cat, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian (and bring a urine sample) if you notice these symptoms.

3.Weight loss

High blood sugar levels(Hyperglycemia) cause significant weight loss because there is not enough insulin to break down the glucose in the body’s blood which causes the sugar levels to rise because of the fat being burned instead of carbohydrate.

When  your pet’s body are being starved of essential nutrients, the result is often an increase in appetite. When the energy from food is not being used efficiently  your pet can lose weight even though he’s taking in more calories.

4.Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)can be a complication of untreated diabetes and may cause  bad breath. DKA comes from the increasing number of ketones in the blood that inevitably results in a strong acetone odor coming from your animal’s mouth.


You’re pet has no energy and an increased need for sleep. When your pet’s body is deprived of insulin there is too much glucose in the body and the pets blood sugar levels are very high and that causes fat to be burned off instead of carbohydrate and it’s carbohydrate that gives your pet energy .The pet is then apt to show a general lack of desire to run, go for a walk, or engage in play.

 6.Diabetic dog shaking and trembling

When your diabetic dog displays the symptoms of weak legs,  trembling, shivering, sleepiness,disorientation and slow reactions,it means that the dog is hypoglycemic.(low blood sugar)

This happens because you injected too much insulin or your dog didn’t eat its entire ration. In this case you have to check his /her blood sugar levels with a glucometer and provide your dog with carbohydrate rich food such as pedigree dog nuts. If the symptoms do not resolve contact your vet without delay, hypoglycemia is a very dangerous condition.

 7.Urinary tract infections

It’s not at all uncommon for diabetic dogs and cats to acquire urinary tract infections. This happens because the more sugar there is in the urine, the greater the likelihood that bacteria will grow in your pet’s bladder.

High blood sugar levels causes fat to be burned off instead of carbohydrate,this results in more sugar in the urine.

The more sugar in the urine the more likely you are to get urinary tract infections.

8.Vomiting/refusing to eat

When your dog refuses to eat and/or vomits these are important symptoms of canine diabetes. This lets you know that your dog has Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), which is one of the most dangerous complication of diabetes. You should check your pet’s blood sugar level with a glucometer and if the blood sugar level is high inject the pet with insulin.

If this does not work contact your vet immediately.

9.Diabetic Retinopathy, blindness

Another symptom of diabetes in companion animals is blindness, which is seen primarily in dogs, but cats can also develop blindness as a result of diabetic retinopathy.

10.Chronic skin infections

A diabetic dog may have skin problems. It’s coat may be affected, it becomes dull, rough and dry.


Seizures and coma are signs that your diabetic dog is very hypoglycemic.(low blood sugar). These are very severe symptoms that require you to feed  your dog at once with a sugary treat or a with a high carbohydrate snack (for example honey or maple syrup being put on the gums if the dog cannot eat). Then call your vet or an emergency veterinary service immediately.


If your dog has diarrhea change his/her’s diet to a healthy dog friendly diet such as good quality dog nuts such as pedigree dog nuts.

If you have any information,questions, or feedback you would like to include in this post.

Please email or leave your comments below.

How To Care For A Dog With Diabetes

Chocolate Lab: A Gift Journal for People who Love Dogs: Chocolate Labrador Retriever Edition: Volume 5 (So Cute Puppies)

Bruno is a big cuddly brown ball of fur.He is my favourite thing to cuddle up with especially on a cold winter’s night near our open fire, watching my favourite television programmes.

He is a big baby in that he cuddles me so close I can hardly breathe so I named him”Baby Bruno” when he was a puppy and the name has stuck because he still behaves like a young dog even though he is nearly twelve years of age.

Even though he is an old dog now I still love him the same as I did when he was a young mischevious pup!

I would be lost without my two dogs Hachi and Bruno!They are great company especially when I am working on this website as they often come into our office where our personal computer is!

Bruno is my dog really and Hachi is my husband’s Brendan’s dog it just turned out that way for some reason that’s life!Bruno is a lovely dog even if he is getting old and isnt as attractive as the dog in the picture above.

Caring for him is going to be more difficult soon as he cant walk as well as he use to because of his arithritis but that’s life isnt it we are all getting older!

He cant go for long walks anymore and is therefore inclined to put on weight!

Therefore we are afraid he might end up with Type 2 diabetes which would make life even more difficult for him and us!

My other dog Keano with Bruno when he was a pup

Bruno had another friend called Keano who died when Bruno was eight years old.

Keano was a very placid and gentle dog as most golden retrievers are and always left some of the food in his bowl for Bruno!

Keano was like Bruno he had problems with his legs but in his case it was because of hip problems!

We bought him a cart online which cost a fair bit but it was worth it as it meant he could be more active!

I loved that dog very much more than I should have as I prolonged the envitable I should have got him put down months before I did!

Keano wasnt overweight like Bruno so we didnt worry too much about him getting Type 2 diabetes!

Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin.

After a dog eats his digestive system breaks food into various components which is carried into his cells by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels rise. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems for a dog.

It is important to understand, however, that diabetes is considered a manageable disorder and many diabetic dogs can lead happy, healthy lives.

Why Dogs Get Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually found in young dogs, is actually quite rare in companion animals when they reach middle-age or senior years.

Your dog is much more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes around middle age or in his senior years, as a result of a lifestyle that  leads to decreased production of insulin or the inability of his body to use it efficiently.

Obesity is far and away the biggest reason pets become diabetic.

You can help your dog stay trim by feeding him a portion controlled appropriate diet ,such as pedigree dry nuts consisting primarily of a variety of  protein sources, healthy fats and vegetables.

Your pet has no biological requirement for grains or most other carbohydrates. Carbohydrates which can be as much as 80 percent the ingredient content of processed pet food, turn into sugar in your pet’s body. Excess sugar in dogs leads to diabetes.

Another lifestyle-related reason pets develop diabetes, one that often goes hand-in-hand with poor nutrition, is lack of physical activity.

Your dog needs regular aerobic exertion to help maintain a healthy weight and to keep his/her muscles in shape. Your pet should be getting at least 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise several days a week.

Diabetes in Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide to Diabetes in Dogs

The most common form of the disease in young dogs is Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin. Dogs who have Type 1 require insulin injections to survive. Type 2 diabetes is found in cats and senior dogs and is a lack of normal response to insulin.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs?

Click Here for Symptoms that should be Investigated as they could be indicators that your dog has Diabetes.

6 Natural Treatments For Pet Allergies In Humans

 What Causes Diabetes in Dogs?

The exact cause of diabetes is unknown.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Diabetes?

It is thought that obese dogs and female dogs may run a greater risk of developing diabetes later in life (6-9 years of age). Some breeds may also run a greater risk, including Australian terriers, standard and miniature schnauzers, dachshunds, and poodles,. Type 1 diabetes can also be seen and is particularly prevalent in golden retrievers .

Treating Canine Diabetes

A blood test that measures your dog’s blood glucose level is the most common way.

Once your dog is diagnosed, his/her veterinarian will give you a diabetes management plan for your dog which will help you manage his/her condition.

Your vet will advise you on what insulin dose to give your dog,how often you need to inject your dog with insulin and the correct diet and exercise plan for your pet.

Click Here For Information On Checking Your Dogs Blood Glucose Levels And Administrating Insulin

Click Here For Free Ebook that teaches you great tips when it comes to  Caring For Your Dog.

Diabetic Dog Diet

Burns Weight Control for Overweight or Diabetic Adult Dogs 15 kg

The general guidelines for a healthy diabetic dog diet are:

1.Feeding the dog natural wholesome food in small doses, twice a day. Regular and small dosages will make it easier for the body to produce and utilize the sugar as well as the insulin.

2.Feeding time should be the same every day because dogs like routine and the security of knowing when and what time they will be fed.

3.The amount of food should also be the same every day.

Foods To Avoid

1.Soft or semi-moist pet foods – Usually they contain a lot of sugar, preservatives, and artificial colors.

2.Fatty meats and excessive oil – Enzymes need to be produced especially for the breakdown of fat, thus digesting fatty meats puts extra stress on the pancreas.

3.High carbohydrate foods – If a dog diet is high in carbohydrates, they will eventually be broken down into sugar. Excess sugar in the blood can lead to diabetes.


A regular exercise program is important as it has the effect of decreasing insulin needs. It is important for the dog to exercise regularly and have the same amount of exercise every day,exercise at the same time of day,have the same duration of exercise time every day.Dog’s love routine it helps them stay focused.

Diabetic dogs can become seriously hypoglycemic (dangerously low blood sugar level) when they are out for a walk. As a precaution, therefore, always carry some sugar source(jelly sweets and orange juice for fast acting carbohydrate and wholewheat dog biscuits for slow releasing carbohydrate) with you when you take your diabetic dog out for exercise.

Weight Control

If your diabetic dog is obese, gradual weight loss is highly recommended. Weight loss may help to reduce your dog’s need for insulin. However, the key is to lose weight gradually. Rapid weight loss should be avoided because it is hard to maintain a quick fix but slowly losing the weight is easier for your pet if you put him/her on a healthier diet.

Monitor Your Diabetic Dog

Keeping a logbook can help you monitor your diabetic dog’s progress. Every day, record blood glucose test results, any ketone test results, changes in your dog’s appetite, weight, appearance, water intake, urination frequency or mood, and any treatment changes your veterinarian makes. A simple notebook or computer spreadsheet works well.

Among the things to watch for on a day-to-day basis are low blood glucose levels(hypoglycemia)and high blood glucose levels(hyperglycemia).

It is very important that blood sugar levels are kept as close to normal as possible.

See the table below for the different blood glucose ranges:

Normal Blood Glucose Range: 4.0 to 5.9 mmol/l(72.0 to 106.2 mg/dl)

Hypoglycemia Range(low blood sugar level) :Below 4.0 mmol/l(72.0mg/dl)

Hyperglycemia Range(high blood sugar level): Above 7.0mmol/l(126.0mg/dl)

Hyperglycemia can lead to ketoacidosis (harmful levels of ketones in the blood), which qualifies as an emergency, and you should call your vet right away.

Symptoms include drinking lots of water, urinating frequently , loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, lethargy, ketones in the urine and the most serious situation is when the dog goes into a coma.

Test strips are available to detect ketones in your dog’s urine, and you should report the presence of ketones to your veterinarian immediately, even if your dog has no other symptoms.

A range of symptoms may be present during hypoglycemia including restlessness, lethargy, confusion, weakness, wobbliness, lack of coordination, shivering, sweaty paws and the worst cases cause seizures and coma or even death.

Test your dog’s blood glucose level if these symptoms appear.

If it is below the recommended level, rub maple syrup,a high-sugar food that is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream on your dog’s gums and the inside of  his/her cheek, then monitor your pet’s blood sugar level as per the following post Hypoglycemia Facts.

Natural Supplements for Diabetes in Dogs

Supplements can be added to a diabetic dog diet to help aid the dog’s condition especially if the pet has an autoimmune condition such as diabetes.

1.One important supplement is brewer’s yeast. The chromium in the yeast aids the body in using blood sugar more effectively. You can give one teaspoon to one tablespoon (depending on the size of your dog) of brewer’s yeast with each meal to your dog.

2.Vitamins C and E are also essential.

3.Herbs can also be used to help strengthen and support major body systems that have been weakened by diabetes. Dogs with diabetes are unlikely to be able to fully utilize nutrients.

Therefore herbs that aid digestion and nutrient absorption will be beneficial to diabetic dogs. Dandelion leaf, alfalfa, and calendula are such herbs.

Some herbs are effective in maintaining and moderating blood sugar levels, such as dandelion root and burdock root.

5.Aloe vera and fenugreek seeds have also been found to be able to reduce blood sugar levels and stimulate insulin production in diabetic animals.

6.Garlic is another useful herb for diabetes in dogs. Garlic stimulates the stomach and intestines and increases digestive organ function.

7.Cinnamon may also be helpful for dogs with diabetes as it may improve how the body uses glucose by enhancing the action of insulin. Since cinnamon is also an antioxidant and is good for dogs, it does not hurt to sprinkle some cinnamon on your diabetic dog’s food on a regular basis.

8. Kelp has antioxidant properties, may be capable of helping the body in secreting insulin, thereby lowering the blood sugar levels.

Life-threatening complications of Pet Diabetes

Living With A Diabetic Dog: How To Keep Your Dog Healthy, Prevent Common Problems And Avoid Complications

When diabetes goes undiagnosed, or when it is difficult to control or regulate, the complication of diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) can occur.

Click Here For Important Information On DKA

How Can I Prevent Pet Diabetes?

In both dogs and cats, diabetes is tied to obesity and age. If your pet is over 10 years old and weighs too much, he or she is at a higher risk for diabetes. To decrease this risk, you can work with your veterinarian to increase your pet’s exercise level and decrease his or her caloric intake.

Just like with people, if pets consume more calories than they use they will gain weight. . It’s best to choose higher protein foods, and many pet parents find that a grain-free pet food with natural ingredients helps prevent their pets from gaining weight.

Because a higher-protein diet can be more nutrient dense (as well as calorie dense), you may need to speak with your vet about decreasing your pet’s portion size when you transition foods.

 A higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet helps prevent diabetes.

Food Bowl Tips

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Diabetic Dry Food 1.5 Kg

Keep your dog fit and healthy by following these tips:

1.Ask your veterinarian if your dog’s body condition is ideal. If not, work with your vet to set up a weight loss plan to return him to a healthy condition.

2.Read the food label for recommended daily portions based on your dog’s weight, and look at the package back for an illustration of a dog at ideal body condition to see if your dog matches up.

3.Feed the dog, not the bowl. Use a measuring cup when scooping the dry food into the food bowl, so you know exactly how much you are serving.

4.Perform a weekly check on your dog to make sure you can easily feel his ribs. Examine his profile to see if his abdomen is tucked behind the rib cage, and stand over him to see if he has a clearly defined waist behind the ribs.

5.Adjust the amount you serve your dog to maintain ideal body condition. No matter what he weighs, if body condition is at the ideal point, the weight will be acceptable.

Walking Tips For Your Dog

Hands Free Running Dog Lead / Dog Walking Belt by Woofiy – Reflective with Double Sided Lined Pouch – Great for Handsfree Running , Jogging or Walking

Pair sound nutrition with regular fitness to keep your aging dog in shape.

1.Warm up your dog’s muscles by starting with a 5-minute slow pace. Then take a 10- to 15-minute brisk walk, ending with a 5-minute slow pace to cool down the muscles.

2.Keep your dog on a brisk pace for the majority of the walk, so that he trots rather than saunters. This gait exercises both sides of your dog’s body and provides him with a cardiovascular workout.

3.Aim for 40-minute daily walks . A little exercise every day is better than a lot of exercise once or twice a week.

On August 2020 our adorable chocolate lab Bruno had to be put to sleep as he could no longer go to the toilet by himself and could barely walk because of his severe arthritis!

Myself and Brendan could see that he was in a lot of pain and it was time to let him go to dog heaven and be with his best friend Keano!

We buried him in the bottom of our lovely garden right next to Keano!

Keano and Bruno’s resting place in our lovely garden❤️

It was a very sad day for myself and Brendan as we loved Bruno and Keano very much!

We hope they are having a great time now, running, playing and having adventures together as they use to do when they were fit and healthy!


Bruno’s life Motto
Keanos life Motto

We think we are very lucky we have Hachi our handsome Saint Weiler and Elvis our mischievous foxhound to ease the pain of our loss!

My sister Joan send me a lovely text when she found out that Bruno had passed, she said that Bruno had been spoilt rotten and had a great life with us!

How about you would you like to share stories about a special pet that you have lost if so please leave a comment at the end of this article or send me an email as I would love to hear about them!

If you have any information,questions, or feedback you would like to include in this post.

Please email or leave your comments below.