Diabetes is a chronic disease that continuously affects humans and dogs alike. It is a condition where your dog’s pancreas has stopped or produces an insufficient amount of insulin for the body. Basically, the insulin helps break down the glucose intake so the cells in the body can absorb it.

A diabetic dog’s cell will have a hard time extracting the glucose because of the low or no production of insulin. This results in the glucose staying in the blood that can cause severe damage in the long run.

1 out 300 dogs are diagnosed to have diabetes mellitus, study says. Diabetes in dogs is alarmingly getting more common today. Unfortunately, there is still no known cure for diabetes.

A diabetic dog may need to rely on insulin injectables for the rest of their life, depending on the severity of their condition. Nevertheless, diabetes is still a manageable illness. A dog can still enjoy regular activities even after being diagnosed.

Types of Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes mellitus.

Type 1 diabetes or insulin-deficiency is the lack of insulin production from the pancreas. It is the most common type that you will see in dogs. This will make them insulin-dependent for the rest of their lives. The lifelong insulin therapy will help lengthen their years of survival. This is a lot more serious than the second type. Contrary to what most people believe, this type is not caused by diet. However, diet does affect its prevention and management.

Type 2 diabetes is also known as insulin resistance. From its name, the body resists the insulin that is being produced by the pancreas. The canine’s body is not responding to the insulin which results in the glucose staying in the blood instead.

Humans are more prone to this type of diabetes rather than dogs. About 90% of human diabetes is classified as type 2 condition. Cats are at a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

There are several signs in dogs that are easy to spot. Being a silent disease, recognising the signs at an earlier stage is crucial to a canine’s health and survival.

These are the common symptoms of diabetes in dogs to check on a suspected canine.

  • Siccaro icon Hunger or appetite loss. Dogs with diabetes have either extreme hunger or total loss of appetite. This is the negative effect of the glucose in their bloodstream. You will notice that most diabetic dogs are either obese or really thin.
  • Siccaro icon Frequent urination. Canines are more thirsty and frequently pee when diabetic. It is the body’s nature to flush out extra sugar thru the urine. Aside from that, the body also searches for water because the glucose tends to bond with the water inside the body.
  • Siccaro icon Vomiting. Another way for the body to get rid of the extra sugar is by emptying the contents of a dog’s stomach. This triggers them to vomit frequently. Diabetes in dogs will really stir up their body. This symptom is also common in dogs with pancreatitis.
  • Siccaro icon Weight loss. Because the body cannot break down sugar without insulin, the cells instead burn the tissues of the dog to create glucose. This results in moderate to severe weight loss. Eventually, this will weaken the canine and cause over fatigue.
  • Siccaro icon Problem with vision. It is common for dogs with diabetes to have problems with their vision as well. It can be in the form of cataract, glaucoma, or permanent blindness. Only a visit to the veterinarian can confirm if the problem in vision is due to diabetes or another severe illness.
  • Siccaro icon Unusual smell of breath. Diabetic dogs can have a fruity-smelling breath. You will notice a rather sweet smell than the usual smell of dog breath. Should this change to a scent close to acetone, immediate veterinary treatment is required.

Risk Factors for Diabetes in Dogs

What can put your dog at risk of acquiring diabetes?

  • Siccaro icon Age. Most old dogs easily develop diabetes. Their bodies have weakened and so the functions of their organs have slowed down. The average age for most dogs to develop diabetes is said to be at the age 5 above.
  • Siccaro icon Weight. Obese dogs have a higher tendency of developing the illness. The dog’s weight contributes to the resistance of the body to insulin. It can also affect the condition of the pancreas that produces insulin. Obesity can also lead to other serious conditions, such as heart problems and skin diseases.
  • Siccaro icon Gender. Female dogs with unspayed reproductive system are more prone to having diabetes than male dogs. However, male dogs who are not castrated are at a higher risk too.
  • Siccaro icon Diet. Too much of anything in a dog’s diet can also result in developing diabetes. Although it does not directly cause diabetes, the diet still factors in various conditions that can lead to diabetes. Ideally, a dog’s meal should have at least 30% of protein, less fat, and some fiber. Carbohydrates turn into sugar quickly. When a dog is diagnosed with diabetes, the amount of carb intake should be lowered down. Adding antioxidants, digestive enzymes, turmeric, and probiotic to the food will also help the canine have a better diet.
  • Siccaro icon Pancreas Condition. Canines who constantly get pancreatitis are most prone to getting diabetes. As you can remember it is the pancreas’ job to produce insulin. Severe damage to the organ will result in the dog developing diabetes.
  • Siccaro icon Medications. Steroid medications can cause diabetes in dogs. Aside from those, antibiotics used to treat infections, toxins, and vaccines can also affect a dog’s health. Their body develops autoimmunity and attacks its own cells that make the insulin.

  • Siccaro icon Breed. And sometimes, diabetes just develops in dogs because of genetics. Some of the breeds that are highly prone to diabetes include a Beagle, Boxer, Dachshund, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Poodle, Springer Spaniel, and West Highland White Terrier. It must be noted, however, that these are not just the only ones who can acquire diabetes. All dogs can get the illness.

Treatment and Care for Diabetes

The treatment for diabetes varies from one dog to another. It would depend on their current condition as well as the severity of their diabetes. Each canine will have a different reaction to these treatments.


Some dogs will need one or two shots of insulin daily. The kind of insulin used will be recommended by the veterinarian. The dosage will depend on the dog’s weight and body which may change upon monthly check-ups. In some cases, human insulin is injected into a diabetic dog.


A change in diet will also be suggested to help manage the condition of the dog. A good, balanced food intake can lessen the chances of their glucose level from peaking or falling. A high-fiber diet is most recommended as well to normalise the glucose in blood. There is a special kind of food that is created for diabetic dogs, especially those your vet might recommend.


Together with diet, an active exercise is recommended. This will help in reducing the weight of a dog. It lowers the blood glucose as well. You must remember that consistency in dog exercises is highly important. A sudden change in pace can cause the sugar level in the blood to drop really low which is something that is not ideal too.


A diabetic dog should always be monitored at home. You should watch for any indicator that will tell you if there is any further changes in their condition since the last check-up with the vet. You should also look out for signs that show whether the glucose level is too high or too low because this is dangerous too.

Preferably, you should have your dog tested from time to time. This will give you a proper assessment if the current angle in the treatment process is working or not.

Aside from those, the hygiene and living condition of the canine should also be well maintained. Give your pet regular baths and keep them dry with absorbent dog coats to avoid skin problems. The Siccaro dog robe is highly absorbent and can remove 80% to 90% of moisture in just 15 minutes. This ensures a quick drying process before a bath or a swim.

Final Thoughts

Diabetes is a silent killer for canines and must be treated once symptoms are detected. Have your canines checked and diagnosed to get the proper treatment plan for them. When a dog is diagnosed with this illness, it is never the end of their livelier days. Always keep in mind that diagnosis is just the beginning of their healing process.

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