Taking care of a dog is a huge responsibility. Most dog owners don’t really think about it – they know pretty much how to take care of a dog and just get on with the job without a second thought. After all, your dog gives so much pleasure that you’re probably more than happy to care for your dog’s needs, whatever they may be.
Dogs with particular health problems can be a challenge when it comes to how you take care of a dog. How to take care of a dog with Diabetes can be one of the more challenging tasks, because of the nature of canine Diabetes, which of course can be life threatening if left untreated, or if the treatment regime is not followed carefully.
Canine Diabetes (and indeed Feline Diabetes, and Diabetes generally) is a disorder in which the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels. Naturally produced insulin normally regulates blood sugar levels in the body, and plays a crucial role in the body’s ability to use and store glucose. Insulin is a protein, or hormone, produced by the pancreas, an organ located in the abdominal cavity. Specifically, insulin needs to attach to cells to enable glucose to pass into the cells.
Diabetes, therefore, is the result when the body fails to produce insulin sufficient to regulate the blood sugar levels and perform its role in enabling glucose to pass into the cells of the body.
Even though there may be high levels of glucose in the blood, the glucose is not passing into the cells, and the body receives a faulty signal that the body needs more energy. The body will begin to use stored protein and fat for these needs, and your dog may seek to eat more food than usual in an effort to supply the additional energy. But because the food is not being converted efficiently by the body, your dog may lose weight even though he may be eating more.
The excess glucose in your pet’s blood will be filtered by the kidneys and eliminated in the urine. Water is used by the body in this flushing process, so your dog will produce a larger volume of urine than usual. And the use of water by the body will induce thirst in your dog, which will result in your dog drinking excessively.
All breeds of dog can develop canine Diabetes, although the Cairn Terrier, Keeshond, Miniature Pinscher and Puli have a genetic predisposition to Diabetes, and there seems to be a higher incidence of Diabetes in the Beagle, Dashchund, Miniature Schnauzer and Poodle breeds. Unspayed females between 7 and 9 years old are generally the most susceptible, but any age and either gender can be affected. Puppies can develop Diabetes.
Conversely, if you’re concerned with feline Diabetes in cats, there seems to be a higher incidence of Diabetes in neutered male cats. Again, however, any cat of any age can be affected.
So the Canine Diabetes symptoms to look for that can indicate the presence of Diabetes in your dog, or indeed the complications of feline Diabetes that can indicate the presence of Diabetes in cats are:
– excessive appetite and/or excessive eating
– weight loss
– excessive urination
– excessive thirst
Signs of more advanced Diabetes in your dog can be:
– loss of appetite
Possible complications of Feline Diabetes are very similar, although weak rear legs or walking on its hocks can indicate advanced Diabetes in a cat.
Besides these outward signs, if your pet has Diabetes, s/he could be developing other extremely serious side effects of the disease including liver disease, kidney disease and heart disease. Coma and death can also occur.
So it’s very important to see your vet as soon as you begin to see any possible warning signs. It’s much better to be safe than sorry. Blindness is one symptom that can develop quite quickly if your dog’s Diabetes is left untreated.
So once diagnosed, the question is how to take care of a dog with Diabetes.
First and foremost, of course, is to take advice from your vet.
As with any dog illness, your vet is likely to take a conventional approach which is likely to include daily insulin injections, and perhaps certain commercial “prescription” dog food recommendations.
And as with any dog illness, there are alternatives that you may wish to look into and discuss with your vet, including natural supplements for Diabetes that can balance blood sugar and improve insulin production, and home made dog food or premium convenience healthy dog food suitable for a dog with Diabetes. It is generally thought that a diet high in fiber and complex carbohydrates is appropriate for dogs with Diabetes. And as with a healthy dog (in fact even more so because your dog’s health is already compromised), the vast majority of commercial dog foods are NOT an ideal diet for your dog.
Caring for a dog with Diabetes is going to involve more attention to your dog than caring for a dog with no health issues. You will need to pay particular attention to giving your dog medication for the Diabetes (whether you give insulin injections, a natural supplement for Diabetes, or a combination of both), you will need to pay attention to the diet you feed your Diabetic dog, any changes in his/her behavior, and exercising your dog.
While exercise for all dogs is important, consistent amounts of exercise for dogs with Diabetes can be critical to maintaining their health. Exercise can dramatically increase the rate at which insulin is properly absorbed, as a result of the increased blood circulation that exercise brings about. This causes the blood glucose levels to drop. This is why consistent exercise is the key. Even very small changes to your Diabetic dog’s exercise program can produce alarming results. Your dog can easily go into a hypoglycemic coma if his/her exercise regime is altered at all. It’s very important to exercise your Diabetic dog at the same time each day, with the same type of exercise, and for the same length of time each day.
If you’re interested in keeping your pet’s Diabetes under control with natural means, your best option would be to find a holistic vet. If you cannot locate one in your area, by all means continue under the care of your regular vet, or if he/she is not open to considering alternative means, find another vet who is.
Herbal remedies for pet Diabetes can work very effectively. But do not ever ignore the advice of your vet. Find a vet who will allow you to trial the pet Diabetes supplements either instead of, or in tandem with, insulin treatment. Even dogs (and cats) who have been on insulin treatment for considerable periods of time can benefit from the herbal alternatives, and may even be able to replace the insulin with the supplements with monitoring by your veterinarian.
And if your pet has a milder form of Diabetes that is being kept under control with diet, then the addition of a pet Diabetes supplement can ensure that your dog (or cat) never needs to progress to insulin injections.
Please note that I am not a vet and I have no veterinary training whatsoever.
This article contains general information only and should not be used as a diagnostic tool or as advice on how to manage Diabetes or any other illness in your pet. If you see possible Canine Diabetes symptoms or possible Feline Diabetes complications or symptoms in your pet, see your veterinarian immediately. Diabetes is a serious illness that requires medical expertise.