As in humans, diabetes in dogs is not a curable disease. Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot regulate the use of glucose, which is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. Diabetes makes it difficult for cells to receive energy, starving the tissues. This can result in muscle and fat tissue breakdown, which can result in weight loss.
Diabetes in dogs can happen at any age, but it is more common in senior dogs. The good news is that it can be managed successfully to ensure that your diabetic mature dog maintains their quality of life as much as possible.
What to look for
You know your dog’s behaviour the best. Noticing behaviour changes and diagnosing the disease in its early stages can make a difference in treatment. If you see any of these signs, it may be time to consult a veterinarian. The most common signs of canine diabetes are:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination or more frequent “accidents”
- Weight loss
- Changes in appetite
- Cloudy eyes
- Chronic or recurring infections
Managing diabetes at home
Following your veterinarian's treatment plan will be the most important part of managing your pet’s diabetes. Here are some general guidelines that will help with maintaining your dog’s health.
Daily exercise remains an important part of maintaining your dog’s health, especially for dogs that need to lose weight. Senior dogs with diabetes still need to exercise, although you may have to adjust for their ability. This might mean shorter or slower walks. They can probably still play fetch, although maybe not for as long as they used to.
When it comes to diabetes, the amount and intensity of exercise becomes especially important. The key is moderation and consistency. While exercise can help to lower blood glucose, an excessive amount of exercise will burn up too much glucose, resulting in extremely low blood sugar levels. For example, if you are planning an unusually long hike, you may want to ask your vet if any insulin adjustments will be required.
This one might seem obvious, but it bears repeating: regular checkups with your vet is the best way to manage your dog’s diabetes, even if everything seems under control. A vet can detect issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, which can help prevent further issues down the line. Typically, your veterinarian will recommend visiting 2-4 times per year for a pet that is relatively stable. If you notice any sudden or concerning changes in your pet, take them to your veterinarian right away.
For senior dogs with diabetes, it is especially important to maintain a healthy weight. While it may be tempting to feed your pet treats, it is important for your dog to avoid overeating. Older dogs don’t expend as much energy as younger dogs, so they typically require fewer calories. Watch their weight and carefully monitor their caloric intake so they don’t start gaining weight. Conversely, thin dogs may need to gain weight.
It is especially important for dogs with diabetes to consume high-quality protein, fiber, and complex carbs. There are plenty of healthy treats you can feed your dog. Avoid highly processed treats and snacks with refined sugars, and instead, offer dehydrated meat, hard-boiled egg, beans, sugar snap peas, tuna in water, and raw vegetables such as broccoli or carrots.
When it comes to healthy aging, senior dog supplements and senior dog vitamins can give you peace of mind by ensuring that all the essential nutrients are covered. Hike Again Remedies are proud to produce quality supplements for aging dogs. We make our formula by combining an optimal blend of 100% active ingredients (without added fillers, gums, preservatives, sugars or colours) that supports healthy aging in older canines, so that you and your mature dog can continue to enjoy the activities that you love.
It can be a lot to consider. Diabetes can mean a big change in lifestyle for both you and your pet. It may take a while to adjust to life while managing diabetes. But just like humans, dogs with diabetes can live normal and long lives as long as appropriate steps are taken to manage the disease.