Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the amount of blood glucose (sugar) in your dog’s blood. It is more commonly seen in older dogs, but younger dogs can also develop this diabetes. At Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert, we understand that a diagnosis like diabetes might sound scary. However, while this disease is not curable, diabetic dogs can live long, happy lives with the right mitigation and treatment plan. 

What is Diabetes?

There are two forms of diabetes in dogs—diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes insipidus is rare in dogs and is characterized by an inability to regulate levels of water in the body. It is often caused by trauma. Diabetes mellitus is more common so we will take a closer look at that form of diabetes. 

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of endocrine diseases characterized by an inability for the body to use glucose from food. Like in humans, glucose is an important source of energy for dogs and without it, your dog’s body cannot function properly. High blood sugar levels can lead to serious, even life-threatening health complications for your pup. 

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes in dogs? 

You’ve probably heard about the two types of diabetes in humans. There are also two types of diabetes mellitus in dogs—type 1 and type 2. In both circumstances, blood glucose levels will be high if untreated, because glucose cannot enter the cells to be used as fuel. But the key difference has to do with insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by your dog’s pancreas. And insulin is required to get glucose into every cell to be used for energy. 

  • Type 1—This is the most common of the two types of diabetes mellitus in dogs. In this type, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to support the body. Dogs with this type of diabetes require regular insulin injections to normalize blood sugar. 
  • Type 2—The pancreas is able to produce at least some insulin, but it is either an insufficient amount or the cells have developed a resistance to the insulin and therefore cannot effectively use it.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

Early Symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst/drinking
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite

Later symptoms:

  • Lethargy/fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Oily coat
  • GI issues
  • Cataracts
  • Chronic infections
  • Increased weight loss
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

What Causes Diabetes in Dogs?

While any dog can develop diabetes, there are certain factors that increase the risk of diabetes, including:

  • Age 
  • Weight
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Poor diet
  • Medications
  • Gender—female dogs are at higher risk, especially as they get older.
  • Genetics/breed—some breeds have higher rates of diabetes, including the miniature schnauzer, standard schnauzer, poodle, Australian terrier, spitz, Bichon Frise, Samoyed, and Keeshond.
  • Other diseases—Cushing’s disease and pancreatitis can increase the risk of canine diabetes. 

Treating Canine Diabetes in Gilbert

Prevention is always the best medicine. Let us know at your next appointment if you are concerned about your dog developing diabetes. If your dog is already exhibiting signs of diabetes, give us a call right away and we’ll run some simple labs to determine if your pooch has developed diabetes. The good news is that with the right treatment, your pooch can continue to live a normal life, doing all the things he loves most. 


Photo by Deonny Rantetandung on Unsplash