It can be incredibly concerning to see your dog feeling sick. All you want to do is make sure your furry friend is feeling their best and knowing they don’t feel 100% can be heart wrenching. Unfortunately, it can happen from time to time. Dogs, just like humans, are susceptible to Diabetes. Diabetes is not curable but it is certainly manageable.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a Glucose-insulin disorder. The most common type for dogs is Diabete mellitus, or sugar diabetes, which affects their metabolism.
To put it simply, glucose is the sugar from digested foods that give your dogs cells and organs energy while insulin is the chemical that tells their body when to use the glucose that is in their bloodstream. With diabetes this process is disrupted and the blood sugar levels in the body become more difficult to manage.
There are two different types of Diabetes, insulin-deficiency and insulin-resistance.
Insulin-deficient diabetes occurs when a dog's body isn't producing enough insulin due to issues in the pancreas. This is the more common type and is typically treated with daily insulin shots.
Insulin-resistant diabetes happens when the pancreas is producing insulin but the body isn't utilizing it leading to a lack of glucose being taken from the blood to provide for the cells. This type is usually found in older or overweight dogs.
What Causes Diabetes In Dogs?
Many factors can contribute to diabetes in dogs, and it's important to know what may put your pup at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Age absolutely plays into the risk for diabetes in dogs. Typically it is diagnosed at age five or older but in general middle aged to senior dogs are the most susceptible to developing diabetes.
Gender is another risk factor with female dogs, specifically those that are not spayed, being more likely to develop the disease. There is also a chance that dogs in heat or during pregnancy can develop insulin resistance.
Obesity majorly affects a dogs chances of developing diabetes as it contributes to insulin resistance as well as being a cause of pancreatitis. Dogs who have had chronic pancreatitis are at a higher risk as past damage to the organ affects how insulin is produced in the body.
Some other illnesses such as Cushing’s disease or autoimmune disorders can also contribute to the development of diabetes.
How Do Genetics Come Into Play For Diabetes For Dogs?
Some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to developing diabetes than others based on their genetics. Though there is no difference in diabetes rates between pure and mixed breed dogs, some are simply more likely to develop the disease than others.
Breeds that are at a higher risk include:
What Are The Dangers Of Diabetes in Dogs?
Due to the dangers associated with untreated Diabetes in dogs it's important to know the signs and identify the issue before your dog experiences any serious harm. There are a few early signs of Diabetes that will help you identify if your dog is struggling with the disease.
Excessive thirst and increased urination are two signs. Dogs will drink more water and pee more frequently in an attempt to get rid of extra sugar through their urine.
Another sign is weight loss, even if they are eating normal amounts of food. Their body is struggling to get the nutrients they need from their food causing them to eat more in an attempt. Excessive appetite is also a sign as their body attempts to get enough glucose by eating more food.
As diabetes develops the signs become more serious and noticeable. If your dog has developed a loss of appetite, decrease in energy, vomiting or depressed attitude it may mean that their body is struggling with Diabetes.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog it's key to see your vet as soon as possible and have them conduct a test for diabetes. The tests are simple and include checking the glucose level of your dog's blood and urine, as well as other indicators like imbalances in electrolytes or increased liver enzymes.
Untreated Diabetes In Dogs and Health Threats
Left untreated Diabetes can cause serious health issues for your dog that will need immediate treatment. These effects include:
Urinary Tract Infections
Cataracts leading to blindness
The sooner you can identify any of these Diabetes related issues in your dog and seek treatment the better.
How To Treat A Dog For Diabetes
Fortunately there are treatments for diabetes that will allow your dog to live a healthy normal life. Although some dogs may require medication there are also simple changes in diet and exercise that will reduce the risk of Diabetes as well as the harm caused by the disease.
Diet is extremely important to your dog's health.
For dogs dealing with diabetes it's essential to focus on developing a diet that includes high quality proteins, lots of fiber, and a low fat content. Reducing carbohydrates is also helpful as they can affect the rate at which the body absorbs glucose. Feeding your dog at a consistent time and consistent amount will also help their body regulate its blood sugar levels.
Switching diets may also help with your dog's diabetes. A raw diets is the best diet for diabetic dogs, consisting of fresh raw meat and vegetables. Cali Raw offers complete and balanced food delivered directly to your door. A raw diet is designed to give your dog the kind of food they would eat in the wild, with no fillers, additives, or preservatives found in many commercial dog foods. A raw diet is the best diet for dogs with health issues like obesity, low energy levels, and will make sure all organs are working properly to manage diabetes.
Exercise is also key to any healthy dog's life, but particularly diabetic dogs. Regular moderate exercise within a consistent routine helps the body avoid spikes and drops in glucose levels.
Medication is also very important to any dogs with diabetes. Daily insulin shots help regulate their insulin levels and avoid any harmful changes in blood sugar levels. Though at first it may seem strange or difficult to give your furry friend a shot with education and practice it can become an easy part of your daily routine and ultimately its best for their health!
What Are The Best Treats For Diabetic Dogs?
Your dog's diet and weight both play a major role in their risk factor for developing diabetes.If your dog already has diabetes, this does not mean you have to cut out all treats! Lucky for them, with a little effort you can still reward your pup with a healthy treat.
When looking for diabetic friendly treats there are a few things you want to avoid. Any treats with added sugars are off limits. That means no syrups, molasses, fructose, dextrose or maltose. It's also important to avoid refined grains like white flour, degermed cornmeal and white rice. Sugars and refined grains can cause dangerous blood sugar spikes and harm your dog.
We recommend checking out the ingredient list on your dog treats. Transparency is key! Look for ingredients you can understand, limited ingredients, no fillers and no added sugars. You can give your dog healthy treats such as carrots, apples, and blueberries, but the easiest, healthiest, & safest choice will always be a natural meat treat of course!
Here at Cali Raw Nutrition, we offer Crafted Dog Treats, which are single-ingredient treats made and sourced right here in the USA.