Yet another human disease that also impacts dogs is diabetes. Diabetes is caused by either a lack of insulin or an insufficient response to the hormone.

In a dog’s typical digestive process, the system breaks food down into components like glucose.

Those components are carried to cells by pancreas-secreted insulin. When a dog doesn’t produce enough insulin or is unable to use it properly, glucose has nowhere to go.

This elevates blood sugar levels, resulting in hyperglycemia and a number of associated health complications.

The good news is that canine diabetes is adaptable; many diabetic dogs lead hale and hearty lives.

Types of Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes: Type I and Type II.

Type I diabetes refers to the lack of overall insulin production and is the most common form of the disease. This happens because the pancreas fails to secrete sufficient levels of the stuff. Dogs with Type I diabetes, as you may have guessed, need insulin.

Type II diabetes is more common in our feline friends and is a lack of “normal” reaction to insulin the body is already producing.

Symptoms of Diabetes

There are a number of symptoms of diabetes in dogs. Remember, though, that diabetes is identified through blood tests, a full medical examination and a urinalysis. Do not diagnose your own dog.

Among the symptoms of diabetes in dogs are:

  • Appetite changes
  • Disproportionate thirst or a surge in consumption of water
  • Loss of weight
  • Increased levels of urination
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Forming of cataracts or attendant vision difficulties
  • Skin infections
  • Sweet-smelling or “fruity” breath
  • Sticky urine

Causes and Considerations

The exact cause of diabetes in dogs is unknown. There are a number of contributing factors, including obesity and genetics, that play a role in how and if the disease develops. Protein deposits are also considerations and pancreatitis leads to some diabetes cases.

Obese and female dogs are most prone to developing diabetes, but the onset is generally later in life around six to nine years of age or so. Some breeds, like Australian terriers and miniature schnauzers, run larger risks. Poodles, dachshunds, keeshonds and Samoyeds also are among dogs impacted most.

There are also some cases of juvenile diabetes, mostly affecting golden retrievers and keeshonds.

Treatment and Care

I urge you to take a minute to learn more on how to treat your diabetic dog naturally.  This link will provide you with food options and insulin replacement alternatives to help stabilize diabetic dogs.

Treating diabetes is a matter of collaborating with your veterinarian to determine your dog’s blood sugar levels.  However, don’t assume that injections and prescriptions diets are the only option for your dog.  Your vet will push these diets and lead you to believe that you have no other alternative, but, it’s in your dog’s best interest that you try natural forms first!

In most cases, insulin is essential to normalize glucose levels. Your veterinarian will administer an individually-designed treatment system for your dog based on his or her weight and you’ll be able to deliver insulin injections at home, should this be the course of action you decide to take. You should also be able to perform regular glucose checks at home.

When you are administering insulin, make sure that you feed your dog regular meals in conjunction with medical treatment and that you stick to a timetable.

This will allow nutrients to correspond with peak insulin levels, reducing the chances of sugar-swings. A low carb, high protein diet is necessary for dogs with diabetes.  Also, avoid foods and dog treats that are high in glucose.

You also want to include a regular exercise program and a nutritional program you can follow. Once again, this is a matter of cooperating not only with your vet but with your dog.

IMPORTANT: This article is meant to open your eyes to the natural options available to you as a dog owner vs traditional prescription insulin treatment.  However, it is not meant to replace the advice of your dog’s vet.

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Showing 31 comments
  • Elizabeth Van Deventer
    Reply

    I was looking forward to reading your link to natural treatments, but it doesn’t work. There is just the heading at the top. My dog will not tolerate the insulin shots (he came from an abusive home and is shy) and tries to bite us. I am desperately looking for some alternative treatment. He was given steroids by the vet and I think this caused his diabetes. Thank you.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Elizabeth:

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It has been corrected and a private email was sent to you as well.

      Thanks again for letting us know.

      Janie

  • Cami
    Reply

    Hi my dog is 12 and has symptoms of diabetes. Please email me info for natural treatments and foods.
    Thank you for you help
    Camie
    gaprincess1956@yahoo.com

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Cami:

      I sent you a private message.

      Janie

  • Julie
    Reply

    Hi my dog has just been diagnosed with diabetes. I am not keen to be doing insulin shots twice a day. I would like information available on alternative options. Can you advise?

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Julie:

      I’m sorry for the delay.

      This page here is a good start to learning more on how to treat your diabetic dog which includes another option besides insulin shots.

      You can use any of The Honest Kitchen foods that don’t include a lot of carbs. With regards to treats, you have a couple options too. Turkey bacon cooked until crisp and broken up into nice size pieces is another idea as an excellent treat. Here’s a link for actual cookies for your diabetic dog.

      Remember, curb the carbs! Eliminate any chemical flea and tick products and PLEASE talk to your holistic vet and avoid vaccinating your diabetic dog.

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

    • janie
      Reply

      Look in your email Julie….

      Janie

  • Julie
    Reply

    Thank you for coming back to me.
    Could you send me information on your products and food please.
    I have the vet in the morning and I just want to be clear on my options.
    julieross2606@googlemail.com
    Thanks again for coming back to me.
    Julie

    • janie
      Reply

      Julie:

      I sent you another private message with foods and recommended supplements.

      Best of luck okay.

      Janie

  • carrie whitcher
    Reply

    Hello my name is Carrie I have a 13 yr old Rat terrier with Atypical Addisons disease he was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes the vet says being that he is on prednisone the insulin will most likely not help. Do you know of any alternative treatments that I can try? Good food for him to eat? He is at the point where hes drinking excessive amounts of water and even peed the bed and is becoming very picky on what he is eating but loves chicken and rice. And I just read that carbs are not good for a diabetic dog. I am so devastated any advice would help.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Carrie:

      I’m sorry to hear about your old boy. It’s late here, but if you give me a little time, I’ll send you an email tomorrow.

      Janie

  • Brenda Luther
    Reply

    I have a 13 year old Rotterdam mix just diagnosed with diabetes. He absolutely will not let me give the insulin shots. Please advise if any meds available that will lower his blood sugar. Thank you

    • janie
      Reply

      I sent you a private email Brenda.

      Janie

      • Thelma
        Reply

        I have the same problem with my minpin she will not let us give her insulin need some advise to treat her without shots

        • janie
          Reply

          Hi Thelma:

          I’m sorry to hear about your little girl. I’ll send you a private email.

          Janie

  • Billie Caouette
    Reply

    I have an 11 year old mixed breed dog just diagnosed with diabetes . He says 17 lbs. I am very interested in an alternative to insulin, As he is very hard to handle.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Billie:

      I’m sorry to hear about your old boy. You might want to look at Primalix here.

      Hope this helps.

      Janie

  • Jayne Whittle
    Reply

    Janie:

    My 12 going on 13 Samoyed was diagnosed with diabetes 5 weeks ago. 1 week or so prior to that he had thrown up about 7 times and he is never sick…I rushed him to the after hours vet…asked 3 times are u sure this is not a pancreatitis…no, no, no…the test for pancreatitis is only 60-70$$…if ur dog throws up…do it…she said the pancreas was not uncomfortable for him so no it was definitely not a pancreatitis…but on Mar 20 I had had blood work done and his glucose was in normal range…so getting other opinions never hurts…basically the only way he could have become a diabetic so quickly was an untreated/undiagnosed pancreatitis…so now here I have a diabetic dog for his remaining years…what a sentence for such a wonderful boy…so the reason I knew about his blood work was I obtained copies because we did a $275 test because e were investigating to see if he was in a stage of renal disease…because back in Nov/16 he had wet his bed a cpl times…so here we are…I have fed a raw diet from a company called Totally Raw dog food for at least 5 years, prior to it was “what I thought the best of dry dog food”…in my opinion there is no best dry…it will always suck the kidneys dry…but the majority of my raw was in a rotational order…2 days breeders brick/1 day mackerel/2days breeders brick/1 day tripe/2 days breeders brick…beef bone of course weekly…u get the picture…but the breeders brick was whole chicken ground with SKIN!!!…too high in fat and the set up for pancreatitis…he is now on insulin and most vets say I will never get him regulated on a raw diet…HELP PLEASE…MY OTHER BOY JUST GOT DIAGNOSED HEART FAILURE…so I will try and reverse that or make better somewhat…Jayne

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Jayne:

      What a story. I’m sorry to hear about your big boy. Personally, I think a raw diet is excellent for a diabetic dog. It’s the carbs that don’t mix with a diabetic dog. A high protein diet with vegetables and limited fats is certainly a recommended diet for these dogs.

      In my opinion, diabetes can be reversed with the right diet. However, in your case I would use the raw diet as the platform, but include a supplement to help regulate his sugar levels until you can hopefully stop the supplement as well. You can learn more here about naturally treating diabetic dogs.

      Same goes for your dog that is diagnosed with heart failure, a diet consisting of moderate to high protein is recommended for dogs with heart disease as well. If the kidneys are healthy, I lean more towards the high end. If you’re looking to help supplement your other boy’s heart, then hawthorn berry is an excellent, economical choice Jayne.

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

  • Sean Woodfork
    Reply

    I have a 11 year old pug,that takes insulin twice a day,but I was wondering about natural alternatives, especially since I eat a plant based diet myself. Are there any foods or vitamins that can help me switch…Thanks

  • trevor webb
    Reply

    Hi i have a jack russell cross with diabetes her first test came back at 19.8 a week later she was 21.5 she has been on insulin for 3 weeks 2 injections a day and is becoming more difficult to give these injections can yiu recommend any natural treatments

  • Cathy
    Reply

    Hello-my 12 year old daschund baby boy was diagnosed today with diabetes-I want the natural route to help him. Will a mixture of raw/cooked veges & protein with some Thrive dog food be good and what natural supplements for sugar control do you recommend -thank you so very much! He is my baby & I want to help him without trauma & shots! Luvpinkdiva@yahoo.com

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Cathy:

      I sent you a private email.

      Janie

  • don
    Reply

    would like to know how i can effectively treat my dog for diabetes; if any beside insulin shots.i hurt her too much. i hate it. dptsr554@yahoo.com

  • Taylor
    Reply

    Hello,

    My 9 year old male yorkie was DX with diabetes at the vet today. His sugars were about 500. I am wondering if he is for sure diabetic and/or are there any alternatives before subjecting him to insulin? I would appreciate any resources/knowledge, thanks in advance.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Taylor: I sent you a private email.

      Janie

  • Lori
    Reply

    Hi came across your site,I have a Pomeranian spitz,he was diagnosed with diabetes over a year ago,he developed a bump on back from giving shots.Its getting very difficult to give insulin twice a day ,it’s getting to the point that every time I start to to give him the shot he twitches n I lose the needle n have to do it again,I’m a nervous wreck when it comes time to give him shots,please send me info on the food n if that is another alternative thank you so much,

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Lori:

      I’m sorry to hear about your Pom. The natural alternative that we like as an alternative to traditional insulin injections is called Primalix and you can read more about it here.

      For treats, these cookies are for diabetic dogs. You can also feed meat treats such as turkey bacon. NOT PORK. Here’s the link for the cookies: Diabetic Cookies.

      Food plays a huge role and I urge you to not feed any dry foods or the prescription foods. If interested, any of the recipes in our cookbook can be used by eliminating all rice or other grain. You can read more about the book here: Cookbook

      I hope this all helps.

      Janie

  • Misty D
    Reply

    My 11 yo black lab was recently dx with diabetes. I am looking for alternatives. We are having a hard time getting her regulated and she is already on 11 units, twice a day. I switched her to a no grain and no potato dry dog food, high protein low carb food. Her sugars are still high. I do not want to keep increasing her insulin, I would rather not have to give her any insulin. Please any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Misty:

      I’m sorry to hear about your old diabetic girl.

      The natural product I like for sugar balance and diabetic dogs is Primalix Blood Sugar Balance created specifically for diabetic dogs. It’s an herbal blend.

      Not sure if you’re interested or not, but you can use any of the recipes in our cookbook for her and just eliminate any carbs (pasta, rice, etc) in the recipes. They’re meant for the crock pot. You can learn more here. Avoid grains. It’s highly recommended that you avoid canned and commercial dry foods for your diabetic girl period and feed fresh.

      A good multivitamin is also highly recommended and helpful for restoring your dog’s immunity when diagnosed with any disease. Our multivitamin formula is one of the best available for dogs. It’s a powder formula and includes more than just vitamins and minerals. It contains digestive enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics and glandulars. You can learn more here.

      With regards to treats, Old Dog Cookie Company makes one that I often recommend. They sell it on Amazon here.

      The other thing I recommend is getting some turkey bacon and baking it up until it’s nice and crisp, but not burnt. Break it into bite size pieces and you can even freeze it. This is an excellent protein treat for diabetic dogs.

      This way he has a cookie treat and a meaty treat… perfect! FYI, I urge you to PLEASE avoid vaccinating your diabetic dog and also stay away from chemical flea and tick products. Use natural.

      I hope this helps.
      Janie

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