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
- 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.