Doggie diabetes has been on the rise in recent years. With the rise in obesity in dogs, diseases like diabetes, hypertension, gastrointestinal issues, and immune disorders have also been catching up. Because this isn’t a condition that pet parents are familiar with, diagnosis often takes place well into the onset of the disease. It has far-reaching effects on a dog’s health which needs to be managed as fast as possible to curtail mortality.
When a dog has diabetes, their body tries to process and remove the excess sugar in the blood. They try to do this by drinking water more frequently and urinating more. You may notice accidents around the house because of this. If your dog doesn’t have accidents, then it is best not to scold him or punish him for this. Instead, rule out medical causes before training him to go urinate outside again.
If your dog is losing weight without any cause, then this might a sign of diabetes. Increased hunger is also a sign of diabetes. In insulin-resistant diabetes, the dog’s cells do not absorb the insulin needed to process glucose. Thus, they don’t get enough energy. This is why they feel more hungry while losing weight at the same time.
Glucosuria is a condition where high amounts of glucose are found in the dog’s urine. If you see an unusual amount of ants being attracted to your dog’s urine, you should talk to your vet about glycosuria and investigate for diabetes.
In humans and dogs alike, high blood sugar affects the eyes disproportionately. A dog’s eyes can get cloudy. This is a form of cataracts, and can eventually lead to total or partial blindness. There are surgical options that would fix these sometimes. At other times, this is not reversible and is permanent.
One of the first things you should do is make some changes to your dog’s diet. Your vet is likely to recommend that you change to a high-fiber diet. Tried and tested options like Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Fiber Response dog food are very helpful for dogs with diabetes. They help your dog feel fuller for longer and also lets glucose enter the bloodstream slowly over time, avoiding spikes in blood sugar.
If you are giving dry kibble, you can think of topping it with low-fat chicken broth so that your dog gets plenty of liquids as well. Snacking should be kept at the bare minimum, and even then you should choose low-fat treats like boiled chicken breast.
If you generally feed your dog twice a day, you should rework that to feed him four meals a day. This does not mean that you feed the current amount four times! You should break up his daily ration of food into four portions and feed him every 3 hours.
If you feed your dog wet food, check the ingredients label. Wet dog food can be very high in sugar to increase palatability. You might be unknowingly adding to his high blood sugar if you don’t read the ingredients label!
Regular walks will help your dog manage his blood sugar levels well. It is recommended that exercise is consistent instead of intensive. If you feel the need to increase the length of walks or intensity of play, do so gradually. Sudden bouts of exertion can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, a condition called hypoglycemia.
Some dogs have weight-related diabetes. For these dogs, exercise needs to happen on a slow schedule. If your dog came to you very obese, then he might not be able to walk for very long. You could try walking till the end of the driveway and back for the first week, and then maybe up a few stairs and the driveway the next. Make sure you don’t put too much stress on the dog otherwise he could end up with an injury.
Additionally, instead of walking, you could play games like fetch and tug-of-war. These are just as effective as walking as a form of exercise, and also give you a chance to bond with your dog. If you involve your children in these sessions, make sure you don’t overwork your dog as they can get easily excited when playing with their family!
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