Diabetes in dogs

dog walking through tall grass
Written by: Sam Webster (BVetMed MRCVS) Head Vet at Joii

Canine diabetes mellitus is a disease that can affect dogs and usually happens when their body stops making enough of the hormone insulin. Just as with humans it can’t be cured, but it can be managed, and many dogs with diabetes can lead happy and active lives.

We’re going to take a look at the causes, symptoms and available treatments of canine diabetes in this blog post.

How do dogs get diabetes?


Dog’s will suffer from diabetes when their pancreas stops producing enough insulin or stops making it altogether. It can also happen if their body stops responding to the hormone. Insulin is a vital part of the body’s processes and is needed to absorb glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream after eating.

Being diabetic means the body can’t control the level of sugar that is in the blood which can then lead to a number of different health problems and issues. Whilst most dogs could cope with this and not show symptoms for a while, if left untreated they will become seriously ill.

Symptoms of diabetes in dogs


The main symptoms and signs of canine diabetes to look out for can include:

  • urinating more
  • Being more thirsty
  • Increased hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss

Diabetes in dogs is diagnosed by testing their blood and urine – if the tests shows a high level of glucose in your dog’s urine and bloodstream, and your pet is also displaying other symptoms, it’s usually a clear sign that they have diabetes mellitus. These tests will also help to rule out other conditions that could be causing the hormone insulin to not work properly. Your vet will be able to explain everything after the results come back and what the next steps are for treating your dog.


Urinating instead?

How to treat diabetes in dogs


If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, your vet will decide the exact insulin type and dose that they will need based on the nature of their condition.

Most dogs will need insulin injections that are given twice a day. You may also have to test your dog’s blood glucose levels at home by taking a small swab of blood with a tiny pin prick.

To ensure your dog stays healthy as possible and continue to live a happy life, it’s important that you stick to a routine and give your dog their injections at the same time each day and feed them the right type and amount of food at each meal. You will also need to keep your dog slim and encourage routine exercise. Your vet will be able to give you advice on how to do all of this. To keep on top of their condition, your dog will also need regular check-ups at the vets and blood testing to ensure they are healthy and happy.


Having pet insurance can help give you the peace of mind that you’ll be able to cover vet bills should your dog get an unexpected illness or injury, as well as giving you access to a 24-hour Vet Advice Line. Find out more about Asda Pet Insurance here.

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