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Managing Diabetes In Your Dog

Diabetes in dogs is much the same as diabetes in humans. It is a lifelong condition, but it is not something which means the dog must be mollycoddled, and something which must be seen as a crutch; it is just something to be careful about. It also doesn't mean that you have to stop giving them their favourite Barker & Barker treats, but you need to balance their diet.  It is thought to be more common in some breeds, such as the Cairn terrier, and is much more common in females who make up 70% of cases.

The Science

In a healthy body, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is absorbed by intestine and used to provide energy. This process is controlled by insulin, produced by the pancreas. Sometimes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or cells do not respond correctly to the insulin. They are then unable to absorb the glucose causing blood sugar to spike. This is diabetes. If you are concerned your pet has diabetes, the vet can perform a urine and blood test to confirm your suspicions or set your mind to rest. Diagnosis is vital, as left untreated, the health of your friend will decline rapidly, and you don’t want to lose him.


  1. As a way of dealing with the excessive quantities of glucose in their system, dogs can start to drink a lot of water. This will cause excessive urination, so keep a look out for these two signs if you’re concerned for your dog.
  2. Unexplained weight loss is a further sign of this condition. He may be eating normally and you may not be feeding him any more than usual, but the inability to metabolise the glucose means he cannot produce energy, leading to weight loss. This is something to keep an eye out for over a longer period of time.
  3. If your dog is not his usual chirpy and crazy self, showing lethargy and listlessness, it might be time to visit the vet. This is not a symptom which is exclusive to diabetes and could be an indication of several other serious issues.
  4. The sudden appearance of cataracts in the eyes can suggest underlying diabetes.


Sadly diabetes is life-long illness so it comes down to care and treatment rather than finding a cure. But it is not debilitating if managed properly, and you’ll have your friend around for a long time yet. You must treat the symptoms which can vary from a special diet and exercise plan, to regular insulin injections. A good diet ensures he receives the right, essential nutrients, and his weight and energy levels are maintained. You may be recommended to transition to a clinical diet such as a high fibre/ moderate protein kibble but don't worry, they can still factor in their favourite Barker and Barker Treats. Some types of diabetes require regular insulin injections. The vet will teach you how to do them once the correct dosage has been worked out, and the usual frequency is twice daily. Ensure caution when handling it as doggy insulin is a huge health risk to humans. You will need to consult your vet regularly in case any changes need to be made to your dog’s regime.

Ongoing treatment can become expensive and you will not be able to insure your dog once he has been diagnosed. Remember to think about insuring your dog in preparation in case of such a health risk. it can really aid your payment ability, but make sure you choose a policy which lasts throughout his lifetime and not just for a set period of time.  If you have any concerns over your pet's health at any time, have a chat to your vet.

Posted On: 12/03/2017

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