Diabetes in Dogs: Symptoms
The occurrence of diabetes in canines is increasing. Find out what it is and what symptoms to watch for.
What is Diabetes in Dogs?
Diabetes is an endocrine disorder. The endocrine system features glands that produce and discharge hormones which regulate many bodily functions.
Insulin is one of these hormones. Like the human body, a dog’s body needs insulin to properly regulate blood sugar levels and to respond correctly to normal insulin levels.
Diabetes can lead to high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) which can cause various health problems if left untreated.
Types of Diabetes in Dogs
- Diabetes Mellitus: Sugar Diabetes
Type 1: The most common type associated with a lack of insulin production.
Type 2: Inability to respond to insulin production and impaired insulin production. This type of diabetes is more common in humans.
Diabetes Insipidus: Water Diabetes
Diabetes insipidus is a very rare condition associated with excessive urination because the body fails to properly control water balance. This condition is not related to blood sugar or insulin but is rather a problem with anti-diuretic hormone (ADH).
Quick FAQs and Answers About Diabetes in Dogs
When do dogs develop diabetes?
Typically, between the ages of 4 and 14 years.
Is one sex more at risk?
Female dogs are twice as likely to develop diabetes.
Are certain breeds predisposed to it?
Possibly. It is more often seen in Miniature Schnauzers due to their risk of pancreatitis. Labrador Retrievers are also commonly affected due to their tendency to gain weight.
Is diabetes in dogs common?
Yes, diabetes mellitus type 1 is one of the most common endocrine diseases in dogs.
Are there any lifestyle/risk factors?
Yes, dogs that are overweight or obese are at higher risk of developing diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs
Since diabetes in dogs is so common, it would be wise to familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms:
- Weight loss despite having a good appetite
- Excessive thirst
- Appetite changes
- Low energy levels
- Frequent urination
- Sweet-smelling breath
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Dehydration despite increased water intake
- The formation of cataracts
Have you noticed any of these signs? Even just one or two? Contact your veterinarian immediately to discuss the next steps.
Diabetes can be managed and dogs that are affected by it can lead long and happy lives. But it needs to be diagnosed early and treated correctly.