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How Do I Treat Diabetes in My Dog?


Purpose of the Treatment

At the beginning of the treatment, your veterinarian will set the goals to be achieved. These goals will set the pace of the treatment progress and help you see more clearly.

The goals of diabetes mellitus treatment :

  • Make the symptoms disappear : reduction of thirst and the accidents of “uncleanliness” that it generates, return to a normal appetite and activity. Your dog is going to be back to “business as usual”!
  • Avoid the complications of diabetes, including the occurrence of cataracts, which cause dogs to go blind, or a ketoacidosis coma, and premature death.
  • Prevent hypoglycemia (discomfort related to lack of sugar).
  • Keep your pet happy and fit for as long as possible!

A Treatment Simpler than It Seems

Healthy living: adaptations

A healthy lifestyle for the diabetic dog is important.

Whole bitches must be sterilized because hormonal cycles do not easily balance the disease: the impregnation of progesterone that accompanies the heat provokes resistance to insulin.
The diabetic's meals must be balanced: controlled rations, consisting of an adapted food, are an essential part of the treatment. A meal low in carbohydrates (i.e. sugars such as starch) is essential. It should be distributed regularly, respecting the energy needs related to the animal's weight and activity, to prevent the animal from losing weight (unless it is obese) or, on the contrary, gaining weight.
Violent efforts (hunting, long hikes, etc.) should be avoided, at least until the diabetes is balanced. Regular mealtimes and regular outings are to be preferred among diabetics, for whom a “well-regulated” life is recommended. Violent efforts, such as hunting, expose the dog to hypoglycemic accidents.

To remember: a diabetic dog should no longer receive treats or leftovers. His rations must be calibrated and made up of a precise quantity of the food recommended by the veterinarian.


The Ideal Diet for the Diabetic Dog

After the meal, digested glucose is released into the bloodstream. Each type of food can have non-negligible effects:

  • A meal high in sugar can cause a sudden increase in blood glucose levels.
  • If a meal is rich in complex carbohydrates (starches and fiber), glucose will be released over a longer period of time and in a more homogeneous manner.

An ideal diet usually contains :

• low fat

• many complex carbohydrates

• lots of fiber

Insulin Injections: Not so complicated!

Once diabetes has been diagnosed by the Veterinarian, effective treatment must be put in place: insulin.

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Unfortunately, this drug cannot be given in tablet or syrup form. It will have to be injected! But this act is much easier than we imagine.

Diabetes pills?

In humans, certain types of diabetes can be treated with tablets and a strict diet. The same is not true for dogs. Most of the time, diabetes mellitus is much more advanced when it is detected. In most cases, the tablets are not effective and are not suitable.

insulin is the hormone that is lacking in diabetes mellitus. Because it is no longer sufficiently produced by the cells of the pancreas, it must be supplied by the treatment.

The only method of treatment for diabetes mellitus is therefore based on the subcutaneous injection of insulin, twice a day in the vast majority of cases. You should therefore be prepared for the prospect of having to give your dog insulin injections at home, using a suitable syringe and needle.


Modern tools are available, both to make your task easier and to guarantee a great regularity in the injected doses: it is an injector pen specially designed to administer veterinary insulin. Vet Pen has been created to allow you to administer insulin doses from 0.5 to 16 IU (International Units) in a simple, reliable and reassuring way. Insulin cartridges are inserted into the device, the dose recommended by the veterinarian is selected using a precision knob, and a push button triggers the injection, which is carried out using a fine needle. This tool represents a considerable advance in treatment compliance and comfort for diabetic pet owners.

Mistakes not to be made when injecting subcutaneous insulin:

• Not injecting the right dose

• Injecting air (not very dangerous, but ineffective)

• Not using the right syringes (risk of dose error)

• Injecting “out of the dog”, in the hair or through the skin.

• Panic.

The veterinarians are there to help you: don't hesitate to ask several times how to do it and practice on an orange or a plush toy!

At the beginning of treatment, careful monitoring is required to find the ideal dose for your dog. This stage, which can last a few months, involves regular veterinary appointments and gradual changes in insulin doses so that your dog is at his best throughout the day.

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