Dog Owners

About Canine Diabetes

Canine diabetes occurs when a dog’s body isn’t producing enough insulin, (or, less commonly, does not respond to the insulin it produces). 

Without the proper insulin levels, your dog will develop an excess of glucose in the bloodstream, triggering the clinical signs of diabetes.

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

Increased urination: High blood glucose levels cause glucose to start spilling into the urine leading to excessive fluid loss and increased urination.

Increased thirst: Excessive thirst can result from increased fluid loss (i.e., increased urination) and dehydration.

Increased appetite: Because diabetes inhibits the body’s ability to access glucose in the bloodstream, your dog may feel hungry more often

Weight loss: A diabetic dog’s body will break down fats and proteins as an alternate source of energy, resulting in weight loss despite increased appetite.

Lethargy: Changing blood glucose levels, dehydration, and other complications of diabetes can affect a dog’s energy, leaving them prone to lethargy and weakness.

Diagnosing Canine Diabetes

If you suspect your dog may have diabetes, contact your veterinarian right away.

The veterinarian will take blood and urine samples and may conduct the following tests:

Blood glucose test: Depending on your dog’s symptoms, an elevated fasting blood glucose level may be a sign of diabetes.

Urinalysis: Checks for glucose in your dog’s urine. If glucose is present, your dog may be diabetic.

Fructosamine test: Provides a long-term view of blood glucose over the previous 1-3 weeks. A higher than normal fructosamine level could suggest diabetes.

In the United States, an estimated 165,000 dogs are diagnosed with diabetes each year.1,2 While a diabetes diagnosis may seem overwhelming, it’s important to remember that it is manageable with the proper care. 

1 State of Pet Health 2016 Report. Banfield Pet Hospital. Accessed April 6, 2020.

2 U.S. pet ownership statistics. American Veterinary Medical Association website. Accessed April 6, 2020.