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Help Your Dog Avoid Getting Diabetes

illustration of a cartoon bulldog holding a donutCanine diabetes is a serious disease that some dogs may acquire. Diabetes in dogs is the result of a dog lacking a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas called insulin. Another cause of diabetes is not having the ability to utilize secreted insulin in a normal way.

Your pet’s digestive system breaks down the food he eats into different types of matter. One of these digested components is glucose, which is carried into your dog’s cells via insulin. If you dog either can’t produce insulin or use it normally, hyperglycemia can occur. Hyperglycemia, having too much glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream, is often directly associated with diabetes. Canine diabetes, if not prevented or treated, can lead to kidney disease, severe infections or pancreatic disorders that can become lethal. It’s not known why, exactly, these issues with insulin secretion happen to some dogs. There is information, however, that can help you prevent your dog from acquiring diabetes.

Dogs Most Prone to Getting Diabetes

Because of fluctuations in their reproductive hormones, female dogs are twice as likely to get canine diabetes than their male counterparts. It’s also been found that diabetes in dogs is most often diagnosed when they are between seven to nine years old, are overweight and eat a diet high in fat. The genetic makeup of some dog breeds are more disposed to developing diabetes than others. They include the following:

  • Cairn Terriers
  • Poodles
  • Keeshonds
  • Bichon Frises
  • German Shepherds
  • Fox Terriers
  • Pugs
  • Samoyeds
  • Schnauzers
  • Australian Terriers

Tips To Keep Your Dog Safe From Diabetes

Be sure to schedule regular checkups with your north Alabama veterinarian so he or she can routinely test for Cushing’s disease and pancreatitis. Also, call your vet if you note differences in your dog’s appetite, thirst or urination behaviors.

If your dog is female, it’s a very good idea to have her spayed. When female dogs finish a heat cycle or give birth, their progesterone hormone levels rise and increase the risk of developing hyperglycemia.

Give your dog plenty of exercise. Activity helps to keep blood sugar levels normalized and keeps obesity at bay. At least one walk a day is important for your dog, and the longer the walk, the better, as long as it’s not excessively hot outside, you dog is in good health and is not too elderly for an extended stroll.

Feed your pet a healthy diet that is high in protein to keep blood sugar levels stable. Since there is a link between diabetes and obesity, be sure you’re not overfeeding your dog. A general rule of thumb is for your pet to eat 20-30 calories for each pound of their body weight per day. Be stingy with giving out dog treats and letting her eat too much food meant for humans. Instead, provide snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables that contain natural sugars, avoiding blood sugar spikes. If you feed your dog dry kibble, top it off with some gently boiled broccoli, kale or collards, which will increase the kibble’s fiber content.

If you live in Madison or the surrounding areas, the professionals at Whitworth Animal Clinic are ready to serve you and your pets.

Note that this article does not take the place of professional veterinary advice. If you need assistance for your pet or require a checkup, please contact our staff to set up an appointment at Whitworth Animal Clinic, located on Rainbow Drive in Madison. We are open every day except Sunday.

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