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If you have a dog who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you may find yourself wondering “what now”. Although your veterinarian will walk you through the next steps, it is important to learn as much as you can about what you can be doing at home to manage your dog’s condition. In this article, we’ll provide some guidance that can help both you and your dog cope with an intimidating diagnosis.
Tips to Help Manage Dog Diabetes
With the help of the following tips and strategies, you can ensure your dog has the best possible quality of life, even with diabetes.
Put Your Dog on a Healthy Diet
One of the first and most important parts of managing a diabetes diagnosis for your dog is making sure they are on a high quality diet. It is important to choose a diet your pet will eat reliably, and ideally your dog should be fed two equal meals about 12 hours apart. Your vet will likely recommend a specific food for your pet based on their individual needs, and it may be a food that you can only get via veterinary prescription.
It is imperative to keep diabetic dogs at a healthy weight, so it is important to not overfeed your dog. This means minimizing treats! If you want to give your dog treats, talk to your vet about healthier options or consider treats high in fiber, such as small pieces of vegetables.
Exercise Your Dog
Exercise can go a long way toward helping a dog manage his diabetes. Just like humans, dogs who have diabetes get a lot of benefits from exercising regularly. Work with your vet to come up with a healthy, proper exercise plan for your dog based on his size, breed, weight, age, and more.
It is important for you to keep up with your dog’s exercise needs. If you don’t feel like you can do this, you may consider working with a professional dog daycare or dog walker to exercise your dog during the day.
Just like humans, dogs with diabetes are treated with insulin. Most diabetic dogs need insulin injections twice a day. These injections are done at home by you! Your veterinary team can help teach you the best tips and tricks for administering injections at home, but most people are surprised that it is not difficult to learn.
During the early stages of your dog’s diagnosis, you may need to try several types and dosages of insulin with your vet’s help until you find the right one. As the disease progresses your vet will help you to make adjustments to keep your dog’s diabetes under continuous control.
Treatment of Secondary Conditions
If your dog is diabetic, secondary conditions may be more difficult to manage than they would be for an otherwise healthy dog. Any secondary infections, diseases, illnesses or conditions that occur in your dog should be treated and managed promptly with the help of your regular vet. Treatment options may vary and could change depending on your dog’s overall health condition. If you have concern that your dog is developing a secondary illness, you should have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian promptly, as to not delay treatment.
One of the most important factors in keeping your dog’s diabetes under control is follow up with your vet. Understand that you’ll need to be ready for multiple vet visits each year when you have a diabetic dog. These visits will largely be for monitoring and upkeep only, but they may also involve diagnostics, treatments and changes to your dog’s management plan. In severe instances, your pet may need to see an emergency vet for more urgent care.
If you are concerned that you won’t be able to financially support a dog with diabetes, talk to your vet – they may have options for financial assistance or planning. Alternatively, it is never wrong to consider euthanasia for a dog with a chronic illness such as diabetes, given the financial and lifestyle commitment involved in keeping these dogs well managed.
Monitoring for Changes
Finally, it is important to keep a close eye on your dog following a diabetes diagnosis. You may notice changes to their behavior at home, and you should be ready to bring them to the vet if there are any significant changes or concerns for their health.
You may want to start keeping a journal to track your dog’s habits and health during this journey. Keep track of how much and what they eat (including treats!), exercise routines, water consumption, energy levels, and bathroom habits. If any unusual symptoms develop (vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, or other concerning behaviors), you should consult with your veterinarian or an emergency vet right away.
Contact VEG For More Information on How to Manage Dog’s Diabetes
A diagnosis of diabetes is not a death sentence for a dog by any means. However, it does mean you’ll need to focus more on your dog’s health requirements moving forward. It is a lifestyle, financial, and emotional commitment, but with the right care most dogs go on to have a great quality of life as long as they are continuously managed.
This article is not intended to replace any advice or recommendations from your vet. Always follow your vet’s guidance first when it comes to the health and wellness of your pet. For more information on dog diabetes and how to manage this condition, contact VEG by calling one of our locations. We have locations all over the country that are open 24/7, which means that you never have to wait for your pet to receive proper care and treatment.