This is not something any dog owner ever wants to experience, but dogs (just like other living creatures) develop illnesses and diseases. One such illness is diabetes. Typically, this is ‘sugar diabetes’ and usually affects older dogs. While diabetes cannot be cured, it can be managed and controlled in similar ways to humans.
As well as managing the condition, there are steps that you, the dog owner, can put into place to help stop your canine friend from developing diabetes in the first place. It is important to understand the basics of diabetes to enable suitable steps and measures to be put in place.
Diabetes refers to the body’s metabolism or the ability to convert foods into energy being affected. This is either through insulin deficiency or insulin resistance. Insulin deficiency occurs when the body isn’t producing enough insulin and can be managed with a shot. Insulin resistance occurs when the body is producing enough insulin, but it is not being used. Both can lead to quite serious health issues in the future.
Continue reading to understand what you can do to help your dog.
This sounds obvious but having a professional check your dog’s health is a great first step. Follow their recommendations and don’t be afraid to contact them if you notice differences in your dog’s urine, appetite, or behavior. Parents do this with their kids, so do the same with your dog.
Having regular check-ups will mean any health conditions can be spotted and dealt with more quickly. Diagnosing early means it hasn’t developed into as serious of an illness. Good veterinary support and expertise is worth its weight in gold in this instance.
Diabetes is more likely to develop in overweight or obese dogs, just like it does in humans. Dogs need to have enough exercise to burn off the calories they consume.
Get your dog out come rain or shine and give them variety. Beaches, fields and parks are all great places for exercise as is a walk around your neighborhood. If you can’t get outside, there are plenty of indoor games you can play with your dog to keep them active.
‘Walks should be at least once a day,’ recommends Richard Adams, a pet blogger at Write my X and 1 Day 2 write. ‘But bear in mind the weather conditions. Too hot and your dog will dehydrate.’
With exercise, it is advisable to make distances as consistent as possible. A huge walk could cause an increase in blood sugar levels, so make sure you build up to longer walks over a period of time. You wouldn’t wake up one morning and run a marathon with no training at all.
Again, a poor diet in a human can cause diabetes so guess what it does with dogs? Buying good quality foods with a variety of nutrients is best for keeping on top of any diabetes symptoms. It is also important to not overfeed your dog.
‘A top tip for checking if you are overfeeding is to check their ribs,’ says Catherine Isabella, a health writer at Origin Writings and Brit Student. ‘If you can’t feel their ribs then chances are you are overfeeding your dog.’
Fruit and vegetables are great to add healthy calories to mealtimes and to keep mealtimes interesting. Also, naturally occurring sugars in fruits do not increase blood sugar levels!
Spay your Females
Diabetes in dogs is more likely in females, especially in those who have given birth. The hormone progesterone increases after birth, and it is this hormone that puts female dogs at risk of developing health problems. Having your female dog spayed won’t act as an immunization but will make them less likely to develop conditions that cause high blood sugar levels.
If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to stay calm and follow medical advice. It is not a death sentence and can be managed and controlled so that your dog leads a happy life with you and your family for years. It is worth noting that pregnant, female dogs can develop a temporary form of insulin resistance. Best getting them checked just in case! Some dogs will just develop diabetes regardless of the steps you take, but it is best to keep your dog as healthy as possible to minimize the risk of this.
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