Managing Diabetes for Dogs
Whether you adopt a pup at a young age or become a new home for an older dog, there is so much excitement involved. Welcoming a doggy of any age into your life is such an exhilarating process. After all, a dog is a man's best friend. The thing about pets is that we sometimes forget they are prone to illnesses, just like we are. It slips our mind in the midst of all the enjoyment they bring us, so when your dog is diagnosed with a chronic illness, you might feel dumbfounded by the news. It's such a shock to be told that your canine friend is now facing a health issue.
When it comes to diabetes, people tend to feel deep concern for their pets because diabetes is often a predecessor to some very scary health problems. But we’re here to provide you with a plethora of information about diabetes in dogs so you can move forward with confidence. Once you go through the initial emotions of learning about your dog’s new way of life, we encourage you to put on a brave face, trust in your own strength, and trust us when we say that your doggo can still lead a happy life, even with diabetes.
Things will be different, but we believe that your dog will be well cared for and loved every step of the way. After all, you’re their parent, and the fact that you are looking into the disease even further is a sign that you care. Now, let’s settle your concerns and reduce your worries by talking about diabetes in dogs in depth.
First things first, we’ll cover canine diabetes in general and talk about the primary causes, as well as the secondary effects of diabetes. From there, we’ll talk more about the implications of diabetes for your canine companion and how to even spot the signs of diabetes in the first place. We’ll wrap up the blog post with an all-natural remedy for diabetes-related symptoms for dogs. Maybe you’ve heard of it already. Maybe you haven’t. Either way, we hope to help you understand the disease more thoroughly. Let’s get started!
The Two Types of Diabetes: What is it?
Just like people, dogs can be diagnosed with one of two types of diabetes. Reasonably called type 1 and type 2, the main difference between the two types of diabetes has to do with the pancreas. To a degree, they are also distinguishable based on the severity of the illness as well.
Type 1 diabetes is a situation in which the pancreas is not producing as much insulin as the body needs. The exhaustion factor of diabetes is a result of the underproduction of insulin. You see, insulin is an absolute requirement for maintaining energy levels in humans and dogs alike.
When your pup is not receiving the proper amount of insulin, given his or her size and activity level, then your canine companion will feel low energy and you'll notice the way your dog tends to shy away from playtime. Low insulin production also means that your pup's cells won't receive the glucose they need, so type 1 diabetes requires that your pupper receive continuous insulin shots throughout his or her lifetime.
Similarly, type 2 diabetes has a lot to do with the pancreas as well, but the difference is that the pancreas is producing plenty of insulin. Type 2 diabetes is denoted by an inability for the cells to take up insulin and process it normally. The reuptake factor is missing in dogs with diabetes. For whatever reason, the body might actively refuse to absorb the insulin that circulates in the body.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by a resistance that your dog's body has developed against insulin, and usually, this results from a diet that isn't working for your dog's body. When anyone and any pet eats a surplus of carbohydrates, the body will become oversaturated by carbs. The body processes sugar in the same way as it does carbohydrates, and as a result, a diet saturated by carbs causes confusion, thereby affecting the way your dog's body processes blood sugar levels.
What are the Causes Behind Diabetes in Dogs?
Diabetes comes down to two main internal nutrients. Glucose and insulin are the two main components involved in diabetes. Glucose is a sugar and insulin is a hormone. Together, they work to provide energy to your pup and keep your dog's body moving. Diabetes results from an imbalance of glucose production and the absorption of glucose by the blood.
On top of glucose reuptake dysfunction, diabetes also comes down to the interactions between insulin and glucose. There is either a lack of insulin production or an inability to process insulin as usual. Glucose is responsible for breaking down any and everything that your dog eats. When the body begins to digest the food particles, certain parts of your dog's body come into the picture and transform food into energy in the form of glucose. From there, the intestines take up the glucose and deliver it to the bloodstream.
Glucose is what keeps the body going, and without it, fatigue becomes alive and well. Insulin, as mentioned, is a hormone. The main function of insulin is to instruct the cells in your dog's body to go out and absorb glucose from the bloodstream. This interaction between insulin, blood, and glucose keeps your dog's blood sugar levels from spiking, because that is also a very uncomfortable circumstance. Insulin does not directly provide energy to your dog's body, but after being produced by the pancreas, insulin works to control what happens to glucose.
Now, you might be thinking that something has to cause the disruption among glucose, insulin, blood, and the pancreas. And you’re right. The pancreas doesn’t just stop producing insulin out of nowhere, and the body doesn’t halt its natural tendency to absorb glucose for no reason. So what causes diabetes to occur in the first place?
There are a few possible causes of diabetes in dogs. There two different types of diabetes -- type 1 and type 2 -- are caused by different factors. We’ll list some of the various causing factors behind the development of both types of diabetes. However, keep in mind that diabetes is still a highly-researched disease because there is not absolute certainty in terms of the root cause of diabetes. You will notice that both types have a variety of reasons that might have contributed to a diabetes diagnosis, but it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what it was that led to diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes results from…
- Genetic predisposition
- Environmental influences like a virus
- Weakened immune systems
- An error where the body attacks its own beta cells, ceasing the production of insulin
Type 2 diabetes is caused by…
- Lifestyle factors, such as diet and nutrition, or a lack of both
- Insulin resistance that is caused by carrying too much weight on your body
- Heart disease
- Poor circulation and blood vessel functioning
- Liver dysfunction
What Does it Mean for Your Dog to Have Diabetes?
Something that many dog owners want to know is if diabetes is forever. A common question many pet parents ask is, “Can diabetes in dogs be reversed?” The truth of the matter is that no, diabetes cannot be reversed in dogs, just like it cannot be reversed in people. However, improvements can be made and you can keep your dog as happy as ever by managing your dog’s diabetes symptoms.
The Signs and Symptoms of Canine Diabetes
Canine diabetes differs from diabetes in humans just because the nature of the two living creatures is so different. When it comes to dogs with diabetes, there are many symptoms and side effects that will inform you that something is going on with your pup.
Some examples of canine diabetes signs and symptoms are…
- Increase in thirstiness
- Urinating more frequently as a result of drinking more water than usual
- Rapid weight loss without a lack of hunger or appetite
- Blindness or cataracts without any other explanation
- Low glucose levels found after being tested
- Urinary ketones
- High cholesterol levels
- An influx in the number of enzymes within your dog's liver
- Urine that contains proteins
- High white blood cell count Infections that persist despite treatment
What Does it Take to Treat Diabetes in Dogs?
Diabetes is a chronic illness. If you’re unsure about what this means, that’s okay. Let’s talk about it for a moment. A situation that is considered chronic is one for which there is no cure. Now, just because a disease is chronic does not mean it is terminal. A terminal illness is one that will someday result in death, but a chronic illness does not necessarily end up being a cause of death, especially if actions are taken to improve the quality of life outside of the chronic illness.
When it comes to treating diabetes in dogs, it is actually far more accurate to talk about managing the symptoms rather than treating the disease altogether. Treatment makes it sound as though the diabetes will someday vanish and your dog will no longer have to face the side effects of a diabetes diagnosis. We wish that we could snap our fingers, and just like that, cause your dog’s illness to disappear. If only life was that easy…
But there is still so much hope for your pupper! Focus on the fact that diabetes is chronic, not terminal. This is not to say that being told your dog will have a health concern for the rest of his or her life is easy, but we believe in looking on the bright side. As pet owners, you are valid for feeling negative emotions as a result of diabetes in your dog, but we are grateful that your canine companion is not terminal.
So, back to the original question. How do you treat diabetes? The most important way of handling the situation is to manage your dog’s symptoms. The most prominent and defining factor of diabetes is a heightened level of glucose in the blood. By monitoring the levels of glucose in your dog's blood, you can keep an eye on your dog's condition on a day-to-day basis. When it comes to tracking glucose levels for your dog, you have two options.
You can either conduct a blood test or a urine test. Surprisingly, you can actually perform both methods at home. In order to determine your dog's glucose levels at home via a blood test, you will need a glucometer, as well as blood test strips. This is completely safe to do within the comfort of your own home, though if you are more comfortable with a veterinarian testing your dog's blood, then feel free to schedule a recurring appointment.
It has been shown that glucose levels are easier to determine by way of a blood test, but the option to select a urine test is still possible. Just know that your reading with a urine test might not be quite as accurate as it would be with a blood test. Either way, keeping an eye on the glucose levels of your dog's blood is essential to managing the symptoms of diabetes and keeping it under control.
Cannabidiol and Diabetes: CBD for Diabetic Dogs
Diabetes can cause a wide array of symptoms that are not terribly pleasant, especially in the beginning stages as your dog adjusts to his or her new life of insulin shots and more frequent trips to the veterinarian’s office. Whether your dog could use some help decompressing and calming down before doctor appointments, or your pup is experiencing serious nausea that needs to be controlled, CBD oil for diabetes is an incredibly beneficial supplement that may improve your dog’s current lifestyle.
If you’ve ever stumbled upon cannabidiol and read about it even briefly, then you are probably already aware of the way it is a compound derived from the cannabis plant, and in many cases, from the hemp plant. Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is more widely known, is a chemical compound found in cannabis. As a naturally-produced cannabinoid, CBD is classified as a phytocannabinoid. Similar to THC, CBD can be found within weed of many strains, though unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabinol is not a psychotropic substance.
The meaning behind psychotropic -- also known as psychoactive -- is that the compound causes changes to the mind. Drugs that alter brain functioning are not everyone’s cup of tea but they are especially ill-suited for pets, your dogs included. Psychotropic drugs are actually quite dangerous for dogs when ingested. Even when it comes to human beings, it takes a certain type of brain to appreciate the sensations that psychoactive drugs bring about in the body. Alterations to the brain are not for everyone.
As you most likely already know, cannabis is the origin of marijuana. So how can it be that weed contains psychoactive substances, but CBD does not, despite being derived from the same plant? Well, it’s all about how the compounds are extracted, and marijuana can be manipulated in ways that increase the potency of each cannabinoid, hence the reason why there are so many different strains of weed.
That said, THC -- or tetrahydrocannabinol -- is the most active ingredient in strains of cannabis that cause psychoactive effects. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is not a psychotropic compound in and of itself. So when the intention is to create CBD in oil form for its potential calming, relaxing, and soothing properties, the goal is to have as little THC as possible so that CBD is the sole effect.
CBD oil for diabetes works by possibly soothing nausea, reducing pain, and keeping your dog in a calm state of mind. The CBD oil dosage for diabetes will depend on the size and age of your dog. Rather than being an overarching rule among all dogs, the dosage is completely personalized, and you might find that it becomes a trial-and-error type of experiment. CBD cannot cause death by way of an overdose, so have no fear when it comes to testing it out and trying different dosages until you find the one that works best for your pup.
Where to Purchase CBD for Dogs with Diabetes
If you are interested in purchasing CBD oil for diabetes, then Innovet is the company to turn to! When it comes to the best CBD oil for dogs with diabetes, you will find that our cannabidiol oil for diabetes is as close to a miracle worker as is humanly possible. Our CBD oil is easy to administer, well-received by pets, and some of the most pure cannabidiol oil on the market.
From oils and capsules, to soft chewy snacks and delicious tasty dog hemp treats, our inventory allows for options. You will be able to discover which form of CBD your pup likes best. After all, we want to make sure there is something for every canine companion out there! With Innovet, your dog’s comfort and well being are of utmost important to us. We think of your dogs as family and our CBD oil for diabetes is created with their happiness in mind.
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.
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The Innovet Team