Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

November is National Pet Diabetes Month: Learn The Symptoms & Treatment for Diabetic Pets

by | Nov 1, 2022 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care | 0 comments

November is National Pet Diabetes M...
November is National Pet Diabetes Month: Learn The Symptoms & Treatment for Diabetic Pets

Cat Facts: The Pet Parent's A-to-Z Home Care EncyclopediaPet diabetes affects many cats and dogs, and this month we celebrate National Pet Diabetes Month. I’ve compiled this information for you from my books because I believe a happier world starts with healthy, joyful pets. So I help scaredy-cat pet lovers wag up their confidence with genius at-home advice—that banishes embarrassment while improving pet relationships with award-winning pet care books like CAT FACTS and DOG FACTS.

Diabetes mellitus is a common disorder of the endocrine system in cats and dogs. The pancreas, a gland near the stomach and liver, produces the hormone insulin, which stimulates the movement of glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells of the body. Cat and dog diabetes can develop if something suppresses the action of existing insulin (Type II, non-insulin dependent). Diabetes in cats and dogs also happens when something interferes with the production of insulin (Type I, insulin dependent). Without insulin, the body can’t use the food pets eat. The disease develops slowly, with subtle signs that you may not notice until it becomes quite advanced.

Pet obesity increases the risk of diabetes for dogs and cats, because fat cells can become resistant to insulin. Older male cats and older female dogs appear to have a higher incidence of the disease. Although any dog can develop disease, some breeds have a higher incidence of diabetes, including Beagles, Cairn Terriers, Dachshunds, Miniature Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers, Keeshonden, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Doberman Pinschers.

pet diabetes

Old overweight dogs are more prone to diabetes.

Signs of Diabetes in Pets

A constellation of signs can point to diabetes in pets. The most common appear in both dogs and cats:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Sticky urine
  • Bathroom accidents
  • Sudden blindness from cataracts (in dogs)
  • Plantigrade stance, walks on rear “heels” (in cats)

When a pet’s body can’t use the food they eat, they lose weight, literally starve, and eat more to compensate. Since they can’t process glucose, the body excretes the sugar in the pet’s urine. The sugar in the urine pulls more water out of the system in a process called osmotic diuresis. The increase in urine production causes increased thirst, more drinking, and potty accidents, a vicious cycle that continues until pets receive treatment.

Diagnosing Pet Diabetes

Veterinarians base diabetes diagnosis on the signs of disease, along with an evaluation of the blood and urine. This can be tricky because stress can make the body “spill” excess glucose into his system–and cats especially ramp up stress during vet visits. For cats, a test that measures the serum fructosamine level may better determine the average blood glucose level over the past week since “stress-response” doesn’t affect this measurement. Sugar and sometimes acetone in the urine, along with a high blood sugar, diagnoses pet diabetes mellitus.

How to Treat Diabetes in Pets

Dogs suffering from Type II (non-insulin dependent) diabetes improve when fed high-fiber diets. These diets reduce insulin requirements and also help overweight dogs lose weight. Most dogs with the condition, though, also require insulin injections.

Cats most frequently suffer from Type II diabetes. About 20 percent of cats also have a transient disease associated with pancreatitis. Diet sometimes with oral medication may help reduce their need for insulin injections. Oral medications such as Glipizide promote the secretion of insulin from the pancreas and may be helpful if you can’t give insulin injections. The stress of “pilling” often makes injections the better choice. Cats fed a high protein/low carbohydrate diet are ten times more likely to lose their dependency on insulin injections.

Kinds of Insulin

Commercial insulin comes from a variety of sources, most notably beef, pork, and synthetic human insulin, or combinations thereof. These products are categorized by promptness, dura­tion, and intensity of action. Your veterinarian determines the mixture most appropriate for your dog or cat’s condition, and how often to give injections. Pet lovers learn to take blood samples (often an ear stick) to monitor the cat or dog at home and give injections accordingly. Most pets need twice daily injections, scheduled meals, and monitored exercise. Unauthorized snacks or “zoomies” that burn up energy can cause problems for the diabetic pet.

Too much insulin can cause insulin reaction, referred to as hypoglycemia. Symptoms include disorientation, weakness and hunger, lethargy, shaking, or head tilt. Without treatment, the pet’s symptoms progress to convulsions, coma, and then death. Giving your dog or cat a glucose source, such as Karo syrup or honey, should reverse signs within five to 15 minutes. Then see the veterinarian immediately. Too little insulin can cause coma, and may result from a variance in diet or exercise, or if the insulin has expired and isn’t effective. This is an emergency that your veterinarian must address.

Your Turn…

You can’t cure diabetes, but can manage the disease. Pet lovers learn to monitor their cat or dog’s blood sugar levels and give insulin injections (tiny needles so pets don’t even feel it!), and support their furry companions. It’s what we do for our beloved family members. Learn more about caring for your cats and dogs in the books Cat Facts and Dog Facts.

Do you have a dog or cat with diabetes? How do you manage their condition? Please share your tips and experiences in the comments.

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!



Recent Posts

Counting Thanksgiving Blessings, the Pet Writer Way in 2022

Time for my annual Count My Blessings post. The past year has meant change, change, and more change, and that’s good and also challenging. But some things never change…I’m thankful to you—yes, those who read this blog, my newspaper column, the cat book lovers, and the dog book lovers, and folks who have “adopted” my thriller series. And those who offered awesome applause and support any of the other venues mentioned…

8 Common Old Dog Health Conditions & What To Do

When November rolls around each year we take time to celebrate the many blessings we’ve enjoyed, including our old dogs. Pet people, of course, give thanks for their animal companions, and November traditionally is Adopt A Senior Pet Month. Do you share your life with an old fogey dog? Maybe your old girl dog leaks urine when lying down—is that common, and what can you do about it? My current doggy companion, Shadow-Pup, has reached teenager status. Bravo-Dawg lost his life to cancer before becoming a senior doggy. But his predecessor, Magic, still lives on in my heart. During his final years, we battled several old dog health conditions.

Celebrating Old Dogs: What Is Old?

Each November, we celebrate old dogs during their “official” month. But when is your dog considered old? We love our senior citizen dogs for the special joy they bring every day. But once a year, we celebrate old dogs during November Adopt A Senior Pet Month.

What is considered “old?” There are individual differences between pets, just as there are for people. While one person may act, look and feel “old” at fifty-five, another fifty-five-year-old remains active with a youthful attitude and appearance. Aging is influenced by a combination of genetics, environment, and health care over a lifetime. The oldest dog on record was an Australian Cattle Dog who lived for twenty-nine years and five months…

I’ve written about how to care for an elderly dog before, but this post addresses how to know when your canine friends become old dogs.

Celebrating Old Cats: What Is Old?

Every year, I write about our old cat needs. While Karma-Kat has just reached middle age, cats age at different rates. When do you consider your cat old? Is your old cat a senior kitty by age 8, or 13, or…when? For cats, what is old? Here’s how the experts define ‘old age’ in cats…

Sweet Pet Poison: Your Guide to Cat & Dog Antifreeze Poisoning

Pets often get into poisons by accidentally eating the wrong plant, or other dangerous toxins. With the pending change in the weather and when temperatures fall, cat and dog antifreeze poisoning becomes a danger.

You’ll find antifreeze in surprising places, not just in the garage. For instance, the liquid in snow globes can poison pets when the toy breaks. Not long ago, social media shared many stories of antifreeze poisoning cats from the liquid in broken snow globes. The liquid tastes sweet, so it’s very appealing for sweet-loving dogs to drink or lick up spills on the garage floor. Puppies are the worst, eating anything that doesn’t move faster than they do. Cats also are at risk when they walk through puddles and lick/groom the liquid off their body. Here’s what you need to know to keep your pets safe–and maybe save their life!

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer. We whisper the word, fear the consequences, and our hearts break when cancer touches loved ones, including furry family members. But according to veterinary specialists, cancer is the most treatable—and curable!—of any chronic pet disease.

November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. We lost our Bravo-Dawg in the winter after a valiant fight, and you can read the first post here. The amazing folks at Morris Animal Foundation address many kinds of cancer and have funded numerous studies and even trained researchers to continue the search for the cure.

According to Dr. David Haworth, president and CEO of Morris, “One in 2 dogs will develop cancer, and 1 in 4 dogs will die of the disease.  The Foundation leverages the best minds in veterinary medicine and science to work on understanding the cause (funding over 40 studies on cancer in dogs at any given time…).” Read more about what you need to know …

Pet Veteran Love: 8 Reasons to Adopt Senior Cats & Dogs

There’s a good chance if you visited your local shelter today, you’d meet a pet who prefers couch cuddling to counter surfing, knows that shoes aren’t for chewing and is eagerly waiting to show you how to slow down and soak up life. I’m talking about senior pets!

November is #AdoptASeniorPetMonth, so if there is room in your 🏠 and ❤️, now is the perfect time to head to the shelter to find a grey-muzzled pet with plenty of love left to give!

How to Read Dog Poop: Normal Dog Poop to Dog Poop Problems

How to Read Dog Poop: Normal Dog Poop to Dog Poop Problems

Everyone who shares a home (and heart) with a dog at some point must deal with dog poop problems. Learning what’s normal, to yellow colored stool, or learning how serious blood in dog’s stool diarrhea may be helps get your dog help. While it may not be the most appealing topic, learning about your dog’s “creativity” offers important insight into his health.

Not only his food, but also your dog’s environment and emotional state, affects how his body works. Fear, anxiety, and stress can change a dog’s behavior, but also can disrupt digestion and cause enteritis. That in turn affects his poop.

Recognizing healthy elimination helps pet owners alert to abnormal eliminations. That way, when necessary, you can get your dog prompt medical help to diagnose and treat problems before they become worse.

Catnip: More Than A Treat for National Cat Day

Tomorrow is NATIONAL CAT DAY! Why not celebrate with kewl schtuff for the cat…like a catnip treat?

I have no doubt that catnip prompted the Cheshire Cat’s grin. My cat Seren used to wear the same expression when she indulged. NATIONAL CAT DAY is the perfect time to indulge your furry friend.

But why do cats find this nondescript herb so attractive? Is it a kitty aphrodisiac, a harmless pleasure or something more sinister?

What Is Catnip?

Nepeta cataria, or catnip, is a strong-scented mint that contains a volatile oil that’s easily released into the air. Biting or rolling on the plant crushes the leaves and releases the oil so Kitty can get a good sniff. It doesn’t take much. Cats can detect catnip oil in the air at saturation as low as one part per billion.

Visit Amy's Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to