How to live well on a daily basis with a diabetic dog?

Discover in this article all the good habits to adopt to take care of your diabetic dog.

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But, in reality, with good monitoring and an appropriate care routine, living with a diabetic dog is much less complicated than it seems. Veterinary follow-up, daily treatment, diet and physical activity, find in this article all the habits to adopt to take care of your diabetic dog.

The particularities of a diabetic dog

Diabetes mellitus is caused by the inability of the pancreas to regulate the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. In dogs, just like in humans, diabetes mellitus can be insulin-dependent, or type 1, or non-insulin-dependent, called type 2.

While the basic mechanisms of the disease differ, the two types of diabetes are manifested by equivalent symptoms in dogs, related to high concentrations of glucose in the blood and the body's inability to use the glucose as an energy source. The most common are increased thirst and frequency of urination, increased or decreased weight, increased appetite and intense fatigue that makes the dog less active than usual.

Whatever the type of diabetes mellitus diagnosed in dogs, the treatment consists, in the vast majority of cases, of insulin injection and an appropriate diet.

What veterinary follow-up for a diabetic dog?

As the treatment is set up, the diabetic dog will have to be hospitalized for a short period (generally ranging from a few hours to a day) so that the veterinarian can be able to assess his body's initial response. to the first insulin injections.

Then your dog can receive his daily insulin injections at home. The number of daily injections will then depend on the type of insulin prescribed and the dog's response to its treatment.

At the beginning of the implementation of insulin therapy, very regular and close visits to the veterinarian will be necessary to monitor the evolution of your dog's blood sugar. It will sometimes take a few weeks to achieve a good balance of your diabetes.

Check-up visits to the veterinarian at least every 4 to 6 months will then be necessary for the proper follow-up of a diabetic animal, even once its diabetes is well balanced.

Living daily with a diabetic dog

In terms of food

In addition to daily insulin injections, the diet of dogs with diabetes will need to be adapted.It is an integral part of the treatment. In order to help him regulate his blood sugar as well as possible, the dog must receive kibbles specially formulated for diabetic dogs or a balanced household ration with the help of a veterinarian in order to adapt him well to his pathology.

Whether it's croquettes or a "homemade" bowl, his new diet should be free of simple sugars, reduced in assimilable carbohydrates and lipids but rather rich in proteins, omega-fatty acids 3 and fiber.

Obviously, his meals should always be identical in terms of quantity and composition and distributed at a fixed time, at times close to his insulin injections. It is best if only one member of the household is in charge of meals and insulin injections, to avoid any risk of error, the consequences of which on the dog's he alth could be catastrophic.

In all cases, treats distributed outside meals should be avoided so as not to unbalance the animal's blood sugar.

In terms of physical activity

Can a diabetic dog be physically active? The answer is yes ! Physical activity is even beneficial for the diabetic dog because it helps to fight against overweight and obesity which predispose it to diabetes, to remuscle the emaciated animals and to "potentiate" the effects of insulin.

While several quiet walks a day are recommended, you should avoid having your diabetic dog practice physical activities that are too intense or that require too much endurance, such as hunting parties, for example.

As with food, it is the consistency and regularity of physical exercise that is important in diabetic animals.

During your outings, always remember to take a few sweet cookies, a piece of sugar or a sugary solution to ward off a possible hypoglycemia (sudden drop in blood sugar level). The use of honey is also possible.

How to react in case of discomfort?

When you live with a diabetic dog, you are exposed to the possibility that your dog may be a victim of hypoglycemic discomfort.

Hypoglycemia is a sudden drop in blood sugar levels. It can occur when the dog has not eaten enough, when he has vomited his meal, when he has received too high a dose of insulin or has had too much physical activity. It is manifested by a strong dejection, gait disturbances, loss of balance, tremors, visual disturbances, sometimes nausea and vomiting and can go as far as loss of consciousness.

As soon as your dog shows the first signs of hypoglycemia and if he is still conscious, immediately give him a sweet food such as a biscuit or a sugar cube. If he refuses to eat or if he is not able to do so, you can inject him with a mixture of water and sugar using a syringe without a needle, directly in the mouth by taking care to check that your dog is able to swallow well.The sugar should then allow it to get back on its feet quickly. If your dog is unconscious or unable to swallow anything, then contact a veterinarian immediately.

Conversely, when the dog does not respond well to his treatment or when it is not well balanced, the blood sugar level remains high and exposes the dog to a risk of acidosis. diabetic ketosis. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis are vomiting, fruity breath odor and rapid breathing. Ketoacidosis is a veterinary emergency because if left untreated, it can cause the animal to coma and die. Rest assured, however, with regular veterinary monitoring and good compliance with treatment and diet, diabetic dogs maintain a life expectancy and quality of life very close to those of other dogs.

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