Can Dogs Be Diabetic?

Can Dogs Be Diabetic? Diabetes is a common disease that affects both young and old dogs. It is a chronic condition that occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels in the body.

When dogs have diabetes, their bodies are unable to properly regulate their blood sugar, which can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. In this article, we will discuss Can Dogs Be Diabetic? and what causes diabetes in dogs, how to recognise the symptoms of diabetes, and what treatment options are available for diabetic dogs.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. In dogs, there are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. This can be due to genetic factors or damage to the pancreas from other health conditions. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin and cannot use it effectively.

Both types of diabetes can lead to high levels of glucose in the blood, which can cause serious health problems if left untreated.  Plus, diabetes can also lead to other complications such as cataracts, nerve damage, and kidney disease in dogs. It is important for pet owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes in order to seek treatment as soon as possible.

What causes diabetes in dogs?

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes in dogs. These include:


Genetics play a crucial role in the development of diabetes in dogs. Certain breeds are more predisposed to the condition due to inherited traits. Breeds such as Dachshunds, Poodles, and Samoyeds are particularly at higher risk.

Genetic predisposition means that these dogs may inherit the tendency for their pancreas to produce insufficient insulin or for their bodies to develop insulin resistance. For responsible breeders, understanding and screening for genetic markers associated with diabetes can help minimise the risk of passing these traits to the next generation.

While genetic factors alone may not cause diabetes, they significantly increase susceptibility, making vigilance in monitoring and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for these breeds essential.


Obesity is a significant risk factor for diabetes in dogs. Just like humans, excess weight can make it difficult for the body to use insulin efficiently, leading to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.

Furthermore, obese dogs are at a higher risk of developing pancreatitis, which can damage the cells responsible for producing insulin. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and regular exercise is crucial in preventing diabetes in dogs.

Plus, a healthy weight can also reduce the risk of other obesity-related health problems in dogs, such as joint issues and heart disease.


As dogs age, they become more susceptible to various health conditions, including diabetes. This is because their bodies are not able to produce and use insulin as effectively as when they were younger. It is estimated that around 1 in 4 older dogs will develop diabetes.

Senior dogs should have regular check-ups with their veterinarian to monitor their overall health and detect any potential issues early on. Blood tests can also help identify if a dog has developed diabetes or is at risk for developing the condition.

Plus, as dogs age, their metabolism slows down, making it easier for them to gain weight. This further increases their risk of developing diabetes.

Certain medications

Some medications, such as steroids and certain diuretics, can increase a dog’s risk of developing diabetes. These medications can affect the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively, leading to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.

If your dog is on any long-term medication, it is crucial to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and consult with your veterinarian about potential side effects or changes in their treatment plan. Plus, it is essential to only give your dog medication prescribed by a veterinarian and to never give them human medication without consulting a professional.


Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can damage the cells responsible for producing insulin. This can lead to both acute and chronic pancreatitis, which can increase a dog’s risk of developing diabetes.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite. If you suspect your dog has pancreatitis, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care as it can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Some breeds are more predisposed to pancreatitis, including Miniature Schnauzers and Yorkshire Terriers. Therefore, pet owners with these breeds should be aware of the signs and symptoms and take preventative measures such as avoiding high-fat diets.

Hormone imbalances

Hormonal imbalances, particularly with the hormones cortisol or growth hormone, can contribute to the development of diabetes in dogs. These imbalances can interfere with the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively.

Conditions such as Cushing’s disease (an overproduction of cortisol) and acromegaly (an overproduction of growth hormone) can increase a dog’s risk of developing diabetes. Therefore, it is essential for pet owners to monitor their dog’s hormonal health through regular check-ups with their veterinarian.

Additionally, spayed female dogs are also at an increased risk of developing diabetes due to a decrease in oestrogen, which can affect insulin production.

So these are some of the factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes in dogs. Understanding these risk factors and taking preventive measures, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog, can help reduce their chances of developing this serious condition. Regular visits to the veterinarian and monitoring your dog’s health can also aid in early detection and treatment if necessary.

Why is early detection and treatment important for dogs with diabetes?

Early detection and treatment are crucial for dogs with diabetes because it can help prevent or delay the development of serious health complications. Untreated diabetes can lead to a range of health issues, including:


Diabetes can cause cataracts, which can lead to blindness if left untreated. Cataracts occur when high blood sugar levels cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy, affecting vision. In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the cataract and restore vision.

Kidney disease

Diabetes can damage the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to kidney disease. This can eventually progress to complete kidney failure, which requires lifelong treatment such as dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Nerve damage

High blood sugar levels can also damage nerves throughout the body, causing symptoms such as weakness and numbness. In severe cases, this nerve damage can lead to diabetic neuropathy, which can affect various bodily functions and cause further complications.

Skin infections

Diabetes weakens the immune system, making dogs more susceptible to skin infections. These infections may be difficult to treat and could lead to more serious issues if left untreated.

Urinary tract infections

Diabetes can also affect the bladder and urinary tract, making dogs more susceptible to infections. These infections can be painful and may require antibiotics or other medical treatment.

So these are just some of the serious health complications that can arise from untreated diabetes in dogs. Early detection and treatment can help prevent or manage these issues, ensuring a better quality of life for your furry friend.

When should you seek veterinary care for your dog?

If you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour or health, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately. This includes symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, weight loss, lethargy, or changes in appetite.

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are also crucial for monitoring your dog’s overall health and detecting any potential issues early on. During these check-ups, blood tests can be performed to screen for diabetes and other conditions.

Additionally, if your dog has any of the risk factors mentioned previously, it is important to be vigilant and monitor their health regularly. By seeking timely veterinary care, you can ensure that your dog receives the necessary treatment and management of any underlying conditions, preventing them from developing into more serious health issues.

Plus, regular vet visits allow for open communication between you and your veterinarian, providing an opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about your dog’s health. Remember, early detection and treatment are crucial in keeping your dog happy and healthy for years to come.

Contact Blakehurst Vet For Your Diabetic Pet

As pet owners, we know how important it is to have a trusted and reliable veterinarian for our furry family members. At Blakehurst Vet, we offer a wide range of services to ensure your pet receives the best possible care in a safe and friendly environment.

Our experienced team is dedicated to providing personalised care for your pets, whether they need routine check-ups or specialised treatments. We are proud supporters of responsible pet ownership and strive to educate our clients on preventative measures to keep their pets healthy.

In addition to traditional veterinary services, we also offer luxurious accommodations for cats with our Cat Hotel. Our spacious reception area separates cats and dogs to create a stress-free environment for all pets during their visit. We even provide free puppy play sessions for our young pups to socialise and have fun.

If you have a diabetic pet, our team at Blakehurst Vet is here to support you in managing their condition. From regular check-ups to specialised treatments, we will work with you to ensure your pet receives the best possible care.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at 9547 2750 or book an appointment online for your furry friend today! Our veterinary hospital is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6:30pm and Saturday from 8am to 3pm for your convenience.


Can dogs be diabetic?

Yes, dogs can be diabetic. Diabetes mellitus, or dog diabetes, is a condition where the dog’s body cannot properly regulate blood glucose levels. Like diabetic animals, dogs with this condition require careful monitoring and management to stay healthy.

What are the symptoms of dog diabetes?

Symptoms of dog diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, and unexplained weight loss. A diabetic dog may also have high blood glucose levels and need insulin injections to manage the condition. If your dog exhibits these signs, seek veterinary advice.

How is dog diabetes managed?

Managing dog diabetes typically involves regular insulin injections to control blood glucose levels. It’s also important to monitor your diabetic dog’s diet closely, ensuring the dog eats at regular intervals to avoid low blood sugar. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for managing this condition.

Are male dogs more prone to diabetes?

Male dogs can be more prone to diabetes mellitus compared to female dogs. However, any dog can develop diabetes. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise can help manage and prevent canine diabetes. If your dog shows signs of being diabetic, consult your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.


In conclusion, diabetes in dogs is a serious condition that can be managed with early detection and proper treatment. By understanding the risk factors and being vigilant about your dog’s health, you can take preventive measures to reduce their chances of developing this disease.

At Blakehurst Vet, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive care for your pets, including those with diabetes. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or for any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s health.