Oh no. You’ve just found out that your dog is diabetic. Just as with human diabetes, this isn’t going to go away. You are now in charge of a diabetic dog and the treatment and management of this is down to you. After all, as smart as your dog is, she’s not going to learn to administer her own insulin. What you can do is ensure that this condition doesn’t become debilitating. Know that you and your dog can still have plenty of quality in your lives, just by making some changes and taking some care.
Firstly, work closely with your vet. As a diabetic, your dog is not producing Insulin in her own body to process glucose in the blood, and so will need it administered artificially in order to survive. Insulin will need to be provided to your dog through daily or twice daily shots. This is the basis of diabetes treatment. You will work with your vet to determine exactly how much insulin your dog needs on a daily basis and go on from there, with strict monitoring.
It sounds incredibly daunting to know that you’re going to have to inject insulin into your dog every day for the rest of her life, but your vet will show you exactly how to do this, and it will become another daily part of life’s routine. Insulin injections should be given at the same time each day and always at the time of feeding.
Another thing to consider is your dog’s food. Now that she is a diabetic, she’s going to need a high fiber, high protein meat based food rather than a more carb (grain) based one. Again, your vet will be able to give you recommendations here. Any treats high in glucose will need to be avoided, as well as the random giving of treats throughout the day. It’s going to be important that you dog eats at set times during the day, rather than random times. This might take some getting used to but it can be done.
It will also be important to exercise your dog, although it’s important to maintain a regular routine. Spikes in exercise activity such as an unexpectedly long hike, for example, when your dog is really only used to a couple of rounds around the block, can use up energy and affect blood sugar levels drastically.
At the end of the day, caring for a diabetic dog is going to be all about balance. You’re going to be balancing whether there is too little or too much sugar in her blood and always reacting accordingly. But once you get that balance right and get used to the treatments that you’ll need to provide, once it becomes a habit, you and your dog will be able to get on with the important things in life like hanging out happily with each other again. It won’t take long, we promise.