5 Signs Your Pet May Have Diabetes

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Dogs and Cats Can Develop Diabetes, Too


Have a beloved dog or cat? You may be surprised to learn that, like people, our pets can develop chronic health conditions such as diabetes, and their risk is also greater if they are overweight or obese.

As the number of Americans with diabetes continues to grow, a similar trend is also happening among cats and dogs in the United States, according to Christopher G. Byers, DVM, a board-certified veterinary specialist at MidWest Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Omaha, Neb.

Dogs develop an insulin-dependent type of diabetes that is similar to type 1 diabetes in humans, says Dr. Byers. “Cats are quite different in that they actually develop a form similar to type 2 diabetes in people.”

Pet parents, take note. Watch out for these five warning signs of diabetes.

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Taking More Bathroom Breaks


Is your kitty or pooch urinating more often or profusely? Is she accidentally peeing before making it to the litter box or going outside for a walk? Increased urination is one of the common clinical signs of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats, says Byers. Similarly, people who urinate frequently may also have diabetes.

“As blood sugar rises, it ultimately reaches a threshold above which the sugar begins to spill over into the urine,” he explains. When this happens, the body undergoes a process called osmotic diuresis, causing copious and more frequent urination.

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Drinking More Often From the Water Bowl


Have you noticed that your pet’s water-drinking patterns have changed? If they’re drinking water more often than they used to, then diabetes might be to blame. As with humans, increased thirst is another common sign of diabetes in dogs and cats.

Animals with diabetes produce large volumes of urine more frequently, Byers explains, and so they drink more water to compensate for the fluids lost through urination.

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Eating More and Losing Weight


Diabetes might be a cause for concern if you find that your furry friend is losing weight despite eating more. Increased appetite and unexplained weight loss are common signs of diabetes in pets as well as humans.

“Feeling of fullness — satiety — is influenced by a part of the hypothalamus of the brain called the satiety center,” Byers says. “The more sugar that enters the satiety center, the less the feeling of hunger.”

But with diabetes, the hormone insulin is not available or working properly to allow sugar to enter the satiety center and be utilized by the body’s cells for fuel, resulting in unsatisfied feelings of hunger and weight loss.




Years ago I had a Shitsu named Bear.    (funny name for such a small dog –  but the kids named him.)  He developed Diabetes when he was about 8 yrs old.   All of the symptoms described above were obvious.  Plus he suddenly became very fatigued, sleeping almost 80% of the day.   When I took him to the vet, I was shocked to hear that he had Diabetes.  At the time, my late husband also had insulin- dependent Type 2 Diabetes, and was getting injections twice a day.  I thought,  “Great- now I get to  give injections to my dog , too.”.

And so it began.  Bear got her insulin with her morning meal.  It took her a while to adjust to me giving him an injection. It seemed that he shied away from me when I began to administer the insulin.   But eventually he became accustomed to me doing it and regained his trust in me.   Having a dog with Diabetes was a challenge.  It required extra observation since he could not tell me what he was feeling.  My vet suggested I buy a glucometer specifically for pets.   She had one sent to her practice and $400 later I was able to actually closely monitor the highs and lows of his blood sugar.  To me it was worth the money since there were several times that being able to test at home saved me a visit to the office.   I was able to accommodate his condition with the instructions previously given to me when he was diagnosed.   He lived comfortably for the next 4 years.   Unfortunately,  Bear  developed secondary heart disease and passed from heart failure years later.

Make sure your observations of your pet’s behavior which will enable you to know when a visit to your vet is necessary.   AND DON’T FORGET TO SMOOTCH YOUR POOCH (OR KITTY) GOOD NIGHT TONIGHT!


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