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Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

Early Symptoms of Diabetes

The main early symptoms of the disease are increased thirst, increased appetite, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss and sweet-smelling breath.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs


Another sign of diabetes is high glucose levels showing up in your dog’s urinalysis. Many veterinarians recommend that dogs have this general test once or twice a year. As a result, regular urinalyses — especially in older dogs — can be a method of early detection of diabetes and other disorders. Discovering and treating the disease in its early stages can prevent it from becoming worse.

Symptoms of Advanced Diabetes

If diabetes goes undiagnosed and untreated, symptoms can become serious, leading to cataracts, enlarged liver, neurological problems and an increased number of infections.

Signs that your dog may have an advanced case of diabetes include sluggishness and lethargy, loss of appetite, dehydration, weakness, coma and diabetic ketoacidosis.

When diabetic ketoacidosis occurs, it means your dog’s body is metabolizing fats — rather than sugar — for energy. It’s caused by severe hyperglycemia, and it’s a life-threatening emergency. If you notice your dog has any of these symptoms paired with acetone on the breath (a smell similar to that of nail polish remover), take him to the veterinarian’s office or emergency veterinary clinic right away.

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