Once your dog’s diabetes is confirmed — usually through a complete blood count, chemistry panel and urinalysis — your veterinarian will likely recommend a treatment approach that involves the following:
- Exercise: To ensure your dog’s energy output is regular, make sure she receives approximately the same amount of exercise each day. Otherwise, her insulin may need to be adjusted.
- Diet: Generally, a diet high in insoluble fiber is ideal for diabetic dogs. There are a number of dog food brands offering prescription high-fiber formulas. It’s important that you keep your dog’s meals on a very regular schedule and don’t alter the amount of food from meal to meal. Your veterinarian might also recommend that you eliminate treats from your dog’s diet. An early component of diabetes management may also include adjusting an obese dog’s diet to aid weight loss.
- Insulin injections: If your dog has diabetes, insulin shots may become a way of life for her. Your veterinarian will train you to administer the insulin and advise you on frequency and dosages — although it sometimes takes several weeks or months of blood-sugar testing for your veterinarian to come up with the proper dosage.
- Glucose monitoring: Home monitoring of glucose levels is a good way to keep an eye on your dog’s diabetes. However, you shouldn’t make any changes to her insulin dosage based on glucose readings until you’ve verified the changes with your veterinarian.
- Disease management: In addition to the methods listed above, you will also need to make sure any other existing health conditions your dog has are under control — especially hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease.
If your dog has Type 2 diabetes, weight management may be the only treatment needed. However, Type 2 is much more common in humans and cats than it is in dogs.