top of page

Postcards November 2022 - Things to Know Before Diabetes

Did you know there are ways to prevent your pet from getting diabetes? Is your pet susceptible to diabetes? Why do some animals get diabetes and others do not? What is diabetes exactly?

What better time to learn about diabetes and increase awareness than during National Diabetes Month for November. Diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a condition where the body cannot use its glucose properly. Glucose is necessary as the main source of energy for the body’s cells. Normally, sugars are absorbed into the blood during digestion and then transported to the cells using insulin. When glucose is too high in the blood, some will spill over into the urine drawing a lot of water with it. This causes a state of “dehydration” which leads to an increase in drinking and urination. When the cells miss out on their glucose or energy, they become starved and start breaking down fat and muscle tissue so that the liver can make the sugar needed for the cells, hence causing weight loss.

Diabetic dogs range anywhere from 4-14 yrs old with an average age of 7-10 yrs old. Whereas cats are typically >6yrs old. Female dogs are twice as likely to become diabetics as males. Genetics unfortunately can play a role in which pets get diabetes as well. Certain breeds at a higher risk include

Miniature Poodles, Bichons Frises, Pugs, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Puli, Samoyeds, Keeshonds, Australian Terriers, Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Beagles. Obesity is a significant risk factor for developing diabetes. As pets age, they can develop other diseases that can predispose them to getting diabetes or even cause treatment to be challenging. Such diseases include an overactive thyroid or adrenal glands, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), heart disease, and skin, urinary tract, and other infections. Steroids and even medications containing steroids are also a huge risk factor.

The number one way to prevent diabetes is to feed your pet a well-balanced healthy diet and provide enough exercise so that they don’t become overweight. Feeding higher calorie foods or limiting sufficient exercise and activity can cause them to become obese. Feeding higher fat foods including human foods as “snacks” or meals can overwork the pancreas and lead to pancreatitis. Take your pets to see their vets regularly for their yearly physical exams and bloodwork. Bloodwork can help detect changes before symptoms show up allowing for treatments and lifestyle changes to improve overall longevity and quality of life. Bloodwork that includes evaluation of the pancreas can promote diet change recommendations to help prevent further problems. Limit or cautious use of steroids is a must to help prevent steroid induced diabetes. Steroids can frequently be used to treat allergies and a multitude of skin problems, but other, newer, safer medications exist to help minimize side effects and future issues.

If you start seeing your pet drinking more water or needing to get outside more to urinate, a call to your local veterinarian is needed. Better yet, if you notice your pet starting to gain weight, seek advice from your local veterinary team to see the best ways to help your pet stay at an ideal body condition score. We can all do our part to help your pets stay at their best and improve longevity and quality.

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page