Advices On How To Prevent Diabetes In Dogs

Last Updated: 8 months ago

You probably know that diabetes is running rampant among humans.

Well, it’s also becoming more and more commonplace among dogs. In both cases, the symptoms are very unpleasant. Daily treatments with insulin aren’t much fun either.

All of which makes it the course of wisdom to prevent the condition in the first place. In this article, we provide tips and advice for preventing dog diabetes.

Canine Diabetes Overview

Diabetes is very common in dogs. While it is not 100 percent preventable, there are a number of things you can do to lessen the likelihood that your dog will succumb to this condition.

Certain breeds get diabetes more frequently than others. The one that is most associated with diabetes is the mini-schnauzer. 

The causes of diabetes in dogs are very similar to those in humans.

The number one thing to help prevent a dog from getting diabetes is good weight control.

Overweight or obese dogs are at a much higher risk of becoming diabetic than normal-weight dogs. That doesn’t mean that a normal weight dog will not get diabetes, but it does mean that it is far less likely to. 

Another vital factor in the prevention of diabetes is a good-quality diet and regular meals. If you are feeding your dog a junky, high-carb diet, they are more likely to develop diabetes down the road. 

Diabetes Causes

When a dog has diabetes, it means that they have too much glucose in their blood. Glucose is the body’s main source of energy.

Humans and animals turn glucose from the food we eat into energy. Canine bodies need energy to grow and repair themselves, and they need energy for everything they do.

They take in energy from the foods they eat. As their bodies digest this food, it is broken down into glucose. Dogs need glucose because their bodies turn it into energy.

The buildup of glucose in the bloodstream leads to the release of extra insulin for the purpose of directing the glucose into the dog’s cells.

The glucose is absorbed by the cells, and the level of glucose in the blood drops. The dog’s hunger hormones then kick in in order to restock their energy levels.

At the same time, the liver releases some stored glucose while simultaneously signaling the pancreas to release less insulin. In this way, the various parts of the dog’s body work together to achieve a state of homeostasis, or balance.

In dogs who have diabetes, the body is unable to turn glucose into energy. Instead of being used up, the glucose builds up in their blood. It also means that they are unable to get the energy they need from the food they eat. This can make them feel weak and tired.

Diabetic dogs are unable to make the best use of a chemical called insulin. The body makes insulin in a gland called the pancreas, which lies across the back of the stomach. Insulin is needed to use the sugar in the blood for energy. It also controls the level of glucose in the blood. 

There are two types of diabetes that dogs may get, and neither of them is completely analagous to diabetes in humans. The two types are insulin-deficiency diabetes (IDD) and insulin-resistance diabetes (IRD). 

In IDD, the dog will lose beta cells. This will result in the pancreas no longer being able to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. The causes of this include the following:

  • Genetic defects
  • Inflammation of the Pancreas
  • Immune attacks

In IRD, there is something that prevents the insulin that is produced by the dog from working properly in its primary function to transport glucose to the muscle cell. The cause may be such things as the following:

  • Diestrus (high progesterone levels after heat)
  • Pregnancy
  • Endocrine disease
  • Treatment with steroids or progesterone-like hormones

Canine Diabetes Preventatives

Canine Diabetes Preventatives


The fat cells that are located in the abdomen are responsible for the secretion of hormones, the regulators of all of your dogs’ bodily functions.

When they have too many fat cells located around the abdominal region, they tend to secrete more hormones and chemicals that slow down the metabolism. And the result of that is likely to be an inefficient insulin metabolism process.

This hormone-induced insulin resistance is directly related to high blood pressure, abnormal blood fat, and diabetes.

Lack of Exercise

Exercise not only burns calories; it also offsets insulin.

Exercise increases the uptake of glucose, both during and after exercise, meaning less work for insulin and other medications.


An unhealthy diet—that is, one high in sugar, saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats—increases the work of the pancreas and leads to obesity.

Proper Exercise and Diet

Exercise is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. Yet too many dogs spend their lives simply eating and sleeping.

This inevitably leads to an excess of calories, with too few going out. In time, the dog will become overweight and, eventually, obese. Just like people, dogs need to burn off the excess calories that they take in. 

If you are the owner of a dog who is overweight, then you need to get him into an exercise program right away. However, you should ease into it. Start by walking the dog from the end of the front porch to the end of the driveway and back.

If you exercise your dog too vigorously when he is not used to it, this can cause hypoglycemia. So, it is imperative that you start out slowly and easily. Then gently increase the intensity of the exercise.

The diet you feed your dog will play a huge part in whether or not he develops diabetes. The best type of diet to prevent diabetes in dogs and humans is a low-carb, low-fat, moderate-protein diet.

Some dog owners prefer to make their own dog food, while others are happy to buy pre-made dog food. Keep in mind, though, that each individual dog has its own unique dietary needs and requirements.

Discuss the diet of your dog with your vet to make sure that it gets the proper food and nutrition that it needs to avoid diabetes and achieve good health.

6 Extra Tips to Prevent Dog Diabetes

6 Extra Tips to Prevent Dog Diabetes

#1: Regular Check Ups

If you are not paying attention, you can easily miss the symptoms of diabetes in your dog. So, you should regularly take a visit to your vet for a check-up.

If you notice the symptoms listed above, make an appointment with the vet. There are some other diseases, such as Cushing’s disease and pancreatitis, that increase the likelihood of the dog getting diabetes, so check for these as well.

#2: Get Females Spayed

Female dogs that have not been spayed are more likely to get diabetes. In fact, there are three times more female than male dogs that get the condition. After a female dog gives birth or completes a cycle, she has heightened levels of progesterone.

This can increase a dog’s risk of developing diabetes mellitus. Getting your female dog spayed can also reduce her risk of some other diseases that are connected to the rise of progesterone. These include pyometra, which is a uterine infection.

#3: Buy Quality Dog Food

It is quite easy to go for the cheapest brand of dog food, but you probably aren’t doing your pooch any favors by doing so.

Be prepared to spend a little more to get the quality that he deserves. Your dog needs a diet that is low in carbs while high in healthy fats and proteins.

You will find that the majority of well-known brands will have the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) in the right proportions.

#4: Do Not Overfeed Your Dog

I get it. You love your dog. But stuffing food into him constantly is not the way to show that love. Obesity is connected with a lot more diseases than diabetes. As a guide, your dog should eat between 20 and 30 calories per kg of body weight per day.

The larger the dog, the closer to the 30-calorie limit the dog will consume. As a gauge as to whether your dog is overweight, you should be able to feel his ribs when you cuddle him. If you can’t, he is likely to be overweight. 

#5: Feed Him Fruits & Vegetables

You know that humans thrive on fruits and vegetables, so it should be no surprise that dogs do too. Fruits and vegetables are great treats, snacks, or meal toppers.

The benefit of these food choices is that the natural fruits in fruits and vegetables do not cause the spikes in blood sugar levels that you get with high-carb food choices.

Topping your dry kibble with such food choices as broccoli, kale, and dandelion greens, which have been gently cooked, will add some much-needed fiber to the dog’s diet. This will also help to regulate blood sugar levels.

#6: Do Not Vaccinate

Veterinarians have noticed a direct causal link between dogs getting vaccinated and the rise of autoimmune diseases. There is also a link between vaccines and diabetes in dogs. So, let’s take a moment to investigate the issue of dog vaccines.

There are no core dog vaccines that are required by law. These are parvovirus, distemper, and adenovirus. The only required virus is rabies in all 50 US states. So, no vet or other professional can force you to vaccinate your dog with anything beyond rabies (if you live in the United States).

For many years, vets had been revaccinating dogs annually. Then, in 2003, a landmark report from the American Animal Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Taskforce concluded the following:

Misunderstanding, misinformation, and the conservative nature of our profession have largely slowed adoption of protocols advocating decreased frequency of vaccination’; ‘Immunological memory provides durations of immunity for core infectious diseases that far exceed the traditional recommendations for annual vaccination.

This is supported by a growing body of veterinary information as well as well-developed epidemiological vigilance in human medicine that indicates immunity induced by vaccination is extremely long-lasting and, in most cases, lifelong.

In other words, dogs have been getting vaccinated way more than they should be. Why is this an issue? Because vaccines pose some very real threats for dogs, These problems include the following:

  • Lethargy
  • Hair loss and hair color change at the injection site
  • Soreness
  • Stiffness
  • Refusal to eat
  • Fever
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Sneezing
  • Oral Ulcers
  • Seizures
  • Polyneuritis
  • Arthritis
  • Facial edema
  • Hives
  • Vitiligo

There is no reason to give your dog an unnecessary vaccine. You can administer in-house titer tests that will determine whether your dog has responded to previous vaccines and formed the required immunity. 

#7: Look for the Signs

A key aspect of diabetes mellitus prevention is detecting the early signs of the condition and taking prompt action. The first step in this process is to know what the normal activity of your dog looks like. Then you will know what abnormal behavior looks like. These are the things to look out for:

  • Tiredness and fatigue: The dog will usually start with unusual fatigue in his hind area. This may be evidenced by the dog stopping after a few steps up the stairs to rest. He may start dragging his hind quarters around because he is just too tired to walk. The lethargy will eventually include the front part of the body.
  • Increased thirst: The dog will drink up around half of his bowl at one time and then go back for more within the hour.
  • More frequent urination: Your pooch will have to relieve himself much more frequently in the kidney’s attempt to clear as much glucose from the body as possible.

If you notice these signs of canine diabetes, you should immediately make an appointment to take your dog to the vet. 


Is a vegan diet a healthy way to prevent diabetes for a dog?

We all know that dogs need protein to build muscle and maintain overall health. But did you know that a high-meat diet is a relatively new trend? In addition, it is not the healthiest diet option for your pooch.
Before the industrial revolution, dogs ate the same things as humans. It wasn’t until the 1850s that pet food became a supermarket staple. Today, dog food is essentially processed meat from factory farms. 
Animals that are unfit for human consumption end up in your dog’s kibble. 
In the digestive process, protein breaks down into amino acids in order to create hormones, build muscle, and protect your dog from infection.
Protein molecules are made by combining a variety of 20 common amino acids. Dogs require 10 amino acids to come from their food. Just like humans, their bodies make the rest, including taurine, so long as they have the right building blocks.
This means that dogs can get the right balance of foods they need to thrive on complementary plant proteins. These include beans, soy, and whole grains.
Another option is the complete protein of fermented yeast. Fermented yeast provides all 10 essential amino acids.
This takes the guesswork out of knowing if your dog is getting the right balance of amino acids. Fermented yeasts provide more than double the amount of protein by weight that meat does.
This makes a non-meat diet that is built around fermented yeasts, beans, soy, and whole grains a smart choice for people wanting to give their dog a diabetes-preventing diet.

How should I go about testing my dog’s blood sugar levels?

Regularly testing your dog’s blood sugar levels will let you know if he is developing diabetes. If he has the condition, it is essential to controlling the insulin dosage.
There are two ways to do this:
Test strips and  glucose meter
Urine glucose test strips
The glucose meter method tests a small amount of the dog’s blood with a test strip and meter. For this, you will need a glucose meter made specifically for dogs.
A human meter will not work because a dog’s blood is quite different from human blood. You will also have to draw a drop of blood from your dog. This is usually done by pricking the dog’s lip with a lancet. Your vet will show you how to do this.
A glucose strip is a lot easier for most people to use. However, it is also considerably less accurate.
When the glucose level in your dog’s bloodstream rises above 180 mg/dL, the dog will get rid of the excess glucose through its urine. Inexpensive urine test strips will allow you to monitor these levels.
You will have to collect a small amount of the dog’s urine. You then dip the test strip in the urine, wait a few moments, and then test the color of the strip on a color scale on the test strip bottle.


There are a number of things you can do to prevent your dog from getting diabetes.

As we’ve outlined, the combination of a healthy diet, exercise, monitoring, and getting your female dog spayed are the best things you can do to help keep canine diabetes at bay. 


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