What is diabetes in dogs?


Diabetes is a long-term disease in which blood sugar (glucose) isn’t handled properly. When your dog eats, their digestive system breaks the food down into simple components that can be easily used by the body. One of these simple components is glucose, a sugar that provides energy.

Just like in humans, healthy dogs have something produced by their pancreas called insulin, which carries glucose around the body to where it’s needed and keeps the levels of blood glucose in check. Diabetes comes in two types: type 1 (the most common in dogs) where the dog can’t make insulin and type 2, where although some insulin is produced, it’s not enough or the body doesn’t respond properly to it. Either way, a diabetic dog can’t deliver the glucose in their blood to the cells that need it for energy. The net result is uncontrolled levels of glucose in their blood and this brings a number of side effects with it.

Firstly, glucose is basically the number one energy source for every cell and because the glucose can’t be delivered to the cells where it’s needed, the body is starved of fuel. Secondly, the high levels of glucose in the blood start to cause damage to important organs. Sadly, there’s not yet a cure for diabetes but the good news is that with careful management, a diabetic dog can live a long and happy life. We’ll take you through the signs of diabetes and give you tips on how you can support this condition through diet.