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Many dogs and cats are diagnosed with diabetes during their lifetime. Caring for a diabetic pet takes a big commitment of both finances and time. Here are some tips for living with and caring for your diabetic animal.
Diabetes is a fairly common health condition in pets, especially with older animals. Just like diabetes in humans, pet diabetes occurs when the body can’t use glucose properly; unlike humans, however, diabetes in pets is harder to categorize as Type I or Type II. Most diabetic animals are over six years of age and often are obese as well.
Do you think your pet may have diabetes? If so, click here to read a more comprehensive guide on recognizing the signs of diabetes in your dog or cat. If you already own a pet with diabetes, keep reading for some tips on how to give them the best possible care.
Taking care of an animal with diabetes requires some work, but it’s worth it to give your pet a happy and healthy life.
Watch Their Diet
Following the correct kind of diet is very important for diabetic animals. Dogs and cats are generally recommended to adhere to a high-protein, low-carb diet, while extra fiber might also be helpful to dogs. In addition to eating the right kind of food, your pet needs to eat at the correct time, following a consistent feeding schedule since insulin injections are timed according to meals. It’s also important to make sure each meal contains the same amount of calories so the insulin will work as expected.
Exercise is important for diabetic pets because it increases blood flow, which helps to absorb insulin, and also helps avoid hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). Your vet can give you further instructions about the best type of fitness program for your particular pet, whether that’s a daily walk around the block for your dog or a nightly laser light session with your cat. Don’t change your diabetic pet’s amount of exercise without first talking to your vet.
After your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, your vet will show you how to give insulin injections at home. Generally, diabetic dogs and cats need two shots a day, and the process of administering the shots is typically quick and painless for all parties. You can store the insulin in your refrigerator. It is extremely important to be committed to your pet’s treatment and to never miss an insulin injection, or your pet might get dangerously sick.
Your vet will regularly check your pet’s glucose levels, but you might also need to perform basic monitoring at home. Glucose readings are non-invasive and fairly simple. Your vet will show you how to perform the readings.
Finally, keep an eye on your pet for any abnormal behavior. If they appear to have an insulin overdose or underdose (symptoms include loss of appetite, seizures, and weakness), take them to the vet immediately. And since diabetic animals are at risk to develop other conditions, too (such as high blood pressure or cataracts), talk to your vet immediately about anything abnormal that you notice. Looking to provide your pets with the protection they deserve? Consider investing in a pet insurance policy.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.