Diabetes in Dogs: Signs & Insulin Treatment Costs

Three Minutes
Apr 21, 2022

There is a growing epidemic of diabetes in dogs and cats. The reasons are varied and include: pets being overweight, pets eating foods high in carbs and sugars and pets who aren’t getting enough exercise. If pet parents, and/or the dog or cat’s veterinarian recognize the early warning signs, the pet will have a better chance at a healthy, long life.

Dogs and cats can live with diabetes. It may require the pet parent to check the dog or cat’s blood sugar regularly. Dogs and cats with diabetes may also need insulin injections – this would be something the pet parent would need to commit to – just as a human with diabetes must.

Early Warning Signs of Diabetes in your Pet

  • Increased thirst. If you notice your dog drinking more than he normally does, track of the amount of water he’s drinking (write it down) then call your vet to see if it’s something to worry about.
  • Increased urination. We know – if your dog is drinking more, she will be urinating more, but let your vet know. In some cases, a dog or cat in the early stages of diabetes simply may not be able to “hold it” and may have accidents in the house.
  • Eating more than usual. If your dog has always been a slow eater or a picky eater and now he is suddenly acting like he hasn’t eaten a meal in weeks, this is a potential warning sign.
  • Unexplained weight loss. Pets with diabetes, even those who are eating more, may experience sudden weight loss because of an imbalance in his metabolism.
  • Weight gain. Your pet’s weight may be one of the underlying causes of his having diabetes. If your pet is gaining weight and you’re not increasing her food intake, make note of this.
  • Sleeping more often and showing signs of weakness. You know your dog or cat best. If you notice he seems fatigued, or too weak to jump up on the bed, go for a walk or climb the stairs, discuss it with your veterinarian.
  • Other physical ailments. If your dog has cloudy eyes or cataracts, this could be a symptom of diabetes. Hair loss is another, but hair loss could also have other underlying causes ranging from dietary to allergy reasons.
  • Vomiting or depression. Again, you are with your pet every day and would likely notice if she’s lethargic or not interested in going for walks or playing with toys – these could be signs of depression. Vomiting for no reason that you can determine or vomiting more often than usual could be cause for concern. Ketoacidosis is a symptom of diabetes in humans and pets and this could be the cause of the vomiting or depression. Ketoacidosis is caused by the breakdown of fat and proteins in the liver in response to the dog or cat’s insulin deficiency. Ketones can be toxic and can also lead to depression in your pet.

Your dog or cat can live with diabetes as long as it’s caught early (before too much damage occurs) and as long as you’re diligent in caring for your dog or cat who has been diagnosed. 

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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. 

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