Monday, November 25, 2013

November is National Pet Diabetes Month

You may have friends with diabetes, from severe cases requiring insulin shots to borderline cases needing a better diet. If your dog has some unusual behaviors, however, they may need to be evaluated by a veterinarian. Diabetes is possible in dogs. Although it cannot be cured, you can treat the disease just like a human's case. November is recognized as National Pet Diabetes Month and Pet Health Market is committed to raising awareness of this serious and often preventable disease.

What Is It?

When your dog eats, the food is broken down and digested by the stomach and associated acids. Glucose, or sugar, is one of the broken down components that the body needs for cell energy and nutrition. This specialized sugar moves from the digestive system into the blood. For a healthy dog, glucose and insulin work together to move the sugar into individual cells. Diabetic dogs have little or no insulin excreted from the pancreas, forcing the glucose to remain in the bloodstream. As a result, cells do not gain the sugars they need and fail to operate correctly.

What To Look For

Determining if your dog is diabetic requires some observation on your part. Watch your dog's habits for several days and note their behavior. You are looking for frequent urination, especially if there are accidents in the home. Most trained dogs alert you to their needs before an accident occurs, unless you have an untrained puppy. Your dog may drink a lot of water and eat much more food, but their weight slowly declines. Because the body cannot absorb sugars, your dog lacks energy and sleeps a lot more than normal. Fur appears thin and eyes start to cloud over. Any of these signs, especially in combination, should prompt you to seek veterinary care.

Contributing Factors

Poor diet and obesity are key factors in diabetes development. Older dogs of certain breeds, including terriers and Doberman Pinschers, are particularly vulnerable to diabetes. A pet family history of diabetes also increases the likelihood of the disease. Even unspayed female dogs can contract diabetes.

What To Do

Take your dog to the veterinarian to verify the disease. Follow the professional's advice about daily care. Your dog may need insulin shots using syringes, such as those found at our pet insulin care page. Usually required once a day, shots provide the necessary insulin to the bloodstream to move glucose successfully into cells. Once your dog is used to the daily process, insulin shots are fast and effective to improve your pet's health.

Diet

Your dog needs plenty of exercise and approved dog food for a healthy mind and body. Do not feed your dog table scraps. For treats, use approved dog treats fortified with vitamins and minerals. Your veterinarian may suggest weight control tablets. Hide these tablets in food to get your dog to eat them. They are typically flavored, however, so some dogs may eat them outright.

Act Now

If you do not take your dog in to the veterinarian to be diagnosed or for regular visits, their quality and quantity of life drops significantly. Treating the diabetes helps your pet retain a healthy lifestyle and a normal lifespan. The initial diagnosis only requires a few answers from you about daily habits and a urine test. A blood test often determines the diabetes if glucose is too high in the urine.

Take your dog to the veterinarian today to verify any diabetic issues. Your pet would thank you if he could.

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