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Diabetes Treatment for Dogs and Cats

If your dog or cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, they are going to need ongoing medical treatment and management for the disease. Although cats can go into remission following careful treatment, dogs are usually diabetic for the rest of their lives. But this doesn’t have to mean bad news for your pet. With a little care and a simple routine, they can live long and happy lives.

Understanding diabetes

To understand diabetes, you need to understand the role of glucose and insulin within the body. As food goes through the digestive system, the sugars are extracted and converted into glucose. This glucose is the body’s main source of fuel. Insulin, which is created in the pancreas, directs the glucose to the body’s cells where it can be used. When your pet becomes diabetic it either stops producing insulin, or the insulin stops doing its job. This allows the glucose to build to dangerous concentration in the bloodstream while preventing the cells from receiving the energy they need.


If your dog or cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, they will almost certainly be prescribed insulin. This replaces the insulin that is not being produced naturally in the body. Insulin cannot be given orally, and pet owners will need to learn how to correctly administer injections. Initially, there will be some adjustment to ensure the correct dosage has been prescribed, but once this is established, providing your pet with insulin should be a quick and easy part of their routine. Insulin will need to be given at the same time each day, as this ensures the most stable glucose level, and timed around meals to be as efficient as possible.

Lifestyle changes

Alongside insulin, introducing some changes to your pet’s lifestyle will give them the best chance of staying as healthy as possible. Perhaps the most important of these is ensuring their diet is a suitable one. A good diabetic diet will help manage their weight, but also avoid any unnecessary fluctuations in their blood sugar level. For dogs this usually means a diet low in fat, but high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. For cats, this will be one that’s low in fat, low in carbohydrates but high in quality protein. Your vet can help recommend the best diet for your pet’s specific needs.

Exercise can be another useful tool to help manage your pet’s diabetes. The increase in blood circulation not only reduces glucose levels in the bloodstream as they are exercising, but long-term, regular exercise can help your pet lose excess weight. As with medication, it is important that your pet’s diet and exercise are both moderated and very consistent.

Diabetes Treatment for Dogs and Cats

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