Dogs with Diabetes: Symptoms to Watch Out For

By:  Nancy O, AAHA Certified Diabetes Educator, for Muffin’s Halo

How do you begin to suspect that your pup is Diabetic? There are a few symptoms of diabetes in dogs to look out for.

Symptoms Of Diabetes In Dogs

You will notice increased thirst and frequent urination first.  You may find puddles in the house which hasn’t happened since he/she was a puppy if it has ever happened.  While cleaning up these puddles, you may notice that the urine is thick and sticky.  That’s the glucose that their body is getting rid of.  

You may notice that even though your pup is ravenous and eating all of his/her food and looking for more, that he/she is losing weight.  This is another sign that your pup is likely diabetic.  Weight loss is very common when a pup’s BG (Blood Glucose) numbers are high.  Also when numbers are high, they can’t absorb their food properly so it’s as if they haven’t eaten at all.  

You may see that your pup is a bit lethargic or listless.  They just don’t seem to have the energy that they had just a short time ago.  It may be that the things that they couldn’t wait to do, like take a walk, don’t interest them as much or it’s like pulling teeth to get them to participate in anything other than eating and drinking water.  This can be attributed to the fact that his/her body isn’t absorbing the nutrients from their food.  

When To Get Your Dog Checked For Diabetes

If you see any of these symptoms, it is advisable to get them checked out and that you mention these symptoms specifically.  If a vet visit isn’t in your budget, one way that you can do a little detective work on your own is to go to the pharmacy and pick up some glucose urine dip sticks.  They are not expensive and will tell you immediately if your pup has high glucose levels.  If you collect a sample (I used a ladle that was used only for this purpose) and dip the stick and read it at exactly 30 seconds (or whatever the outside of the box says), and you see any change in color, your pup has high BG (Blood Glucose).  How do we know this?  Good question… When a pup had BG over 180, the kidneys will spill the excess into the urine.  Normal range for a non-diabetic dog is from 70-140 or so depending on what diagnostic equipment your vet uses.  So, you see, if you see any change in color on the dip stick, it is a clear indicator that your pup has BG (Blood Glucose) over 180 which is outside the normal range for a non-diabetic dog.  It’s time to go to the vet.

Leaving A Dog With Diabetes Untreated

If left untreated, and the glucose builds in the pup’s body, you are setting yourself up for an even rougher time as DKA can result.  DKA is Diabetic Ketoacidosis.  It is a serious condition and in extreme cases can be fatal.  So, if you are seeing any of the above mentioned signs, please get your pup to the vet ASAP!  Managing this disease is not so difficult and should be started as soon as possible.  In the long run, you will save yourself a bunch of money and save your pup a whole lot of discomfort! 

What is important to remember is that this is NOT a death sentence.  Dogs with diabetes can live a long and happy life.  With proper management, this disease just requires a few extra steps in your daily routine.  

There is a great helpful Canine Diabetes Support and Information Facebook Group that is important to join. You will have so much information and support to get you through this. ( there are lots and lots of pups that have been Diabetic and sighted for 10 years or more!  

 At Muffin’s Halo, your blind diabetic dog’s health is our number one goal.  Call us at (818) 943-9673 or email us at to learn more about how our blind dog halo harness can help your blind dog, navigate safely without bumping into things while increasing their confidence.    

It is the goal of Muffin’s Halo to ensure your dog gets everything he needs to stay healthy, strong, and happy. Learn about our patented, life-saving halos.