How to Give Your Diabetic Dog Insulin Shots

By:  Nancy O. AAHA Certified Diabetes Instructor for Muffins Halo

Let me start by strongly encouraging you to home test your Diabetic pup.  It’s important to know that his/her BG (Blood Glucose) is in a safe range to inject his/her full dose of insulin.  If you have concerns about home testing, please join a support group.  My group of choice is Canine Diabetes Support and Information on Facebook.  There are over 19,500 members that have learned how to test their pups to be sure that they are safe at all times.  The members there have all been where you are at one point or another and would love to help you!  Here is the link for the group.

The first thing to consider when injecting your Diabetic Dog is to be sure that you’re using the correct syringe for the insulin that you are using.  If you are using Novolin N (or any other human insulin like Humulin for example), you need a U-100 syringe.  If you are using Vetsulin/Caninsulin, you will need a U-40 syringe.  Make sure that you buy syringes with half unit markings as this will make small increases much easier.   

On my first vial of insulin, several days into the vial, I was finding that I was fighting with the syringe and being able to pull the plunger back to draw up the proper dose.  If I wasn’t holding it firmly, the plunger would keep going back to the needle end of the syringe emptying the barrel of insulin.  Why?  Because I hadn’t been shown how to correctly draw an insulin dose and had created a vacuum in the insulin vial as a result.  No one had showed me to inject the amount of air into the vial that I was going to draw out!  For example, if the dose that I needed was 5 units, I should have injected 5 units of air into the vial first.  

Before you get your insulin out of the fridge or off the counter, check your syringe to make sure that the first unit mark is all the way at the end of the barrel.  In a box of 100 syringes, you can have 10-20 that the markings aren’t precise.  This can easily happen during mass production.  So just be sure that your syringes are properly marked.  Moving on….

Now that you’ve drawn your proper dose into the syringe and returned your insulin to the fridge or counter top (wherever you keep it), you’ll want to warm the syringe because cold insulin stings!  Many people put the syringe (cap on) sideways in their mouth like a pencil to warm it.  Some put it under their arm for a short time (maybe while the pup is eating is a good amount of time).  Keep in mind that if your pup doesn’t like their shots, the fact that the insulin is cold may be a factor.  

Now it’s time to inject.  You want to make sure that the insulin in the syringe hasn’t separated.  If it has, simply roll it between your palms until it is remixed.  I always gave a small treat (a cube of chicken breast) before and after each test and injection so this is when you give the “before” treat.  

To inject, you will lift your injection site up to form a tent, don’t pinch it hard, just lightly grab your spot and gently lift the section of skin up.  It will form a tent. Now you will insert your needle into the tent at a 45 degree downward angle and push the plunger of the syringe to the end of the barrel.  If you give a small dose (less than 10 units), do this quickly.  

ALL DONE!!!! That wasn’t so hard now was it?  Now you give the second treat and add lots of praise to it.  Remember not to massage the injection site as this may interfere with absorption. 

At Muffin’s Halo, your dog’s health is our number one goal.  Call us at (818) 943-9673 or email us at to learn more about what our patented products can do for your four-legged friend.