What Exercise Work Best for a Dog With Diabetes?

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

What type of exercise for a dog with diabetes is best? The type of exercise that you do with your Diabetic Dog will rely solely on what you did for exercise before diagnosis.  If you took daily walks before diagnosis, you will continue with those.  If you and your pup lived a basically sedentary lifestyle, you will want to work up to daily exercise.  Just like a human, starting any exercise routine should be done slowly and gradually building up over time.  You wouldn’t just get out of your recliner chair and go run the Boston Marathon, well, neither should your pup be expected to! LOL

Exercise for a Dog With Diabetes

My boys got 2 walks a day.  One in the morning a little while (1.5 hours) after our test, feed, inject “ritual” and another one in the afternoon depending on the weather.  When we lived in TX, I had to wait until the pavement cooled down for the second walk. Or we would just go out in the yard and run around a bit on the grass or take a little dip in the pool.  Exercise will affect BG (Blood Glucose) numbers, so making sure that your pup is in a safe range before any activity is important.  If your pup is running low one day, you would give a small biscuit about 30 minutes before your walk.  The only way to know that is to make sure that you have a meter and know how to use it!   

Please keep in mind that exercise is just one component in the Canine Diabetes equation.  There is no “magic pill” or activity that will “cure” your pup.  For dogs, once a diabetic, always a diabetic.  Dogs are type 1 Diabetics; their condition cannot be managed with diet and exercise. That is more common in cats as they are often Type 2 Diabetics.  Not so for our pups.  Please, please, please, treat this condition properly with insulin, proper food, and exercise.  There is no “quick fix” for this diagnosis.  I have seen only 2 pups whose condition was reversed and those were both females that reversed after a spay surgery.  Otherwise, just accept that this is your “new normal”.  

Most Common Exercises For Dogs With Diabetes

Back to exercise…. Walks are the most common exercise that we see.  Some pups hike with their owners.  Please note that those pups are tested periodically throughout the hike and treated as needed with PetTest SOS.  I always had a fanny pack with my meter, extra strips, and treats in it.  It was our “walk kit”.  I never went anywhere without it, even for short car rides as my Max loved a car ride and his excitement affected his BG numbers. 

The best thing to do is to be sure that you are aware of your pup’s patterns and that you know what affects his/her BG (Blood Glucose) numbers.  That way you will always be prepared for anything that may come up.   Always remember that being prepared will save you time, energy, and in the long run, money!  

I recommend that you join a group and get yourself some support.  I am an Administrator on the largest Canine Diabetes Facebook page with over 18,000 members and growing at the rate of about 100 new members a week!  The name of this group is Canine Diabetes Support and Information and you can find it here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/CanineDiabetesSupportandInformation 

At Muffin’s Halo, your dog’s health is our number one goal.  Call us at (818) 943-9673 or email us at Muffinshalo@gmail.com to learn more about how our blind dog halo can help your four-legged friend navigate safely.