Monitoring Your Dog’s Diabetes


8 Nov, 2021

6 minutes

Dog’s Diabetes

If you’re concerned your precious pooch might have diabetes, or wondering how to monitor your dog’s progress, you are not alone. Diabetes affects an estimated 1 in 300 dogs, but because this disease is believed to be underdiagnosed, this number is most likely higher. While diabetes is most common in middle-aged and older dogs (4-14 years of age), it can be diagnosed in dogs of any age. The cause of canine diabetes is largely unknown, but experts believe genetics play a role.

Diabetes occurs when your dog’s body makes too little or no insulin and this leads to higher than normal amounts of glucose, or sugar, in your dog’s blood. The build-up of glucose in the blood spills over into the urine, which draw out large volumes of water, resulting in increased amounts of urine, increased frequency of urination, and increased thirst.  There is not enough energy in the body’s cells for them to function normally and they begin to use protein and fat as alternative sources of energy leading to weight loss, sometimes with increased appetite.

Diabetes in dogs

How Do I Monitor My Dog’s Signs?

There are several signs of diabetes that your veterinarian may ask you to monitor and record in order to understand how your dog is doing. A dog that is doing well should have few or no signs of diabetes (normal thirst, urination, and appetite and a stable body weight) and should eat and drink similar amounts as a non-diabetic dog of the same breed, age and weight.

Monitoring your dog’s progress is important for managing diabetes and it can be done in several ways, and often with the help of some nifty devices that can keep you connected to your dog!

Monitor Activity

Regular exercise is an important part of managing diabetes. This means that it is helpful to know what your canine friend is doing throughout the day and how much energy he or she is expending.

Using an activity and behaviour tracker can help you stay informed and monitor progress through connected pet technology.

A connected pet door works with your dog’s RFID collar and allows you to monitor how often your pooch goes outside and for how long.

Eating Habits

Using a connected feeder will help you stay informed about when and how much your dog is eating throughout the day. A SureFeed™ product keeps track of eating habits and any changes, monitors portion size, and because they can recognize your dog’s unique microchip or RFID collar tag ID, will only permit the registered pet access to the feeder. This is especially helpful in multi-pet homes to prevent sharing or stealing food.

Diabetes medicine for dogs

Measure Water Intake (and Output)

This is a simple and easy way to assess how blood glucose changes. Diabetic dogs drink more water when their blood glucose is higher than normal. Decreases in blood glucose during insulin treatment will be mirrored by decreases in water intake. Patterns of water intake do not detect blood glucose values that are too low. However, this occurs when the insulin dose is too high for your dog’s needs it is usually followed by high glucose levels, which will lead to your dog drinking more. A decrease in urination reflects a decrease in blood glucose levels but will also not detect blood glucose values that are too low.

You can measure how much water your dog drinks by adding a known amount of water using a measuring jug when you top up your dog’s water bowl. There are also connected devices that will measure your dog’s water intake.

You can also assess how much your dog is urinating by counting the number of times your dog needs to go out to urinate or whether your dog wakes you up at night because he or she needs to go out. This is called “nocturia.”

Signs of Happiness

Other signs that signal how happy your dog is are also important in monitoring the health and wellbeing of your diabetic dog. These indicators include weight, body condition score, coat condition and overall attitude.

Urine Glucose and Ketones

Your veterinarian may also ask you to measure levels of glucose and ketones in your dog’s urine. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with urine dipsticks and instructions for how to do this correctly. Ketones are produced when the body burns fat instead of glucose for energy.

Measuring Glucose

Once your dog is on insulin, your veterinarian may recommend measuring glucose. This is particularly useful if your dog does not appear to be responding to the insulin treatment well or appears to relapse after a period of doing well.  Glucose can be measured in blood using a handheld glucometer, which needs a small drop of blood (usually taken from the ear) several times a day and this can be done by your veterinarian or may be done by you at home. Your veterinarian might recommend a continuous glucose monitor which is implanted under the skin and takes measurements of glucose in interstitial fluid for up to 14 days.

Monitor Dog's diabetes

Mobile Apps

Connected devices such as activity and behaviour monitors, feeders and pet doors have handy apps that enable you to track your dog’ progress on your mobile device.

Using an app-based tracker, such as the Pet Diabetes Tracker Mobile App, enables you to track and manage your dog’s diabetes. Within the app, you can do things such as:

  • Establish a monitoring routine that works with your schedule.
  • Keep records of everything, from food and water consumption, to blood glucose levels.
  • Record blood glucose measurements and share them with your veterinarian.
  • Create alerts to remind you about routine monitoring, insulin injections, veterinary appointments and medication purchases.

Visit to download the app for your phone

Changes in Your Dog

If signs of diabetes seem to be worsening or are not improving, or if your dog experiences a recurrence of signs of diabetes or you notice any marked changes in your dog’s thirst, urination, weight, body condition, activity, attitude or behaviour, it is important that you consult with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will advise you if your dog needs further tests or treatment.



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