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Like people, did you know dogs can develop diabetes too?

Until my father was diagnosed with diabetes many years, I did not know any of the signs. Almost exactly two years ago today, I saw a change in my dog's behavior that mirrored something my father did before his diagnosis. [Read: Cleo's Diabetes Diagnosis] My dog began drinking copious amounts of water. She also began to pee a lot. When this change in behavior went on for many days, we became worried and called our veterinarian. 

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

My husband managed to capture our dog's first pee of the morning inside a recycled clean jar. We took that straight into the vet for testing. On a side note, I have to thank San Francisco's recyling program. If not for our habit of recyling everything we can, getting this pee sample would have been a lot more complicated.

Did you know 1 in 100 dogs can develop diabetes? I had no idea how common it could be. The good thing is that once you get them checked, your dog can live a normal life. We have adjusted her food so it has less sugar and starches that turn into sugar. It took a month or so of practice but we got her insulin levels calibrated. We've learned to give her injections after each meal. I take her for shorter but more frequent walks to keep her weight down, and old joints limber. My dog did lose most of her vision over time but that is something no one is quite sure yet on the cause. The development of cataracts in diabetic dogs is common, but so is the development in older dogs. My dog is both. If she was younger we might consider surgery, but for us there were too many possible surgical complications. We've made the decision to change our family habits to accommodate her blindness instead. 

Knowledge is power. Being aware of your dogs habits and behavior is key to a happy and long healthy life.

"Diabetes is one of the most common endocrine diseases affecting middle-aged and senior dogs, with 70 percent of patients older than seven at the time of diagnosis. Diabetes rarely occurs in dogs younger than one year of age, and it is more common in females and neutered males than in intact males." 

Do your research, talk to your vet. According to the Whole Dog Journal, these breeds may be more likely to develop diabetes:

Keeshonds, Pulis, Cairn Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, Poodles, Samoyeds, Australian Terriers, Schnauzers, Spitz, Fox Terriers, Bichon Frise, and Siberian Huskies may be at higher risk. 

Our dog is a female Shepherd and Husky blend. Did you know urinary tract infections are more common in diabetic dogs? Learn more about diabetes and its relation to pet obesity

Diabetes in Dogs Quiz
November is National Pet Diabetes Month. Learn more here

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