What is it?

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus is a condition that affects the concentration of glucose, or sugar, in your dog’s blood. Diabetes occurs when your dog’s body makes too little insulin, stops producing it completely, or doesn’t utilize insulin properly.

When your dog eats, carbohydrates are converted into several types of simple sugars, including glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood, where it travels to cells throughout the body. Inside cells, insulin helps turn glucose into fuel. If there’s too little insulin available, glucose can’t enter cells and can build up to a high concentration in the bloodstream. As a result, a dog with diabetes may want to eat constantly, but will appear malnourished because its cells can’t absorb glucose.

Is diabetes in my dog the same as diabetes in people?

The two conditions are very similar. In fact, your veterinarian will be using medication, equipment, and monitoring systems that are similar to those used for people with diabetes.

How common is diabetes in dogs and cats?

Diabetes usually affects less than 1% of dogs and cats.3

Can diabetes lead to other health problems?

Yes. Dogs and cats with diabetes can develop other health problems.

For dogs, a common complication of diabetes is cataract formation. Persistently high blood glucose levels can make the lens of the eye opaque, causing blindness. In addition, dogs with diabetes have a general increased susceptibility to infections, most commonly of the urinary tract.4

Controlling high blood sugar levels may lead to a healthier life for your dog. That is why an early diagnosis of diabetes is important.


Asked Questions


Is Your Pet
at Risk?

Does your pet have signs of diabetes? Take the quiz and work with your vet for any next steps.

Talk to Your Vet Today

Find a veterinarian to learn more about pet diabetes, and how dogs can lead a happy, normal life with proper management.

Veterinarian with family and dog


3. Panciera DL, Thomas CB, Eicker SW, Atkins CE. Epizootiologic patterns of diabetes mellitus in cats: 333 cases (1980–1986). J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1990;197(11):1504–1508. 4. Retrospective Evaluation of Urinary Tract Infection in 42 Dogs with Hyperadrenocorticism or Diabetes Mellitus or Both, S. Dru Forrester, Gregory C. Troy, M. Nell Dalton, Jennifer W. Huffman, and Golde Holtzman, J Vet Intern Med, 1999;13:557–560


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