Diabetes in Dogs

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?

1 in 300 adult dogs and 1 in 230 cats in the US have diabetes1,2

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.

Have Questions?

Frequently Asked Questions

Pet Diabetes Risk Quiz

Is Your Pet at Risk?

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



PetCare Alliance Partners

The American Animal Hospital Association is a proud supporter of Pet Diabetes Month.