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8 Signs Your Dog May Have Diabetes

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Regardless of what kind of dog you have or how old they are, canines can develop diabetes mellitus. This is a condition that affects the level of sugar or glucose in your dog’s blood. Diabetes can occur when your canine’s body makes too little insulin or stops producing it altogether. To help your dog live a long, healthy life, detecting diabetes early is essential. Thankfully, there are warning signs to look out for which may indicate your dog has diabetes. If you’re not sure what to look out for, read below.

Symptoms of Dog Diabetes

Regardless of what kind of dog you have or how old they are, canines can develop diabetes mellitus. This is a condition that affects the level of sugar or glucose in your dog’s blood. Here are 8 warning signs your dog may have diabetes.

Peeing More Often

If you begin to notice puddles on the floor or your pooch is nudging you to get outside to pee more often, this is a major sign your dog may have diabetes. Vets state that increased urination (polyuria) is one of the leading reasons dog owners bring their furry friend in for evaluation.

Polyuria is caused by blood sugar escaping from the bloodstream into the urine. Your dog’s kidneys may not be able to filter glucose fast enough to keep it in the blood, which can then seep into the urine. When this happens, water comes with it too, which causes your dog to urinate more often. Don’t delay in seeking medical advice if your dog is peeing more frequently.

Drinking More Water

The primary purpose of water for dogs is to carry vital nutrients into and out of the cells of their body. Drinking water not only absorbs nutrients but aids in digestion too. Water regulates their body temperature, boosts cognitive function, and lubricates their joints. With all this in mind, you may not be too concerned if your dog is drinking a lot of fluids. However, too much water could be a sign of diabetes.

Similar to increased urination, if your dog has high blood sugar, this causes their kidneys to work overtime to eradicate excess glucose, which results in your dog drinking more water than normal. If you have concerns, it’s time to see your vet and get your pooch checked over.


While you may not be too worried if your dog vomits occasionally, if it has become the norm, now is the time to make an appointment with your vet. When it comes to diabetes, pancreatitis and excess blood glucose levels can cause vomiting in dogs.

Vomiting can be a sign of your dog having low blood sugar, which is an emergency. Should you leave this untreated, it can be fatal. Other symptoms alongside vomiting include twitchiness, becoming wobbly, and being vacant. If your dog is vomiting continuously, don’t hesitate in going to the vet.

Eating Poop

If there is one thing we wish our dogs wouldn’t do, it’s eating poop! While it’s seen as normal behavior for 25% of dogs, there could be a sinister reason behind it too. If you’re wondering why do dogs eat poop, it may be because of diabetes. This condition can cause a lack of glucose which may cause your dog’s appetite to accelerate. This can lead to excessive food intake (polyphagia). If your dog is unable to access enough grub to satisfy their hunger, they may begin eating poop to fill the hole in their stomach.

Native Pet has a guide on why dogs eat poop, as well as how to stop it. While diabetes could be the root cause, their article states that other conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, and hyperthyroidism could be the culprit.

Sudden Weight Loss

If your dog has always been a healthy weight, you should be able to notice any sudden weight loss. Even if your dog is eating as normal, many conditions can result in weight loss. These include cancer, liver disease, gastrointestinal disease, and kidney disease. However, when that weight loss is linked with a normal appetite, this could be a sign of diabetes.

This is because when insulin doesn’t work to get glucose into their brain and heart, their body begins to break down fat and muscle to use those proteins and fat instead, which leads to weight loss. It can be upsetting to see your dog lose weight rapidly, so never delay in seeking advice from your vet.  Your vet will perform an array of tests and examinations to find out the reason behind your dog’s sudden weight loss. Also, they will be able to establish or rule out diabetes.

Lethargy or Weakness

If your dog is normally very interactive with you and the family, you will know something is up if they are starting to lounge around and lose interest in activities. One way to really find out is by checking if your pooch is up for a walk. If they barely move off the couch when you shout ‘walkies!’, their lack of energy could be down to diabetes.

When sugar becomes trapped in their bloodstream and cannot enter the tissue, your dog’s body is deprived of the glucose needed for energy, which can cause them to become lethargic and tired. If you have any major worries about their energy and enthusiasm, take your dog to your vet immediately.

Cloudy Eyes

80% of dogs who have diabetes will eventually get some form of cataracts. In fact, cataracts are one of the leading long-term complications of diabetes in dogs. Cataracts can cause vision problems, so if you find your dog is struggling to navigate around, this is a cause for concern that shouldn’t be ignored.

Sadly, dogs with diabetes are at a higher risk of blindness. This is because cataracts completely stop light from reaching the retina, which results in vision loss. Only your vet will be able to determine whether your dog has cataracts and if it’s caused by diabetes. Even though blind dogs do well because of their excellent sense of smell, you will of course want to do everything possible to prevent cataracts from progressing into blindness.

Lackluster Skin and Coat

In general, your dog’s coat should be healthy and shiny. If you notice their skin and coat appear lackluster, it’s time to seek medical attention. An unhealthy coat could be because of diabetes. This happens because your dog’s body isn’t getting the right nutrients due to insulin not working. Your dog may become chronically dehydrated because of the increased water loss in their urine, which affects their haircoat too. Over time, their fur will lose its luster and start thinning. You will find your dog may develop dandruff and suffer from scaly, dry skin.

Thankfully, these conditions can get better with insulin therapy. If you groom your dog, you should notice any warning signs regarding their skin and coat. While other causes could be behind a dull coat such as micronutrient deficiencies and a diet lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, there is still a risk of diabetes. Therefore, don’t hesitate in scheduling an appointment with your vet for advice and support.

You’re bound to be concerned if you recognise any of the signs above in your dog. However, the good news is if your vet does diagnose your dog with diabetes, it is a manageable disease. Once you know the signs to look out for, your vet will give you expert advice and guidance on how to keep your dog’s health in check and how to manage their diabetes.

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