Canine Diabetes Treatment Options

When treating canine diabetes, a treatment plan of insulin, diet and exercise is vitally important to your dog's health. If any on of the three components are missing, your dog will not get the maximum benefit of his or her therapy.

The Optimal Type and Dose of Insulin Varies

Insulin must be given to your dog by injection because it is a protein and it would become ineffective if given in tablet form. Insulin is given in injections just beneath the skin. The injections are not painful for your dog, because the needles are so small. If you are calm about the whole procedure, your dog will probably hardly even notice and will very quickly become used to the routine.

There are three types of insulin that are used in the treatment of canine diabetes: lente, NPH and protamine zinc.

Protamine zinc has the longest duration of action while lente and NPH have a duration of action long enough to be used on a once or twice a day basis.

The type of insulin that a dog needs and the maintenance dose will depend on the dog's size and the stage of his disease. There is no set dosage for any dog. Some dogs will need two shots per day and others only one.

Stabilizing your dog on insulin will take anywhere from 1-2 months, and possibly up to six months. During this time your vet will monitor your dog and tailor the dosage for his individual body response to therapy.

Carefully Choose a Healthy Diet

Diet should be consistent on a day-to-day basis and you should feed your dog at the same times every day. It is best to use a commercially prepared diet, as many homemade foods and regular store foods can contain hidden sugars, unless your homemade recipes are carefully researched and approved by your vet. Never use supplements or home remedies on your dog without speaking with your vet, as these can change how insulin works in your dog's body. With careful treatment that is specifically tailored by your vet, the diabetes will have a minimal effect on your dog's quality of life.

Regular Exercise is Required for Optimal Health

Your dog should receive regular and consistent exercise on a daily basis. Exercise helps the dog's body to utilize insulin more effectively, helps your dog to loose excess weight and helps yout dog to burn excess sugar from the food that is eaten. Exercise is a vitally important part of the diabetes management plan, and to skip this step is giving your dog only a portion of the treatment that it needs.

Prepare for Emergencies and Prevent Multiple Injections

All members of the family should receive some training on diabetes and how to respond in an emergency, but the main day-to-day treatment and injections should be left to one individual so that multiple injections of insulin are not accidentally given to the dog. It is also important that meal times, exercise and insulin injections be carried out at the same time every day. Post a dog health sheet in a prominent place with vet's emergency phone number, steps to follow in case of too much insulin, precautions to be taken if the needle breaks and what to do in the case of a seizure.