Normal Blood Glucose Levels in Dogs

Normal blood glucose levels in dogs are actually somewhat similar to those in humans. Knowing a dog's blood glucose levels becomes important when an owner suspects or is treating a dog for diabetes.

Blood Glucose in Dogs

Healthy dogs have normal blood glucose levels, which tend to range from 75 to 120 milligrams per deciliter of blood. Dogs that have levels of 80 milligrams per deciliter or lower are likely to develop hypoglycemia. When reaching a level of 60 milligrams per deciliter or lower, a dog may go into shock, coma or even be at risk for death.

On the other end of the spectrum, dogs that have blood sugar levels of 180 milligrams per deciliter on a consistent basis tend to need diabetic treatment as well. Maintaining normal blood glucose levels in dogs with either high or low blood sugar can be difficult, but is essential for extending the life of the pet.

Suspecting Low or High Blood Sugar

Most owners will first identify symptoms of low or high blood sugar in their dogs before they're able to actually test the dog's blood. A dog may be experiencing higher or lower blood sugar than normal if he exhibits the following:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of energy
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Significant weight loss

Some dogs are born with type 1 diabetes and may exhibit these symptoms as puppies. Other dogs develop type 2 diabetes at a later age. Senior dogs, overweight dogs and dogs that don't get adequate levels of exercise are at greatest risk of developing diabetes. Feeding a dog a poor diet can also increase his chances of developing the condition.

Treating Diabetes in Dogs

Once a vet has tested the dog's blood sugar levels and has determined that they fall outside of the range of normal blood glucose levels in dogs, the vet will most likely prescribe a combination of oral medication, insulin and regular blood sugar testing. The owner can also help manage the condition by adjusting the dog's diet and making sure that he gets adequate exercise.

Testing Blood Glucose in Dogs

It is actually difficult to reach normal blood glucose levels in dogs that consistently have blood sugar levels higher than 180 milligrams. Even with medication, insulin, changes in diet and an increase in exercise, owners may only be able to reach blood sugar levels of 200 milligrams per deciliter or lower. (Remember also that blood sugar may rise temporarily immediately after eating.)

Owners should test the blood sugar levels in their dogs as instructed by a vet. If the dog struggles to maintain a low blood sugar level, this may be every one to two hours. As long as blood sugar remains below 200 milligrams, the owner may be doing all she can to keep the condition under control. If necessary, the owner can adjust the amount of insulin as directed by a vet if the blood sugar levels reach the higher end of the scale.