Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms in Dogs

It is important to recognize type 2 diabetes symptoms that a dog may display, because early diagnosis and treatment will help prevent future complications for the dog. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the two types of diabetes mellitus that can occur in humans and dogs.

Definition of Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic endocrine disorder, characterized by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Unlike type 1 diabetes in which the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, type 2 diabetes may occur when the dog's body does not respond properly to insulin. Type 2 diabetes may be referred to as insulin-resistant diabetes. There may be inadequate insulin secreted from the pancreas to meet the needs of the dog's metabolism. The purpose of insulin is to enable glucose to properly get into the cells, where it can be utilized to effectively produce energy in the dog's body. It can also be stored for future use as glycogen.

Incidence of Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes is more common among female dogs. Obese dogs may have an increased risk for developing the disease. Any breed of dog may develop diabetes; however, miniature poodles, schnauzers, cairn terriers, dachshunds and golden retrievers are more often affected by it.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes may develop gradually, and type 2 diabetes symptoms may not be easily recognized at first. A dog with one or more symptoms listed below should have a veterinary consultation.

Increased Thirst

Glucose will accumulate in the dog's bloodstream without adequate insulin. Type 2 diabetes may also cause excess glucose in the urine, which produces increased urination. The dog will usually show signs of increased thirst by drinking lots of water.

Increased Appetite

The dog may initially have an increased appetite or sudden weight gain, because he is more hungry due to the fact that his body is unable to properly utilize glucose for his normal metabolism. If the disease progresses without the proper treatment, the dog may experience weight loss.


The dog may have a low energy level as compared to his usual routine behavior. The reason for the dog's lethargy is because the glucose is not passing into the cells for necessary energy production.

Recurring Infections

It is not uncommon for dogs with type 2 diabetes to have recurring infections. These dogs may become more susceptible to bacterial infections. They may develop chronic infections of the skin or urinary tract.

Dogs with diabetes may also have enlarged livers. It is known that dogs with diabetes have a tendency to develop cataracts, which can cause vision problems. In general, the veterinarian may perform a physical exam and history, along with a fasting glucose and urine test to diagnose type 2 diabetes for your dog.

A very serious condition is diabetic ketoacidosis that can be a life-threatening emergency. Ketones, which are waste byproducts from metabolizing fat for energy, may build up in the dog's bloodstream. Diabetic ketoacidosis may cause the following symptoms: weakness, vomiting, rapid breathing, depression, dehydration and an odor of acetone on the dog's breath. A dog with these symptoms needs to be seen immediately by a veterinarian.