Diabetes can affect muscle tissues, eyes and kidneys if it is not treated on a continuous basis. Diabetic dogs, however, can remain healthy and lead a normal and long life if the right combination of diet, exercise and treatment is implemented throughout its lifetime.
Dogs are usually afflicted with the type 2 version of Diabetes Mellitus, which is quite similar to humans in terms of symptoms and treatment. In this case too, the dog feels very thirsty and also urinates a lot. It also starts losing weight and might even develop a cataract in one or both eyes. Blood and urine tests will be required to confirm if the dog is afflicted with diabetes. The vet will then suggest the appropriate diet that the dog needs to follow. The diet will need to be low in carbohydrates and sodium and rich in fiber. The fat and protein levels in the diet will also need to be monitored. Calculations will need to be done before each meal so that the dog’s glucose levels do not jump out of the prescribed levels.
The dog will also need one or two daily injections of insulin. The glucose levels too will need to be monitored regularly since high or low sugar levels could prove to be dangerous for the dog’s health. The dog can be given home-made foods such as chicken, broccoli, wild rice, peas and most other vegetables that are low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber. The growing number of diabetic dogs has also inspired many companies to come up with food products that have been specially formulated for diabetic dogs and other canin. These food products are available in moist, semi-moist and dry form and even in the form of delicious cookies that can be fed safely to diabetic dogs. Companies like Royal Canin have done a lot of research into the dietary requirements of diabetic dogs and have come up with a wide array of food products that can offer a treat for such dogs. Readymade food products are quite cost effective and can save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on preparation.
Dogs that are diabetics also need to follow a strict exercise regimen since a faster metabolism will help its body process insulin in an efficient manner. This will reduce the load on its liver and pancreas and keep the dog alert and happy. A good diet and adequate exercise will work wonders in bringing down blood glucose levels and the insulin shots can then be adjusted accordingly. Although, when feeding readymade food products, it is important to read the labels that mention the carbohydrate, sodium, fat and protein levels. Some products might also contain sugar or other harmful additives and these should be avoided.
Since dogs cannot speak and explain how they feel, it is imperative that an eye is kept on them at all times. Their diet and exercise routines should be maintained on a consistent basis and their behavior should be monitored to check if they are feeling peppy and active or feeling tired and dejected. Their insulin shots too should be recorded on a chart so that other family members do not end up giving additional shots to the dog. Diabetic dogs need additional love and care along with a modified diet, exercise and regular insulin shots. With the right combination, diabetic dogs can live a long, peaceful and happy life.
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