Managing Diabetes in Pets

For those of us who are pet owners, caring for them and ensuring that they stay healthy is so very important to us. Over the years, our pets become like family which is why it is so devastating when our pets become sick; especially with a chronic illness such as diabetes. While diabetes is a serious disease, both for pets and people, fortunately it is a manageable one.


In today’s blog, we’d like to dive into some tried and true methods that will help you manage diabetes if your pet is diagnosed with this disease. Should your pet receive a diabetes diagnosis, your vet will likely recommend Insulin injections as the first step to managing the disease and helping your pet to feel better.

“In pets with clinical signs of disease, insulin injections are the mainstay of treatment for both dogs and cats. In cats, glargine and PZI are the insulins most commonly used. In dogs, Lente, NPH, and Vetsulin insulins are the first line insulins used in treatment. Each has its pros and cons in terms of how long it lasts in the bloodstream, how easy it is for owners to obtain, and reasonable cost. For those reasons, the most current American Animal Hospital Association Diabetes Management Guidelines suggest multiple options so that veterinarians and owners can select the best insulin for the pet as a team.”

                                                                                                                           Source: PetMD

When beginning treatment, most pets will need two shots of Insulin per day at their mealtimes. Two shots are typically recommended due to the tiny needle size that is used for pet injections. While this may seem difficult at first, most owners find their pets adjust quickly and really don’t mind the injection.

Determining the correct dose of insulin is usually the more challenging part of managing the disease for our pets. Just like people, blood glucose can be affected by many factors such as stress, physical exertion and illness on a daily basis. Humans are required to monitor glucose very closely but it’s a bit more challenging in pets. Your vet may choose to monitor your pet’s glucose in one of two ways:

  1. Monitor glucose over the course of the day.
  2. Monitor fructosamine which offers a “big-picture” view of their glucose over the course of a week.


How does diet change for pets with diabetes? For both dogs and cats, it’s important to get them to a healthier weight if they are obese. For dogs, it is very important to be consistent with feeding times throughout the day and be sure not to offer too many treats during the day; treats should be offered at specific times well away from their normal feeding times.  Set feeding times seem to be less critical for cats. However, increasing their dietary fiber has proven to be a helpful tool in managing glucose levels for both dogs and cats.

Managing your pet’s diabetes certainly requires a change in the daily routine of caring for them, but it doesn’t have to be overly difficult. Understand that it will take some time to get them regulated, but once you do, you can manage, with your vet’s help, to continue to care for and give your pet a happy and healthy life.


If you need to board your pet with diabetes, you will want to plan ahead. At Hillrose Pet Resort, we are not able to board pets who are taking insulin shots. Some kennels provide specialty services for pets needing specialized treatments such as insulin shots. You may also feel boarding with your veterinarian or family/friend might be a better solution to care for your pet while you are away.

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