My husband and I have been through a lot with Mylah since she was diagnosed with diabetes at 10 months old. Six years of caring for her and managing canine diabetes has had a lot of ups and downs. We’ve learned so much along the way. Here’s our top 18 tips and tricks for living with, caring for, and managing a diabetic dog.
1. Bell or Extra Tags on Collar: Keep tabs on your dog through the night or your house with a bell or multiple metal tags on his/her collar. After Mylah had her first seizure after being diagnosed, we wanted to make sure we could hear where she was or if she went into a seizure. She has three loud metal tags on her collar at all times that wake us up in the night or let us know where she is throughout the house. She also now gets called Miss Jingle Jangle 😉
2. Medical Dog Tag: Have a dog tag with specific information on your dog’s condition stating he/she is a diabetic and needs medical attention. This could be critical if your dog gets lost.
3. Eye Supplements: Consult with your vet first but it might be a good idea to give your diabetic dog additional supplements for eye health. Diabetes will take a toll on your dog’s eyes, and a supplement like Ocuglo can help maintain eyesight greatly.
4. Keep Life Familiar: Meaning, don’t move furniture around or introduce any major new potential stressors into your home. Keeping the furniture in place, maintaining familiar smells and sounds is important in the event your dog does go blind or loses part of his/her eyesight.
5. Home Glucose Monitoring: Test your dog’s blood sugar at home, perform a glucose curve and be prepared for emergencies with a glucose kit, here is the one I use. *
6. No/Low Carb Diet: Food for diabetic dogs is extremely important. Keep carbs very minimal and protein, veggies and omega 3’s high. We feed Mylah a homemade diet I will share on the blog soon.
7. Underlying Issues: Watch for other signs of autoimmune issues – fur loss, paw redness, muscle sensitivity, etc. Mylah has had all three of these at some point. She has an array of additional autoimmune issues that have either stemmed from her diabetes or because she is just a hot mess (a very cute one though!).
8. Insulin Times: Always give your dog insulin at the same time every day and night. Mylah is currently on Vetsulin, this is the third insulin she tried before it stuck and we were able to regulate her using Vetsulin. Always give insulin with a meal. It’s best to arrange insulin time at the same time as breakfast or dinner.
9. Teeth: Brush teeth regularly, dogs with diabetes can get bad teeth just like humans with diabetes.
10. Emergency Sugar: Keep Karo syrup easily accessible in your home in case of a blood sugar drop. If your dog is exhibiting signs of low blood sugar take Karo syrup and rub it all over their gums and get to the vet immediately.
11. Urinary Health: Diabetic dogs can easily develop urinary tract infections (UTI), especially if they are unregulated because they are always peeing out sugar and therefore bacteria and infection grow. Diabetics do tend to have to use the bathroom more than regular dogs but look for signs of a UTI based on color and smell of urine and if there is an increase in frequency.
12. Ketone Strips: Keep an eye on ketones with urine ketone strips. You can pick them up at your local pharmacy or amazon. If you suspect your dog has ketones (breath smells like fruit, not eating, lethargic, vomiting) you can test at home and immediately go to the vet with the result on the strip. *
13. Weather Changes: Weather changes can impact diabetic dogs just like humans. For instance, Mylah’s limbs get very cold in the winter. If she’s shivering in the cold for too long it can cause her muscles to ache and hurt badly. We always keep an eye on the temperature of her limbs and paws during the winter. She does much better in warmer weather but also gets hot easily so we make sure she doesn’t overheat either. You can keep a diary of notes on weather changes to help your dog feel better when the weather changes.
14. Diabetic Dog Treats: Make homemade, very low carb treats – store bought treats are not good for diabetics. Some easy ones are to freeze cooked ground meat into cubes or freeze all meat baby food for treats.
15. Diaper Hack: If your dog requires a diaper around the house we have an awesome hack for this! We purchase Huggies ‘Little Swimmer’s’ in
16. Support & Backups: Have a friend or family member who knows how to feed your diabetic dog, give insulin, and work a glucose monitor. Give them a copy of your house key. My brother and the dog’s godmother, Melissa, both have keys to the house and know the routine with Mylah in the event we are in a jam or there is an emergency.
17. Sick & Not Eating: There have been times when Mylah was sick and not eating, but obviously, a diabetic needs to eat. Sometimes it was ketones, other times it was her severe IBD. The solution? Homemade bone broth and all-meat baby food. Those are our two go-to’s when she is sick and doesn’t want to eat her regular food. Both have worked so well to get her through those rough patches.
18. Vet Care: I cannot speak highly enough about the vet team I have for Mylah. It wasn’t always like this for us though. We went through two different vets before landing on her current team. She sees an integrative holistic vet AND has an internal medicine specialist. Because of all of
For Mylah’s full story, click here.