Just like diabetes in humans, canine diabetes is a complex disease caused by the body being unable to use sugar from the breakdown of food properly. Although diabetes can’t be cured, the condition can be successfully managed with insulin injections and changes in diet and lifestyle. Successful diabetes management means your dog can lead a happy, healthy, active life. Your vet will explain how, and show you what you need to do to care for your diabetic pet.

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Canine diabetes is a complex disease caused by the body being unable to use sugar from the breakdown of food properly.

After a dog eats, the meal is broken down into various nutrients, including a sugar called glucose. Normally this is distributed round the body in a process controlled by the hormone insulin to give cells energy. But in diabetes (also called diabetes mellitus), the body either can’t produce insulin, or won’t let it work properly.

When this happens, glucose doesn’t reach the cells but builds up in the blood instead. The resulting high blood sugar levels (called hyperglycaemia) can lead to serious health problems if untreated.

After meals, dogs with untreated diabetes experience spikes in their blood sugar. This is due to a de¬ficiency in their insulin systems, which should ensure that blood sugar only rises and falls slightly between meals.

The exact cause is still unknown. However, long-term inflammation of the pancreas, genetics and some medicines can all make your dog more likely to develop diabetes.

Most cases occur in middle-aged dogs, and unspayed females are twice as likely to get diabetes as males. Any breed can be affected, but some have a higher risk. These include:

  • Beagles
  • Cairn Terriers
  • Chow Chows
  • Dachshunds
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Poodles
  • Samoyeds
  • Schnauzers
  • West Highland
  • White Terriers

If your dog has diabetes, lifelong treatment will be needed. But with help from your vet, diabetes needn’t shorten your dog’s lifespan or stop them from enjoying a happy, normal life.

The ¬ first things most dog owners notice are increased thirst and urination, together with weight loss. Dogs in the ¬ first stages of diabetes are often very hungry, but over time their appetite declines as they start to feel unwell.

Diabetes lowers dogs’ ability to ¬fight off infections, making them more likely to get infections of the urinary tract and skin. It also makes dogs prone to cataracts, which can lead to blindness if not treated promptly.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive hunger while losing weight
  • Lethargy (inactive / sleeps more)
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Thinning, dry and dull hair

If your dog shows signs of diabetes, your vet can conduct some simple tests to confirm the diagnosis. Usually you’ll be asked to fast your dog for a short while and then bring him in for a blood test. Together with a urine sample, this is generally all that is needed for an answer.

Generally, if your dog has diabetes, lifelong treatment will be needed. But with help from your vet, diabetes needn’t shorten your dog’s lifespan or stop them from enjoying a happy, normal life. Usually, there are three things you’ll need to do:

  • 1

    Give your dog regular insulin injections.

  • 2

    Adjust your dog’s diet.

  • 3

    Make sure your dog has a consistent routine.

1. Insulin Injections.

These are essential for controlling diabetes, and you’ll probably need to give your pet injections twice a day. This may seem a bit daunting, but the needle is tiny – smaller than most needles used for vaccinations – so injections are usually painless. Some dogs don’t even notice them.

2. Adjust Your Dog’s Diet.

Because diabetes is so closely related to diet, controlling what your pet eats is one of the best ways to control the condition. The idea is to give meals that don’t create big blood sugar spikes, but release energy slowly throughout the day.

3. Consistent Routine.

Consistency is the key to managing diabetes. It’s vital to give meals and insulin injections at the same times each day. And you should also try to keep to a regular everyday exercise routine.Doing this is the best way to make sure your dog’s signs of diabetes stay under control.

Your vet will help you work out the best routine for your pet. In addition, spaying is highly recommended if your female dog isn’t already neutered. This is because female hormones tend to raise blood sugar levels.


Dietary fibre helps slow carbohydrate absorption and so is very helpful for diabetic dogs. The latest research shows that white bean extract can control blood sugar levels after meals – often so well that, in human patients, it’s possible to reduce the insulin dose.

Diabetes also impairs the immune system, leaving dogs more prone to infections. So antioxidant supplements like vitamin E have huge bene¬fits in supporting diabetic dogs’ immune systems and neutralising damaging free radicals.

PURINA® PRO PLAN® VETERINARY DIETS Canine DM Diabetes Management has all of these features, making it an ideal diet to help support dogs with diabetes.


Glucose control

formulated to help control blood sugar levels for the nutritional management of diabetes mellitus

Low carbohydrate content

to help control blood sugar levels after eating

Amylase inhibitor

contains white bean extract to help reduce carbohydrate digestion and help reduce blood glucose fluctuation after a meal.


Purina has been at the forefront of pet nutrition for over 120 years. By working closely with scientists and studying the most up-to-date research, we’ve created PURINA® PRO PLAN® VETERINARY DIETS – a range of innovative and effective formulas designed to help you enhance the health and quality of life enjoyed by your pet.

With your vet’s care and advice and by feeding Canine DM Diabetes Management, you can be sure that you are giving your dog the best possible care and nutrition to help manage their diabetes.