How do I know if my dog has diabetes?

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Whilst diabetes is not as common in dogs as it is in humans, it’s estimated that around 1 in 200 dogs will develop diabetes as they get older. Diabetes does need to be confirmed by a vet, who will do definitive blood and urine tests to diagnose it but in most cases there are some warning signs to look out for:

  • Greater than normal hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination (some dogs start having accidents in the house)
  • Depression and lethargy
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Cataracts
  • Slow healing wounds


There are lots of reasons why diabetes can develop in dogs and many of these can’t be avoided. Genetics, certain breed types, pancreatitis, virus infections, Cushing’s disease and certain veterinary treatments for other conditions can all be a cause. However, excessively fatty diets and excess weight gain are indirect causes that can be prevented.

Picking up symptoms early is ideal as there can be complications with uncontrolled diabetes and your dog will recover quickly once his blood sugar levels are back in range. Regular health checks with your vet will also help to identify minor changes that might be leading to diabetes.

  1. We lost to diabetes a year ago. My 11-year old lab was the family’s treasure and it is painful to let him go. I hope dog owners would be more aware of the early symptoms of diabetes and how to deal with it.

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