Signs Your Dog With Diabetes Is Dying

Signs Your Dog With Diabetes Is Dying

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Diabetes is a serious and life-threatening disease in dogs, and like in humans, is caused by a breakdown in the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. While some dogs may be able to live with diabetes successfully for many years, some dogs will eventually succumb to the effects of their condition. Knowing the signs that your dog with diabetes is dying will allow you to be better prepared to provide them with the best possible care in their final days.

It’s important to note that the signs of a dog with diabetes dying can vary from pet to pet, but the factors to be watchful for are loss of appetite, increased lethargy, difficulty breathing, increased thirst, weight loss, and decreased energy.

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Witnessing your dog battle diabetes can be a difficult experience. While diabetes is a manageable condition, there are times when a dog may be nearing the end of its life. Here are some signs that your diabetic dog might be dying:

Decreased Quality of Life:

  • Loss of Interest: Once playful behavior replaced by lethargy and disinterest in favorite activities.
  • Relentless Decline: Struggling with basic tasks like eating, drinking, using the litter box, or moving around.
  • More Bad Days Than Good: Experiencing more pain, discomfort, or bad days than periods of good health.

Physical Signs:

  • Dramatic Increase in Thirst and Urination: Even with increased water intake, dehydration sets in.
  • Severe Weight Loss: Muscle wasting despite normal or even increased eating.
  • Repeated Infections: Especially bladder infections, indicating a weakened immune system.
  • Nausea, Vomiting, and Loss of Appetite: Signs of a worsening condition, possibly Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA).
  • Sudden Vision Loss or Cataracts: Rapid deterioration of eyesight.
  • Changes in Breathing: Rapid or labored breaths.
  • Sweet-Smelling Breath: A potential indicator of DKA.
  • Hypothermia: Feeling cold to the touch, a sign of the body shutting down.


  • These signs can also indicate other health problems. Consulting your veterinarian is crucial for diagnosis and proper care.
  • Euthanasia, when necessary, is an act of compassion to prevent further suffering.

What Is Canine Diabetes?

Canine diabetes is a health condition in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, regardless of the amount of blood sugar present. If left untreated diabetes can lead to serious problems, such as blindness, organ failure, infection, and damage to nerves. It is most commonly found in obese, sedentary, and older dogs.

Types of Diabetes in Dogs

  • Type 1 Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, which can result in high blood sugar.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: This type of diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, meaning that the body doesn’t respond normally to insulin produced by the pancreas.
  • Pancreatic Acinar Atrophy (PAA): This type of diabetes is caused by degenerative changes in the pancreas, resulting in the destruction of the pancreatic islet cells.
  • Stress-induced Hyperglycemia: This type of diabetes can occur with any prolonged, acute stress, like an infection or surgery.
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Old Dog Diabetes Symptoms

  • Increased drinking and urination: Increased thirst and urination are one of the most common signs of diabetes in older dogs.
  • Weight loss: Despite an increased appetite, an older diabetic dog may lose weight.
  • Lack of energy: If your older dog is feeling lethargic and sleepy all the time, this could be a symptom of diabetes.
  • Weakness or lameness: Trouble walking or limping are possible signs of diabetes, as well as muscle weakness.
  • Poor coat condition: Weak hair coat or excessive shedding are common in diabetic dogs.
  • Poor appetite: Despite increased hunger, some diabetic elderly dogs lose their appetite.

Dog Diabetes Symptoms Panting

Panting is one of the most common symptoms of dog diabetes. Panting is a sign that your dog’s body is not able to regulate its temperature properly. This is an indicator that the dog has higher blood sugar levels because the body is not able to produce enough insulin or use the insulin it produces efficiently.

Diabetic Dog Symptoms of Too Much Insulin

  • Excessive Thirst: Diabetes causes increased thirst, drinking more water, or not satisfying thirst after drinking water.
  • Increased Hunger: Diabetes causes increased hunger, eating more food, or still feeling hungry after eating.
  • Weight Loss: Diabetes causes unexplained weight loss.
  • Urinating: Diabetes causes needing to urinate more than usual.
  • Lethargy: Diabetic dogs can become very tired despite having enough rest.
  • Weakness: Diabetes can cause your dog’s muscles to weaken and tire more easily.
  • Vomiting: Diabetic dogs can vomit or have nausea due to a drop in their blood sugar.
  • Seizures: Seizures can be a result of too much insulin in the system and can cause a drastic drop in blood sugar.

What Causes Canine Diabetes?

Canine diabetes is caused by either an insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas or an inability of the body to properly respond to insulin, resulting in high levels of glucose in the blood. Although the exact cause of diabetes in dogs is often unknown; however, it is sometimes seen as the result of genetics, or due to complications from long-term steroid use. Obese dogs with a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop diabetes. Additionally, some breeds, such as rat terriers, beagles, miniature schnauzers, and Samoyeds, are genetically predisposed to diabetes.

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  1. Insulin Therapy: The most common form of treatment for diabetic dogs is insulin therapy. This involves delivering insulin injections twice a day. The amount of insulin required varies for each dog and must be determined by a veterinarian.
  2. Diet and Exercise: Diet and exercise are very important in managing diabetes in dogs. A high-fiber, low-fat diet is recommended for diabetic dogs, and regular exercise is essential to keep your dog’s blood sugar levels in check.
  3. Medication: In addition to insulin and diet and exercise, some diabetic dogs may require additional medications to control their diabetes. These medications may include oral antidiabetic drugs such as glipizide, which helps the pancreas to produce more insulin.
  4. Pancreatic Enzyme Supplements: Supplementation with pancreatic enzymes, such as porcine pancreatic enzyme substitutes (PEPs) may help to reduce insulin requirements in some dogs with diabetes.
  5. Corticosteroid Therapy: Corticosteroid drugs may be prescribed to reduce inflammation in the pancreas, allowing it to work more efficiently and secrete more insulin.
  6. Home Monitoring: Home monitoring of your dog’s blood sugar is important to help regulate their diabetes and make necessary adjustments to their treatment plan. Home blood glucose meters are available for purchase at most pet stores or online.
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How Can I Treat My Dogs Diabetes Naturally?

There are many ways to treat a dog’s diabetes naturally. Here are some examples:

  • Diet: A carefully controlled diet high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and with adequate levels of fiber, can help regulate a dog’s blood sugar levels.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help dogs manage their weight and their diabetes.
  • Supplements: Adding natural supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, chromium, or vitamins to a dog’s diet can help manage diabetes.
  • Herbal Remedies: Herbs such as guggul, alum root, fenugreek, and bitter melon can be added to the dog’s diet to support the balance of blood sugar.
  • Homeopathic Remedies: Homeopathic remedies such as Phos and Silicea can help manage diabetes.

Always consult your vet before trying any natural remedies. You should also get regular veterinarian check-ups and blood work to monitor your pet’s diabetes.

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  1. Make sure your dog gets regular exercise. Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight for your dog, reducing their risk for diabetes. Exercise also helps the body to better use insulin.
  2. Feed your dog a healthy diet. Talk to your veterinarian about which types of food are the best for your specific breed and lifestyle. Make sure it is a complete diet with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
  3. Monitor your dog’s weight. Dogs that are overweight are at a higher risk for diabetes. If your dog is overweight or obese, talk to your veterinarian about a feeding and exercise plan for them.
  4. Give your dog regular health exams and vaccinations. Regular checkups help to keep your pet healthy and catch any medical problems early.
  5. Talk to your veterinarian about any medications your dog may be taking and the possible risks or side effects associated with them.
  6. Have your dog tested for any genetic disorders or diseases that could increase his risk for diabetes.


Signs that your dog with diabetes is dying vary from dog to dog, but common signs include decreased energy, extreme thirst, and urination, weakness, loss of appetite or weight loss, depression, and labored breathing. If you suspect your dog is dying due to diabetes, it’s best to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help extend your dog’s life and improve quality of life.

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FAQs On Signs Your Dog With Diabetes Is Dying

1. Can dogs recover from diabetes?

Yes, dogs can recover from diabetes if they are treated in time. Treatment usually consists of regular insulin injections, a healthy diet, and regular exercise. This helps to regulate the blood glucose levels, enabling the return of adequate pancreatic function. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the affected pancreas or to improve blood flow to the organ.

2. How Does A Dog Act When They Have Diabetes?

Signs of diabetes in dogs can vary, and some dogs may not show any symptoms. Common signs of diabetes in dogs include increased thirst, increased urination, increased appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and cloudy eyes. In some cases, dogs may experience vomiting, difficulty breathing, and seizures.

3. When Should You Euthanize A Dog With Diabetes?

The decision to euthanize a dog with diabetes is usually made in consultation with a veterinarian. It often depends on the severity of the diabetes, the dog’s overall health, and the quality of life the dog is able to have. When the disease progresses to the point where the dog is suffering or unable to receive necessary care that will improve the quality of life, euthanasia may be recommended. Less severe cases of diabetes can often be well managed with diet, exercise, and insulin injections, allowing a good quality of life.

4. What is the lifespan of a dog with diabetes?

The lifespan of a dog with diabetes can vary greatly depending on the individual animal and how well the condition is managed. Generally, a dog with diabetes and good health management could live anywhere from 6-15 years. With regular veterinary care, testing, and insulin treatments, many diabetic dogs can live long, healthy lives.

5. Should I euthanize my dog with diabetes?

Euthanasia should be a last resort for pets with diabetes and is never an easy decision to make. It is important to consider the quality of life of the animal, the risks of treatment, and the financial resources available for proper care. It is recommended to arrive at the decision only after taking advice from a veterinarian experienced in treating diabetic pets.

6. Should a dog with diabetes be put down?

No, a dog with diabetes does not need to be put down. While it is a serious condition that requires a lot of care and management, many dogs with diabetes can live a full, happy life with proper management. Veterinary care, exercise, and a balanced diet can help keep your pet’s diabetes in check.

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