A dog is a man’s best friend, don’t they all say? Why? Because in this selfish world, a dog is the only loyal companion that a man can have as an absolute partner that’ll never cheat on or reject.
We love our pooches unconditionally. From entertainment to absolute loyalty, our furry companions have always proved their friendship to us. They remain our side all life long. And as dog owners, our duty to them is to ensure their happiness and wellbeing. Protecting them from any kind of pain as far as possible.
Accepting that your dog has diabetes can be baffling for dog owners. Unfortunately, acceptance is the first step to let go, and you have to at some point. There will be a time when we can do almost nothing to save our pooch from getting hurt and miserable. Controlling the disease gets impossible and a failure each time we try. At this point, euthanasia is the best choice and should be considered for your furry companion. It is only for the best welfare of your dog.
Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs And its Effects
Diabetes comes under the metabolic diseases that affect the way your dog’s body uses and stores sugar (glucose). The most common form of diabetes in dogs is called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus IDDM), which means that your dog has to take insulin to control his blood glucose levels.
Glucose supplies energy to your furry friend’s body, which is vital. From metabolism to muscle contraction, your dog needs the energy to function properly. When the glucose cannot convert into energy, which happens when there’s not enough insulin, it remains in the blood.
When this occurs, it leaves your pooch in a state of “starvation.” Their body fails to use glucose, which results in a breakdown of fats for energy with some major effects.
Diabetes can leave your furry companion exhausted, and their health eventually worsens. Despite being a treatable condition, there will be a point where nothing can be done to control it, which is excruciating for your dog.
Symptoms of Your Pooch Have Diabetes
Look out for the below symptoms if you think your dog might have diabetes :
- Chronic and recurring infections
- Weight loss
- Cloudy eyes (cataracts)
- Decreased appetite initially followed an increased appetite in later stages
- Excessive thirst and urination
Diabetes can show similar symptoms to many other diseases, so a diagnosis cannot be made alone. Analyzing your dog’s blood glucose and urine will be done by your vet to diagnose diabetes. Diabetes is a progressive state, always changing. This is why it is crucial to monitor your furry companion’s health. It is possible that the insulin doses may change over time.
Life With a Diabetic Dog
A diabetic dog’s life requires few adjustments as its condition keeps worsening. And dogs require us to take care of their day-to-day conditions.
First, your dog needs to be supplied and administered a twice-daily dose of insulin as its body fails to produce it. Your veterinarian should demonstrate the right technique for doing this before your dog begins its diabetic treatment.
Exercising regularly is very crucial for keeping your furry companion active and in proper shape. Because working out will help lower blood sugar to use up energy. However, be cautious not to exaggerate as too little glucose in the blood might lead to difficulties of its own.
Diet has a consequential role in your dog’s condition. There are diabetes-specific foods available for your furry companion that are high in fiber and low in fat. Foods high in fiber take longer to digest and slow the absorption of carbohydrates. A diabetic dog may experience hazardous blood sugar swings.
Make sure to visit your vet to manage your dog’s health. Routine blood checkup is necessary to ensure diabetes is under control.
Treating a diabetic dog is not cheap, but also there are no shortcuts. It may happen that you’re not able to afford the cost of their treatment, which may leave your dog’s diabetes unchecked. Therefore, you must make a deliberate decision to euthanize sooner.
To understand how they might be suffering. Here is an example of a dog named Lucy
Two years ago, a dog named Lucy, who was once a happy furry companion, was diagnosed with diabetes 2 years ago. Her condition was in control with the help of insulin injections. But, the disease started to progress with time as she aged which made the doses of insulin less and less efficient.
The miserable pooch started to develop urinary tract infections as her blood sugar started to get out of control because of glucose passing in her urine.
Increasing the doses was the first thing by her vet, and the type of insulin was changed. Despite doing everything, all attempts at helping her failed. She wasn’t the same Lucy as she was before, happy and bouncy.
After a long, painful decision, it came to euthanize Lucy as she was miserable. Keeping her alive would be a very selfish thing to do while every day she is in pain. Lucy was not enjoying her life anymore.
Indeed, that was a decision not for everyone to make. But a decision that was best for Lucy, no longer hurting and miserable than once she used to be.
We’ll be assessing symptoms of the final stages of diabetes in your furry companion and when to put your dog down safely.
Life Expectancy of a Dog with Diabetes
Dogs with diabetes have a lifespan expectation of 3 years. Even so, some dogs may be able to live longer than the average lifespan. When your dog gets closer to the later stages of the disease, it can start to dramatically worsen.
When to Put a Diabetic Dog Down: Euthanizing Your Pooch
Putting your dog down is very challenging and disheartening. If your dog is exhausted from all the options and shows evident signs of not responding to their insulin, consider euthanasia. Your dog has no quality of life and we must not grieve them, not at this stage of life.
The following are the signs that your dog might show when it is near or in the final stages of diabetes and it is time to euthanize.
- Your dog has become weak.
- Your vet says that injections have a more negligible effect.
Answering these essential questions below can assess the quality of life, understand their current state and may provide relief to your dog:
- Does my dog feel pain?
- Can my dog eat without help?
- Is he able to move around? Poop or pee on his own?
- Does he appreciate toys, food, cuddles, or treats?
- Is he frightened or lost most of the time?
- Is he taking comfort from being around you, or is he not?
- Is he partaking in life?
If you have nodded your head to all these questions that can save you from and your dog both some duration of pain, then you’re on the way to make the right decision.
A depressed dog with continuous weight loss and vomit is no longer living life. Entering ketoacidosis is the last thing that you wouldn’t want for your furry companion, as it’ll result in a traumatic experience for everyone.
Talk to your vet and decide the right time to euthanize your pooch. If it’s no longer possible to manage the condition and your dog is showing symptoms, then it’s probably the right time.
The Final Stages of Dog Diabetes
Although diabetes can be controlled to a certain extent, your dog’s insulin injections will probably start to have an impact at some point. Your dog has a lower quality of life because of increased urine output, weight-loss, thirst and vomiting.
Ketoacidosis is a state where your dog may enter its final stage of diabetes. It is life-threatening, and chances are your dog may not survive.
Your dog could have skin infections or urinary tract infections. Less energy means that your animal friend won’t be able to fully appreciate each day.
It is difficult to predict how long your dog may have to live when their diabetes appears uncontrollable, but it is most likely a matter of days to weeks at most. Visit your veterinarian to see if there is anything you can do. Without insulin, diabetic dogs can swiftly deteriorate to the point where their lives are in danger.
If emergency treatment is unsuccessful, your dog will need to be put to sleep. It is best to discuss this to your vet before your dog reaches this stage.
Undoubtedly, it is a most difficult arrangement that needs to be taken thoroughly and a difficult one. Deciding when to end your furry friend’s life is just terrifying and disheartening, but it might be the right choice for your dog. And often, dog owners feel as if they made the correct decision.
Regardless of how you feel, you must always do what is in the best interest of your pooch. Separating your emotions is going to be extremely painful, but for your dog’s well-being, free them from their hurting.
Meet Madison Phillips, your compassionate guide to pet well-being. With experience from VCA Animal Hospitals and Laxton Vet Clinics Bellaire Inc. Madison honed her skills and embraced the balance of medical expertise and compassion, through her articles, she simplifies pet care, whether you’re a newbie or an experienced pet parent.