Diabetes is not just a condition that occurs in humans – our pets are also at risk of developing this dangerous disease. Thankfully there are steps that you can take in order to keep your pets healthy and prevent diabetes from happening to your four-legged family members.
Understanding the Disease
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when your pet cannot process glucose (the main source of energy for the body’s cells) normally, causing blood sugar levels to become dangerously high. The levels of glucose in the blood are controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is made in the pancreas. If there is not enough insulin, glucose can accumulate in high levels in the bloodstream and overflow into your pet’s urine, drawing large volumes of water with it. This is why diabetic pets often drink much more water and urinate more frequently and in larger amounts than non-diabetic pets.
Diabetes Prevention for your Pets
There are several ways to keep your pets healthy and prevent diabetes. First and foremost is a healthy diet. A well-balanced, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can help your pets sustain a stable blood sugar level, preventing insulin resistance and diabetes. It is just as important to check the nutrition labels on their food as it is to be aware of yours. Be careful to not overfeed your pets and go easy on the treats, as weight control is an important part of disease management.
Second, it is important to keep your pets active, as exercise plays a major role in regulating blood sugar levels and reducing weight gain. Just like humans, our pets need enough exercise to work off the calories they consume. Aim to play with your pets or take them on at least one walk every day.
Third, you should spay your female pets. Intact females are more likely to develop diabetes because both birth and heat cycles can cause their progesterone levels to surge, thus increasing their risk of developing the disease.
Finally, it is always important to maintain regular checkups and blood tests with your veterinarian. Some diseases, including Cushing’s disease and pancreatitis can increase your pets chance of also developing diabetes. Please call Sierra Veterinary Hospital if you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior, appetite, thirst, or urination to ensure that it is not a sign of a bigger problem.
Although diabetes can be a dangerous and deadly disease, it can be preventable by maintaining a healthy lifestyle of a balanced diet and exercise, combined with regular checkups and blood tests. The doctors and staff at Sierra Veterinary Hospital are always here to answer any questions you may have about your pet’s health. Call us today to schedule your pet’s annual appointment!