More than 29 million people have diabetes according to the Center for Disease Control, but diabetes is one of the leading health concerns for cats and dogs. A change in behavior could be one of the first signs.
“A lot of people don’t know that pets get diabetes,” said Dr. Kathryn Sarpong, a veterinarian at Metro Paws Animal Hospital in Dallas, Texas. “It is similar to humans. It’s a disease of blood sugar regulation. Basically, those pets don’t have good blood sugar levels so they need insulin and diet to help them regulate their blood sugar.”
Some breeds are more at risk for diabetes like pugs, miniature poodles and beagles, but Sarpong said most of the time diabetes comes from a bad diet and lack of exercise.
“Some of the subtle signs that owners can notice if they know what to look for are drinking more, you’re filling that water bowl more,” Sarpong said. “That’s a sign that something is going on with your pet. It may be diabetes, it may be something else, but that’s a big deal. They’re suddenly going to the bathroom in the middle of the middle of the living room floor and they’ve not been doing that.”
Sarpong said pets will also eat more but won’t gain weight. If you do notice these symptoms, you should take your pet to the veterinarian for a blood sample. To treat diabetes, the veterinarian can teach you how to give insulin to your pet.
Preventing diabetes is the best way to avoid the disease according to Sarpong. She said feeding your pets controlled portions of their own food, and not letting them lick your plate can help prevent diabetes.