Diabetes Advice for Dogs and Cats

What is diabetes?

Diabetes in cats and dogs is similar to diabetes in humans. It occurs due to a lack of insulin, which controls blood sugar level. Insulin has an important role because it passes glucose to cells in the body in order to make energy for metabolism. Diabetes develops when the body stops producing the correct amount of insulin for this important process to happen.

Cats tend to reflect humans with Type 2 diabetes, and can be managed with diet. Dogs are more akin to humans with Type 1 diabetes and frequently require insulin therapy. The early signs of diabetes are:

  • Frequent urination

  • Increased thirst

  • Increased appetite

  • Weight loss

If your dog or cat displays any of the symptoms associated with diabetes, it is important to take them promptly to the vet for a health check.

Labrador waiting with his tongue out for his food

Why do dogs and cats develop diabetes?

The exact reasons why dogs and cats develop diabetes are still not fully understood, but the following conditions are thought to be risk factors:

Diabetes is typically seen in adult dogs over the age of 6. In addition to this, some breeds of dogs have a higher risk of developing diabetes. These include Golden Retrievers, Poodles, Schnauzers and German Shepherds. Being female and over weight increases the risk of developing diabetes still further.

How can OSCAR help?

Dogs and cats diagnosed with insulin resistance, or overt diabetes, require medical management from a vet. This often includes insulin therapy. Along side this, they need a low digestible carbohydrate, quality protein and increased fibre diet with moderate fat content. Oscar Adult Care Complete High Fibre Lite is recommended for dogs. Whilst Adult Cat Complete Rich in Salmon & Chicken is recommended for cats. When managing a diabetic animal, it is very important to keep the diet as consistent as possible every day, avoiding any abrupt changes, and maintaining a consistent level of exercise. Changes or fluctuations to diet or exercise can make it difficult to stabilise the patient.

Do you need further advice?

If you need any further advice, please contact the OSCAR Helpline Team on our freephone number 0800 195 8000 or email helpline@oscars.co.uk.