Just like diabetes is becoming more common in humans, this condition is also increasing in our pets. Fortunately, diabetes is manageable and can be kept under control with the right treatment and lifestyle adjustments. Let’s take a look and see how you can spot this condition early.
1. What is diabetes?
Diabetes develops when your animal’s pancreas may produce insufficient amounts of insulin OR their body may not allow them to use insulin properly. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose to enter the blood stream into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy.
There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 which occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce adequate levels of insulin and Type 2 diabetes which is a lack of normal response to insulin.
2. Is your pet at risk?
Female dogs are more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes than male dogs. Middle aged and older dogs (7 to 9 years old) are also susceptible to developing this condition. Certain breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors, miniature Schnauzers, poodles and dachshunds are at greater risk.
Cats of both sexes and ages are likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. However, older cats are particularly prone to Type 2 diabetes. It has been reported that a higher incidence of diabetes is prevalent in Burmese cats.
Overweight cats and dogs or those on a high fat diet are also more predisposed to diabetes. If your cat or dog developed inflammation of the pancreas and pancreatitis or an auto-immune disease, then it may also contribute to diabetes.
3. What symptoms to look out for?
It is very important to spot signs of diabetes early as this can decrease the risk of any complications that arise at a later stage.
• Excessive thirst and drinking more water
• Urinating more than usual (there may even be more accidents around the house than usual)
• Sudden weight loss despite an increased appetite
• Strange-smelling breath, usually a sweet or fruity odour
• Behavioural changes such as irritability, lethargy, sleeping a lot
• Blurry vision
• Urinary tract infections
• Thinning or dull hair
If you notice any of these signs, consult your vet immediately for a proper diagnosis. If your vet diagnoses diabetes then at least you will know what to do and how to care for your diabetic pet.
4. How to prevent diabetes and care for diabetic pets?
DIET IS VERY IMPORTANT in preventing and treating diabetes in dogs, cats and other pets! Feed your pet a healthy balanced diet consisting of all the essential nutrients – protein, fats and veggies. NO TABLE SCRAPS, FATTY TREATS OR TAKEAWAYS even if your pooch begs for table scraps! Treats should also be kept to a minimum. It’s always best to work in conjunction with your vet when it comes to choosing diabetic-friendly foods.
You may want to consider switching to a natural well-balanced dog or cat food like Grandma Lucy's Artisan Chicken, Doggobone Active Raw foods or Vondi’s Cooked Foods – both available for the Feelgood Health shop at Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake Business Park, Cape Town or call 021 7970193 if you need directions.
EXERCISE is another important factor in the control and prevention of diabetes in dogs and cats. Encourage your furry friend to get MOVING! Lack of physical activity is one of the main reasons that animals gain weight, so make sure your pet has at least 20 to 40 minutes of exercise several days during the week.
TREATMENT for dogs usually includes a daily dose of insulin depending whether he has been diagnosed with low or high levels of glucose. Monitoring your dog’s diet, insulin dose and glucose test results will help to maintain stable glucose levels. Studies show that in about 30 percent of cases where feline diabetes has been discovered early, it can be reversed with weight loss, a balanced diet and oral medications. Insulin therapy is only prescribed for cats in very serious cases.
5. Is there a natural solution to treat diabetes in pets?
While there are natural remedies to help in the treatment of diabetes in dogs and cats, it may not be possible to avoid the use of insulin in some pets with severe symptoms of diabetes. However, it is possible to keep diabetes in many pets under control without the use of insulin – simply by combining a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise with our natural remedies for diabetes in pets.
In the Feelgood Pets PetAlive range, Diabetonic Pets has been especially formulated as a natural treatment for dogs and cats with diabetes and contains a specially selected combination of biochemic tissue salts known for their ability to improve the production and bio-availability of insulin and to support healthy blood sugar levels.
What’s great about natural diabetes remedies for pets is that they are not only effective when used on their own, but can also be used as part of a total veterinarian treatment program! This may help to reduce the need for conventional insulin medication or even avoid it altogether.
By following the healthy lifestyle tips mentioned above, you can greatly reduce the chances of your pet developing diabetes! In addition, by following these steps, along with your vet’s advice and a natural approach to the treatment of diabetes in dogs and cats, you can ensure that your diabetic pet receives the best treatment for diabetes and has many years of health and happiness ahead!