How to Tell if Your Dog Has Diabetes

Diabetes in dogs

Diabetes is a disease that not only affects humans, but can also affect animals. Diabetes in dogs is actually much more common than people realize. The problem is that people just don’t see the signs until it is too late, and by then there are other complications to go along with it. If more people would increase their awareness to the diabetes symptoms in dogs, the rate of survival would be a lot better. It is key for you to understand these symptoms and be able to recognize them so that your dog can get the best possible treatment.

Top 10 Diabetes Symptoms in Dogs

If your dog has diabetes, chances are they will start to exhibit signs of the condition. It isn’t likely that it will progress without any warning signs. It just requires you to remain vigilant and keep an eye on your pup. This is something that you should be doing anyway, so that you can catch any sort of health issue before it gets worse. Here are a few of the top signs that you will want to look for:

#1 – Fatigue

Diabetes is often a cause of fatigue in dogs. They may seem a bit lethargic, or sometimes they may just be less active than normal, or even just sleep more. If you notice changes in their activity level, something may be wrong. It may be time to take a trip to the veterinarian.

#2 – Thirst

Excessive thirst is a common early warning sign of diabetes in dogs. It is also known as polydipsia, and causes your pet to drink more water. If they are spending more time at the water bowl than usual, you may need to have some blood work done to make sure that they don’t have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

#3 – Frequent Urination

If your dog is urinating more often than usual, or having accidents inside the house, they may have polyuria. This is another warning sign of diabetes that shows up early on. It goes hand in hand with the increased thirst. There are, however, other health conditions that can lead to this as well, so it is important to have it checked out by a professional.

#4 – Increased Appetite

If your dog has suddenly started acting like they are always hungry, even if they are eating a normal amount of food, it may be a sign of diabetes. This is especially true if they continue eating more food without gaining any weight, or even while losing weight. Try to monitor their food intake, and if it gets out of hand talk to their veterinarian.

#5 – Sudden Weight Loss

Pets that have diabetes will usually be really hungry, but they will often times lose weight quickly as well. This is usually due in part to an increased metabolic rate that goes along with diabetes in dogs. Keep an eye on their weight, and if you notice drastic changes, something could be wrong.

#6 – Obesity

Obesity is not usually a direct ‘symptom’ of diabetes in dogs, so to speak, but rather a risk factor. If your dog is overweight, then they have an increased risk of developing diabetes. You need to keep a close eye to ensure that other symptoms don’t develop.

#7 – Thin Coat

If your pet’s coat starts to become thin, dry or dull, illness is usually the culprit. Diabetes is a common illness that leads to a thinning coat of fur. It is always best to talk to your vet about the various causes of this issue, because it isn’t always diabetes. There are a lot of diseases and health complications that can cause hair loss, so you should not self diagnose.

#8 – Cataracts

Cataracts are typically defined as cloudy eyes, and can be a common complication of progressed diabetes. If you don’t get a good check on it quickly, it can even lead to blindness. At the first sign of eye complications, it is time to call the doc. Let them do a thorough exam and start a plan for treatment. Some eye complications can be reversed, but others are permanent, so don’t let it go too long.

#9 – Depression

Often times, in later stages of diabetes, ketoacidosis takes place. This increases the amount of ketones in the body, which can be toxic. It can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues in your pet. If your dog is depressed, they will likely not be very active, and that can be counterproductive when it comes to helping to deal with the high blood glucose levels. If you notice depression, it is a good idea to spend more time with them, praising them and giving them attention. This will boost their mood and lift their spirits, but you still need to get the underlying condition taken care of.

#10 – Vomiting

Another symptom is vomiting. Vomiting is another effect that comes along with ketoacidosis. If the diabetes continues to worsen, they will likely vomit. If you notice vomiting, along with any of these other symptoms, then it may be diabetes. You can’t know for sure without having tests run.


Diabetes in dogs is not something that you should take lightly. If your dog has been diagnosed, it is important to talk to your veterinarian about the best possible course of treatment. Some pets may need to take insulin to help them regulate their blood glucose levels, while others may be able to use diet and exercise to keep their glucose in check. By talking to your dog’s vet, you will be able to determine what is going to provide the best possible results.

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One Response

  1. Yikes, this is scary. My dog has been vomiting a lot lately and she’s been acting weird, like she’s depressed or something. Thank you for sharing this info, I’m going to bring her to the vet today and see what is wrong. I really hope it’s not diabetes.

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