If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, it can be a bit of a shock.
Many dog owners may not even be aware that diabetes can affect dogs.
After diagnosis, there can be a lot of questions and a lot of learning that you need to do to help your dog manage their condition.
However, dogs with diabetes can live long, fulfilling lives, even if they do require daily care.
With that being said, paying for insulin, special food, and other treatments can be costly, and many pet owners may wonder if pet insurance will cover it.
If your dog has been diagnosed as diabetic, here is what you need to know.
Yes, pet insurance covered diabetes, but keep reading to learn more. Or, click here for our recommended pet care plan.
What is Canine Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that causes high blood sugar (glucose), due to the body either not producing enough insulin or not responding correctly to insulin.
When a healthy dog eats a meal, the pancreas produces the necessary amounts of insulin to help regulate the glucose levels in the blood so that it doesn’t get too high.
This insulin helps move the glucose from the blood and into cells where it can be stored or used for energy.
However, in a diabetic dog, glucose isn’t moved to these cells, which can deprive them of energy and prevent them from being able to work correctly.
Although female dogs over the age of six are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, there are a few breeds that are more likely to develop diabetes.
- Labrador Retrievers
- Miniature Schnauzers
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Bichon Frizes
All of these breeds, or dogs, are mixed with these breeds — such as a Shih Tzu Bichon mix — can be at a higher risk of developing diabetes at some point in their lives.
The Symptoms of Canine Diabetes
It’s important as a dog owner to be able to recognize the symptoms of diabetes so that you know when to take your dog to the vet for treatment before blood glucose levels get too high.
If left untreated, your dog can develop a serious complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when the body produces high levels of blood acids known as ketones.
This condition can be life-threatening and your dog will require immediate treatment if it occurs.
Some of the most common signs that diabetes may be developing include:
- Increased thirst, constant drinking
- Increased urination
- Decreased or increased appetite
- Weight loss
- Cloudy eyes
Many dogs who develop diabetes also end up losing their eyesight, so any decrease in vision, coupled with cloudy eyes and other symptoms above, should be taken very seriously.
Untreated or poorly regulated diabetes can lead to other complications such as hind leg weakness, high blood pressure, and urinary tract infections.
If left untreated for too long, conditions such as ketoacidosis, as mentioned above, and hypoglycemia can also occur.
Treatment Options and Diet
The good news is that diabetes in dogs is manageable and it can be treated long-term so that your dog can continue living a healthy, happy life.
Typically, at-home care consists of insulin injections, symptom monitoring, and a diet recommended by your vet.
While prescription foods do exist, there are also homemade dog food options for diabetic dogs that you can make yourself.
For instance, one homemade diabetic option includes:
- Sweet potatoes
- Drained, low-fat turkey
These ingredients can be mixed together and made in bulk and frozen so that you always have a diabetic-safe meal on hand for your dog.
Dehydrated beef liver is also a diabetic-safe treat that you can make at home in the place of high-grain store-bought dog treats.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Diabetes?
Now onto one of the most important questions, will pet insurance help pay for all of this? Thankfully, yes!
Pet insurance will cover a lot of the diagnostics and treatment so long as it isn’t a pre-existing condition.
This makes having pet insurance before a diagnosis even more important.
If symptoms were present before coverage began, treatment will not be covered, so make sure to take out a policy as soon as possible, even if you think your dog is healthy!
A pet insurance policy can cover a lot of the costs associated with diabetes, including examinations, urine testing, blood work, and treatment.
This can take a lot of the financial burden off of your shoulders so that you can focus on taking care of your dogs.
Treatment without Insurance
If your dog has symptoms or has been diagnosed and you don’t have pet insurance, the above can be disheartening, but don’t panic.
Managing your dog’s diabetes doesn’t have to break your bank.
Making your own food at home — after having it cleared by your vet — can help reduce the cost that can come with prescription dog food.
You can also get insulin and syringes from pharmacies such as Wal-Mart for as little as $25. Though it may cost you up to $80 for dog insulin.
This can help alleviate some of the financial burdens, even if you don’t have pet insurance to back you up.
If extra treatment is needed, always work with your vet to set up a payment plan so that you can make payments without having to sacrifice care.
Can Diabetic Dogs Use Human Insulin?
You might be wondering if you can give your dog human insulin to treat canine diabetes.
While pet insulin is designed for pets, there have been cases where dogs do just fine with human insulin.
So, while it’s not ideal to give your dog human insulin, you can do so.
Diabetes isn’t a death sentence, and many diabetic dogs go on to live long, happy lives with the right management.
Even if your dog has no current symptoms, make sure to take out a pet insurance policy so that you can be prepared in case it does develop in the future.
Especially if your dog is at a higher risk.
If your dog does have symptoms and you don’t have a policy, it’s okay.
Treatment and management are possible, even if you aren’t covered by insurance.
Work with your vet to find affordable alternatives so that your dog can enjoy their life without financial struggles on your part.
Diabetes is serious, but it doesn’t have to be scary.
If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet to ensure that you understand the condition and that your dog gets the care they need as soon as possible.