Final Stages of Dog Diabetes

The final stages of dog diabetes can present with a variety of symptoms that can be severe and life-threatening. Some of the most common symptoms include:

Final stages of dog diabetes
  • Severe Dehydration: As the disease progresses, dogs may experience excessive thirst and urination, leading to dehydration. This can cause lethargy, weakness, and in severe cases, collapse.
  • Ketoacidosis: This is a metabolic complication of diabetes that can occur in the final stages. It is characterized by high levels of ketones in the blood, leading to metabolic acidosis. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.
  • Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State: This is another metabolic complication that can occur in the final stages of diabetes. It is characterized by extreme hyperglycemia, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. Symptoms include confusion, lethargy, and seizures.
  • Uremia: In advanced stages, diabetes can lead to kidney failure, resulting in the build-up of waste products such as urea in the blood. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, coma.
  • Coma: In the final stages of diabetes, dogs may slip into a coma as a result of severe dehydration, ketoacidosis, or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state.
  • Cardiac and Nephropathy: Diabetes can cause damage to the cardiovascular and renal systems, leading to heart and kidney failure. This can happen in the final stages of diabetes and can be fatal if left untreated.
  • Neurological Complications: Diabetes can cause damage to the nervous system, leading to a variety of symptoms such as poor coordination, seizures, and blindness. These symptoms may occur in the final stages of diabetes and can be fatal if left untreated.
  • Tissue Necrosis: High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the blood vessels, leading to poor circulation and tissue necrosis. This can occur in the final stages of diabetes, leading to amputation of limbs, and in severe cases, death.

It is imperative for pet owners to monitor their diabetic dog’s condition closely and seek veterinary attention if any of these symptoms appear, as prompt treatment can greatly improve the chances of survival.

How do I know if my dog is dying from diabetes?

Here are some signs that may indicate that a dog with diabetes is nearing the end of its life:

  • Prolonged and severe depression: A dog that is lethargic, unresponsive, and has a lack of appetite may be nearing the end of its life.
  • Difficulty breathing: As diabetes progresses, it can lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs, making it difficult for the dog to breathe.
  • Persistent vomiting: Vomiting that is not responsive to treatment may be a sign that the diabetes is causing organ failure.
  • Seizures: Prolonged or frequent seizures can indicate that the diabetes is affecting the dog’s brain function.
  • Jaundice: Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes can be a sign of liver failure, which can occur as a complication of diabetes.
  • Excessive urination and thirst: As diabetes progresses, the body may not be able to regulate blood sugar levels properly, leading to increased urination and thirst.
  • Sudden blindness: Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to blindness.

Coping with the final stages of dog diabetes

Close monitoring of blood glucose levels: Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels is crucial in managing the final stages of diabetes in dogs. This allows for adjustments in insulin dosage and helps prevent complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis.

Consistent insulin therapy: Insulin therapy should be administered at consistent times and in the correct dosage to maintain glucose levels within a safe range. It is important to work with a veterinarian to determine the optimal insulin regimen for your dog.

Proper diet and weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight and feeding a diet low in simple carbohydrates can help manage diabetes in dogs. It is important to work with a veterinarian or a nutritionist to develop a diet plan that meets your dog’s specific needs.

Regular veterinary check-ups: Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are crucial in managing the final stages of diabetes. These visits allow for monitoring of glucose levels, adjustment of insulin dosage and early detection of any complications.

Symptom management: As the disease progresses, it may become increasingly difficult for dogs to regulate their glucose levels. As a result, symptoms such as frequent urination, increased thirst and weight loss may become more pronounced. It is important to provide supportive care and manage these symptoms to maintain the dog’s quality of life.

Consideration of end-of-life care: The final stages of diabetes can be challenging for dogs and their owners. It is important to have open and honest conversations with your veterinarian about end-of-life care options, such as hospice care or euthanasia, in order to ensure that your dog is comfortable and not suffering.

Emotional support: Caring for a dog with diabetes can be emotionally taxing, and it is important to take care of yourself as well as your furry companion. Consider reaching out to support groups or talking to a counselor to help cope with the emotional aspects of caring for a dog with diabetes.

How long can a dog live with diabetes?

The lifespan of a dog with diabetes depends on various factors such as the severity of the disease, the age at which the diabetes is diagnosed, and how well the condition is managed. In general, dogs with diabetes have a shorter lifespan than healthy dogs.

According to a study published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice, the median survival time for dogs with diabetes was found to be 1.8 years. However, this time can vary greatly depending on individual cases. In some cases, dogs with diabetes can live for several years with proper management and care.

Factors that can affect a dog’s lifespan with diabetes include:

  • Age at diagnosis: Dogs that are diagnosed with diabetes at a younger age tend to have a better prognosis than those diagnosed later in life.
  • The severity of diabetes: Dogs with more severe diabetes tend to have a shorter lifespan than those with milder cases.
  • Control of blood glucose: Dogs whose diabetes is well-controlled with insulin therapy tend to have a better prognosis than those whose diabetes is poorly controlled.
  • Other health conditions: Dogs with other underlying health conditions, such as kidney disease, tend to have a shorter lifespan with diabetes.

How long can a diabetic dog go without insulin?

A diabetic dog’s ability to go without insulin depends on the severity of their diabetes and their overall health. In general, a dog with well-controlled diabetes may be able to go a short period of time without insulin, while a dog with poorly controlled diabetes will require more frequent doses.

A dog who has been on insulin for a longer period of time will be more dependent on it and may develop hypoglycemia if insulin is not administered on time.

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care found that dogs with severe, uncontrolled diabetes may develop ketoacidosis within 24-48 hours of missing an insulin injection.

In another study, it was found that diabetic dogs with good glucose control can go without insulin for a period of 12-24 hours without experiencing significant changes in blood glucose levels.

It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate schedule and dosage of insulin for an individual dog and to have a plan in place for missed doses or emergencies.

Even if a diabetic dog is able to go without insulin for a short period of time, it is important to administer insulin as soon as possible to prevent the development of long-term complications.

Are diabetic dogs suffering?

One of the most significant issues for diabetic dogs is the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include lethargy, confusion, seizures, and even coma. These episodes can be life-threatening, and require immediate treatment to raise the blood sugar level.

Another issue for diabetic dogs is the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when the body is unable to use glucose for energy, and instead starts breaking down fat. This can lead to a build-up of ketones in the blood, which can cause vomiting, dehydration, and in severe cases, coma or death.

Diabetes also increases the risk of secondary complications such as cataracts, retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy. These conditions can cause a significant amount of suffering, and can even lead to blindness or kidney failure.

Managing diabetes in dogs requires constant monitoring of blood glucose levels, adjusting insulin doses accordingly, and providing a consistent diet and exercise regimen. This can be a significant burden for pet owners, and can also cause stress and anxiety for the dog.

Overall, diabetes can cause a significant amount of suffering for dogs, and requires constant management and monitoring to prevent complications and maintain quality of life.

Do all diabetic dogs go blind?

Not all diabetic dogs go blind, but it is a common complication of uncontrolled diabetes in dogs. Diabetes causes high levels of glucose in the blood, which can damage blood vessels in the eyes and lead to vision loss. This is known as diabetic retinopathy.

To prevent diabetic retinopathy and other complications, it is important to properly manage your dog’s diabetes with a combination of insulin therapy, diet, and regular vet visits. This includes monitoring your dog’s blood sugar levels regularly, administering insulin as prescribed by your vet, and feeding a balanced diet that is low in sugar and high in protein.

It is also important to have regular eye exams for your diabetic dog. Your vet may recommend special eye drops or medications to help prevent or slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

If caught early, diabetic retinopathy can be treated and vision loss can be prevented. However, once vision is lost, it cannot be regained. This is why it is crucial to catch and treat diabetes early and to properly manage it to prevent complications.

How do you comfort a dog with diabetes?

Keep a consistent routine: Diabetic dogs need consistent meal times and insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar levels. Stick to a strict feeding and medication schedule to help your dog feel more comfortable and secure.

Provide plenty of love and attention: Diabetic dogs often feel anxious and stressed due to their condition. Offer lots of cuddles, belly rubs, and praise to help your dog feel comforted and loved.

Keep your dog active: Exercise can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve your dog’s overall health. Take your dog for regular walks, runs, or play sessions to help them feel energized and happy.

Keep an eye on your dog’s diet: Diabetic dogs need to follow a specific diet to help regulate their blood sugar levels. Make sure you are feeding your dog high-quality, low-carbohydrate food and avoiding treats that are high in sugar.

Stay in communication with your veterinarian: Regular check-ins with your vet can help ensure that your dog’s diabetes is being properly managed. Don’t hesitate to ask your vet any questions or express any concerns you may have about your dog’s condition.

Use calming techniques: If your dog gets anxious or stressed, try using techniques such as massage, music therapy, or pheromone diffusers to help them relax.

Use distraction techniques: If your dog becomes anxious or stressed during insulin injections or blood sugar checks, try using toys or treats to distract them and help them focus on something positive.

Seek support: If you are feeling overwhelmed by your dog’s diabetes, don’t be afraid to seek support from other dog owners, veterinarians, or pet behaviorists. You don’t have to go through this journey alone.

When to put a diabetic dog down

Deciding when to put a diabetic dog down can be a difficult and emotional decision for pet owners. Here are some things to consider when making this decision:

  • Quality of life: If your dog is experiencing chronic pain, discomfort, or other health issues related to their diabetes, it may be time to consider euthanasia.
  • Response to treatment: If your dog’s diabetes is poorly controlled and they are not responding to treatment, it may be time to consider euthanasia.
  • Age and overall health: If your dog is elderly or has other underlying health conditions, euthanasia may be the most humane option.
  • Financial considerations: Diabetes can be an expensive condition to manage, and if you are unable to afford the necessary treatment or medications, euthanasia may be the best option.
  • Your comfort level: If you feel overwhelmed or distressed by the care and treatment of your diabetic dog, it may be time to consider euthanasia.

It is important to consult with your veterinarian and have open and honest discussions about your dog’s quality of life and treatment options before making a decision. It is also a good idea to seek support from friends and family during this difficult time.

Conclusion of end stages of diabetes in dogs

The end stages of diabetes in dogs can result in severe complications that can affect multiple organ systems, including the kidneys, eyes, and nervous system.

One of the most common complications of diabetes in dogs is diabetic nephropathy, which is characterized by progressive damage to the kidneys. This can lead to chronic kidney disease, azotemia (increased blood urea nitrogen levels), and ultimately kidney failure.

Another complication of diabetes in dogs is diabetic retinopathy, which is characterized by damage to the blood vessels in the retina. This can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Diabetes can also affect the nervous system in dogs, leading to neuropathy (nerve damage) and neuropathic pain. This can result in symptoms such as weakness, ataxia (loss of coordination), and loss of sensation in the paws and limbs.

In addition, diabetes can also lead to other complications such as infections (urinary tract, skin, etc.), pancreatitis, and ketoacidosis, which can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Early diagnosis and aggressive management of diabetes can help to prevent these complications and improve the quality of life for dogs with diabetes. This includes regular veterinary check-ups, monitoring blood glucose levels, and administering insulin therapy as prescribed by a veterinarian. A diet and exercise plan tailored to the individual animal’s needs may also be helpful.

Overall, the end stages of diabetes in dogs can be serious and potentially life-threatening, highlighting the importance of regular check-ups, monitoring, and appropriate management of the disease.


Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to Top