How Long Can a Diabetic Dog Go Without Insulin?

Diabetic dog owners sometimes question how long their dogs can last without insulin. An untreated diabetic dog will quickly become sick and die from high blood sugar levels. But is it possible for a diabetic dog to live without insulin?

How long can diabetic dog live without insulin

How long can diabetic dogs live without insulin?

Diabetic dogs can go without insulin for a day or so without having a crisis. In general, the longer you wait to treat your diabetic dog with insulin, the more likely they will develop severe complications such as ketoacidosis (diabetic coma), dehydration, and even death.

If your diabetic dog does not receive insulin for 2 days or more, he may develop ketoacidosis which is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary care. Ketoacidosis occurs when there are high levels of blood acids called ketones in the bloodstream. This condition can lead to coma and death if not treated immediately.

What happens if the dog misses an insulin shot?

If a diabetic dog has missed his insulin, it is important to get him back on track as soon as possible. The longer the dog goes without insulin, the more damage will be done to his body.

Diabetic dogs should never go without insulin for more than a few days. If your dog has been off his medication for more than three days, take him to see your veterinarian immediately.

Can I give my dog insulin late?

Most dogs can be given insulin late up to an hour or two. However, it is best if you give it right on time.

The goal of giving your dog insulin at a specific time each day is so that his body can maintain a steady level of glucose in his bloodstream throughout the day.

Signs your dog with diabetes is dying

As the disease progresses, your dog will become weaker and more lethargic. His appetite will decrease as well. As his body starts to shut down, he may experience a loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and even dehydration.

The kidneys often become damaged due to high blood sugar levels over time, leading to the excess protein being filtered into the urine. This may cause kidney failure (renal failure) which is not reversible.

Your pet may also have an increased risk of developing other diseases such as bladder stones, cataracts (clouding of the eye), skin infections, and even cancer if their diabetes is not well controlled during these final stages of diabetes.

If your dog is not monitored closely during these final stages of diabetes, he could go into a coma or die from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). The condition is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention at an emergency clinic or animal hospital.

How long after starting insulin will my dog feel better?

It can take a few weeks for your dog to feel better, so please be patient. The effects of insulin are not immediate, but if you give it time and are consistent with your dosage and administration schedule, you will see improvement in a few weeks.

When to put a diabetic dog down

If a dog is diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to treat the condition properly and carefully. In some cases, however, a dog may be so sick that he needs to be put down.

If your diabetic dog is not responding to treatment, it may be time to consider putting the dog down. This is a very difficult decision to make, but if you are unable to control diabetes or if it is affecting your dog’s quality of life, euthanasia may be your only option.

This is never an easy choice for any owner, but it can be made easier by asking yourself these questions:

Does my dog have any quality of life? If your pet is in pain or can’t eat or drink because of his or her diabetes, then the answer is probably yes.

Can I afford to keep my diabetic dog? Diabetes treatment can get expensive quickly. If you don’t have the funds to pay for regular vet visits, insulin shots, and other supplies needed throughout your dog’s life, consider putting him/her down.

Am I willing to make sacrifices? Dogs with diabetes require extra care and attention from their owners. If you’re not willing to put forth that effort on a daily basis (and sometimes hourly basis), then consider euthanasia as an option.

Conclusion of how long dogs can go without insulin

Dogs can go without insulin for a short period of time. The longer they go without insulin, the greater their chances of developing ketoacidosis and death. Dogs who have been diagnosed with diabetes should have regular blood glucose tests and insulin injections as prescribed by their veterinarian.


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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.

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