Type 2 Diabetes In Dogs Explained

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by insulin resistance, which changes the way cells in your dog's body react when insulin is released. The condition leads to your dog having too much glucose in their blood, as their muscles and organs are unable to use glucose for energy in the way they normally would. Type 2 diabetes can lead to organ damage, particularly the liver and pancreas, and will cause your dog to pass glucose in their urine as a result of inefficient processing of insulin. Here's an overview of the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for type 2 diabetes in dogs:


There are several reasons that dogs develop type 2 diabetes, but being overweight is a common cause. Pancreatitis can also cause the condition, as insulin is made in the pancreas. However, certain breeds, such a miniature poodles, miniature schnauzers and pugs, are at a greater risk of developing diabetes than other breeds due to their genetic makeup.  


Symptoms of type 2 diabetes in dogs include the following:

  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Enlarged liver
  • Low mood, which may present as a loss of interest in play or socialising


Your vet can diagnose type 2 diabetes by taking blood and urine samples from your dog. Blood tests can detect abnormal levels of glucose in your dog's blood, while a urinalysis can detect the presence of protein and whether your dog is dehydrated, which is commonly seen in cases of untreated diabetes due to how often urination occurs. If your vet is concerned your dog's organs may be damaged as a result of diabetes, they will also arrange diagnostic imaging, such as an ultrasound, to check for inflammation.


Your vet will establish a treatment plan based on your dog's symptoms. Treatment may include the following:

  • Insulin Injections - Daily insulin injections can control your dog's blood glucose levels and prevent them from developing common complications of uncontrolled diabetes, such as deterioration of vision or narrowing of their arteries. Your vet will show you how to administer a pin-pick test to establish your dog's blood glucose levels and how to give your dog their daily injections.
  • Intravenous Fluids - If your dog is dehydrated, they will be given intravenous fluids to protect their kidney function and replenish their electrolyte levels.
  • Lifestyle Modification - Your vet may suggest changes to your dog's exercise regime and diet. Maintaining a healthy weight and activity level can help control blood glucose levels, and fibre-rich food that takes longer to digest is better for blood glucose control than refined carbohydrates that break down rapidly in your dog's digestive system.

If your dog is showing any of the symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to have them tested for this serious condition.