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Signs Your Dog With Diabetes is Dying: What to Watch for and How to Cope (2024)

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signs your dog with diabetes is dyingIf your dog with diabetes is rapidly losing weight, suddenly experiencing vision problems, battling frequent infections, and showing signs of severe dehydration, it may be an indication that their condition is tragically worsening and they are nearing the end of their life.

These distressing symptoms can point to a diabetic crisis, and you’ll want to work closely with your veterinarian to honestly evaluate your dog’s quality of life and make the most compassionate decision for their care.

To learn more about the end-of-life signs and how to cope during this difficult time, continue reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Rapid weight loss, vision problems, frequent infections, and severe dehydration can indicate a diabetic crisis in dogs with diabetes.
  • Diabetic dogs may experience sudden vision loss due to diabetic cataracts or retinopathy, which can lead to glaucoma and require veterinary intervention.
  • Frequent infections, such as urinary tract infections, can result in complications like kidney damage and fluid accumulation in the lungs.
  • Dehydration, seizures, and unresponsiveness are signs of a diabetic coma, which can lead to severe dehydration and a diminished quality of life for the dog.

Severe Weight Loss

Severe Weight Loss
When your diabetic dog starts dropping pounds faster than a hot potato, it’s a red flag.

This isn’t a new diet trend; it’s a sign of trouble.

Weight loss in diabetic dogs can signal muscle wasting, liver failure, or kidney disease.

It’s like the body’s warning light flashing, Help needed!

Despite gobbling down meals, if your furry friend is losing weight, it’s time to check under the hood.

This could be due to pancreatitis or gastroenteritis complicating their diabetes management.

Keep a close eye on that blood sugar!

Sudden Vision Loss

Sudden Vision Loss
As a dog owner, it’s imperative to be cognizant of the indicators of advanced diabetes in your dog, particularly if your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes. One of the most alarming symptoms is abrupt vision loss. If your dog is experiencing blurred vision or alterations in their perception, it could be an indication of diabetic cataracts or retinopathy. These conditions can result in vision loss and may necessitate veterinary intervention.

Diabetic cataracts are a prevalent complication in dogs with diabetes, impacting approximately 75% of dogs within one year of diagnosis. These cataracts can develop swiftly, sometimes overnight, and can induce intraocular inflammation known as Lens-Induced Uveitis (LIU). If left untreated, LIU can lead to glaucoma, which can be painful and may require cataract surgery to restore vision.

In addition to vision loss, dogs with advanced diabetes may exhibit other signs such as dehydration, lethargy, and weight loss. It’s paramount to monitor your dog’s health diligently and consult with your veterinarian if you notice any changes in their condition.

If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s essential to manage their condition meticulously to prevent complications. This may involve regular insulin injections, a diabetic-friendly diet, and close monitoring of blood glucose levels. In some instances, cataract surgery may be necessary to restore vision.

Frequent Infections

Frequent Infections
As a dog owner, it’s vital to be cognizant of the indicators of recurrent infections in your diabetic pet.

Dogs with diabetes are susceptible to developing urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can result in complications such as kidney damage and fluid accumulation in the lungs.

Symptoms of UTIs in dogs include elevated thirst and urination, lethargy, and a reduction in appetite.

If you observe any of these indications, it’s paramount to seek consultation with your veterinarian for a urine culture to accurately diagnose and treat the infection.


As your dog’s diabetes progresses, you may witness signs of dehydration. Remain vigilant for these four crucial indicators:

  1. Dry mouth: Your dog’s mouth may feel dry and sticky, and they may lick their lips excessively.
  2. Reduced skin elasticity: When you gently pull on their skin, it may not snap back quickly, signifying dehydration.
  3. Sunken eyes: Your dog’s eyes may appear sunken or more prominent than normal.
  4. Dry nasal passages: Your dog’s nose may feel dry and rough, and they may breathe through their mouth more often.

These symptoms stem from an electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to a deterioration in your dog’s quality of life. It’s prudent to closely monitor your dog’s hydration levels and consult with your veterinarian if you suspect dehydration. In certain instances, your dog may require hospitalization for intensive treatment, such as fluid therapy and electrolyte balancing. Euthanasia may be considered if dehydration is severe and unresponsive to treatment, as it can result in a diminished quality of life for your beloved pet.


As dehydration takes its toll, you might notice your furry friend’s health spiraling with seizures shaking their world. These seizures are glaring signs your dog with diabetes is dying, a heartbreaking hint that their tiny engine is running out of steam.

It’s like a storm inside their body, where diabetes can lead to a cascade of complications—renal failure, heart failure, even pancreatitis.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but recognizing these tremors is essential for their end-of-life care and your peace of mind.


Your dog’s unresponsiveness could be a sign that their diabetes is progressing. This condition, known as a diabetic coma, occurs when the dog’s mentation, or sense of self and awareness of surroundings, is greatly diminished due to high levels of glucose in their blood.

This can lead to severe dehydration, weight loss, and even seizures or coma. If you notice your dog becoming increasingly lethargic and unresponsive, it’s paramount to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to control their glucose levels and prevent further complications.

Rapid Breathing

Rapid Breathing
As your dog’s diabetes progresses, they may experience rapid breathing, a sign of respiratory distress. This can be caused by lung congestion or other complications. Here are some things to watch for:

  • Labored breathing: Your dog may struggle to breathe, making it difficult for them to get enough oxygen.
  • Noisy breathing: You might hear wheezing, crackling, or other unusual sounds when your dog breathes.
  • Blue or pale gums: If your dog’s gums are blue or pale, it could be a sign of low oxygen levels.
  • Oxygen therapy: Your veterinarian may recommend oxygen therapy to help your dog breathe more easily.
  • Breathing difficulties: If your dog is having trouble breathing, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away.

Excessive Sleeping

Excessive Sleeping
As your dog’s diabetes progresses, excessive sleeping becomes a common symptom. They may seem lethargic and drowsy, often sleeping more than usual.

Restlessness and agitation can also occur, making it difficult for them to find a comfortable position. Disorientation may set in, causing confusion and disorientation.

It’s crucial to keep an eye on these signs and adjust their treatment plan accordingly, ensuring they receive the best possible care.


Collapse is a grave sign that your dog with diabetes may be near the end. It could be caused by an abrupt decline in blood sugar levels, which can lead to your dog losing awareness and falling to the floor. This can be a consequence of insulin excess, insulin resistance, or an underlying medical condition. If your dog collapses, it’s imperative to seek immediate veterinary care. In the meantime, you can attempt to apply a sugary substance to your dog’s gums to aid in raising their blood sugar levels.

To prevent collapses, guarantee that your dog’s insulin dosage is properly adjusted and monitored. Routine blood tests can assist you and your veterinarian in making adjustments to the insulin dosage as necessary. Additionally, maintaining a consistent diet and exercise routine can help keep your dog’s blood sugar levels stable.

If your dog is experiencing a gradual decline in health, you may need to contemplate euthanasia. This decision should be made in discussion with your veterinarian, who can help you assess your dog’s quality of life and provide guidance on the best course of action.

Sudden Worsening of Symptoms

Sudden Worsening of Symptoms
When your dog’s diabetes suddenly takes a turn for the worse, it’s a medical emergency. Monitor your pet closely, and be prepared to make difficult decisions about your dog’s quality of life if the crisis can’t be resolved.

Sudden worsening symptoms

Sudden worsening of symptoms in a diabetic dog can be a sign of a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention.

Symptoms of DKA include vomiting, lethargy, and a poor appetite. The dog may also exhibit signs of dehydration, such as excessive licking, and may experience rapid breathing and excessive sleeping.

If your dog suddenly becomes unresponsive, collapses, or experiences seizures, it’s essential to seek emergency veterinary care.

Diabetic crisis

If your diabetic dog experiences a diabetic emergency, it’s imperative to act promptly. Symptoms of a diabetic emergency include ketosis, hypoglycemia, neuropathy, fatty liver, and pancreatitis.

  1. Ketosis: This occurs when the body converts fat to energy due to inadequate glucose. You may observe your dog becoming weak and listless.
  2. Hypoglycemia: This is when your dog’s blood sugar plummets, leading to symptoms like loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and even seizures.
  3. Neuropathy: Diabetic neuropathy can result in muscle weakness and hyporeflexia, which may appear as difficulty walking or standing.
  4. Fatty liver: This is a complication of diabetes that can lead to liver dysfunction, impacting your dog’s overall well-being.
  5. Pancreatitis: This is a severe condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed, causing abdominal pain and vomiting.

In a diabetic emergency, your dog’s life may be imperiled. It’s paramount to seek immediate veterinary attention. Your veterinarian will likely administer an intravenous dextrose solution and/or oral prednisone to stabilize your dog’s blood sugar levels. Treatment will differ depending on the severity and underlying causes of the emergency.

Quality of life assessment

When your furry friend’s tail wags less and their spark dims, it’s time to assess their quality of life. Diabetic neuropathy and ketoacidosis can turn their world upside down.

Hypoglycemia lurks as a silent threat. It’s a rollercoaster that no one wants a ticket for.

Considering hospice care or making that tough euthanasia decision? It’s about holding the leash gently, ensuring their journey is as smooth as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the common complications of diabetes in dogs?

When Fido’s thirst and potty breaks turn into a veritable flood, and he starts shedding the pounds faster than a discounted stock – that’s when the complications of the sugar sickness really bite. Don’t let it catch you off guard!

How often should blood glucose levels be monitored in diabetic dogs?

You’ll wanna keep a close eye on your pup’s blood sugar – get those levels checked at least twice a day! That way, you can make sure their insulin’s on point and keep ’em feeling their best.

What are the signs of diabetic ketoacidosis in dogs?

Diabetic dogs with ketoacidosis often have a worrisome fruity breath odor, frequent vomiting, rapid breathing, and lethargy – a true doggy emergency requiring prompt vet care. Act fast to get your pup back on track!

What role does diet play in managing diabetes in dogs?

Your dog’s diet is the cornerstone of managing their diabetes. Stick to a low-carb, high-fiber prescription diet – it’ll keep their blood sugar levels steady as a rock. No more runnin’ to the bathroom every five minutes!

How can a dogs quality of life be assessed during diabetes management?

Pup’s quality of life is the top priority – monitor their zest for life, energy levels, and bathroom breaks. Use a fun checklist to guarantee your furry friend is living their best doggy life!


As the sun sets on your canine companion’s journey, remember that their legacy shines brighter than the stars. The signs your dog with diabetes is dying may be heartbreaking, but your unwavering love and care have made all the difference.

Though the road ahead may be dark, take solace in the fact that you’ve given your loyal friend the best life possible. When the time comes to say goodbye, may your bond transcend the veil, guiding you both to a peaceful rest.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.