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Signs Your Dog With Diabetes is Dying: Recognize the Final Stages (2024)

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signs your dog with diabetes is dyingDiscovering that your dog has diabetes can be emotionally overwhelming. It’s important to understand the signs that indicate your furry friend may be entering the final stages of this disease. By recognizing these signs, you can make informed decisions about their care and well-being.

Understanding how diabetes progresses and affects their quality of life is crucial in providing them with the best possible care during this challenging time. Let us guide you through recognizing the signs as we delve into understanding when it might be time for euthanasia for a dog with diabetes.

Table Of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Dramatic increase in thirst and urination
  • Severe weight loss
  • Repeated infections, especially bladder infections
  • Lethargy and weakness

Signs a Dog With Diabetes is Dying

Signs a Dog With Diabetes is Dying
If your dog with diabetes is in the final stages, there are several signs to look out for.

  • Dramatic increase in thirst and urination
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Severe weight loss
  • Repeated infections (especially bladder infections)
  • Urine that’s sticky and smells sweet
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis

It’s important to be aware of these signs so you can recognize if your dog’s condition is worsening and make informed decisions about their care.

A Dramatic Increase in Thirst and Urination

A dramatic increase in thirst and urination is a sign that your diabetic dog’s disease is progressing to the final stages.

Dehydration

In addition to a dramatic increase in thirst and urination, dehydration is another sign that your dog with diabetes is dying.

Signs of dehydration in dogs with diabetes:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased urination
  • Decreased thirst
  • Skin tenting

Lethargy and Weakness

Lethargy and weakness are common symptoms of advanced diabetes in dogs.

They may also have:

  • A loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A dull coat
  • A slow heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness

Severe Weight Loss

Severe weight loss is a common sign of advanced diabetes in dogs.

  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Blindness

Repeated Infections, Especially Bladder Infections

Repeated infections, especially bladder infections, are a common sign that your dog with diabetes is dying.

Urine That is Sticky and Smells Sweet

If you notice that your dog’s urine is sticky and has a sweet smell, it may be a sign that they’re in the final stages of diabetes.

Cataracts

Cataracts can develop in dogs with diabetes, causing cloudy eyes and vision loss.

Diabetic Neuropathy

As diabetes progresses in dogs, diabetic neuropathy can develop and cause various symptoms.

These include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness in the limbs

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Can diabetic ketoacidosis be a sign that your dog with diabetes is dying?

  • Yes, diabetic ketoacidosis can be a sign that your dog with diabetes is dying.
  • Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Kussmaul respirations

Undiagnosed and Untreated Diabetes

Undiagnosed and Untreated Diabetes
If your dog isn’t being treated for diabetes, their blood glucose levels will rise to dangerous levels.

This can cause cells in the body to starve for glucose, and the body will break down muscles and fat to produce energy.

This can lead to the production of ketones bodies, which can cause:

  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Muscle damage
  • Heart failure
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Kidney damage
  • Death.

Blood Glucose Levels Rise to Dangerous Levels

Blood glucose levels rise to dangerous levels if diabetes is left untreated.

Without adequate insulin, the body can’t properly utilize sugar for energy. As a result, it breaks down muscles and fat to produce energy, leading to ketone bodies production and prolonged acidosis that can cause:

  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Muscle damage
  • Heart failure
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs.

Cells Are Starved for Glucose

As your dog’s diabetes goes untreated, their cells will start to starve for glucose due to the lack of insulin.

  • The body breaks down fat for energy, leading to a build up of ketones.
  • The build up of ketones causes acidosis.
  • The acidosis can damage the body’s organs and lead to death.

Body Breaks Down Muscles and Fat to Produce Energy

With untreated diabetes, your dog’s body breaks down muscles and fat to produce energy because cells are starved for glucose.

  • Acidosis
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Kidney damage
  • Death

Ketones Bodies Produced When Fat is Used as an Energy Source

Because the cells can’t utilise the sugars for energy, the body starts to break down fat instead which produces ketones.

These ketones can build up in the blood and cause a number of problems, including:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite

Prolonged Acidosis Leads to Electrolyte Imbalances, Muscle Damage, Heart Failure, Fluid Buildup in the Lungs, Kidney Damage, or Death

If diabetes goes untreated in dogs, it can lead to:

  • Dangerous levels of dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Muscle damage
  • Heart failure
  • Fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Kidney damage
  • Death

Treated Diabetes With Complications

Treated Diabetes With Complications
If your dog with diabetes is developing complications, they may develop ketoacidosis or hypoglycemia.

Ketoacidosis occurs when the blood sugar remains high for a prolonged period of time and the body starts to break down fat instead which produces acids known as ketones.

Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar level drops too low.

Dogs Can Develop Ketoacidosis if They Have Another Health Problem That Has Made Them Need a Higher Dose of Insulin Than They Are Getting

Dogs with diabetes can develop ketoacidosis if they’ve another health problem that has made them need a higher dose of insulin than they’re getting.

Signs of ketoacidosis:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Difficulty breathing

Dogs Can Develop Hypoglycemia if Their Insulin Needs Have Declined or They Have Been Accidentally Overdosed With Insulin

Complications of treated diabetes can include ketoacidosis or hypoglycemia.

Symptom Treatment Cause Prevention Prognosis
Weakness Give dog a source of sugar Low blood sugar Administer insulin on time Good
Collapse
Tremors
Seizures

When Should You Euthanize a Dog With Diabetes?

When Should You Euthanize a Dog With Diabetes
When it comes to the timing of euthanasia for a diabetic dog, it’s important to weigh up the dog’s quality of life against the potential benefits of continued treatment.

If your dog is in pain, discomfort or distress, and there’s no realistic prospect of improvement, then it may be time to consider euthanasia.

Monitor a Diabetic Dog’s Quality of Life Using a Pet Quality of Life Scale

Monitor your diabetic dog’s quality of life using a pet quality of life scale.

Marking the good days (green), ok days (yellow), and bad days (red) provides a visual representation of how the majority of your dog’s days are going.

When your dog worsens suddenly, you may need to say goodbye during an emergency vet visit.

If your dog is declining more gradually, you may have time to make some plans, such as having a special day full of “bucket list” experiences for your pup.

Talk to Your Veterinarian if You Are Worried About Your Dog’s Quality of Life

When it comes to the timing of euthanasia for a diabetic dog, it’s important to weigh up the dog’s quality of life against the potential benefits of continued treatment.

Talk to your veterinarian if you’re worried about your dog’s quality of life, financial burden, caregiver fatigue, or if you’re simply experiencing caregiver burnout.

If Your Dog’s Quality of Life is Poor and There Isn’t a Reasonable Expectation That It Will Improve, Your Veterinarian Can Talk to You About Euthanasia

When it comes to the timing of euthanasia for a diabetic dog, the approach isn’t dissimilar to that for any other condition.

It’s important to weigh up the dog’s quality of life against the potential benefits of continued treatment.

A Quick Overview of Diabetes

A Quick Overview of Diabetes
Diabetes is a relatively common condition in pets, affecting around 1 in 300 dogs. It’s caused by a deficiency in or loss of certain cells in the pancreas which produce the hormone insulin. Insulin is needed to trigger the absorption of glucose from the blood into the cells of the body to be used for energy.

Symptoms

Eventually, the treatment for diabetes may not be enough to contend with the disease process itself.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of diabetes in dogs so that you can take appropriate action.

Common symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Skin changes

If your dog exhibits these symptoms or any other concerning signs related to their health condition it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosis

Diabetes is a relatively common condition in pets, affecting around 1 in 300 dogs.

Diagnosis is made with a blood test and urine test.

Treatment involves insulin injections and a diabetic-friendly diet.

Treatment

Treatment for diabetes involves:

  • Twice-daily insulin injections
  • A diabetic-friendly diet

Insulin doses and frequency will need to be monitored closely to keep your dog’s blood sugar levels within a healthy range.

Diabetic diets are specially formulated to help manage blood sugar levels and prevent complications.

How Long Can a Dog Live With Diabetes?

How Long Can a Dog Live With Diabetes
The average lifespan for a dog with diabetes is 17-30 months. However, many factors can affect how long your dog lives, including:

  • The severity of the disease
  • The presence of other health conditions
  • The dog’s response to treatment

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Dogs with diabetes who develop complications such as ketoacidosis or hypoglycemia may have a shorter lifespan.
  • Dogs who aren’t treated for diabetes or who aren’t treated properly may also have a shorter lifespan.
  • Dogs who are treated for diabetes and who’ve a good response to treatment may live a full and happy life.

It is important to work with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan that’s right for your dog. This will help to ensure that your dog has the best possible chance of living a long and healthy life.

How Do You Know When Doing Everything Isn’t the Right Decision Anymore?

How Do You Know When Doing Everything Isn
If you’re wondering when to reconsider your options for your diabetic dog’s care, it may be time to evaluate their quality of life.

  1. When your dog is getting tired of the blood draws, insulin injections, and vet visits.
  2. When the financial burden of caring for a diabetic dog becomes too much to handle.
  3. When you’re experiencing caregiver fatigue.

You may want to fill out a quality-of-life scale for dogs regularly.

Marking the good days (green), ok days (yellow), and bad days (red) provides a visual representation of how the majority of your dog’s days are going.

When you’re performing the QOL evaluations and you see multiple areas of your dog’s life declining, it may be time to talk to your vet.

If your dog worsens suddenly, you may need to say goodbye during an emergency vet visit.

If your dog is declining more gradually, you may have time to make some plans, such as having a special day full of “bucket list” experiences for your pup.

What Does Hospice Care for Diabetic Dogs Involve?

What Does Hospice Care for Diabetic Dogs Involve
As your diabetic dog nears the end of life, you’ll want to focus on comfort care measures that ease any pain or distress.

Hospice care for diabetic dogs involves providing symptom management and pain relief to ensure their remaining time is as comfortable as possible.

Pain management plays a crucial role in this stage, with medications and therapies tailored to address your dog’s specific needs. Your veterinarian may prescribe pain medications or recommend alternative treatments such as acupuncture or physical therapy.

In addition to addressing physical discomfort, emotional support is also essential during this difficult time.

Spending quality time together, offering gentle affection, and creating a peaceful environment can help provide comfort for both you and your beloved pet.

Palliative care focuses on maintaining a good quality of life by managing symptoms related to diabetes complications such as kidney disease or neuropathy. This may involve adjusting medication dosages or introducing new treatments targeted at specific symptoms.

End-of-life planning should also be considered during hospice care for diabetic dogs. Discussing options with your veterinarian regarding euthanasia can ensure that when the time comes, it will be handled compassionately according to yours and your dog’s wishes.

Remember that every decision made in hospice care should prioritize the well-being of your furry companion while considering their individual needs throughout this process.

How Do You Measure the Quality of Life for Diabetic Dogs?

How Do You Measure the Quality of Life for Diabetic Dogs
You can measure your diabetic dog’s quality of life by regularly using a pet quality of life scale. This will help you assess how well your furry friend is coping with their condition and make informed decisions about their care.

Here are three key ways to evaluate your dog’s QOL:

  1. Marking the good days (green), ok days (yellow), and bad days (red) provides a visual representation of how the majority of your dog’s days are going. By tracking these colors over time, you can see patterns or trends in their overall wellbeing.
  2. When performing QOL evaluations, look for multiple areas of decline in your dog’s life such as decreased appetite, increased lethargy, or signs of pain/discomfort/distress that persistently worsen over time.
  3. If there’s sudden worsening where symptoms become severe rapidly,you may need to schedule an emergency vet visit to address any immediate concerns. With gradual decline however,you might’ve more time on hand.Here planning special experiences like a bucket list day filled with enjoyable activities for them could be considered.

By regularly assessing these factors and keeping track through QOL evaluations, you’ll be able to better understand if it’s time to seek additional medical interventions or consider other options such as hospice care or euthanasia when necessary.

How Do You Know When It is Time for Euthanasia?

How Do You Know When It is Time for Euthanasia
As you continue to care for your diabetic dog, it’s important to be aware of the signs that may indicate it’s time for euthanasia. Making this decision can be incredibly difficult, but ultimately it should be made with your dog’s best interests in mind.

  1. Quality of Life Evaluations:
    • Regularly performing quality-of-life (QOL) evaluations can help you assess how well your dog is doing overall.
    • By marking good days (green), okay days (yellow), and bad days (red), you’ll have a visual representation of their general well-being.
  2. Multiple Areas Declining:
    • If during QOL evaluations, you notice a decline in multiple areas such as energy levels, appetite, mobility, or cognitive function despite medical interventions and treatments, this may indicate that your furry friend’s condition is deteriorating.
  3. Sudden Worsening or Gradual Decline:
    • Depending on the progression of diabetes in your canine companion, different scenarios may arise when considering euthanasia options:
    • Sudden Worsening:
    • In some cases where there’s sudden worsening accompanied by severe symptoms like difficulty breathing or seizures,
    • It might become necessary to say goodbye during an emergency vet visit.
    • Gradual Decline:
    • If the decline occurs more gradually over time and there are no immediate life-threatening emergencies present,
    • You might’ve an opportunity to plan special experiences for them from their bucket list before making any decisions.

Remember that each situation is unique and consulting with your veterinarian will provide valuable guidance throughout this process while taking into account factors such as financial burden and caregiver fatigue.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can diabetic dogs live a normal lifespan with proper treatment?

Yes, with proper treatment, diabetic dogs can live a normal lifespan.

Regular insulin injections and a diabetic-friendly diet are key to managing the condition.

Work closely with your vet for optimal care and monitoring of your dog’s health.

What are the potential complications of treating diabetes in dogs?

Two key complications to watch for are:

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis, caused by prolonged high blood sugar
  • Hypoglycemia, when blood sugar drops dangerously low.

Carefully monitor symptoms and respond immediately if you see:

  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Tremors
  • Seizures.

Work closely with your vet to balance insulin dosing and diet.

How can you measure the quality of life for a diabetic dog?

Monitor your diabetic dog’s quality of life by using a pet quality of life scale.

Track good, fair, and poor days over time to visually see trends.

Consult your vet if declines worsen or quality of life seems poor.

Focus on your pup’s comfort and wellbeing.

What does hospice care involve for diabetic dogs?

Hospice care for diabetic dogs focuses on providing comfort and maintaining quality of life.

  • Managing symptoms
  • Ensuring pain relief
  • Offering emotional support to both you and your beloved pet during this difficult time.

How do you know when it is the right time to consider euthanasia for a diabetic dog?

When your diabetic dog’s troubling symptoms persist despite treatment, their quality of life declines, and your vet believes there’s little chance of improvement, it may sadly be time to gently say goodbye.

Though difficult, focusing on their comfort over an unnecessarily prolonged struggle shows deepest caring.

Conclusion

Ultimately, recognizing the signs that your dog with diabetes is entering the final stages is crucial in providing them with the best possible care and making informed decisions about their well-being.

From a dramatic increase in thirst and urination to the development of diabetic complications such as ketoacidosis and cataracts, understanding these signs can help you determine when it may be time for euthanasia.

By monitoring your dog’s quality of life and consulting with your veterinarian, you can ensure that their final stages are as comfortable and dignified as possible.

References
  • petmd.com
  • emergencyvetsusa.com
  • welovedoodles.com
  • petcubes.com
  • dailydogstuff.com
  • doggysaurus.com
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.