The November 2011 issue of Prevention magazine has an article by Karen Asp called The Diabetes Danger. According to the article, diabetes in dogs has increased 32% in the past 5 years. Symptoms generally show up when dogs are 7 years or older and tend to show up in genetically predisposed breeds, such as Beagles, Dachshunds, Poodles, Pugs and Samoyeds.

Symptoms include: excessive thirst and frequent urination, sudden weight loss or ravenous appetite, strange-smelling mouth, and major behavioral changes such as irritability, hiding, or sleeping a lot.

A simple blood and urine test can be conducted by your vet to diagnose diabetes in your dog. If your dog is diagnosed, some lifestyle changes will be in order:

1. Insulin injections every 12 hours.

2. Increased lean muscle (obtained through more exercise) to improve the dog’s response to insulin therapy.

3. A moderate-protein, high-fiber diet.

Although some health issues are unavoidable, the more we can do to keep our dogs at healthy weights and in good shape, the more we stack the odds in our favor of preventing or minimizing health problems.