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Helping Cats and Dogs with Diabetes
It can be tough to hear from a veterinarian that your pet suffers from any illness, much less diabetes. Fortunately, much like in human medicine, there have been great advancements in diabetes management for dogs and cats in recent years. Of course this doesn't mean the diabetes is cured, but adhering to the following tips will help keep your diabetic pet's glucose concentrations regulated — and, more importantly, help your pet lead a happy and healthy life.
1. Monitor, Monitor, Monitor
Regularly monitoring your pet's blood is important to avoid the dangerous spikes and drops in blood glucose concentrations associated with diabetes. There are several monitoring devices to choose from, including urine glucose (and ketone) test strips or blood glucose meters. Consult your veterinarian to determine which monitoring device is best for your pet.
2. Use Insulin
Daily insulin injections are often required to restore your pet's insulin levels and manage their blood glucose concentrations. However, each pet will need their own dose and treatment regimen. There are even insulin products specifically made for cats and dogs with diabetes. Consult your veterinarian as to which insulin product suits your pet the best and for a tutorial on how to administer the insulin injections.
3. Proper Diet
In order to properly manage the disease, diabetic dogs and cats must be fed a nutritious diet that minimizes fluctuations in blood glucose and maintains them at a healthy weight. These meals should ideally consist of the same thing every day and should be fed at the same time(s) of day. According to PetDiabetesMonth.com, the diet is usually high in protein and low in fat as well as consists of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber to help slow absorption of glucose from the digestive system. However, your veterinarian can best recommend a diet for the needs of your diabetic pet.
4. Regulate Exercise
All pets should exercise, especially diabetic pets that are also overweight. However, exercise must be regulated because the activity may affect your pet's blood glucose concentrations. Consult your veterinarian about the amount and regularity of exercise needed for your diabetic pet. Cats, for instance, do not typically have exercise routines like dogs. It is more likely a veterinarian will recommend simply playing with your diabetic cat daily.
5. Routine Checkups
It is vital to maintain regular veterinary checkups to identify any changes in your pet's condition. In fact, according to DiabetesPetMonth.com, diabetes can affect pets differently over times — even after a long period of stability. Additionally, going to a vet's office regularly will help accustom your pet to poking and prodding that often comes with chronic conditions like diabetes.