This article was updated on November 18th, 2021.
The Cost of Dog Diabetes - What You Need To Know
We often hear about diabetes in humans, but dogs are also susceptible to this chronic disease. In honor of National Pet Diabetes Month, we are breaking down frequently asked questions about the cost of diabetes in dogs.
When referring to diabetes in dogs, we are typically referencing Diabetes Mellitus, a metabolic disorder affecting a dog’s ability to process sugars (glucose). In a healthy dog, food is broken down into smaller components, like glucose. The dog’s cells then absorb the glucose, and their insulin helps these cells process glucose as fuel.
A diabetic dog usually lacks sufficient insulin in their body, making it difficult for the glucose to be absorbed and used as fuel. Some diabetic dogs may produce enough insulin, but be unable to use it properly. Either way, the diabetic dog is left with a lack of fuel from its inability to process glucose properly.
Diabetes leaves a dog with cells that cannot process glucose as fuel effectively, leading to high glucose levels in the bloodstream. When glucose levels are too high in the bloodstream, damage to organs like the eyes, kidneys, heart, and blood vessels may occur. Other symptoms of canine diabetes may include weight loss, increased appetite, excessive thirst, and increased urination. Be sure to see your vet as soon as possible if you suspect your pup is showing these signs-undiagnosed dog diabetes can be life threatening!
Diabetes can be a heartbreaking diagnosis for a pet parent and their beloved dog. Fortunately, modern technology aids veterinarians in treating and managing the symptoms of diabetes in dogs.
There are many costs to consider when treating your dog, and while these numbers can be scary, Spot can help cover the bills for chronic conditions, like diabetes, so that you can keep your dog comfortable and happy. Just make sure you get a policy before these conditions emerge, so that they aren’t considered pre-existing (which insurance doesn't cover).
The Cost of Dog Diabetes Medication
Insulin is the most common diabetes treatment for dogs and is usually administered via injection. While pet parents are often hesitant about administering insulin injections at home, most pet parents will find that their dog doesn’t mind the injection nearly as much as they mind giving it.
The estimated monthly cost of insulin for a smaller dog is $40 to $80, while larger dog breeds may require $80 to $150 worth of insulin each month.
The Cost to Diagnose Dog Diabetes
A proper diabetes diagnosis is the first step towards proper treatment of this medical condition. A non-routine appointment to diagnose dog diabetes can run from $225-500, including necessary blood tests.
The Cost of Dog Diabetes Medication
Insulin is the most common diabetes treatment for dogs and is usually administered via injection. While pet parents are often hesitant about administering insulin injections at home, most pet guardians will find that their dog doesn’t mind the injection nearly as much as they mind giving it.
The estimated monthly cost of dog insulin for smaller breeds is $40 to $80, while larger dog breeds may require $80 to $150 worth of insulin each month.
The Cost of Cataracts in Dogs with Diabetes
When your dog’s glucose levels are too high, they are at an increased risk of cataracts and organ damage. Cataracts are prevalent among dogs with diabetes. Within 16 months of a diabetes diagnosis, around 80% of dogs will develop at least one cataract.
Cataracts occur when a dog’s eye lens becomes opaque, often giving their eye a cloudy, white appearance. This opacity obscures their vision and can cause partial or full blindness in that eye. Currently, the go-to treatment for cataracts in dogs is cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery can be expensive and is usually around $3500 to $4500 in total.
Diabetes Management Dog Food
Another key factor in diabetes management is specialty dog food. Maintaining a healthy weight and healthy glucose levels are essential factors in managing your dog’s diabetes. Many veterinary professionals will recommend a prescription dog food to help with this.
You can expect to pay somewhere around $30 for an 8.5-pound bag of diabetes management dog food and $80 for a 27.5-pound bag. These specialty dog foods will help monitor your dog's blood sugar levels, a key aspect of proper management.
Crucial Lifestyle Changes for Dogs with Diabetes
Diabetic dogs are more prone to infections, ketoacidosis, urinary tract infections, and more. It's essential that you work with your veterinarian to manage your pup’s condition while making healthy at home lifestyle swaps for them. Important lifestyle choices to consider for diabetes management include diet and exercise, spaying, and weight management.
Pet spaying is essential for female dogs because their reproductive cycle will make it more challenging to manage their blood glucose levels. It is best to have some home monitoring system in place with your family to keep an eye on your diabetic dog, especially if she is in heat.
Weight management is crucial for dogs with diabetes. Excess weight puts extra strain on the body and makes diabetes management more difficult. Lifestyle changes like a new diet, appropriate caloric intake, and increased exercise may benefit your pup. Speak with your veterinarian today about the best weight loss options for your dog.
Pet Insurance for Diabetes in Dogs
Having your furry friend diagnosed with diabetes can be heartbreaking, but with appropriate care from a veterinary professional, they can live a happy and healthy life.
Ongoing veterinary care is the best thing you can do for your diabetic dog. Your veterinarian can provide the best, personalized options for your pet, along with any needed medications, surgery, or prescription dog foods.
Getting a dog insurance policy while your pup is still young can help you get reimbursed later in their life if they develop diabetes.