Untreated Diabetes in Dogs

Untreated diabetes is a killer to dogs. You must manage your dog’s diabetes at your best.  If not treated properly, diabetes can make your dog blind, deaf, paralyzed,  cause organ failures, and even death.

In this article, we will discuss what harm can untreated diabetes do to your dog and why and how you should treat diabetes.

untreated diabetes in dogs

Why you should treat diabetes in your dogs?

Diabetes mellitus in dogs happen when their pancreas stops making insulin.  This affects multiple functions in the body.  The dog’s body doesn’t get enough insulin to convert food into fuel and as a result,  the body functions start shutting down.

If left untreated,  diabetes will destroy the body in horrible ways. It’s important that as soon as you know your dog has diabetes,  start prepping for what is coming. In some dogs, diabetes can take months or years to affect the body. Sometimes mild symptoms can elevate suddenly and cause destruction which can also turn fatal to your dogs.

What will diabetes do to your dog?

When Diabetes happens,  the first thing is that now the body is deprived of energy. The body needs the energy to perform functions. To make up for that energy need, your dog can get super hungry. (Read why is my diabetic dog always hungry).

Despite eating your dog will start losing weight because all that glucose from digested food is still present in the bloodstream. The cells are not able to get their fuel.

When the glucose level in the blood rises,  it needs to be lowered down to normal. This puts pressure on the kidneys so that they can filter glucose. Kidneys can’t bear this heavy load of glucose and as a result,  glucose starts passing in urine. That is why your diabetic dog will have frequent urination which might be sticky because of glucose. (Read why my diabetic dog is peeing sticky urine everywhere).

With frequent urination,  the body will get dehydrated and cause thirst in dogs.  So the first three symptoms of having untreated diabetes are

  • Hunger
  • Urination and
  • Thirst

If left untreated,  the whole body function will get messed up and lose its functioning.

Effects of untreated diabetes in dogs

If not treated,  diabetes can cause neuropathy and recession in body organs. (Read diabetic neuropathy in dogs). The body will start getting weak and your dog will gradually lose its

  • Sight
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Ability to feel
  • Co-ordination
  • Movement

And can start getting

  • Seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Uncontrolled bladder movements
  • Brain death
  • Coma
  • Death

You must understand that untreated diabetes is like a killer on a loose. It can attack the body at any time. As insulin levels will be low,  blood glucose levels will be high. This causes a condition called hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemic dogs can have symptoms like


In untreated diabetes,  the cells don’t get enough glucose to use as fuel so the body will start using fats as an energy source. This will make your dog start losing muscle mass and you may observe fat in the dog’s stool also. The condition is called ketoacidosis and disturbs the acid balance in the body.

Ketoacidosis needs emergency treatment like hyperglycemia.  Both conditions if left untreated will lead to the dog’s death.

How to treat diabetes in dogs?

When dogs have diabetes, two things need to be followed strictly

  • Medication and
  • Proper lifestyle maintenance.


The medication used in diabetes is insulin which is given in injection form. You have to give insulin regularly to your dog to ensure that body can function properly. Insulin must not be missed and you can’t give an overdose of insulin to your diabetic dog.  (Read double dose of insulin dogs

Make a proper chart where you can keep a record of the insulin intake of your dog. This will help to manage insulin regularity in the body. If you will miss a dose,  the symptoms will strike back. When you overdose on your dog,  it will cause low levels of glucose in the body. This can trigger hypoglycemia in dogs. Hypoglycemia can cause weakness, lethargy, and if not treated organ failures in the body. (Read glucose level 500)

Lifestyle management

How well you manage diabetes will decide how long your dog is going to live. To treat diabetes you need to set a proper routine where your dog will strictly follow the timetable for everything.  This is important. He needs to eat,  sleep and do physical activities at the same time. You can’t afford your diabetic dog to indulge in new problems. For example,

  • only switching his food can cause an upset stomach. In diabetes, every condition is 100x worst than normal. Sometimes bad condition deteriorates the body in irreversible ways. So you have to stick to a routine. (Read switching dog food cold turkey).
  • Similarly, you can’t exert more or less pressure of physical activity on your diabetic dogs. More activity can lower down their glucose levels and less exercise can make them obese. Obesity in diabetic dogs encourages neuropathy, heart conditions, and other severe problems.
  • Sleep is important to keep the body fit and relaxed. Restlessness can cause hypertension and depression in dogs. (Read why my diabetic dog is restless at night).

You have to be in touch with your vet at every step.  Never take a medical decision on your own. Like deciding insulin dose,  injecting insulin other than regular time, switching dog food, or other decisions that can impact your dog’s health.

Prevention is better than cure.

Diabetes is an ongoing lifetime illness so it is better to protect your dog when you can. Mostly dogs

  • Who are obese
  • Belongs to a family of large dogs
  • Have parents who had diabetes
  • Or a genetic condition that may trigger diabetes later in life

Are more at risk. With careful prevention, you can stop diabetes before it happens. Remember there is no cure. So with careful prevention techniques, you can minimize the risk of diabetes in dogs.  (Read how to prevent diabetes in dogs).

What other diseases diabetes can cause

Other than its bad effects on the body,  diabetes can cause

How long can diabetes go untreated in dogs?

Not for long. If you will not treat the early symptoms, the condition will continuously deteriorate day by day. Once you have started treatment, and your dog has successfully passed the first 3-6 months. He can fight diabetes for the rest of his life. The approximate life expectancy for diabetic dogs is two years.


If diabetes is left untreated,  it can cause irreversible damage and invite other diseases too. Untreated diabetes can cause hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, hypertension, neuropathy, and brain damage. Adapting careful prevention techniques can help slow down the risk. With Effective Lifestyle management your dog will be able to resist diabetes in a better way.

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