Signs of Diabetes in Dogs – Learn What to Look For!

Happy 4th of July!

It’s the week of July 4th, and we’re all up at our cottage in Wisconsin. It’s nice to have a little getaway time with Sacha and the family. And in case you missed it earlier, be sure to check out my list of summer shopping ideas for your dog. including things to help you keep your dog cool in these hot summer months!


Zoya – Queen of the Castle!

July 4 is always a bit bittersweet in our household, especially for my wife Pam. You see, July 4, 1996 is the day that our first Samoyed, Zoya was born. Here’s a picture of our sweet Zoya who died of cancer in 2008.

Pam had a special bond with Zoya, much like the bond I would develop with Ramius years later. Pam first brought Zoya home when she was 8 weeks old in September of 1996. Pam and I didn’t meet until late 1997, I moved in to Zoya’s place (yes, Zoya’s place) in 1998, and then Pam and I were married in 1999.

I blogged earlier about what it’s like to introduce a new Samoyed puppy into your home when you already have an adult Samoyed, but this was altogether different. This was a situation where I was being introduced to the home Pam and Zoya shared. Yikes!!

Zoya – The Queen of the Castle

No, not in the sense that Elaine was the Queen of the Castle in the famous Seinfeld episode.

But, Zoya was the queen of our household nonetheless. While Zoya was pampered and very well loved of course, Zoya did what Zoya wanted to do. Perhaps more importantly, Zoya never did anything she didn’t want to do. If you have a Samoyed already, perhaps you can relate to this. 😉 And while it took a while for her to accept me as a member of the family, she eventually did and she became my daughter too. But, this took a period of adjustment time for sure.

Diabetic Warning Signs

What does all this have to do with learning about the signs of diabetes in dogs, particularly Samoyeds? Well, knowing your dog’s personality is very important for your relationship and your pet’s overall health. If you don’t know their personality inside and out, it’s much harder to identify changes in their behavior which could be a sign that something is wrong.

Unfortunately, Samoyeds are a breed of dog that is particularly susceptible to diabetes. Sadly, many dog breeds are, and if you’re unsure whether or not your kind of dog is, please do the research. and are great sources of information about pet diabetes.

There are several different symptoms of diabetes in dogs including lethargy, vomiting, and change in appetite among many others. For this post, I’m going to focus on the symptoms we first noticed with Zoya that told us something unusual was going on with her. Unfortunately, these same symptoms would manifest themselves many years later in Ramius because

I'm Under Strict Orders not to Get Sick!

I’m Under Strict Orders not to Get Sick!

he also developed diabetes. Both Zoya & Ramius were diagnosed with diabetes around 8 years of age. Sacha is only 5 and thankfully is not diabetic. And he’s under strict orders not to develop it when he gets older!

With Zoya, the first thing we noticed was that she began drinking much more than usual. Dehydration is another symptom of diabetes and if you see your dog drinking excessively, this is something to pay attention to. Quite frankly, though my wife and I noticed she was drinking more water, it didn’t raise any alarm bells. At that time, neither of us had any experience with dog diabetes so we didn’t know what to look for. But when she began to urinate in the house, that’s when we knew something was up.

Even with a dog as headstrong as Zoya was, for her to urinate in the house because of some behavioral reason would’ve been way out of the ordinary. So when she started to pee inside, we brought her in immediately to see the veterinarian. Remember, knowing your dog’s personality is key!

Caring for your Diabetic Dog

After examining Zoya and running some tests, our vet broke the news to us that Zoya was diabetic. This caused quite a shock! Why? How did this happen? Will she be okay? What do we do now?

All of those questions are normal and your veterinarian will guide you through them. For us, it meant that we had to start giving Zoya insulin shots twice/day, everyday, for the rest of her life. As your our vet explained to us, ideally, those shots need to be about 12 hours apart. So guess what pet parents, your life is about to get much more structured! But don’t worry, with consistent care, you can successfully manage your pet’s diabetes.

But, it’s definitely a life changing experience. If it’s best for you to give your dog shots at say 8am and 8pm, you need to do your best to stick as close to that as possible. So, if you’ve got to be at the office early in the morning one day, you’ve got to account for that. If you’ll be out late for dinner with friends, you have to plan for that too. As your veterinarian will discuss with you, you also don’t want to be giving your dog insulin shots on an empty stomach. So getting them to eat before shooting them can be another challenge, especially if you have a dog as stubborn as a Samoyed! Eventually, Zoya learned not to eat unless we gave her cheese or peanut butter on her food. Remember, Queen of the Castle! 🙂

When Zoya, and later Ramius, developed diabetes, it was definitely something that had an impact on our life. But, that’s the responsibility you take on as a pet parent right? And honestly, in the end, it really isn’t that big of a deal. It becomes sort of like brushing your teeth. It’s just something you have to do every morning and every night, and eventually it’ll become a habit.

Consider Getting Good Pet Insurance

We feel very strongly that you should consider getting pet insurance for your dog if you can. Unfortunately, we didn’t have it for Zoya so all of the expenses related to her diabetes, and later her cancer, came out of our pocket. Nowadays, we use Healthy Paws Pet Insurance for Sacha. I highly recommend them and I’ve written a thorough review of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance which I would encourage all of you to read.

Anyway, not having pet insurance for any of our dogs is a mistake we’ll never make again! We got pet insurance for Sacha the day we brought him home as a puppy and that same day, we got insurance for Ramius too. And we’re so lucky that we did! Most pet insurance plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions. Fortunately, we were able to get Ramius covered before he developed diabetes and later on in his life, cancer. That decision literally ended up saving us tens of thousands of dollars, and more importantly, allowed us to give Ramius the best care possible. I’ll be talking much more about that in the coming weeks and month.

Luckily, we really haven’t had to use our pet insurance for Sacha yet. But if we ever do, we know that the financial question, which can be a very significant issue, will be taken out of the equation, and we can focus strictly on getting him the care that he needs.

For us, that peace of mind is immeasurable.

Living a Normal Life with Your Diabetic Dog

With early identification, a good veterinarian, dedication, and proper care provided by you, you can manage your dog’s diabetes and they can have a balanced life. So please, make yourself aware of the warning signs. If you notice any of these signs or a change in your dog’s personality, take them to the veterinarian.

And if your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, don’t be scared! You can work with your veterinarian to manage it. Be patient, do what they tell you to do, accept that it will change your life, and then just love your dog. You’ll both be happy you did!

And then, in the future, do what we do. Place your pet under strict orders not to get diabetes, cancer, or any other kind of illness. Hear that Sacha?! No diseases, or soup, for you!

No soup for you!

P.S. If your pet has diabetes and you have a story to share, or if you have any questions about what you’ve read, please leave a comment. We’ll be sure to get back to you.

19 thoughts on “Signs of Diabetes in Dogs – Learn What to Look For!

  1. lifebeginswithyourhealth

    Great pet health article on diabetes in dogs, I truly believe in my heart dogs as well as humans could prevent diabetes and many other health disease through our diets by adding food additives for extra nutrition we and our dogs are not receiving through our food today.

    What are your thoughts on this theory?

    Great article to be aware of our dogs with diabetes and great suggestion how to care for them.

    1. Mike Post author

      Thank you so much! I’m certainly no expert on dog diabetes or how adding food additives would affect things. But in general, I think genetics and many of the other risk factors associated with the disease are pretty hard to overcome. Though it’s a nice thought to think that it could be prevented by giving them food additives. Perhaps one day right?!

  2. Jeanette

    Hey Mike,

    I really like your site, I came across it not too long ago. This is a really great article. You certainly have to be aware of your pet’s personality and behavior so that you can catch something like this.

    I’ve never had a dog that developed diabetes, but my daughter developed type 1. There were many signs before she was diagnosed. I just got a dachshund jack russel mix recently so I will definitely be getting pet insurance for my dog and watching for signs of any odd behavior. Thank you so much!

    Take care,

    1. Mike Post author

      Thank you Jeannette, and thanks for visiting us again! Good, I’m glad to hear you’ll be getting pet insurance! It’s one of the best decisions we made.

  3. stefan

    Hi there, thanks for this great article. We family has a dog and it’s around 5 years old. I never thought dogs could get diabetic. What’s are the reasons for that? I think that many pet owners don’t know the high responsibility of having a pet in general. A lot of people don’t really care of how they feel and what they need. You do great job showing everyone the duties to be followed by any pet owner. Thanks for such a respectable job.
    All the best

    1. Mike Post author

      I appreciate that Stefan. You’re right, as pet parents we do have responsibilities and duties. When we take a pet into our home, they become a member of our family. We need to remember that and treat them as such. I know there is a lot of study around the causes of diabetes in pets so you can definitely research that. Genetics seems to be a clear factor as certain breeds are more susceptible than others. Obesity and age do seem to play a role as well.

  4. Reyhana

    This is a very interesting article. I enjoyed reading about Zoya, Sacha and Ramius. I dont know if it’s going to be any different but what are your thoughts when it comes to diabetes in cats? I have a cat and I was wondering about how diabetes would make a cat react. Can you enlighten me on this? I certainly know about my cat’s personality. He once had his immune system backfire but all that is under control now. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Mike Post author

      Thanks Reyhana, glad you enjoyed the post! About diabetes in cats, I’d recommend you go to and just type in “cat diabetes” in the search box. You’ll find tons of articles and information to help answer your questions.

  5. Heathguy33

    Very good information here I never in a million years thought that dogs could get diabetes. This article will help millions of people out. You’re extremely knowledgeable in this field.

    I have a dog and now that I know what symptoms to look for I’ll be more aware of unusual acts from her. All credited to you thanks

    1. Mike Post author

      That’s very nice of you to say, thanks. Hopefully it won’t happen to your dog, but it’s good to know the warning signs.

  6. Kevin

    It’s sad to hear about dogs with diabetes. My friends have an 11 year old bichon who has been diagnosed with diabetes. They have to give him a shot twice a day. They had noticed how sluggish he had been on walks and he doesn’t have the appetite he used to have. The shots have helped a little as he is in front of his walker more. You hear about this with people, but now starting to hear more about it with pets.

    1. Mike Post author

      Yes it is sad and we had no idea about it either until Zoya was first diagnosed with it.

  7. Norah Jansen

    We have two dogs, still only puppies really – one is 13 months and the other 11 months. Both are rescues so we don’t know family history or anything like that but the older one has arthritis already 🙁

    I’m so glad I took out insurance when we got them both. I honestly never thought about dogs getting diabetes so I’ll be very careful from now on both in what they get to eat and to check for any unusual behaviour. Really good site.

  8. Andi

    What beautiful dogs the Samoyed is.
    I had a Jack Russell cross with a Yorkshire Terrier, he was a rescue and he was 6 when I found him. I had him up until September last year and he had diabetes for two years. I used to inject him with Insulin twice a day and for a lot of people that is an issue to deal with but I had developed insulin dependent diabetes when pregnant which was a bit of a shock so I quickly became used to using needles. Sometimes it was sore for Gus and he would yelp but after a little while he got more used to being a pin cushion. He became more thirsty and to start with I just thought it was because it was the hotter months but he too started having accidents and that too rang bells for me. What I found was I had to be less enthusiastic exercising him because the more energy he used especially if it was warmer weather, it could make him collapse by having a hypo, not enough energy to keep his body going. I would have to carry a glucose solution that I could open and get it into his mouth around his gums that would give him the boost he needed to recover. He developed cancer sadly and I had to make the painful decision to do the best by him. He was nearly eleven, bless him.
    It is important to keep your cool if your beloved pet develops diabetes and the injections are very do-able because they love you and rely on you and at that point need you more than ever.
    Great article and very important and a very good idea to have insurance.

  9. Daniella

    Hi Mike,

    What a touching article!
    I have two dogs at home and one of them has urinated a few times already, but I didn’t think it could be diabetes. The first thing that came to my mind is she is getting old and that it is very difficult for her to hold herself back. Now that I read your article, I will definitely go to a vet and see if everything is ok with her. We love this dog and we certainly wouldn’t want to lose her.
    Thank you very much for this helpful blog!

    1. Mike Post author

      Thank you Daniella! I’m glad that you found it touching and that you found it personally helpful for one of your dogs. It’s a great idea to take her to the vet and get her checked out. Hopefully everything is fine but better safe than sorry. Please come back again!

  10. Michel

    I loved reading about your Samoyeds and your love for them. They are beautiful dogs. They have a lot of hair though like the chow we used to haves and that takes a lot of time.

    Your article on diabetes got me thinking, as our staffie has started doing some strange things, and she is eleven now. I will have to take her for blood tests.

    1. Mike Post author

      Thanks Michel. Yeah that’s the thing about pets right? They don’t have the ability to tell us if they feel bad or if something is wrong, so we need to be very observant with them. I’m glad that you’ll be taking your staffie to the vet to get her examined. Thanks again for reading and for your comment!

  11. Quincy W.

    This article is great and knowledgeable , for all dog lovers out there. I enjoyed reading this blog and i’ve learned a new helpful information that about diabetes in dogs. I’m not new to diabetes since last 4 years my 6 years old doberman was diagnosed with diabetes and it’s hard for me to see my dog suffer and I do my best for his treatment but after a half month he passed away. I never forget those worse experience of having a dog with diabetes that’s the reason why i’m always searching for some helpful information about diabetes in dogs, glad i’ve overcome those darkest day of my life of losing a very special friend in my life and i’m so blessed that I have a 3 furbabies in my life now havanese(Peach), doxie(Jao), and doberman(Max) Glad that they are healthy dogs. If the time has come and one of them been diagnosed of diabetes I think i’m ready for that.


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