It’s National Pet Diabetes Month!
Diabetes isn’t just a human disease. It’s on the rise in our pets, affecting thousands of dogs and cats every year. According to Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK) diabetes more often affects cats than dogs. Diabetes typically develops in older pets, however, since diabetes is largely a lifestyle related disease, it is preventable.
In both dogs and cats, diabetes is tied to obesity and age. If your pet is over 10 years old and weighs too much, he or she is at a higher risk for diabetes. To decrease this risk, you can work with your veterinarian to increase your pet’s exercise level and decrease his or her caloric intake.
Just like with people, if pets consume more calories than they exert, they will gain weight. However, not all calories are created equal. It’s best to choose higher protein foods, and many pet parents find that a grain-free pet food with natural ingredients helps prevent their pets from gaining weight. Wellness CORE recipes for cats and dogs are grain-free and provide high-quality protein sources. Because a higher-protein diet can be more nutrient dense (as well as calorie dense), you may need to speak with your vet about decreasing your pet’s portion size when you transition foods.
Some vets say that a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet may help prevent diabetes.
What is Diabetes Anyway?
You probably know diabetes has something to do with insulin. Insulin is a hormone that processes blood sugar (glucose) so your body has energy. When your body can’t process the glucose properly, sugar builds up in the blood and urine.
This leads to an imbalance that affects the whole body, and can become very serious if untreated.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats and Dogs
Although cats and dogs handle diabetes differently, they can exhibit similar symptoms of the disease:
-Increased thirst/increase in water consumption
-Change in appetite
Many of the symptoms of diabetes in pets can mimic other diseases, so if your pet exhibits any unusual behavior, it’s best to take him or her to the vet promptly.
Although a serious disease, if the vet determines that your pet has diabetes, it can be treated effectively with medication, diet & lifestyle changes.