Diabetes is a chronic disease that appears in humans and animals. This disease is prevalent when the body does not independently process insulin or glucose in the appropriate way that it should to fuel bodily cells, tissues, and vital organs. There are two main types of diabetes—type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Other types exist, but are far less common (i.e., gestational diabetes, type 3 diabetes, and diabetes LADA. and MODY, etc.).
Keep reading to find out more about the risk factors for diabetes in pets, specifically:
1. Diabetes awareness
By reading this article, you have already lowered your pet’s chances of getting diabetes. Most pet owners do not even understand the risks that their pets are facing when it comes to developing diabetes. Before you can prevent anything, you need to be educated about it. So, it is important for you to know the science behind diabetes. There are two types of diabetes:
- Diabetes type 1: This form of diabetes is mainly found in dogs and occurs when the pancreas completely fails to produce insulin, and stops glucose from being absorbed. If your pet is diagnosed with type 1, they will need insulin shots for the rest of their lives.
- Diabetes type 2: This form is usually found in cats and often develops because the body is producing insulin, but remains resistant because of excess blood sugar.
2. Recognize the symptoms
Type 1 and 2 diabetes symptoms in pets can present very similarly, and include the following:
- Frequent water drinking and urination
- Muscle loss and weakness
- Depression and lethargy
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
3. Risk factors for diabetes in pets
Diabetes in pets can be caused by several different factors. Here is a list of some contributing causes and a brief explanation for each:
- Poor diet: Lots of fats, carbohydrates, and sugars can put your pet at risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes.
- Obesity: This is most commonly triggered by a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle that involves low activity (i.e., indoor house cats). Other diseases like pancreatitis, heart disease, and kidney disease can also stem from obesity that can lead to diabetes.
- Medication: Long term use of antibiotics can create irregular blood sugar problems that cause diabetes.
- Frequent vaccinations: Sugar imbalances may occur due to over-excessive vaccine contents.
- Age: Middle-aged and older dogs and cats are more likely to develop diabetes with the help of other contributing factors.
- Breeds: Specific breeds (i.e., chow chow, golden retrievers, boxers, poodles, and etc.) are more susceptible to diabetes.
4. Lifestyle diabetes prevention
Believe it or not, there are many preventative measures you can take as a pet owner to help your furry friend avoid diabetes, for instance:
- Take regular walks with dogs (maybe your cat).
- Play laser with your cat to get them moving.
- Avoid high sodium, over-processed canned food, treats, and kibbles.
- No people food.
- Avoid frequent vaccines and antibiotic use
- Play fetch to encourage free play
- Talk to your vet about any concerns.