Can I give glucose to a healthy puppy?

Diabetes in dogs

Diabetes in dogs is similar to that in humans. The dog is more thirsty, urinates more often and has a great appetite - but still loses weight. Fur changes and lens opacities can also occur. In severe cases, diabetes leads to vomiting, circulatory collapse and changes in blood values. If you experience any suspicious symptoms in your dog, it is best to see a vet immediately. Diabetes is easy to diagnose and prompt treatment is very important in order for your dog to become stable again.

root cause

The causes of diabetes in dogs, similar to those in humans, are unclear. In any case, a healthy diet, exercise and an optimal weight protect - is your dog too fat? - before illness. Interestingly, 80% of animals suffering from diabetes are uncastrated bitches (1). However, it is estimated that only 0.3 to 1% of the total domestic dog population have diabetes.


The vet will do blood and urine tests to determine blood sugar and fructosamine levels.

Blood sugar: The normal blood glucose level in dogs is between 70-138 mg / dL, or 3.9-7.8 mmol / L (4). If the dog has a sustained blood sugar level above 150 mg / dl or 8.4 mmol / l, he is suffering from hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar level) and your dog may have diabetes. But the value alone doesn't say much!

Fructosamine: The blood sugar level can quickly appear too high due to the stress of visiting the vet, which is why the fructosamine content of the blood is very important. The fructosamine content, which is also called "blood sugar memory", can provide information about how far the dog's diabetes has progressed. Even if the dog is already on insulin, the fructosamine provides information about further treatment. A normal fructosamine content in dogs is between 258-343 µmol / L (4). Too high a fructosamine content indicates diabetes has not been adjusted or has not been adjusted correctly.

Specific urine weight: The urine test also determines the specific urine weight (USG). Pure water is worth 1,000. If your dog's kidney is healthy, then urine specific gravity will be anywhere between 1,015-1,065 (3). Very high levels can mean that urine sugar and protein levels are abnormally high. However, very low values ​​can indicate a rare form of diabetes insipidus.

In addition to the red and white blood picture, the vet can also determine the liver and pancreas enzymes, the kidney values, the electrolytes, total proteins and blood lipid values. Depending on the blood sugar disease, all of this indicates how long the diabetes has been untreated or how far it has progressed and possibly even has already caused damage.

In contrast to humans and cats, the insulin-dependent form of diabetes is most common in dogs. This usually means that the dog needs additional insulin on a permanent basis.


If the bitch is not neutered, you should definitely consider neutering with your vet (1). If the diabetes could be diagnosed early enough, a diet food with the addition of insulin may suffice. If the dog has had diabetes for a long time, it is possible that the dog has acidosis in the blood, known as acidosis, which can lead to a diabetic coma.

In any case, the dog needs insulin for treatment. Caninsulin® from MSD Animal Health Innovation GmbH, a subsidiary of Merck, is the only approved insulin for dogs and cats and is therefore a must. Merck has the monopoly to treat all dogs and cats with diabetes in Europe. Insulin for humans has been produced microbiologically since 1982, while Caninsulin® is obtained from the pancreas of pigs, as was customary in the last century.

You can find more information about Caninsulin here: Diabetes mellitus in dogs

The dog must be properly adjusted to the insulin treatment. Here it is important that you follow the guideline from your veterinarian. Many dogs are well controlled at around 0.2 to 1.0 U / kg of insulin every 12 hours. Most authors recommend a starting dose of 0.25 U / kg every 12 hours (5). There is now an insulin pen for animals that can be precisely adjusted to the amount to be administered. The handling takes a little practice, but it is very easy - your vet will be happy to show you how to use the VetPen.

Feed your dog as recommended by the veterinarian. This will usually be twice a day together with the insulin administration. In the beginning, it is particularly important to observe your dog's reactions to the insulin so that it can be adjusted correctly. Please do not increase or decrease the insulin dose on your own initiative without consulting your vet! In the first month, the dog should be examined by the vet at least once a week.

If you would like to exchange ideas or are looking for more information, then take a look at our Facebook page!

© Dr. Hannah Miriam Jaag - 2013 -
updated in February 2017
© Photo:

(1) Comparative aspects of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats. Hoenig M. Mol Cell Endocrinol. (2002)
(2) Study of 253 dogs in the United Kingdom with diabetes mellitus. Davison LJ, Herrtage ME, Catchpole B. Veterinary Record (2005)
(3) Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Animal Health Diagnostic Center. Webpage (2013)
(4) by Dr. Ronald Hines (2013)
(5) Effect of insulin dosage on glycemic response in dogs with diabetes mellitus: 221 cases. Hess R, Ward C.. J Am Vet Med Assoc (2000)