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Is Your Dog or Cat at Risk for Diabetes?

Take the quiz and find out, then follow up with your vet for any next steps.

Is my dog at risk of diabetes?

While diabetes has been diagnosed in dogs and cats of all ages, genders, and breeds, certain pets are at greater risk for the disease.


Risk factors in dogs

  • Age (middle-aged to older dogs are more affected)
  • Unspayed females
  • Obesity
  • Breed – these breeds have a higher risk for developing diabetes
    • Cocker Spaniels
    • Dachshunds
    • Doberman Pinschers
    • German Shepherds
    • Golden Retrievers
    • Labrador Retrievers
    • Miniature Schnauzers
    • Pomeranians
    • Samoyeds and Keeshonds
    • Terriers
    • Toy Poodles

Assess your dog's risk with Our questionnaire

No one knows your dog better than you do. Diabetes can cause visible changes in your dog's behaviour and health. It is important that your dog is thoroughly examined by a vet at least once a year. For dogs at risk, more frequent visits may be advised.

Knowing the signs of diabetes is the first step in protecting your dog's health. Below are some examples to keep an eye on. You can also watch a video here.


Or download the Pet diabetes risk checker

If any of these signs apply to your pet, take your dog to your vet for a check-up.

Keeping Britain's Pets Healthy cat dog diabetes information

Excessive thirst

Your dog may start to drink more or from more varied water sources than usual.

Excessive urination

Your dog may produce more urine per day or have “accidents” in the house.

Thinning, dry and dull fur 

You may see a change in your dog’s coat, either fur falling out more regularly or the coat becoming very dry. Your dog may also stop grooming and pay little to no attention to their coat.

Excessive hunger while losing weight

Your dog may seem like it hasn’t eaten and begs for food. You dog has a good appetite but keeps losing weight, depsite regular meals.

Cloudy eyes

Your dog’s eyes may look different to normal and appear cloudy. Get your vet to check whether this is due to cataracts.

Lethargy (less active/sleeps more)

Your dog is usually very active and energetic, but now he or she like to sleep more and be less willing to exercise. 

Is diabetes in my dog the same as diabetes in people?

Diabetes in dogs can resemble diabetes in humans. However, your vet will be using medication, equipment, and monitoring systems that are designed specifically with diabetic pets in mind.

Can diabetes lead to other health problems?

Yes. Dogs with diabetes can develop other health problems.

A common complication of diabetes is cataract formation. Persistently high blood glucose levels can make the lens of the eye opaque, causing blindness. In addition, dogs with diabetes have a general increased susceptibility to infections, most commonly of the urinary tract1.

Controlling high blood sugar levels may lead to a healthier life for your dog. That is why an early diagnosis of diabetes is important.

Will diabetes affect my dog’s life expectancy?

With good control, many dogs can live for many years and lead a happy and healthy life. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment helps pets with diabetes maintain a good quality of life.

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How will my vet test my dog for diabetes?

If your dog shows signs of diabetes, your vet will ask about them, and check your dog’s general health to rule out the possibility of other conditions or infections. Your vet will first test your dog for the presence of glucose and ketones in the urine. If indicated, your vet may run a panel of blood tests which will include a measurement of blood glucose. Diagnosis is confirmed if high levels of glucose are found both in urine and a fasted blood sample.

Watch the video Sugar and Spike visiting the vet.

To learn more about diabetes and how to best care for your diabetic dog speak to your veterinary practice. You can also find out more about managing diabetes here.

How do I take care of my dog with diabetes?


Find out more about managing your dog’s diabetes here.


     1. Forrester SD, Troy GC, Dalton MN, Huffman JW, Holtzman G. Retrospective Evaluation of Urinary Tract Infections in 42 Dogs with Hyperadrenocorticism or Diabetes Mellitus or Both. J Vet Intern Med, 1999; 13:556-560


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