Diabetes in Dogs: Diagnosis

Diagnosing your dog's diabetes is usually a simple process for a medical professional. The veterinarian may suspect diabetes because you noticed that your dog was urinating, drinking and possibly eating excessively, and that your pet was losing weight.

To firm up the diagnosis, the veterinarian will look at three factors:

  • Does the dog have symptoms of diabetes mellitus (excessive thirst, hunger and urination, plus weight loss)

  • Is the blood glucose too high?

  • Is there glucose in the urine?

color photo of a dog wearing a baseball cap
Deborah Ann, 10 years old, just diagnosed. Her owner is using a Pet Owner's Log to track Deb's meals, injections and test results..
Photo, courtesy of S. Russ

The veterinarian may also suggest some additional tests, because many diabetic dogs are older and may have other medical problems that need to be treated. Diabetic dogs are more prone to have urinary tract infections, inflammation of the pancreas, Cushing's disease, thyroid disease or cancer.1

They may also suffer from heart disease, kidney disease and anemia. It is worthwhile to do some additional blood and urine tests at the time of diagnosis, along with a chest x-ray and x-rays or ultrasound of the abdomen.


  1. Hess, et al. Concurrent disorders in dogs with diabetes mellitus: 221 cases (1993-1998). JAVMA 217(8): 1166-1173, 2000


The BD Diabetes Learning Center describes the causes of diabetes, its symptoms, and diabetes complications such as retinopathy and neuropathy. This site contains detailed information about blood glucose monitoring, insulin injection and safe sharps disposal. Interactive quizzes, educational literature downloads and animated demonstrations help to teach diabetes care skills.

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