Is Diabetes Common in Puppies?

Is it common for puppies to get diabetes? If so, can it go into remission so that she doesn't need shots for the rest of...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Dec 20th 2008

Is it common for puppies to get diabetes? If so,
can it go into remission so that she doesn’t need
shots for the rest of her life?

Concord, NH

Diabetes is very uncommon in puppies.

Diabetes mellitus (known simply as diabetes) is a common disease of cats and dogs. It occurs when the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetic animals have chronically high levels of sugar in their blood. The most common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, increased appetite, and weight loss. Diabetes is a life-threatening syndrome that must be treated.

In my experience, diabetes is most common in middle aged animals. I have never diagnosed diabetes in a puppy or kitten.

I have, however, seen high blood sugar levels in puppies and kittens. Very young animals may develop temporarily high levels of sugar in their blood after meals or after treatment with IV fluids that contain sugar. They are also prone to episodes of low blood sugar when they haven’t eaten for long periods.

I am therefore wondering about the circumstances of your puppy’s diagnosis with diabetes. Have multiple blood sugar tests yielded high results? Is there sugar in her urine? Has her blood sugar been tested after she has been fasted for several hours?

If your veterinarian has performed rigorous testing and concluded that your puppy is diabetic, then you will have to administer insulin. Some animals do experience remission from diabetes and do not require injections for their entire lives.

If your vet hasn’t performed the sort of testing listed above, I’d recommend it. There may be a chance that your puppy isn’t diabetic after all.

For more information on canine diabetes, visit my website:

And there also is information on feline diabetes:

Photo: Tina was diabetic, but not when she was a puppy.