Why is my diabetic dog no longer interested in eating and what can we do get her appetite back to normal?

Original Question: My diabetic Bichon Frise doesn't want to eat however she will smell it and is excited when were preparing it. We have tried warming it in the microwave adding pumpkin and adding beef broth. She needs her insulin shot within 12 hours of the last one. She will eventually eat but it is a real struggle. What can we do? - Donna

Why is my diabetic dog no longer interested in eating and what can we do get her appetite back to normal? Sep 1, 2017

Hi Donna,

Thanks for your question.

Diabetes a common and manageable disease in our canine companions, but it can be challenging for owners to navigate sometimes. When a diabetic animal receives an insulin dose but does not eat, there is a risk of the blood glucose dropping too low. It sounds like this is what you are concerned about with your dog.

The first thing I would suggest is checking-in with your veterinarian, and perhaps ensuring that the dose of insulin is still correct. They may suggest a test called a blood glucose curve, where the pet’s glucose level is tracked throughout the day to see how it changes. I assume you may have had one of these done during the initial work-up of your pet. It is a good idea to periodically repeat the curve so we can make sure a dose change is not needed. I never recommend changing the dose on your own without consulting your veterinarian.

Another thing to consider is the diet itself. Perhaps your veterinarian can review and provide you with a more palatable alternative. There are diets that are designed to assist in managing diabetes, and you may want to consider one of these if you haven’t previously. It is also important to consider how many calories she is eating. You can weigh the food using proper measure before and after it is offered to see how much she actually eats during a meal. The last thing I would suggest is considering ruling out another, underlying disease to explain the change in appetite – a full blood panel would be a good place to start. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you from there.

I hope this gives you some direction.

Dr. Kim Hester

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