Signs Your Dog With Diabetes Is Dying? A Guide!

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

When your dear dog has diabetes, extra care is required by pet parents. While diabetes can be managed, sometimes dogs may show signs of consistent decline in their health leading to unfortunate end of life. Let’s see signs your dog with diabetes is dying.

In this blog, we are going to understand various signs of diabetes and how can you manage it and give your dog a comfortable life.

Signs Your Dog With Diabetes Is Dying

Signs Your Dog With Diabetes Is Dying?

Diabetes is a condition where bodies have difficulty handling sugar, in dogs too. There are mainly 2 types of diabetes.

Type I diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, and this needs to be supplemented. This is the most common type in dogs.

Type II diabetes happens when the body becomes resistant to the insulin produced by the pancreas. It usually occurs in overweight individuals and is more common in cats. This type of diabetes often needs insulin therapy but can sometimes be managed through diet alone.

These conditions require careful management, but sometimes dogs may face serious health concerns which may lead to their unfortunate death. Let’s see what are the signs your dog with diabetes is dying:

Sign-1) Behavioural Changes

Diabetic dogs may show changes in behaviour when their health declines. Look for these signs:

  • Less interest in playing or going for walks
  • Increased tiredness or lack of energy
  • Appearing more distant or needy with family members

These behaviour changes show your dog isn’t feeling well. Symptoms like becoming really tired or changing interactions show your diabetic dog needs attention.

Catching problems early is so important! If you see your diabetic dog acting less energetic or playful, take them to the vet promptly.

Signs Your Dog With Diabetes Is Dying

The vet can check for health complications causing the behaviour changes. Finding issues quickly gives the best chance to get your dog back to their usual happy, energetic self through proper treatment. Regular vet visits help spot problems before they get too serious.

Pay attention to shifts in your diabetic dog’s spirit and take action fast if their behaviour seems “off.” Proper care keeps diabetic dogs at their best!

Sign-2) Eating Habit Changes

Diabetic dogs may show changes in eating and drinking habits as warning signs. Look for:

  • Less interest in food or refusing meals
  • Losing weight suddenly
  • Drinking way more or way less water than usual

Appetite and hydration changes show their body is struggling. Getting the vet’s attention is vital when you notice differences in your dog’s eating and drinking patterns. The vet can figure out if diabetes or another illness is causing issues.

Make sure your diabetic dog sticks to a consistent, balanced diet. Their nutrition needs may change depending on health conditions. The vet will suggest diet adjustments as needed.

Part of caring for a diabetic dog is watching them closely, noting any differences in water intake, weight, and food motivation.

Sign-3) Mobility Issues

Diabetic dogs may start having trouble walking. Signs include:

  • Hesitating walks
  • Looking uncomfortable or pained when moving
  • Leg weakness, especially in the back legs
  • Lack of coordination and stumbling

These mobility issues often mean nerve, muscle, or other diabetic complications. Movement problems greatly lower the quality of life for diabetic dogs.

a sad dog sitting

Catching changes in how your dog walks or runs is key. If they seem stiff, painful, weak, or unsteady on their paws, take them to the vet promptly.

The vet can assess the underlying cause and provide treatment to help your dog regain strength. Addressing mobility issues quickly improves comfort and well-being for diabetic dogs.

With the right care for diabetes, dogs can stay active and continue enjoying life’s walks for a long time.

Sign-4) Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious difficulty of diabetes in dogs. Signs of DKA are:

  • Fast, excessive panting
  • Fruity or sweet-smelling breath
  • Frequent vomiting

These need emergency vet care. DKA means your dog’s body is dangerously out of balance. The sweet breath smell is a major warning of trouble.

If you see panting, vomiting, or sweet breath, don’t wait, get your diabetic dog to the vet hospital immediately. DKA can become life-threatening if left untreated.

Catching DKA early and getting vet treatment fast gives the best chance of managing it. Waiting or delaying vet care allows DKA to get worse, which can be fatal.

So remember: rapid breathing, sweet-smelling breath, and throwing up are red alerts in diabetic dogs. Fast action saves lives!

a sad dog sitting

Sign-5) Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia means a diabetic dog’s blood sugar drops too low. Signs of low blood sugar are[1]:

  • Shaking or trembling
  • Acting confused, disoriented
  • Unusual or abnormal behaviours
  • Seizures
Preventing blood sugar crashes is key. Work closely with your vet on diet, glucose monitoring, and medicine adjustments. This helps avoid emergencies.

Catching low blood sugar fast and getting quick treatment prevents harsh complications in diabetic dogs.

Sign-6) Organ Failure

Diabetic dogs can experience kidney, liver, heart, or lung failure. Watch for the following signs:

  • Urinating more or less than normal
  • Changes in urine colour or texture
  • Yellowing of eye whites or gums (jaundice)
  • Laboured breathing, coughing, wheezing

Issues like jaundice and breathlessness are emergencies. If you see any organ failure symptoms, rush to the vet immediately[2]. Organ problems advance quickly so fast action is essential.

The vet can run tests to check different organ functions and start supportive treatments. This gives the best outcome chances.

So watch closely for signs of organ trouble – rapid medical intervention means everything for your diabetic dog’s wellbeing!

a sad dog lying down

Monitoring and Identifying Changes

Caring for a diabetic dog requires teamwork with your vet. Here are some important ways to work together:

  • Go to ALL scheduled vet appointments. This allows for checking for problems early. The vet can adjust medications and treatment plans to keep your dog healthy.
  • Keep a daily log of your dog’s activities, eating, and medicines given. Bring this log to appointments. It helps the vet spot patterns and early signs of issues needing attention.
  • Know what is “normal” for your dog in behaviour and hunger. Notice any differences day-to-day and tell your vet. Changes from normal may suggest health concerns to address quickly.
  • Ask your vet questions and discuss anything you find different about your diabetic dog. Open communication helps proper care decisions.
  • Staying on top of home monitoring provides your vet with crucial health status updates between visits.

Together, you and your vet partner closely to give your diabetic dog the highest quality care. This catches problems early for treatment adjustments, and encourages longevity and happiness!

Emergency Response Plan

Be prepared to give emergency medications like insulin if prescribed. Know proper dosages and How can you administer them (You never know). Have meds and accessories available like syringes on hand.

Use a glucose monitor to check blood sugar during crises following the vet’s instructions. High or low readings guide the next steps like giving meds or urgent vet visits.

Keep your dog comfortable until the vet takes over. Offer favourite toys or blankets, keep surroundings quiet and calm, and stay by their side. This eases stress. Getting professional emergency care fast is crucial for the best outcome and recovery chances.

a sad dog lying down

Work closely with your vet to create emergency action protocols just in case. Having an emergency kit, understanding the use of medication monitors, and providing TLC eases scary situations while help arrives.

When to Say Goodbye?

One of the hardest parts of caring for a dog is seeing their health decline consistently. There may come a point where your vet advises considering end-of-life decisions to prevent your dog’s further suffering.

This is never an easy discussion, but an honest talk with your vet can help inform what is best for your dog. Openly discuss factors like your dog’s current life quality, their consistent illness and humane ways to help them relieve pain.

Your vet can advise if palliative care or euthanasia would be kinder paths to prevent intolerable pain at the end stages. If euthanasia is advised or you choose palliative hospice-type care in your dog’s final days, your priority becomes keeping them as comfortable as possible.

Offer favourite toys, soft bedding, gentle strokes and affection. Making these difficult decisions requires strength! Provide unconditional comfort until the final moment.

Stay present so your dog feels safe and loved. This is the ultimate act of affection as a pet guardian – to make the wellbeing of your dog the priority, right until the very last beat of their heart.


1. What Is the Final Stage of Diabetes in Dogs?

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is essentially a life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. DKA occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels.

2. Signs Your Dog With Diabetes Is Dying?

Severe increases in drinking and urination. Dehydration despite drinking a lot of water. Lack of appetite or disinterest in normal food. Nausea, drooling, the dog keeps licking lips. Vomiting. Sudden weight loss (even if your dog is still eating well)

3. What Are the Symptoms of Too Much Insulin in Dogs?

Severe hypoglycemia resulting from too much insulin can cause seizures, irreversible brain damage, and death. Warning signs include nervousness, hyperexcitability, anxiety, vocalization, muscle tremors, lack of coordination, wobbliness (the dog may appear drunk), and pupil dilation.

4. Why Did My Dog Suddenly Get Diabetes?

Just like in humans, it isn’t completely certain why some dogs develop diabetes. Some dogs may be more genetically prone to developing the condition. It is known, however, that being overweight can increase the risk of your dog developing diabetes.

5. Do Dogs With Diabetes Smell Bad?

“A diabetic pet will eat tons of food, but they lose weight like crazy, and can’t use the food that’s digested by the body. They break down their own body for nutrients.” That generates ketones, which produce a distinctive odour on the breath. Some say it smells like nail polish remover, others think the odour is sweet.


In conclusion “Signs your dog with diabetes is dying?” Dogs with diabetes need care love and care, as a responsible pet parent you need to be alert to subtle signs and ready to face all situations.

Identifying early symptoms may help to make their life a little longer and healthier. Here staying attentive and proactive is the key! Be strong and sensible while making decisions about their quality of life( we know it is difficult!)

Saying goodbye is painful. Take things one day at a time. You have the power to ensure their good days overshadow the bad ones with kindness and care.


  1. Howe, S., DVM. (2023, September 12). Hypoglycemia in dogs. PetMD.
  2. Professional, C. C. M. (n.d.-c). Organ failure. Cleveland Clinic.
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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