How to Recognize and Treat Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Dogs


Dogs that are diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis experience an imbalance of chemicals in the body. This is the most severe type of diabetes and needs to be properly monitored to protect your dog’s health. Typically, dog owners become alarmed when their canine experiences excessive thirst or weight loss. Here’s how to recognize and treat diabetic ketoacidosis in dogs.


Watch for signs of diabetic ketoacidosis. Many dog owners don’t know the symptoms of this condition until their dog is ill. Canines affected by this condition may experience lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, excessive thirst and bad breath. Write down your dog’s symptoms so you have a detailed list to discuss with your vet.

Get your dog to the vet for testing. If you suspect your dog has this condition or any health issue it’s important to request tests. Blood glucose levels will be tested along with urine to make a diagnosis. Since diabetic ketoacidosis shares symptoms of abdominal tumors it may be wise to request an x-ray as well.

Provide your dog with insulin shots. Your vet may recommend providing your dog with insulin shots. The frequency of these injections will depend on the severity of your dog’s condition. Typically, the shots are given in a place dense with skin such as the scruff of your canine’s neck. It may seem intimating to administer these shots but most owners and dogs get very accustomed to this process.

Practice patience in administering medication. It may take some time to get the insulin dosage right. Every dog reacts differently to medication. Your vet may prescribe a low dosage of insulin and increase it if your dog isn’t responding.

Continue to consult with your vet as you try different medications. You may need to stabilize your dog’s electrolytes. If tests determine that your canine’s electrolytes are out of balance you may need to supplement fluids with electrolytes to balance your dog’s levels.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be diligent about caring for your dog’s condition. Diabetic ketoacidosis can be life- threatening if not managed correctly. Follow medical instructions to the letter and always watch your dog for any behavior or physical changes.
  • Urinary tract infections should be handled with care. Dogs that have diabetic ketoacidosis should avoid some drugs such as prednisone. This is a type of steroid that should never be given to dogs with this condition. Always remind your vet of your dog’s condition before administering any type of medication.

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