Tips for Keeping Your Diabetic Pet Comfortable

Posted by Michelle for PetTest, AAHA Certified Diabetes Educator on Dec 8th 2022

Tips for Keeping Your Diabetic Pet Comfortable

Tips for Keeping Your Diabetic Pet Comfortable

One of our goals having pets is to make sure that they are happy, healthy and comfortable. When a pet is diagnosed with diabetes we worry about so much: do the injections hurt? Does testing blood glucose levels hurt? Why are they hungry all the time? Why are they having problems walking?

Today I am going to go over some common issues and concerns we have and how to keep them comfortable through this diabetic journey. Grab a cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage and let’s get to it.

Do insulin injections hurt?

Typically insulin injections do not hurt but there are a couple tricks to giving insulin to ensure that a dog or cat is comfortable.

  • Make sure insulin is warmed before injecting – warm the filled syringe between your fingers for a minute prior to injecting.
  • Needle on syringe should be bevel side up – needles were made to be used bevel side up, the needle slices into the skin gently when bevel is up.
  • Desensitize area injecting – scratching the area right before injecting helps desensitize the skin. You can also use a numbing device to desensitize the area prior to injection.

Does testing blood glucose levels hurt my pet?

Testing does not hurt your pet and is an important step in successfully managing diabetes and keeping our pets comfortable. When blood glucose levels are high or low they do not feel well. High blood glucose levels can cause diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a very serious and painful illness that requires immediate vet treatment. Low blood glucose or hypoglycemia is also very serious and can be deadly if not treated.

Tips for making testing blood glucose levels comfortable for your pet:

  • Warm the area before lancing (minus the inner upper lip in dogs). This helps get the blood flowing.
  • Give a carb free treat after testing. Single ingredient treats like Purebites are a hit with cats and dogs.
  • Make sure you are using smaller gauge lancet when new to testing. The smaller the number the larger the diameter of the needle (21 gauge is bigger than 28 gauge).

Dogs – 21-to-26-gauge lancets

Cats – 21-to-28-gauge lancets

Why is my pet hungry all the time?

Insulin and glucose work together, insulin opens cells to accept glucose. Glucose is food for the body, or energy. When there is not enough insulin to get glucose into cells the body starves for energy. This is why diabetic pets lose so much weight early on in diagnosis, the body needs a source of energy so it uses stored fats. Once blood glucose levels are lower your pet should start gaining weight and that voracious appetite will subside.

You can give some carb free treats to help curb the hunger. Purebites, chicken breast and veggies like green beans (for dogs) are great choices.

Why is my dog having hind end weakness or why is my cat walking with dropped hocks?

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by high blood glucose levels. Diabetes can also cause B12 deficiency which can affect the blood, brain, nerves and the metabolism of carbs and fats. The good news is that we can supplement with methyl B12 to help our pets to help with these problems.

Dosage for methyl B12:

  • Cats – 3,00 mcg. (3 mg.) per day
  • Dogs – 68 mcg. per lb.

I hope that today’s blog has helped answer some common questions and I hope that these tips will help keep your diabetic pet comfortable. I employed every tip I talked about when taking care of Lucy, my beloved diabetic dog and she thrived and lived to almost 16 years old.

Links to products that PetTest offers and are related to this blog.

CoolShot Dermal Numbing Device for Pets -

U40 syringes:

U100 syringes:

PetTest Meter Kit -

PetTest Painless Glucose Monitoring System -

PetTest 21-gauge Safety Lancets -

PetTest Genteel Painless Lancing Device -

PetTest Methyl B-12 -

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please start a conversation below. For a printable version of this blog click here.

Until next week stay comfy, warm and caffeinated!

Michelle Miller-Matlock

AAHA Certified Diabetes Educator

Administrator of Diabetic Dog Owners on Facebook

Founder/Administrator of DDO: Diabetic Dog Owners University

Want to learn all you can in a simple and easy to follow format? Please join DDO-U: Diabetic Dog Owners University, sponsored by PetTest.

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