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Do You Suspect Pet Diabetes? 7 Warning Signs

pet diabetes

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, pet diabetes affects one in every 200 cats, and one in every 400-500 dogs in the US. Similarly to diabetes in humans, pet diabetes can be managed with medication, diet and exercise. These 7 warning signs are commonly seen symptoms of diabetes. If you suspect your pet has diabetes, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

1. Increased Thirst

If your dog or cat suddenly cannot seem to drink enough water to quench its thirst, this may be an early warning sign of diabetes.

2. Increased Urination

Going hand in hand with increased thirst, if your pet is urinating more frequently, producing more urine when pottying, or suddenly having accidents in the house, your pet may have diabetes.

3. Increased Hunger

If your pet suddenly starts acting like he’s always starving and is losing weight despite eating the same amount of food, or maintains or loses weight while eating more food, this may be a sign your pet has diabetes.

4. Sudden Weight Loss

Diabetes can cause an increase in metabolism, so if your pet is eating the same amount but losing weight, it may be a sign of diabetes.

5. Weakness or Lethargy

Does your dog have less energy, or seem to be sleeping more? Diabetes can cause weakness in the back legs or deterioration of back muscles in cats. In dogs, diabetes can manifest itself as fatigue, depression and lethargy.

6. Obesity

Just like in humans, the onset of diabetes can be linked to obesity in pets. If your pet is obese, be watchful of the signs of diabetes, but in the meantime work with your veterinarian to develop a comprehensive diet and exercise plan to get your pet slimmed down and healthy.

7. Risk of Pet Diabetes Higher in Certain Breeds

Certain types of pets get diabetes at a higher rate.

In dogs:

  • Females
  • Between 7-10 years old


  • Dachshunds
  • Poodles
  • Miniature and Standard Schnauzers
  • Cairn Terriers
  • Australian Terriers
  • Springer Spaniels
  • Samoyeds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Keeshonds

In cats:

  • Males


  • Burmese

Remember, these symptoms can all be signs of diabetes, but there are other conditions these symptoms could fit as well. If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately.

The Michelson Found Animals Foundation’s mission of saving pets and enriching lives is made possible by the generous contributions of Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson.