All this month we are talking about diabetes awareness for dogs and cats. Check out our previous stories here.
Today we are talking about making it easier to live with diabetes, and be sure to read to the end of the article, because we are hosting a giveaweay!
Diabetes in pets causes a number of side issues. Many are actually very similar to human diabetes. So how can you make these issues easier for pets to live with? Here's a few products to consider.
BLOOD GLUCOSE METERS
A blood glucose meter is number one to help you monitor blood sugar levels in your pets. You can't use the one for humans though, you have to get one for pets.
|AlphaTrak is one type of glucose meter on the market.|
"There are also interstitial glucose monitors that give very detailed information," Bartges said. "There is a little probe inserted under the skin and the probe measures the sugar in the tissue fluid every few minutes."
Dehydration can be a problem in diabetic pets, especially if the diabetes is not in control. Dehydration can be dangerous for your pet anyway, but it can affect the gums and the skin, and it can also affect the way the body gets insulin.
Urinary tract infections are another issue. Diabetic pets are far more susceptible.
The best thing is for pets to have lots of fresh water. For that, consider a water fountain which uses a pump to keep the water flowing and aerated.
On Friday I reviewed the PetSafe Drinkwell Water Fountain. The fountain is an excellent way to keep fresh water for your pet. Just make sure your cat is willing to drink from the fountain.
Now if your pet is drinking more water, chances are they might pee more. If you have a cat, make sure you have a good absorbent cat litter, and keep the pan as clean as you can. If you have a dog, it might be time to consider giving them a place to go in the house if they need to. Earlier this year I reviewed the reusable, designer pee pads from Spoiled Pup Boutique. It might be a good option.
CUTS, SORES AND DRY SKIN
One problem that is true for both humans and pets is a higher susceptibility toward infections, especially skin problems. Pet parents need to watch their pets for cuts or bites or other things that, if left untreated, could get infected. Fungus can also be a problem.
- Paw balms to keep the pads soft and free from cracks (especially helpful in the winter time).
- Liquid bandages, blood stopper powder and other products to easily stop pet bleeding.
- Salves that help with hot spots and sores. I would suggest Dr. Rose's remedies for this. It's all natural, and my friend said it seemed to help with her dogs sores.
Veterinary expert Dr. Lorie Huston said no list would be complete without proper oral care.
"Tooth brushing (with a tooth paste designed for pets, not humans) is the gold standard," Huston said. "Check with your veterinarian before using chewies or other dental treats though."
It's not just about cleaning though, but about getting into the habit of checking your dog's mouth regularly. Pets with diabetes are more susceptible to infections, and if the tartar in the teeth is not taken care of, bacteria in the mouth can lead to infections there and elsewhere.
Never brushed your pets' teeth before? This is something that takes some time for the pet to get used to. you may actually want to start with your finger instead of going right to the tooth brush. Carol Bryant from Fidose of Reality did a great video earlier this year explaining how to get your pet used to get their teeth brushed.
FOOD AND TREATS
Food is probably the most important part of keeping diabetes in check and helping pets live with the disease. But it's not something that any of the vets I talked to were comfortable making suggestions for.
The reasons are simple: every dog or cat is different. And some pets will have different needs to maintain a balance. If the pet is overweight, you may need some special food. Just putting your dog on a grain free diet may not be the answer right away. So you need to check with your vet. They will likely suggest a prescription diet, usually created by Hill's or Purina. Do your homework before you look into those.
With the help of your vet, you may be able to get food specially created for your dog. In Orlando, we have a place called Rick's Dog Deli, which designs dog food based on the pet's needs. See if you have something like that near you.
As for treats, it might be best to stay away, at least at the beginning. There are many companies that are coming out with low calorie treats, like the PetSafe Lickety Stik or the Natural Balance Perfect Bites for cats. But again, check with your vet.
When it comes to food, Dr. Huston also suggests getting something else.
"An automatic feeder that can be programmed to dispense a given quantity of food at a given time," Huston said. "A low tech version, still very acceptable, is a measuring cup used to make sure the same amount of food is delivered each day. Feedings should be given at the same time each day as well, which is why an automatic feeder might make life easier for busy owners who can’t always be at home at the same time each day."
- Post 1 -- Pets get diabetes too
- Post 2 -- Diabetes in dogs and cats: Wading through the science
- Post 3 -- Living with a diabetic dog: Meet KC the cairn terrier
We are giving away two prizes:
- A PetSafe Drinkwell Avalon water fountain ( white in color, value at $90 -- Thanks to PetSafe for providing the fountain)
- A $25 Petco Gift Card (Thanks to Petco for providing the card)
To enter, all you have to do is comment below on what your do to keep your pet healthy. PLUS, enter the Rafflecopter below.
The giveaway closes on Dec. 1.