You have noticed that your dog has been drinking more water and having accidents in the house which hasn’t happened in years (or ever).
You’re thinking maybe a urinary tract infection. You go to the vet to find out that it isn’t a UTI; instead you hear these words… “Your dog has diabetes”.
WHAT?! Your mind goes through a hundred thoughts at once, and then you realize that the vet is still talking and now you’ve missed more than half of what was said! Whoa... Can we start again? Please?
You try to pay attention this time. I have to give my dog two shots of insulin a day (12 hours apart or so), change food, always have syrup or honey on hand. The vet says, “Ok, do those things and come back in a week.” WHAT?! That’s it? Surely there’s more to it than that!
Yes, in fact, there is SO much more to it than that.
First Things First:
Breathe! This diagnosis is not a death sentence - it is manageable! There’s no reason that your pup can’t live a full, healthy life. Your lives will change certainly, but your “new normal” will settle in quickly.
- Will you need to get up at the same time every day (even weekends)? Yes
- Will you need to find a food that your pup will eat willingly every 12 hours? Yes
- Will you have to rearrange your schedule to be home at breakfast and dinner? Yes
- Will you test your pup’s BG (blood glucose) at home? YES
- Will you need to find someone that you trust to TEST and administer insulin if you can’t be home? Yes
- Will your already strong bond with your pup get even stronger?YES!
I know how overwhelming this all sounds... I’ve been there. The truth of the matter is that I didn’t sleep a whole lot in the beginning. I bought every book that I could get my hands on and searched “Dr. Google” non-stop. I woke up every time my sweet boy moved and more if he didn’t move. I put my hand on him to be sure that he was still breathing. Can you say “helicopter Mom”? I hovered over him like a crazy woman!!!
Then, my life changed. I joined a group on Facebook that taught me so much. These are people that live with this disease EVERY DAY, many of them for YEARS! They taught me the importance of home testing, of keeping a schedule, a journal, asking questions and gave me answers that I could understand. I felt like a 2 year old that had just discovered the question “why”. You see, I’m not one to take direction blindly. I’m a person that needs to understand why something needs to be done.
I will tell you right here and now that the more you understand the “whys” about this disease, the more empowered you will feel and the more empowered you feel, the more able you are to manage this disease effectively. With knowledge comes power. For me, that took my fear away. It made me believe that I could do this! And trust me, so can YOU!
I want to be clear, meltdowns are acceptable, frustration is expected, but panic is not to be yielded to.
Do you remember the day that you heard those words, “Your dog has diabetes”… Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below and your best advice for a new diagnosis.