What Is A Good Range For My Diabetic Dog?

Today we talk about what is a good BG (Blood Glucose) range to keep your pup in.  Depending on your vet’s understanding of how to manage Canine Diabetes, you will get differing views on this question.

If you are in a Canine Diabetes community (which I highly recommend), you will be given a Diabetic dog range as opposed to a non-diabetic range.  The glucose range for a non-diabetic dog is around 70-140.  Some vets will tell you to keep your pup in that range. Well, if your pup wasn’t Diabetic that would be good advice.  Your pup IS Diabetic and running him/her in that range is a recipe for disaster!  IF your dog had a functioning pancreas and had the ability to save itself from a hypoglycemic event, then trying to achieve a non-diabetic range would be advised.  Your dog does NOT have a functioning pancreas, YOU are now your dog’s pancreas and it is a responsibility that you need to take seriously!

We recommend that a safe, conservative range to keep your pup in is 150-250.  Notice that even the low end of that range is still above a non-diabetic range.  Why you ask?  Good question!!!  We have talked many times about how stress or activity can impact BG (Blood Glucose) in your dog.  On a day to day basis, we worry less about the high numbers caused by stress or a misplaced “sneaky snack” than we do about low numbers.  High numbers can be managed, low numbers can be fatal.

I wish that there was a way to sugar coat that reality, but there isn’t.  So I’ll say it again, high numbers can be managed, low numbers can be fatal.  Given that information, why put yourself and your dog in a position to be concerned about that on a daily basis?  There is no need to tempt fate and risk losing your “sugar baby” just because the UPS man comes to the door.

Here’s the over simplified explanation of why you need some wiggle room when it comes to a safe range.  When a Diabetic dog is put in an everyday situation like chasing a squirrel or seeing a bird in their front yard or barking at the mailman, in many cases that excitement will cause their BG (Blood Glucose) to drop.  In a non-diabetic dog, that’s no big deal because their pancreas signals for glucose to be released into the body to compensate for that excitement.  Well, our pup’s pancreas no longer has the ability to send that signal, so now that glucose has been used up in a big burst and there is no message to replace it.  Now you are looking at a hypoglycemic event.

Part of the joy of being a dog (just guessing here since I have never been a dog) is chasing squirrels, barking at the mailman, keeping their people safe from that UPS guy and keeping those pesky birds off of the lawn.  Why rob your pup of those everyday activities that bring him/her joy by running their numbers too low!  I suppose that you can keep your pup in a dark sound proof room so that you can keep BG (Blood Glucose) in a non-diabetic range, but why would you want to do that to your dog? I’m guessing that like me, you wouldn’t.

One argument that you will hear about striving for a non-diabetic range is that you risk organ failure over time if your pup is too high.  Well sadly, while true in a human, our pups don’t live long enough for that to be a real danger.  The lifespan of a dog is so much shorter than that of a human, that organ damage and failure caused by higher glucose readings is not really something that we need to worry about.  If your dog is still sighted, then you will want to keep them as close to 200 as you can to protect their vision.

If you work outside the home and your dog is alone all day, then running them on the higher side of the range (150-250) is probably a good thing especially if your pup has a bowl shaped curve (fasting readings are the highest of the day).  That way if there is a little excitement while you are out, your pup has some wiggle room to bark at any and all intruders (birds, mailmen, UPS guy and the dreaded squirrel).

I think you get the idea that if we want our beloved pups to live a full and active life complete with bursts of excitement for whatever reason; we need to keep their BG (Blood Glucose) in a safe range for everyone’s sake.  Not one of us asked for this diagnosis, but we have it and the best thing that we can do for all concerned is to take this responsibility seriously.

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Until next time…