While dogs and humans have similar metabolic processes, insulin resistance in dogs is still a different process. It's not as complicated as it sounds, though! Let's go over some basic information about what insulin resistance is, how it can affect your dog's health, and how to treat it.
Understanding Insulin Resistance
Insulin is a hormone that helps your dog's body use glucose, or sugar, for energy. When your dog eats something containing carbohydrates, such as grains or starchy vegetables, your dog's body digests those foods and releases glucose into the bloodstream. Insulin then transports the excess blood sugar into cells, where it can be used for energy.
When there's too much glucose in your dog's system, as happens when he eats too many carbs, insulin becomes less effective at removing excess sugar from his bloodstream because his cells become resistant to its effects. This causes even more glucose to build up in his bloodstream; his pancreas has no choice but to produce more insulin than normal in order to get rid of it all!
This can lead to high blood pressure, an increased risk of heart disease, and other health problems over time if left untreated.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance in Dogs
The most common symptom of insulin resistance is increased thirst and urination. This happens because the excess sugar in your dog's bloodstream causes his kidneys to work harder than normal and produce more urine. Other signs include:
- Increased appetite
- Weight gain
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Lack of energy
- Poor hair coat and skin quality
Diagnosing Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance can be detected by:
- Blood glucose levels: A dog with insulin resistance will have a higher level of blood glucose than normal.
- Fasting blood glucose: Fasting blood glucose is the amount of sugar in your dog's bloodstream after he hasn't eaten for 8 hours.
- Insulin level: This test measures how much insulin is present in your pet's body, which helps to regulate how much glucose enters cells (the pancreas releases insulin when it detects high levels of blood sugar). If there's too little or no insulin being released by the pancreas, then you'll see higher amounts of sugar in their system--and that means they're likely suffering from some form of diabetes mellitus (DM).
Understanding Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder in which the body has problems regulating blood sugar (glucose) levels. Normally, the pancreas makes insulin, which tells cells to take glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy. Insulin also tells the liver to stop producing glucose.
Diabetes in dogs is caused by problems with how glucose is regulated. These problems are insulin deficiency (which causes hypoglycemia) and insulin resistance (which causes hyperglycemia). The severity of the clinical signs depends on how much insulin is required to maintain normal blood glucose levels (the amount needed varies by individual).
Signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus may be present for some time before they are recognized as abnormal. If your dog shows any signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Signs of Diabetes in Dogs
The signs of diabetes in dogs are very similar to the symptoms of human diabetes. They include:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Excessive hunger
- Lethargy, or lack of energy
- Weight loss
- Vomiting and diarrhea, especially if the dog is also drinking a lot of water
In addition to these classic symptoms, there are other signs that can be more subtle or even misleading. For example, if your dog has a history of urinary tract infections (UTIs) or kidney problems, he might have an increased frequency of straining to urinate. This could be mistaken for signs of diabetes until blood glucose levels are checked.
Treatment for Insulin Resistance
You can help your dog with insulin resistance by providing him with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. Ideally, he'll be able to get about 30 minutes of exercise every day.
If your dog has been diagnosed with this condition and is already taking medication for it (such as metformin), then you should continue doing so.
However, if his symptoms are mild enough that they don't require treatment yet but still bother him enough that he doesn't want to participate in normal activities or play around much with other dogs or humans, or even just hang out at home, it might be worth trying some natural remedies first before moving on to medication as well.
Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs is Different than Traditional Diabetes
Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition that causes excessive urination and thirst in dogs. It affects the kidneys, and occurs when there is an imbalance between the levels of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and vasopressin in the body.
Diabetes insipidus is caused by damage to one or both parathyroid glands, located on either side of the thyroid gland just behind the base of your dog's neck.
These glands help regulate how much calcium goes into your dog's bloodstream and how much goes out into his bones and teeth; they also help regulate how much phosphorus goes into his bloodstream and how much goes out into his urinary tract, where it can be excreted in the urine. These hormones also play an important role in controlling the amount of water in the body.
Diabetes insipidus symptoms include:
- Excessive thirst and urination
- Weight loss despite no lack of appetite
If your dog has these symptoms, talk to your vet about testing for diabetes insipidus.
CBD and Insulin Resistance
CBD oil, the compound found in Canine Cush, may help with insulin resistance by working with your dog’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of receptors in the body that respond to cannabinoids, which are compounds found in cannabis plants.
The ECS helps regulate homeostasis, or balance, throughout your dog's entire body through communication between the brain and other organs like your dog's liver, kidneys, and digestive tract. The ECS is responsible for regulating things like mood, memory, pain sensation, appetite, metabolism, and immune function — all important functions that impact your dog's overall health.
Scientists think that CBD helps reduce insulin resistance by activating cannabinoid receptors in the body that promote a healthy metabolism and weight loss.
While there is limited research on the use of CBD oil for insulin resistance in dogs, some studies suggest that CBD accomplishes this by helping regulate blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity.
Get Your Dog on Track
Get your dog on track by adding a daily CBD supplement, like Canine Cush, to their diet regimen. The added benefits may help prevent their risk for diabetes and provide your dog with optimal health and well-being.
The Endocannabinoid System and Plant-Derived Cannabinoids in Diabetes and Diabetic Complications