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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10287
Experience:  I have owned, bred and shown dogs for over 40 years.
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My fathers dog has diabetes that is controlled by insulin.

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My fathers dog has diabetes that is controlled by insulin. However in the last month or so the dog has begun to be very anxious in the evenings after his dose and feeding. Begging for attention and food for 1-3 hours despite any type of discipline. We don't understand what is prompting this change. And now we are seeing this behavior in the afternoon. Any ideas.

Hi Christin, I'm Dr. Deb. I will do my best to assist you today.
I'm sorry for this concern for your dad's dog.
I do have a few questions to ask about him, if you don't mind:

1. Has any blood work been done recently?
2. Is he showing any other signs unusual behavior such as panting or mental confusion?
3. How old is he?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He gets regular blood work from his vet and as far as I know everything is reported to be normal. My step mother checks his blood sugar levels at home occasionally to satisfy herself he is staying in a healthy blood sugar range. Bear is 11. He has seasonal allergies that he is getting treatment for. Also he had cataract surgery a years go and he gets eye drops for that. My step mother walks him once or twice a day usually in the evening when he gets anxious hoping to help him wear out some of his energy.

Thanks so much for the additional information.

I have several thoughts as to the possible explanation for this change in behavior:

1. Just because a dog has one endocrine problem doesn't mean they can't have two. Cushing's disease is one such possible condition which can cause increased appetite and change in attitude. Usually these dogs are also drinking more water and urinating more and their diabetes is not well controlled.
Sometimes blood work and a urinalysis might be suggestive of this condition (an elevated alkaline phosphatase level and protein in the urine) but usually additional testing such as a Low Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test needs to be done to rule it out.
This LINK discusses this condition in some detail.

2. He may be suffering from early doggy Alzheimer’s aka Cognitive Dysfunction or senility, unfortunately. This condition is recognized in dogs as they age and is as heart breaking and sad as it is in humans.

The symptoms can vary from one dog to the next but many of them will experience Sundown Syndrome, just like in humans (which means their symptoms only occur in the evenings or worsen at that time). They can start to urinate/defecate in the house, they can start to become confused, many of them pant or whine, they can stare off into space, some of them will "forget" they've been fed,etc.
This can be a slowly progressive condition (in most cases) while other dogs can decline rapidly.

Treatment options are somewhat limited but cognitive supplements such as Neutricks, SAMe (Novifit) and Senilife, or diets such as B/D (which is a prescription diet from your vet) or the Purina senior diet with MCT oil may improve cognition and reduce anxiety if present.

Combinations of antioxidants such as Golden Years (Sogeval) or Cell Advance 440 (VetriScience) may be useful.
High dose fish oils may also help some dogs. Welactin or 3V Capsules are good veterinary brands.

I encourage owners to actively engage and play with their dogs to help with mental stimulation. Regular exercise is also a good thing to keep the blood flowing to the brain.


Over the counter Melatonin may also be useful since it's a potent anti-oxidant and also has sedative qualities for some dogs. The dose would be 3-6 mg once or twice a day. Nature's Bounty is a good brand since quality control issues abound with supplements.



3. When older dogs start to behave in strange ways, I always worry about a brain mass, unfortuantely. But I don't believe his behavior qualifies for something so drastic; it's not unusual enough.



I hope this helps give you and your family some ideas as to possible explanations for his behavior and possible ways to minimize it (especially if #2 above is suspected). Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for this information. These are definitely avenues to review with our vet. One option we have been trying to pursue is finding a lower calorie food for Bear so that he can have a little more volume of kibble in his meals. In our research we came across information that a high fiber low protein diet can be good for diabetic dogs. Do you have any thoughts on this.? Would pursueing an option in which Bear could have more food volume be a good alternative? Provided there are no other medical issues involved.

You're welcome.

Diets can play a huge role in controlling diabetes in cats but research has shown that they aren't as effective in dogs with this condition.
I tend to subscribe to the tenet that the most important aspect of diet for diabetic dogs is consistency: same amount of the same diet, at the same time of day, to maximize insulin effect.

If he's thin, then a high fiber diet wouldn't be recommended because it's too low in calories.
But if he's overweight, then a higher fiber diet may be beneficial in helping them to feel full.

This LINK may be useful for you since it also contains a few "do's" and "don'ts" when feeding diabetic dogs. Deb

Dr. Deb and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.
I also wanted to wish you the best with your dad's dog.

Regards, Deb

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