ralph in rv

Our experience dealing with Canine Diabetes

We decided to cut our time short in St. Petersburg and take him back to Atlanta to our vet there.  Fortunately, our boss in St. Pete was a dog person herself, and understood.

tips on dealing with canine diabetes

We packed up and headed to Atlanta to spend the next month living in my brother’s driveway.

The Atlanta vet changed his insulin to a different form.  His sugar numbers when arriving in Atlanta were in the 500’s despite giving him insulin twice a day (They should be in the 150 to 250 range for dogs).  His organs were not getting any nutrients.  Food was going in one end and out the other.

life at the campground

The new insulin worked!  It took a solid month in Atlanta, with him going back to the vet once a week for Glucose Curves (a day long test of his blood every couple of hours to see if his levels are stable).  We had to adjust the insulin levels several times, but finally got the go ahead to start traveling again.

Ralph has finally stabilized.

We have learned quite a bit about Canine Diabetes over the past few months.  For those of you that are dog owners that aren’t familiar with this possibility, here are a few things to remember:

Symptoms of Canine Diabetes

  • Drinking excess amounts of water (we couldn’t even walk by a puddle without Ralph wanting to drink)
  • Urinating frequently
  • Losing weight
  • Developing cataracts (the eyes are extremely sensitive to lack of nutrients in the blood)
  • Begging for food constantly (because of the lack of nutrients, they always feel hungry).
  • Unlike humans, dogs do not get diabetes from being overweight.  It is a hereditary thing.


  • There are many forms of insulin out there.  Sometimes one form will not work, while another one will.  Experimentation is necessary.  Just like people, every animal is different.
  • If properly stabilized, your pet will live a normal lifetime.  (Great news!)
  • Always be sure that the dog eats before giving insulin.  If they are sick and do not eat- do not give insulin.
  • Insulin is to be given every 12 hours or as close to that as possible.  A good schedule is necessary.  Fortunately for our style of living, we are able to work around Ralph’s schedule.
  • Keep in stock a supply of syrup.  (Be sure it is not low sugar or sugar free).  If the dog shows signs of low blood sugar (confusion, lethargy, stumbling), you need to rub syrup on their gums to get it in their blood stream quickly.
  • Giving shots has a learning curve.  While Ralph does not enjoy getting them, we have come to an agreement.  He will growl, I put his food down for him to eat, and then he lets me give the shot to him.  As long as he gets to voice his opinion, we are good.

ralph in rv

We hope that we have overcome this huge stumbling block and are moving forward.  Ralph is happy and thriving again.

Faith is a bit jealous of all the attention he has gotten.

And we are back on the road!


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10 thoughts on “Our experience dealing with Canine Diabetes”

  1. Oh dear, what a terrible thing to go through. I’m so pleased there is light at the end of the tunnel and your little dog has stabilised. Good on you all for hanging in there. And may your little dog still have many happy times with you.

    1. Hi Jenny!
      Thanks so much for the kind words! We’ve had a rough few months with Ralph and are so glad to see a light at the end of the tunnel! They truly are a part of the family!


  2. I’ve had 2 diabetic dogs over the years. The last one was a Lhasa Apso mix and she lived to 14 although she was blinded by bad cataracts the last couple of years she got around the house and yard just fine. My little ginger was a sweetheart and I still miss her.

    1. Hi Lorena!
      I’m so sorry to hear of your loss! They are truly one of the family. It sounds like ginger had a wonderful, long life with you! That is one of the things that we were glad to hear. As long as the dog is stabilized, they can live a normal lifespan. Thank you so much for commenting!


  3. So glad things are working out! How scary that must have been. Keep us updated on how Ralph is doing. Enjoy your travels! Love your websites

    1. Hi Sue!
      Thank you so much for your kind words! It definitely has been scary. Ralph has always been so healthy and suddenly everything went wrong. The hardest part is not being able to explain to him why I have to stick him with a needle twice a day. Fortunately, he forgives me almost immediately! LOL!


  4. I’m really glad Ralphie is better. He really gave everyone a scare. Thanks for the list of things to look for. I will definitely keep my eye on our doggies too.

  5. Have to ask, did vet teach you to check his blood sugar? It’s a skill that is useful and pretty easy. I checked outer cats blood sugar daily for years. He lived to be 17!

    1. Hi Velda!

      We have not learned how to check his blood sugar. One vet told us that we would have to get it from his gums. After the trauma of learning how to give him his shots, I’d rather the vet do that. LOL! We take him back to the local vet about once a month and have them do a check. He seems to have stabilized over the past month or two and has even put a bit of his lost weight back on.

      Glad to hear that you cat lived a long happy life!


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