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Carlisle Vets

Diabetes in dogs

Insulin must be kept in the fridge. It must not be allowed to freeze. The bottle should be kept upright to prevent prolonged contact between the rubber and the insulin.

If your pet is off their food only give half the usual dose of insulin.


Syringes can be used several times though there is at least a theoretical risk of contaminating the insulin with bacteria by doing this and some people prefer to use a new syringe for each injection. Syringes should be disposed of in sharps containers which can be purchased from the practice. The disposal fee is included in the price.

Always check you have the correct syringes for the insulin you are using. Insulin products come in two concentrations, U40 and U100. (U40 has 40 units of insulin per millilitre and U100 has 100 units of insulin per millilitre.) The scales on the syringes are in units of insulin. You must use the syringe that corresponds to the insulin you are using otherwise the dose will be wrong which could be dangerous. U40 syringes are red and U100 syringes are orange.


With twice daily injections feed half your pet’s daily food at the time of each injection.

With once daily injections feed half your pet’s daily food at the time of insulin injection and the second half seven to eight hours later.

Special diets are available for diabetics and are highly recommended. As with diabetes in human patients, attention to diet is really important for controlling blood glucose. Hills m/d is recommended for cats and Hills w/d is recommended for dogs.


Insulin takes glucose out of the bloodstream and puts it into the cells of the body. If your pet gets too much insulin or is not eating properly the blood sugar level can become too low. This is called hypoglycaemia and symptoms include confusion, disorientation, stumbling and anxiety but can progress to coma or even death.

Prompt treatment is required. With mild symptoms encouraging your pet to eat may be sufficient. It is very useful to have a tube of Glucogel handy if this happens. It can be sourced from any pharmacy but we also stock it at the surgery. Contact the surgery if you need further advice. We have a vet on duty 24 hours a day.