Exercise for pets with diabetes is just as important as it is for non-diabetic pets. Exercise utilizes energy and helps to avoid high blood sugar levels. In addition, the increased blood flow produced by exercise may improve insulin absorption by helping to further lower the blood glucose concentration.
Exercise Tips for Dogs with Diabetes
The activity level of your diabetic dog should remain unchanged and regular. If a dog takes longer walks or gets excited over visitors it uses more glucose to sustain their energy levels. In diabetic dogs, this can result in low blood sugar levels. In fact, very low glucose levels can deprive the brain of energy and your dog could lose consciousness. If this happens, you will need to administer glucose immediately.
These are general tips, but please, always talk to your dog’s vet for the best course of action for your pet.
Pick an exercise your dog will find fun, but is low-key. A low-key activity is something your dog can do without panting.The activity should be reasonable for your dog’s temperament, age and health. Walking is always a safe bet, but hiking, swimming, and other low-key activities are fine and provide variety.
But, don’t go overboard – a little bit of activity goes a surprisingly long way. If your dog has been inactive, you definitely need to start small, 10 to 15 minutes at a time. It is better to do a little bit most days, than to cram 30 minutes of workout in just two days.
It is important to keep their activity level the same from day to day. Try to exercise at the same time of day for the same length of time. It helps you both get into the habit, but it also gives your pet’s body time to adjust to the changes. In fact, if your dog’s activity changes drastically one day from the previous, its blood glucose levels can surge and potentially endanger your dog’s health.
Always, take a little sweetener, like Karo syrup, with you when you walk or exercise. If your dog over-exercises and its blood sugar drops, you will see strange behavior, anything from dizziness to fatigue to convulsions. If so, give your dog a little sugar and you should see a difference right away.
Remember, make changes one at a time. Go slow, go gradual. But, do go!
Exercise Tips For Cats with Diabetes
For most diabetic cats, strenuous exercise is not a reasonable option because of obesity or nerve damage. One way to encourage your cat to move around is to feed it small meals placed in various spots around the house, so it needs to walk from one to the next.
Take 5 minutes a few times a day for some active play with your kitty. Have it walk after a string that you drag along the floor, play soccer with a small ball, or swat at a long feather that you wave in the air.
Whatever exercise you do with your cat, it should be reasonably consistent. If the cat’s activity varies too much from day to day, this will disrupt the effectiveness of its insulin regimen.
Talk to your veterinarian before starting an exercise routine with your cat. Start carefully, in short sessions, and don’t force your cat to move around if it clearly does not want to.