Testing Blood Glucose (BG) at home is important to ensure your pet's safety. By testing, you will be able to
give insulin with confidence, knowing you're not putting your dog at risk of overdosing.
Changes to your routine can lead to BG fluctuations
(Switching diets, altering insulin dose, altering levels
of activity, temperature, travel, anxiety, etc.).
When changes occur, testing is crucial to understand
how they might impact your dog's BG levels.
It can sometimes take a week or longer to see numbers to settle after a change.
The suggested BG range for dogs with diabetes is
100 - 250 mg/dl (Target range 150 to 250 mg/dl).
And yep! Glucose meters that humans use, can be used on our dogs. Many have been tried and tested and show similar results. Keep in mind all meter's tend to have a 20% variance.
Inject with confidence
If your feeling really worried and you want some peace of mind, test at home.
I have a meter, now what?
Great! To ensure the safety of your dog, you'll want to test before every feeding. That will show you their fasting number. The fasting number is important because it helps you see what level your dog's BG is when they don't have food in their system and if they are close to a safe range to give insulin.
- If the fasting BG is 200 or above, feed and provide shot as usual.
- If below 200, give your dog their meal and test again. If BG has reached 200, proceed to give a shot.
- If below 200 still shortly AFTER they ate, you have an hour window to keep testing (test about every 10 to 15 minutes). If BG reaches 200, give the shot.
- If at 1 hour after feeding BG has not increased past 200, DO NOT GIVE FULL AMOUNT OF INSULIN SHOT!
You will need to reduce the amount of insulin accordingly.
- Between 200 -150, give 3/4th dose
- Between 150 -125, give 1/2th dose
- Between 125 -100, give 1/4th dose
- Under 100 - NO INSULIN
Why do you need to reduce?
Administering a full dose if your dog's BG is under 200 post-feeding, you put your dog at risk of hypoglycemia. So if the BG is low after feeding, insulin will continue to reduce that amount, and given your dog no longer can regulate their BG on their own as a dog with diabetes, they could experience a sudden drop that could be severely dangerous.
This is why testing is crucial. Why put your dog at risk and hope that your dog is in range every time you give insulin.
RUNNING A CURVE
Running a curve means you are checking your dog's BG levels every 2 hours for a 12 hour period.
Ex: If you test and give your meal at 7 am, you will check BG at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, and once again before the next meal at 7 pm. That would be a full curve.
Why do we do this?
This is important to understand the trends/patterns of how your dog handles the insulin for a full cycle.
You can know better when your dog tends to run high and low BG.
Based on that information, you can better determine if you need to make any changes to your routine and how any changes impact your routine.
You base any increase or decrease of insulin on the LOWEST BG reading.
For example, if you run a curve and the BG is consistently in the 300's or 400's, but you notice there is a drop in the low 100's at one point (if you do get an unexpectedly low number, test again right to make sure it wasn't a misreading.) Don't just assume you can increase insulin because your dog runs mostly high.
- Some Reasons for unexpected lows include
- The current insulin dose hasn't fully settled yet, and irregular numbers will occur.
- Somogy (Rebound) Your insulin dose is actually too high, or you changed your dose too quickly after a previous change.
- Your dog was more active than usual and dropped the BG levels
- Your dog overheated/too cold (Temperature can, but won't always, interfere with BG levels. Sometimes causing increases or decrease)
A one-unit increase change can cause up to a 100 drop in BG. A 1/2 unit increase, up to 50 drops in BG. You have to look at the lowest number to see if any increase will potentially drop below the target BG range.
Also, note that insulin usually takes 1 to 2 hours to take effect after injection. So you might see high numbers for a bit after eating.
For additional information on curves, check out the American Animal Health Association (AAHA) website: INTERPRETING CURVES
Struggling to get a blood drop to test???
The Genteel lancing device might just be a game-changer for you!
With a variety of tip, you have options to see which one works best for your dog as to not pierce the skin to deeply. Additionally, the suction aspect of the device makes getting a usable blood drop. You can purchase it alone, or with a pettest meter.