Useful Tips on How to Test Blood Sugar In Dogs

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Managing diabetes of your dogs can be very difficult. The readings of blood glucose level can change with food consumption, stress level, exercise and other basic daily fluctuations.

You also need to be on top of any other diseases or conditions that may be harming your dog’s health.

However, if you decide to go with a home blood glucose monitoring system to help your pet with more accurate and frequent readings for better monitoring of the disease, make sure to consult with your veterinarian first.

Test Blood Sugar in Dogs: Could Your Pet Have Diabetes?

Test Your Dog For Signs Of Diabetes

Home blood sugar monitoring can be a very useful tool for regulating your diabetic dog's condition. It can be very helpful in determining how well your dog is responding to the current type and dose of insulin for controlling diabetes.

This determination works best under normal regular conditions where your dog’s feeding, exercise, and stress levels are same as any typical day.

Testing Blood Sugar Levels in Dogs at the Vet's

When deciding to conduct the test at your vet's office: One common problem that you are likely to face is that your pet will get more stressed and it may refuse to eat when confined in small, unfamiliar space for a long period of time and then restrained for performing the test.

This is not a normal condition for your dog and hence, the blood sugar readings obtained may not be an accurate reflection of what your dog’s blood sugar level is on a regular day.

Testing Blood Sugar Levels in Dogs at Home

If your dog’s diabetes is pretty well managed: the home blood sugar monitoring system can be a used to check the blood sugar level on an occasional basis. You can perform a blood sugar test quickly, conveniently and at time of your choice.

Whereas, if your dog’s diabetes is little hard to regulate, the home blood sugar monitoring system can be useful to get the information, which might be important for your vet to identify more suitable adjustments to your dog’s insulin therapy.

5 Tips on How to Test Blood Sugar In Dogs

Dog With Blood Glucose Monitoring System

1. Find the Spot

Pricking on ear doesn't normally work on a dog because unlike cats they don't have a prominent marginal vein. The inside of the upper lip of a dog is used for pricking by pet owners who are performing home blood sugar test.

First with laying your dog on its side and gently lift the upper lip and try to roll it outward so you get some space to work on the inside. Usually, the area near the dog’s tooth is a good spot for the test, you can prick towards the edge of the lip.

Make sure to wipe the area using a clean cloth and remove all the saliva. Dog owners who go with lip pricking way usually find it easy and don’t complain about causing their dogs and pain.

However, be careful and make sure your dog allows you to do this and doesn’t end up biting you. If inside lip is not suitable for you, outside of lip can be the alternate.

2. Keep it Clean

Make sure you keep everything very clean and properly wash your hands using soap and water. Maintain a clean work-space or you can put out a clean towel instead to lay things on.

Also, remember not to touch the tip of the lancet with the naked hand.

Make sure the prick site is clean and dry before you prick your diabetic dog. If you think the pricked area is dirty, make sure you wash it with warm water and before pricking wait until the area is nicely dry. Moisture will make the blood drop to spread out and it will become very difficult to take the blood sugar test.

Any moisture in the area will also dilute the down blood sample and make the blood sugar reading inaccurate.

3. Keep Your Dog Calm

Home blood sugar test will require you to gently restrain your pet. Which means, the procedure will require you to keep your dog as calm and still as you possibly can. 

It is also important that your pet feels relatively relaxed and doesn’t feel stress due to being restrained. If your pet does get stressed during the restraining, this may not give you useful blood sugar readings.  

You are most likely to face a little struggling but if the dog gets highly agitated then make sure to take a break of 15 to 30 minutes before trying again.

No matter what the condition is, never use excessive force and consult your vet to give you an idea of how to properly restrain your dog.

4. Control the Bleeding

When taking a blood sample, make sure you are in control of the bleeding. Once you have put the blood sample in the meter, give your attention to your dog’s lip or wherever you did the prick and let the meter do its job.

The first thing to do it hold a gauze square firmly but not too tightly at the pricked area for around 30 seconds, this should be enough to stop the bleeding. If the pricked area continues to bleed, then keep applying mild pressure for a minute more and try to keep your dog calm.

However, if the bleeding still doesn’t stop, make sure to call your vet and ask for advice.

5. Watch for Bruising

A small red spot is likely to form once you prick your dog. This is the area from where you took a small amount of blood sample from a vessel trapped underneath the skin.

It is normal to get a small bruise, around the size of a grain of rice and this will go away within a day or two. However, you need to watch out for any large bruise, swelling, and warmth in the pricked area, fluid accumulation or infection.

If you think that signs for any of these are showing then you need to call your vet and ask for advice.

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Additional Resource: More On Dogs & Diabetes.  

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