My first born is Toby, our beautiful yellow Labrador retriever. He’s 10 1/2 years old, and I have raised him since he was since the tender age of 5 months. He means the world to me. He sleeps in an oversized orthopedic dog bed next to my side of our bed, and that’s only because with me, Brent and Toby in the bed, I turn into a contortionist.
A couple weeks ago Toby started acting different. He didn’t spend much time out of his bed, which was unusual for him since he loves to be with us at all times. He started panting heavily and waking up in the middle of the night for water and to go outside.
As my husband says, Toby has always been a “heavy drinker,” but out of nowhere he started begging for more and more water. I had to fill a big mixing bowl and put it by his bed at night so he could quench his insatiable thirst throughout the night. He also started acting like his hips were hurting him a lot.
I thought perhaps it was his winter dog coat coming in. Perhaps the change in weather was making him “clammy?” Maybe we weren’t talking him out enough. I made up all kinds of excuses in my mind, but in my heart I was pretty sure I knew the cause of his distress — dog diabetes.
We woke up one day last week and Toby wouldn’t eat his dog food. He’s a Lab — that just wasn’t right! I knew we had to get him to the vet. It was my 35th birthday and it was truly a gift to be able to take Toby to our wonderful vet clinic and get him checked out.
A blood test revealed the truth: our little wet-nosed blonde had sky-high sugar in his blood. Doctor Rouchon put him on prescription metabolic dog food and gave a stern warning: “No more dry dog food.” I always thought the canned food wasn’t good for dogs due to a higher fat content. But the vet told me that’s just not true. Dry dog food is loaded with carbohydrates and too many of those can cause insulin resistance and/or Type 2 diabetes in dogs.
One day after starting on the diabetic dog food, Toby seemed more like himself, spending time with us in the living room and kitchen (of course lol) and his thirst seemed to have abated. He seemed to regain some energy and just seemed happier and more lively. What a relief! My dog mom’s heart swelled.
It’s been a few days now and Toby seems to be adjusting. He didn’t eat all of his lunch today, but gobbled it up later after I topped it with some frozen green beans. Dog dinner went down much easier. We’ll go in Monday and leave Toby with Dr. Rouchon to have glucose tests done throughout the day. If the new food is working, we can stick with that. If not, he might need to start on insulin.
Apart from that, we just need to sort out his achy body and what seems to be arthritis.
I’m so thankful for a great vet and the healing power of God, who cares for ALL His creatures. I’m also so thankful for the chance to take care of this beautiful animal. He is a true joy and the light of my life. After all the years that he has taken care of me, it’s my privilege to be able to care for his little whiskered face.