Tips on How to Give Dogs Insulin

by Kimberly DeCosta
Discuss dosing options with your veterinarian before administering insulin.

Discuss dosing options with your veterinarian before administering insulin.

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Giving your dog an insulin injection can seem like a daunting task, especially since most diabetic dogs need injections twice daily. Once it is determined that your dog needs insulin injections, ask your veterinarian to show you how to administer the shot to your dog. In many cases, the amount of insulin required may change under your veterinarian's direction until the optimal amount is reached. With some practice, giving your dog insulin can just be part of your daily routine.

Find a Friend and Feed

When you begin to give your dog insulin, it can be difficult to hold him yourself and administer the injection. Ask a friend or family member to hold your dog steady while you inject him. It's also important to feed your dog before giving him insulin. Food regulates his blood sugar level and prepares his body to receive the injection. Diabetic dogs thrive on high-fiber, low-carbohydrate foods, which take longer to digest and therefore aid in regulating blood sugar levels.

Preparation Is Key

Mix the contents of the insulin bottle by rolling it between your hands rather than by shaking it. Distribute the contents of the insulin without creating bubbles, which can make dosing more difficult. While holding the insulin bottle upside down, place the injection needle and syringe into the bottle and draw out the proper dosage. Be sure to put the insulin bottle back in your refrigerator once you have filled the syringe with the correct amount of insulin.

Injecting Your Dog

Do not swab down the injection area with alcohol or antiseptic prior to injecting your dog. Alcohol has a drying effect that he may find irritating and that may make injections more painful. Once your dog is restrained properly, grab a handful of the skin at the back of his neck, also known as the scruff. Quickly insert the needle into the skin, taking care not to pierce the other side of the skin you are holding. Push the plunger down with your thumb to inject the insulin, then quickly remove the needle from your dog's skin. Place the needle guard back on the needle and discard as directed.

Good Dog

Praise your dog after each injection is given. You may choose to give him a treat or simply a pat or good scratch for taking the injection well. You may also find it helpful to spend a few extra minutes petting and bonding with your dog after the injection so he views it as a positive experience rather than a painful one. Keep a record of injections given so the entire household knows if your dog has already received treatment.

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