How much insulin does my dog need?

When you saw your daytime vet for your dog’s initial diabetes consultations, they will have determined what insulin dose is needed, starting with a low dose and gradually increasing. Most dogs need twice daily injections. Serial blood glucose testing, urine glucose testing and even continuous glucose monitoring are used to help identify the best dose, but every dog is different and there is always an element of trial and error in the initial stages. 

If you’re concerned about your dog’s insulin levels, read our article on hyper and hypoglycaemia and call your daytime vet, Video Vets Now telehealth, or local Vets Now clinic for advice.

How to give a dog insulin

Administering insulin injections can be daunting initially, but with practice and patience, it becomes routine. Your veterinary surgeon will be able to demonstrate the technique and give you tips on making it easy. If you’re still unsure how to give a dog insulin, read through the steps below.

These are the key points to remember: 

  • Use the prescribed insulin and syringes recommended by your veterinary surgeon. Always check the expiration dates and the time the insulin has been opened. Insulin goes off quickly so should be replaced within 30 days of the first dose being withdrawn even if you have a lot left in the bottle. 
  • Ensure proper storage of insulin according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, this means storing it in the fridge. 
  • Wash your hands before handling the insulin and syringes. 
  • Carefully and gently mix the insulin according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Insulin is delicate so needs to be handled carefully. 
  • Prepare the syringe by drawing up the correct insulin dose as directed by your veterinary surgeon. 
  • Select an injection site, typically along the flank or scruff of your dog’s neck. When you first start, you may find it easier to clip a little patch of fur so you can see the skin where you will inject. 
  • Gently pinch the skin, insert the needle at a 45-degree angle, and administer the insulin under the skin. 

What should I do if I'm worried about my dog's insulin levels?

Our Video Vets are here 7 days a week, from 8 am until 11pm if you’re not sure whether your pet’s symptoms are concerning. Give us a call and we’ll let you know whether your pet needs help right away, or if it can wait until your next daytime vet appointment. If you do need to go to a Vets Now clinic, we’ll refund your Video Vet consultation fee under our ‘Never Pay Twice’ guarantee.