Pets and Diabetes

I have noticed that many people on this site have animals, dogs and cats especially. I am thinking about getting a dog. Do you think that animals help you deal with having diabetes? If so in what way? I was thinking that having a dog would keep me more active and give me more opportunity to exercise. I think a dog would also help with times when I just feel overwhelmed or down because they are so loving. I know that dogs are a lot of work and responsibility but it seems like a good idea. I would have no choice about getting up and outside a few extra times a day.

Do your pets help you with your diabetes?

Personally, my pet buddies help my diabetes management in two ways : one, they are great companions for exercises and activities, and second, they provide me with great joy that they relieve me of everyday stress =)
When getting a pet…ask some suggestions from your local vet. A pet will be suggested depending on your available time, budget, lifestyle, location/place and health.
Hope you will find a good one!

If your question in general is, if animals help me deal with diabetes? The answer is yes. He knows whenever I am worried, sick, frustrated or simply need rest. His only presence sometimes can lower my bg because he calms me down.
As regards exercise a cat is a bit different from a dog.
If you want outdoor exercise then a dog is more of a choice. I see many people walking, running or playing with their dog.
I play with my cat inside with a ball or a string or simply running after each other.

You should only get a pet, any pet ( dog , cat or anything else ) if you are willing to take on the total responsibility for this animal for the rest of its life. This means not just when you feel like taking a walk, but when you have to go away for a day or 2 or longer. If you live where it gets cold or nasty in the winter, you still have to go out to walk the dog. There are Vet visits and bills and of course food to buy. I have worked with rescue organizations where people have relinquished their pet to the shelter when it became “too much to handle.” This is a 2 sided relationship, you must realize all this before you get any pet.
Pets are great, but they also bring great responsibility. I am just playing “devil’s advocate” to make you aware of this.

my SIL is president of this shelter

in Northern NJ. There’s a lot of good info about adopting pets (and some really cute dogs and cats - check it out!) on their site

I have a cat, Lula, who is 16 and her life has not been simple. She has had numerous medical or quasi-medical problems (she once didn’t eat on her own for 2 months and after every test in the book was given anti-depressants. An anorexic/depressed cat???) She has gotten lost twice for a week and found her way home. Once when I moved she refused to be put in a box by staying in the backyard of the old house and I had to trick her to get her home 10 days later. She does what she wants when she wants and it is usually diametrically opposed to what I want her to do! Despite all that she is the most loving pet I could imagine. She is currently sitting on my arms between the laptop and me and sleeps on the pillow next to me every night (ok, sometimes on MY pillow restricting my breathing with her fur!). I love her dearly and she makes everything better. I do agree with catlover that they are responsibilities and a commitment, but they definitely give as good as they get.

Sometimes when you have bonded with a cat or dog, esp. if it sleeps near you, the pet will alert you when you have a low. You need to pay attention to what the pet is trying to tell you, whether the cat is batting at your face as you sleep or the dog is barking or agitated or whatever, and encourage it to continue this behavior. An extra bonus when it does occur with a pet. None of my three Goldens alert, as my mini Dachsie once did, but I wouldn’t give up a one of them.

i wish my pekingese would do this…lol…

i can stagger out of bed with a 40 and he’ll be trying to get me to opn the door so he can get outside.

having pets helps me to be more of a responsible homebody. a huge connection to home. they have schedules, which keeps ME on a schedule. i don’t spend all that much time away like i used to. being home for me definitely means tighter control of my D.

the excersize IS great but my dog is a pekingese…not much of a runner, and he likes many short walks…not long ones.

I’m a founder of an animal rescue organization. Though there are countless wonderful animals always in need of homes, being a caretaker requires a huge amount of work, time & financial responsibility.

A dog won’t help when you’re feeling overwhelmed because he/she will be one more additional obligation to deal with.

Before making a lifetime commitment, you should consider fostering a dog for a local rescue. This will give you an idea of what’s involved & also help a dog in need.

Do mine help with my diabetes? Dogs & cats have always been a part of my life & I can’t imagine life without them, but they don’t help with my diabetes.

Yes and no.

I have (had - one just died) three cats and that is alot of work. I have had them all for a long time (two are 16 - including the one that died and one is going to 14). It seems that is alot harder dealing with them now than before I was DX - plus I have so many other problems. I tend to be less tolerate of when they behave bad because I have so problems to deal with.

My one who is 14 - she is more like my side kick - she will let me cry in her fur. She hangs out will me when I am watching TV or on the computer sometimes and it is just nice that she is there. She is half Siamese so she can be a mouthful (very talky) but I feel like she is my best friend. Even though she can get on my nerves at times.

I don’t know if it is the stress of having so many health problems and other problems but I think at this point in my life - less cats will be better for me. I haven’t the money to take them to the vet. The one who just died had a bunch of problems and I had to make the hard decision of putting her to sleep and I had her almost 16 years. I was hard. My second 16 year old I can tell has some health problems too (I think her kidneys) but there isn’t anything I do about it. I can’t even harldy pay to take myself to the doctor.

Yes, having pets can be wonderful but sometimes with the stress of your own problems it can be hard to deal with the stress of their problems too. Before I had all these problems it didn’t bother me as much.

They are good companions but don’t forget all the expensive, time that goes into it. It is lifetime commitment.

Lotsofshots, you could try fostering a dog for a while and see how it goes. Just contact the local human society - lots of them run out of space and are looking for people to foster the animals.

Putting an animal to sleep because you can’t afford the necessary treatment to save its life would break your heart.

This is sort of what I had to do with my Fluff who died a little over a month ago. But the vet said that she probably had a chronic heart problem that would only get worse with time and would probably not get better and the treatment were not only expensive but she would need chronic care (and she was not the type that would take pills everyday easily and she gets super nervous at the vet). She was having a hard time breathing and I didn’t want her to be in pain. It was such a hard decision. I am still mad at myself for it. I kept thinking that if I had the money I could have tried something - and if I had it I would have paid thousands if it was necessary. I will never forget how she looked up at me when it was time and squeeked and started purring loudly while I held her during the process. I am not sure if she was scared or happy. I would like to think she was in pain and happy that I was helping her go to rest but I will never know. It permanantly breaks your heart - one of the saddest moments of my life. :frowning:

my two dogs are great. lilly makes funny noises and taps me if im low. at first i didn’t know why she was doing it but since being on here and reading about cats n dogs doing it just shows how clever they are.
my two get me out and about and i think if i didn’t have them i wouldn’t be getting out so much.
you can get pet insurance for those times when something happens. but as said before pets cost. but saying that my two dont cost much in food and walks are free. what they give you back is priceless…

I have two Chihuahua’s, Flaco and Troubled. Troubled is a Mommy’s boy but Flaco is all heart. He knows when it’s time for my insuling, lol. He sits with me and often places his paw on my leg when I’m injecing. Trouble runs off, I think he’s afraid of the needle, lol. They are my heart and love me when I have highs and lows. My husband stays away when I’m not feeling well, says I need alone time, whatever!

Dogs are tons of work. I’ve got a lab mix who is awesome, but wants to run. I can’t run. But she’s happy with our walks, usually and she gets me moving out of the house when the weather is actually cooperative.

If you get a dog, make sure you figure out what breeds will work with your lifestyle, exercise level and activity level. Some dogs need lots more exercise than others, so knowing this ahead of time will save you a ton of headaches.

Cara is right about getting an appropriate breed for you and the location you live in. I was formerly in the cattle business and one of the things I loved about it was having several stock dogs to help me, couldn’t have done it without them. My favorite breed is the Australian Shepard,extremely loyal, eager to please,and a great stock dog. But they can cause problems in the city for the wrong owner/situation. They require something to do, lots of exercise and like to chase things. They can become neurotic if cooped up all day. If you get the National Geographic Channel check out the Dog Whisperer to see the bad results of a miss match between dog and owner.

In a city situation a dog would help you get more exercise and that certainly couldn’t hurt. And when you are having a bad day they are always there with undying love for their human companions, another big plus.

I’m not sure if the dog helps me with diabetes that much. She’s great to have around but when time is tight, the extra chores of dog management have caused me more “oops, I forgot to bolus” moments than I ever had pre dog. She’s great to have around though. The attached pic is Izzy, the Bich-poo, racing around the track I shoveled for her in the 2’ of snow we had a couple of months ago.