Dogs bring us joy, comfort, and companionship. But according to a just-released study, dogs who have diabetes may also bring their owners a greater chance of developing the condition themselves.
Published in the journal BMJ, the study followed 208,980 dog owners and 123,566 cat owners in Sweden for an average of six years. Researchers also examined pet insurance data in the country and medical records from the Swedish National Patient Register.
After adjusting for socioeconomic factors and other variables, the researchers concluded that:
- Dog owners who have a pet with diabetes were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than owners of a dog without diabetes.
- Pet-owner pairs in which only the pet had diabetes were more often female and more likely to have dogs that belonged to breeds with a high risk for the disease — for example, Border collies, Samoyeds, and toy poodles.
- Compared with dog owners without Type 2 diabetes, owners with the disease were older, more often men, and less likely to have a university degree.
- The dog owners’ personal and socioeconomic circumstances could not help explain the shared diabetes risk of the owner-dog pairs; underlying mechanisms might include shared diabetogenic health behaviors and environmental exposures.
- No shared risk of diabetes was found between cat owners and their pets.
While the study did not make any conclusions about the exact reasons for the link between dogs and owners with diabetes, the lead author of the study said that shared lifestyle factors between dog and owner might account for the association.
Like humans with the condition, dogs who develop diabetes often need to receive insulin and their owners must monitor their blood sugar levels. The good news is that owners can now check their dog’s glucose levels using specialized veterinary continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices, just as their owners with diabetes can use CGM devices to keep track of their own levels.
CGM is a tested, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes stay in control of their condition and their lives without the need for inconvenient and burdensome finger-pricking multiple times a day.
Whether you are a dog lover or not, ask your doctor about CGM and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.