How Much Does it Cost to Have a Diabetic Dog?

How Much Does It Cost To Have A Diabetic Dog

Learning that your beloved dog is diabetic can be heartbreaking.

There is a huge emotional cost as you feel empathy for the pain that your dog is going through.

Yet there is another cost that is just as telling – a financial one. In this article, we break down the costs involved in having a diabetic dog. 

Overall Diabetic Costs 

Before we focus on the individual costs of having a diabetic dog, let’s consider the overall cost.

Though it is impossible to be precise, the owner of a small dog should budget around $1000 per year, while a larger dog can increase that amount to between $1500 and $2000.

If there are any complications with the dog’s condition this will run you extra expenses that may, depending on the severity of the problem, add an extra thousand dollars to the mix.

Diabetic Dog Costs

test insuline level of your dogs


You will have to give your diabetic dog insulin injections on a daily basis.

That is because your dog will be unable to produce its own insulin to transport blood glucose into its muscle cells.

The insulin amount is dependent upon the size of your pooch. The cost for insulin will run anywhere from $20 to $90 per month.


Obviously, you will have to inject the insulin into your dog’s bloodstream with a syringe. You must not reuse syringes so will need a plentiful supply.

Do not skimp on the quality of your syringes. Doing so may cause harm to the injection site. You should expect to pay between $12 and $16 per month for syringes. 

Glucose Meter

using glucose meter

As the owner of a diabetic dog, you will have to be constantly testing your dog’s blood sugar levels.

That means that you will either have to be making constant trips to the veterinarian, which will very quickly become cost-prohibitive, or you’ll have to invest in a glucose meter.

We strongly suggest the latter.

Do not skimp on getting a cheap glucose meter. You must also ensure that you buy a monitor that is made specifically for dogs as their blood makeup is different to that of humans.

A quality glucose meter will cost you around $200.

Test Strips

If you choose to test your dog’s urine, then you will have to buy testing strips for this purpose.

This is the least expensive testing option, with a month’s supply of urine testing strips costing you about $10 per month.


Another way to measure your dog’s blood sugar level is to get a blood sample.

This is quite a lot trickier but it is also far more accurate than a urine sample.

You will need a lancet as well as testing strips, which will double the monthly cost to $20.

Diabetic Dog Food

Diabetic dog food is quite a lot more expensive than a dog food that is designed for non-diabetic dogs.

A 27.5-pound bag of diabetic dog food can cost as much as $80. 

Vet Costs

blood test examination of the dog

As the owner of a diabetic dog, you and your pooch will be making regular visits to see your vet.

You should budget about $50 per month to cover the cost of these visits.

As well as these ongoing visits to monitor your dog’s diabetes, there is the initial consultation in which the vet will diagnose that your dog is, in fact, diabetic.

The cost of this will involve the vet getting complete bloodwork done. This one-off cost will run to around $300. 


If you have a female dog with diabetes, it should be spayed.

That is because the reproductive cycle hugely increases the release of progesterone, which makes it exceedingly difficult to regulate blood sugar levels.

There is a wide variety in the cost of getting your dog spayed, but the average is about $150.

Why is Diabetic Dog Food So Expensive?

food for diabetic dog

You don’t have to have been living with a diabetic dog for very long to realize that the food that is sold specifically for diabetic dogs is considerably more expensive than standard dog food.

Which inevitably leads to the question ‘why is diabetic dog food so expensive?

One reason goes back to the simple law of supply and demand.

The manufacturers of diabetic dig food know that they have a captive market of dog lovers prepared to spend some serious money to give their beloved pet the best.

There is little doubt that they capitalize on this emotional pull to get the highest possible profit margins.

Beyond the purely capitalistic desire to make more money off the emotional desires of diabetic dog owners, there are also some very real increased costs involved in producing premium diabetic dog food.

This food will have no fillers in it, nor any by-products, or any artificial ingredients.

They are made from premium ingredients that are high in lean proteins,and healthy fats while being low in processed carbohydrates.

That means that the inexpensive simple sugars are eliminated.

Quality diabetic dog food will also be rich in fiber. Both soluble and insoluble fiber will help with your dog’s weight management. 

Inexpensive Diabetic Dog Food Options

When it comes to finding inexpensive diabetic dog food choices, you have two options.

You can scour the market for the best priced commercial brands or you can make your own diabetic dog food. Look for the cost per pound.

Three of the best when it comes to expense and quality are the following . . .

  • Nutro Wholesome Essentials Healthy Weight Control Food ($1.50/lb)
  • Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food ($1.56/lb)
  • Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog ($1.60/lb)

There are a number of diabetic dog food recipes online that will save you a lot of money over store-bought options.

Here is a link to one of our favorites.


The cost of having a diabetic dog is quite considerable.

You should budget between $1000 and $2000 per year, depending on the size of your dog.

You can reduce costs by shopping for the best low cost brand or even making your own diabetic dog food.

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