Home Monitoring of the Diabetic Dog with a Glucometer Page 2


Where Do You Get Blood On a Dog?

Getting blood on a dog can be challenging. The procedure for obtaining the blood, getting the blood on the test strip and using the machine is the same. What is different is where you get the blood sample. In cats – the veins on the ears work well but can be difficult to see in dogs. ?
For little dogs – the buccal mucosa works well. The buccal mucosa is the pink fleshy tissue inside the upper lip. Have the machine prepared and ready, test strip on hand, then use the lancet to obtain the blood sample.
?For larger dogs – locations to get blood that work well include: 

  • buccal mucosa – pink fleshy tissue inside the upper lip (gum tissue)
  • outside gum/lip tissue – hairless tissue on outside of the gums by the corner of the mouth
  • accessory carpal pad – the small pad just on the back side of the carpus (wrist)
  • elbow callus – thick tissue on the outside of the elbows
  • ear pinna – inside of the ear flap

The glucometers are fairly simple to use once you get the hang of it. To use, insert a dipstick in the meter, turn it on (some meters will turn on when you insert the stick), puncture your pet to obtain the blood sample, and touch the dipstick to the drop of blood that begins to form and the glucometer will analyze the sample.

Some websites suggest that you over-clip a nail to obtain a blood sample. This is not recommended unless you are in an emergency situation as it is typically more painful for your dog than the other sites.

How Do You Perform a Blood Glucose Check on a Dog?

Assemble your supplies in an area with good lighting. This includes the glucometer, test strip, lancet, tissue and any treat you may want to give after the test.

Prepare the meter by inserting the test strip.

Identify the area you want to use. If you are using the gums, you may dab the gum tissue you plan to use with a tissue to remove excess moisture.

Tell your dog he or she is a good dog!

Hold your dog in a manner that will allow you to get the sample, if possible you may want to have a helper for the first few glucose checks until you are more comfortable with the procedure. Stick the gum tissue with the lancet and allow for a small drop of blood to form.

Pick up the meter into which the test strip has already been inserted, and hold it next to the bead of blood. Allow the test strip to wick up the blood. Generally the machine will beep telling you the test is in progress.

Occasionally a nice bead of blood doesn’t form. This can be because you didn’t insert the lancet or needle deep enough in the tissue to cause bleeding. In this case you can sometimes “milk” the area – applying pressure around the lanced tissue to push blood toward the prick. This can sometimes encourage a bead of blood to form, which can then be analyzed. Sometimes you have to redo the prick.

When Do You Perform a Blood Glucose Check

A spot check should be done any time a pet looks weak or is having symptoms of diabetes such as those described above. Weakness, trouble walking can be symptoms of a low blood glucose. For more information go to Hypoglycemia in Dogs. Emergency treatment starts with rubbing some Karo® syrup on your dogs gums.

For information about symptoms of diabetes – go to Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs.

A glucose curve should be routinely done approximately one week after any change in dosage of insulin.

What Does a Glucose Curve Reveal n Dogs?

Glucose levels are constantly fluctuating, depending on diet, exercise, underlying illness, and the pet's individual glucose requirements. A glucose curve will reveal at what time the dog's glucose level is the highest and when it is lowest relative to diet and insulin administration. A glucose curve will also help your veterinarian determine if your pet is receiving the proper type and dose of insulin. If the glucose levels always register too high or too low throughout the curve, the insulin needs to be adjusted.


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