Caring for a diabetic dog can be expensive in part because they need regular blood tests and insulin treatments to manage their condition. They also could be at risk for emergency crises if their blood sugar is unstable or they develop other medical conditions because of their diabetes. And when that happens, their need for financial assistance often grows.
The cost of caring for a diabetic dog can also pre-date their diagnosis. Often, a dog will need to have bloodwork performed to see if diabetes is the culprit for excessive drinking and urination (two common signs of diabetes in dogs). A vet may also order a complete blood cell count, bloodwork to evaluate internal organ function, and a urinalysis to rule out other medical causes. Such diagnostics may generally cost anywhere from $136 to $245, with treatment plan costs totaling between $214 to $348. So, even before a dog's diabetes diagnosis has been confirmed, the combined costs may range from around $350 to $600. And while these are just estimates on the costs, you can start to see how quickly the bills add up.
We hope the chart above helps further illustrate why caring for a diabetic dog can be so expensive, and why donations to programs like Liam’s Fund, through which Phinney's has given advice and financially supported the pet parents of diabetic dogs, mean so much. Michelle Goldthwaite established Liam's Fund in 2016 through the Deirdre Dickinson Memorial Fund, in honor and memory of her sister. Generous donations made to the fund ever since have meant the world to Phinney’s because contributions help ensure that we are continuously able to help diabetic dogs whose pet parents couldn’t afford their expensive treatments on their own.
Recently, Michelle Goldthwaite, through her sister’s Deirdre Dickinson Memorial Fund, donated $10,000 to Liam’s Fund at Phinney's, which she helped create and capitalize. Since its inception in 2016, Liam's Fund has helped seven amazing dogs with diabetes — Demetrius, Emperor Ojii, Jackson, Lilly, Haze, Baby, and Rocky.
“It’s important for me and my children to keep this fund going in honor and memory of my sister,” Michelle said. “When my son was just 8 years old, he was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. It changed our lives, and one day while waiting to see his doctor at Children’s Hospital, I saw something online about a diabetic dog who needed a foster,” she explained. “That got me thinking how hard it must be for people to pay for the care their diabetic dogs need.”
Shortly after this, Michelle approached Phinney's president, Daniela Caride. Michelle was moved by Phinney’s mission of helping people so they don’t have to surrender or euthanize their pets because they can’t afford their care.
“I used to do rescue work in California and saw so many diabetic dogs surrendered. I also fostered a diabetic dog,” said Michelle, a doting dog mom to four Yorkies — Brooklyn, Lily, Teddy, and Lucy. “It’s heartbreaking to think someone would have to give up their dog just because of a sudden and random diabetes diagnosis,” she added. “Knowing how much my sister loved animals and her nephew Liam, it just made sense to establish this fund."
Michelle’s contribution is a godsend because it means Phinney’s can continue to provide diabetic dogs like Rocky, a Mini Pinscher, with the essential help they need to live their best lives. Recently, Rocky, who has benefited from Liam’s Fund for five years and counting, developed kidney issues as a result of his diabetes. With Michelle’s contribution, we’re confident we’ll be able to provide his pet parent, Linda, with the help she needs for his continued medical tests, medications, and other treatments.
Dogs like Rocky would have no chance of survival if it weren’t for the dedication of their pet parents, their vets, and people like Michelle who generously give. And, through Michelle’s support, Liam’s Fund proved to be a literal lifeline for Demetrius, Emperor Ojii, Jackson, Lilly, Haze, and Baby, who, on average, lived a whole year longer because of this support.
“I think my sister would be very happy,” Michelle said, reflecting on the positive outcomes the Liam’s Fund dogs have experienced.
A Closer Look
Managing the health of diabetic dogs is labor intensive and expensive. If untreated, diabetic dogs can experience serious and life-threatening conditions including cataracts, which can cause blindness, enlarged liver, urinary tract infections, seizures, kidney failure, and an acute condition called ketoacidosis. That’s why contributions like the one Michelle just made are so important to our ability to help these dogs and their people. To learn more about some of the general costs pet parents of diabetic dogs are likely face, visit phinneys.org/blog/diabetic-dogs-need-continuous-treatments. And, to donate to Liam's Fund, please visit phinneys.org/donate where you can include a note letting us know you would like your contribution applied to this fund.
On May 23, 2021, Phinney’s hosted Kibbles & Nibbles, an online cooking class led by seasoned Cordon Bleu-trained chef Mika McDonald and “starring” her adorable taste testers Queen and Disco!
The pooches did a great job in their supporting roles, gobbling down yummy parmesan cheese crisps and oat cakes. Mika had plenty of samples after showing everyone on the Google Meet how to make them. And her husband Ryan supported the event by capturing every doggie chomp with a system of three alternating cameras.
But Queen and Disco weren’t the only dogs in attendance! Instagram stars Mack and Olaf played sous chefs to their dog moms’ as they followed Mika’s step-by-step tutorial for making these delicious nuggets.
Mika also shared baking tips with the audience. For instance, she recommended:
“The class was entertaining and practical,” said Dana Scott, a cat dad with a general curiosity about cooking for pets. He also said he’s more motivated to try and make some treats for his boys after seeing Mika do it.
"Wow, Mika explains things so well and is so funny and warm. This class felt like I was in her kitchen keeping her company," added Daniela Caride, Phinney's President.
Because of the generosity of Phinney’s supporters for Kibbles & Nibbles, we raised $500, and that’s an amazing accomplishment to chew on!
We look forward to planning another Kibbles & Nibbles class next year. We want to again extend our sincere thanks to Mika for sharing her expertise and donating her time to help Phinney’s raise funds to support people and pets in need. And, of course we want to thank her dogs, as well as her husband Ryan, who did an amazing job behind the scenes producing this class live from Mika’s kitchen!
If you would like to be notified about upcoming fun events like this one, be sure to subscribe for our email updates.
Introducing a new pet to a senior pet in your household requires patience and attention, and when your efforts pay off, it’s so worth it!
Take Ana for instance, who receives regular help from Phinney’s. Scooby, her senior Chihuahua mix, gets vet care, prescription food, and heart and thyroid medications paid by us.
After suffering a recent heart-breaking loss, when her other Chihuahua, Ciquina, passed away, Ana adopted a spunky, young Dachshund/Yorkie mix named Archie. The introduction couldn't have gone better! Little Archie is playful and careful with Scooby, and plays on his own when Scooby needs to rest, given his achy back from old age.
Archie has brought happiness and light to Ana and Scooby. We wish Ana, Scooby, and Archie all the best, and rest assured Phinney's will be here for them when they need our support.
Ana tells us she’s so appreciative of the help she gets from Phinney’s for her two precious furry friends. And we are thrilled to see this fur family thrive!
So, how’d they do it? Fortunately, we’ve got some valuable tips below to help answer that question.
Many are the benefits to getting another pet, including companionship for your first pet, like in Scooby’s case. And perhaps filling the void when a beloved pet passes on, just like Ana did. Whatever the reason, adding a new pet to the family that already has a more senior dog entails some evaluation to ensure a smooth introduction and continued harmony in the household.
According to the American Kennel Club, the key to introducing a new pet member is to not disrupt the status quo. By slowly introducing the pets to one another and keeping the daily routine, the new pet can get used to the old pet’s habits. That way, it's less likely the pets will experience anxiety or jealousy.
Sometimes it may be best to introduce them on neutral ground rather than at home to avoid territorial behavior. It is also important to understand ahead of time the temperament of your new pet and if he or she will mesh well with your current pet’s demeanor.
When introducing a new pup to an older dog, it’s very important to socialize them slowly. Observe any play that may be too rough or aggressive. Once you are confident that both dogs get along, set the ground rules for your new pet by setting quiet time aside for your senior pet and vice versa. Constant contact may cause some conflict.
Finally, Scooby and Archie have this additional piece of advice: Be sure to give each pet some alone time to give them each a chance to relax.
Folks, cancer can be common with pets such as dogs and cats. But the good news is there's a lot you can do to prevent cancer and catch it early!
By becoming familiar with early warning signs, we can protect our furry family members. Some warning signs include an enlarging or changing lump. If your pet’s belly becomes rapidly enlarged, this may suggest a mass or tumor in the abdomen. Other warning signs may include chronic weight loss, chronic vomiting or diarrhea, a dry cough, or unexplained lameness.
Many times, to diagnose cancer, the vet will need to do a thorough exam along with a radiograph or a CT scan. That will help the vet determine the causes of some of the symptoms your pet may be experiencing. These tests will lead to a more accurate diagnosis, and this may rule out many diseases, even cancer.
In addition to recognizing warning signs, some simple and very effective things you can do to help your pet are regular vet visits, so you may catch any disease in its early stages, as well as creating healthy habits. Examine your pet regularly, feeling his belly, the skin, the whole body, and your chances of catching any changes will be way higher.
Also, remember that cancer is not the end of the line! Today, pets have a better chance of being successfully treated for cancer thanks to advances in early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment.
We always want the best for our pets, so make sure to note any strange behavior in your pet and check in with your vet regularly!