To Test or Not to Test....
1) Human Diabetics Home Test
Yes diabetes in humans and diabetes in dogs is slightly different biologically, but, human doctors always recommend that their patients test at home throughout the day. Why is this? Because testing at home is the only way to get an accurate and timely reading.
Without testing regularly during the day, it's impossible to know how much food or insulin you need to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This is the exact same as dogs. Without home testing, you will always be "flying blind" when trying to make important decisions about their health.
2) Urine Testing is not Accurate Enough
Some Vets will recommend urine testing as a less invasive and cheaper way to monitor your dog's blood sugar. However, urine testing is inherently less accurate because urine has been in the bladder for at least a few hours.
When you get a reading from the urine, it really is only giving you an average of blood sugar during the time that the urine has been in the bladder. So, making important decisions like insulin dosage and feeding amounts is very dangerous with this limited amount of information.
3) Identifying Somogyi Rebound
One of the biggest reasons why we advocate blood testing at home is because without this, it is very difficult identify when your dog may be experiencing a Somogyi Rebound. A big limitation with urine testing is that you will only see results if blood sugar is above 180mg/dl, which is called the Renal Threshold. (The Renal Threshold is the blood glucose level at which the kidneys begin to extract glucose from the blood and excrete it into the urine)
The problem is that 180mg/dl is at the upper limit of a healthy blood glucose level for dogs. So, a negative urine test reading could mean that your dog is anywhere from a dangerously low blood glucose level to a very healthy one.
It also means that you can't see any of the readings below the 180mg/dl level. If your dog's blood sugar suddenly spikes above that level, it's impossible to tell if they need more insulin or if the spike is a result of a Somogyi Rebound, where less insulin is required. Not having the historical "curve" blood sugar levels prior to reaching and surpassing the Renal Threshold means you are making decisions based on very limited data.
All in all, we strongly advise home testing your dog's blood sugar and performing glucose curves often to ensure you are injecting the right levels of insulin.