How Much Does Insulin Cost for Dogs?

How Much Does Insulin Cost for Dogs?

Diabetes is quite common in dogs. It usually occurs when the pancreas stops working and doesn’t produce enough insulin or when the body has insulin but doesn’t know how to use it. The latter diabetes is known as Type II, and, according to studies, it hasn’t been seen in dogs yet.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes in Dogs

  • Drinking water excessively and increased urination
  • Decreased appetite
  • Recurring or chronic infections of the urinary tract and skin
  • Weight loss (even when your dog is eating properly)
  • Cloudy eyes

If your dog was recently diagnosed with diabetes, you are probably wondering how you will be able to afford the treatment cost. The good news is that the total expense is lower than what it takes to maintain human diabetes. Since this disease is for life, you need to find ways to cut back on the cost.

This blog post will not only discuss the monthly expense of having a diabetic dog but also answer a few of your burning questions regarding the disease:

Let’s begin:

Calculating the Monthly Cost


Cost: $20 – $150

Diabetic dogs don’t need as much insulin as humans do. They need to be injected twice a day, but the dosage might differ depending on the size of the dog and the severity of diabetes. The insulin requirements might suddenly change based on their food intake and how active they are. This is why taking your dog on regular walks and play dates in a dog park is important.

Glucose Meter

Cost: $40 – $80

This is a one-time expense that will help you keep track of your dog’s blood glucose level. You can also visit a veterinarian for the test, which will cost around $20. This expense is less at the moment but increases depending on your visits.

Lancets and Test Strips

Cost: $15

While your glucose meter will last quite a while, its lancets and test strips will finish in a month or 3. The lancet refers to the needle encased in a capsule used to draw blood, which is then placed on the test strip that slides into the glucose meter.

Pet owners can perform a urine test, for which they need the strips. Sometimes, the result can be confusing to read, which is why a glucose meter is a better choice.


Cost: $16

A syringe used to inject insulin cannot be reused, even for a same-day dose. Most pet owners download an app to keep track of the doses they need to give to their dogs. This way, they can count the syringes required for a month.

Diabetic Dog Food 

Cost: $40 – $100

It can be a little difficult to determine the monthly cost of diabetic dog food. Several factors affect it, such as food bag size, preference, size of the dog, and specialty food (If the dog has any pre-existing conditions).

To make sure that your dog is eating the correct amount, get a complete checkup and a diet chart from the vet.

Veterinary Care

Cost: $75 – $250

If your dog’s diabetes is not maintained correctly, they could be at risk of hypoglycemia. Diabetes can lead to many other health problems in dogs, such as weight gain, heart attack, urinary tract infection, cataracts, and enlarged livers. Hence, regular checkups are a must and might increase based on your dog’s health.

Total Monthly Cost: $206 – $611

Buying Generic vs. Brand Name

Often people are confused between buying generic and brand-name medication. You need to understand that there’s no difference in their formula. The former medicine type costs less because the manufacturer skipped marketing the product.

Here’s an example to help you understand this.

The brand name Humulin costs $100 to $130. Its generic version is Novolin, which costs $70 to $100.

Buying Online vs. at the Vet

Most pet owners buy insulin from their vet because they see it as a convenient option. However, this is not cost-effective. Most clinics markup the medications by 100% above wholesale prices. They also charge a small dispensing fee, which is between $5 and %15

On the other hand, online retailers offer you bulk offers that cost less. You will have to pay for overnight shipping to ensure the package arrives early. Since insulin needs to be kept cold, it’s better if it arrives at its destination quickly.

Using a Benefits Plan

Pharmacies often provide a Benefits Plan that offers discounts. These plans are designed by certain drug companies, veterinarians, and pharmacies. You receive a monthly or yearly supply of insulin for a fixed price, which helps you save 75% on diabetes medication.


Is Human Insulin Different Than Dog Insulin?

Dog insulin is also known as Vetsulin. This medicine is specifically made for diabetic dogs. Its amino acid sequence is similar to that of natural canine insulin but differs from the biosynthetic human insulin. The similar structure of the sequence proves more effective at decreasing any problems associated with anti-insulin antibody development and blood glucose regulation.

Can I Give My Dog Human Insulin?

There’s no harm in giving your dog human insulin. Some dogs are allergic to it, so it is recommended that you consult your vet first. However, if you are in a situation where your dog’s blood glucose level is dangerously low, you can give them a human insulin injection and then drive them to the vet for a checkup.

Can I Use a Human Glucose Meter to Check My Dog’s Blood Glucose Level?

No! A human glucose meter will not give an accurate reading. This is because the distribution of glucose in the body is different in humans and animals. In humans, the plasma contains 58% glucose. In cats, it is 93%, and in dogs, it is 88%.


Type I diabetes in dogs can be easily maintained. With proper medication, a balanced diet, and exercise, it’s possible that your dog might be able to enter partial remission. In the first few months after diagnosis, schedule regular visits to the vet to ensure your dog is receiving the insulin well and hasn’t developed any other health problems.

Scroll to Top