Old dog getting insulin administered by pet parent

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The cost of dog insulin can vary greatly depending on factors like the type of insulin, the dosage required, and where it’s purchased. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels in both humans and dogs, and it’s commonly used to manage diabetes in dogs. 

There are many types of insulin available, which affects the price. A quick search online at various pet pharmacies will show you that the overall price of insulin for dogs can range from around $20 to $150 or more, depending on the brand and your dog’s needs. 

So, how much does dog insulin cost? Keep reading to learn more about the costs associated with dog diabetes. 

What Is Canine Diabetes?

Diabetes in dogs is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by the body’s inability to properly regulate blood sugar levels. Similar to diabetes in humans, this condition occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin — a hormone responsible for helping cells absorb and use glucose in the bloodstream.1 

There are two main types of diabetes that can affect dogs: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes in dogs is the most common form and occurs because a dog can’t produce enough insulin. This often requires lifelong insulin therapy to manage the condition.1 

On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes involves a combination of insulin deficiency and ineffective insulin utilization. Type 2 diabetes in dogs is rarer than Type 1 and is typically caused by obesity. While Type 2 diabetes can also benefit from insulin treatment, dietary changes, and weight management tend to play a more significant role in managing the condition.1

Common signs of diabetes in dogs include: 

  • Increased thirst or dehydration
  • Excessive urination
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in appetite1

Early diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan involving medication, diet, and regular veterinary checkups are crucial for effectively managing diabetes in dogs and improving your pet’s quality of life. 

How Much Does Dog Insulin Cost?

The cost of insulin for dogs varies significantly based on several factors, such as: 

  • Type of insulin prescribed: There are various types of insulin formulations, including short-acting, immediate-acting, and long-acting, each with different costs. The availability of generic versions and potential prescription discounts can also influence the cost of insulin for dogs. 
  • Dosage required: The dosage of insulin prescribed is determined by the dog’s individual needs, which can be influenced by factors such as the severity of the diabetes, the dog’s weight, and its response to insulin. Dogs with more severe cases may require higher doses of insulin. 
  • Frequency of administration: Some dogs may require insulin injections once or twice daily, while others may need more frequent doses. The frequency is often determined based on the specific type of insulin and the dog’s response to treatment. More frequent administration means a higher monthly cost of insulin for dogs.2 

Beyond the cost of insulin, other financial considerations are associated with managing diabetes in dogs. Regular veterinary checkups and blood tests are essential for monitoring your dog’s health and adjusting the treatment plan as needed. Specialized diabetic dog food or a modified diet may also be recommended, adding to the overall cost. 

The financial burden of diabetes in dogs can be significant. Ensuring your pet maintains a healthy weight and has an active lifestyle can help decrease your pet’s risk of diabetes.

Saving Money on Dog Insulin Costs

Saving on the cost of insulin for dogs can be an important consideration for pet parents managing dog diabetes. Some common strategies you might use to save on your dog’s medication include: 

Buying insulin online vs. at the vet

Some pet parents may find cost savings by purchasing insulin online via an online pet pharmacy. However, it’s crucial to ensure the legitimacy of the source and verify that the product is the correct type and formulation prescribed by the veterinarian. 

While convenience and assurance of authenticity may come with buying insulin directly at the vet, the cost could be higher compared to online alternatives. Keep in mind, though, that veterinary clinics often provide the added benefit of professional guidance and support. Shipping complications are also a concern, as insulin needs to be kept refrigerated to preserve its longevity and ensure it works properly.

Brand name vs. generic options

Brand-name insulin formulations are typically more expensive, but some dogs may respond better to specific brands. Discussing options and potential cost savings with the veterinarian can help find a balance between effectiveness and affordability. 

Generic versions of insulin may be more cost-effective. Veterinarians can guide you on whether a generic alternative suits your dog’s specific needs. 

Pharmacy benefit plans for pets

Some pharmacies offer prescription discount programs for pet medications. Pet owners can explore these options to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses. 

Certain pet insurance plans may also cover a portion of the costs associated with managing chronic conditions like diabetes. It’s essential to carefully review insurance policies to understand coverage details. 

Additional Dog Diabetes Costs

Beyond the direct costs of insulin for dogs, there are additional expenses related to the diagnosis and ongoing care of diabetes in dogs. These include: 


One of the first dog diabetes costs is the cost of the diagnosis. The diagnosis of diabetes in dogs often involves blood tests, urine analysis, and possibly additional diagnostic procedures.1 The costs associated with these tests can contribute to the overall financial impact of managing diabetes in dogs. 

Additionally, regular follow-ups may be necessary to monitor the dog’s response to treatment and ensure the diabetes is inadequately controlled. These ongoing veterinary visits can incur additional expenses. 

Cataract surgery for diabetic dogs

Diabetic dogs are prone to developing cataracts, which can lead to vision impairment or blindness.4 If cataracts become problematic, surgical intervention may be required to restore or improve vision.

Cataract surgery for dogs involves specialized veterinary care and can be a significant expense. Pet parents should be prepared for the potential surgical costs of cataracts developing as a complication of diabetes. 

Specialized diabetic dog food

Some diabetic dogs may benefit from specialized prescription diets designed to support their nutritional needs and help manage diabetes.1 This is an ongoing canine diabetes cost that you’ll continue to pay for throughout your dog’s entire treatment if prescribed by a vet. While these diets can be effective, they often come at a higher cost compared to regular dog food. You may also consider diabetic dog treats as part of their overall diet.  

The long-term cost of maintaining a diabetic dog on a specialized diet should be factored into the overall budget. 

Lifestyle Changes for Diabetic Dogs

While there’s little pet parents can do to prevent diabetes in dogs, there are actions you can take to help manage diabetes in dogs. 

Providing a consistent and balanced diet is essential for diabetic dogs. Specialized diabetic dog food or prescription diets may be recommended to help regulate blood sugar levels. Feeding meals at the same time each day can contribute to better blood sugar control. 

Monitoring and controlling portion sizes can also prevent spikes in blood glucose levels.2 Work with your vet to determine the appropriate portion sizes based on your dog’s weight, activity level, and specific dietary needs. 

Incorporating regular exercise into a diabetic dog’s routine can also be beneficial for weight management and blood sugar control. Consistent physical activity, like daily walks, can improve insulin sensitivity and contribute to overall health. 

Spaying female dogs may have a positive impact on diabetes management.2 Unspayed females can experience hormonal fluctuations during their heat cycles, which may affect blood sugar levels. Spaying can stabilize these hormonal changes and improve the consistency of diabetes management. 

Of course, the decision to spay a diabetic dog should be made with your vet. They can consider your dog’s individual health status, the severity of the condition, and other factors before recommending spaying as part of their treatment plan.

Insurance and Financial Aid for Diabetic Dogs

Pet insurance can help you manage the financial costs associated with diabetic dog care. But keep in mind that many pet insurance policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions like diabetes. If a dog is diagnosed with diabetes before getting insurance, the condition is likely considered pre-existing, and related expenses may not be covered. 

Pet insurance is designed to cover unexpected future incidents and illnesses. If diabetes is diagnosed after obtaining pet insurance, treatment and related expenses may be eligible for coverage, depending on the policy's specific terms. 

If your pet insurance doesn’t cover the costs of your dog’s care, other options may be available. For instance, some non-profits provide financial assistance to pet owners facing challenges in covering veterinary costs. Similarly, teaching hospitals at veterinary schools may offer lower-cost services for some medical conditions. 

Smiling young woman holding and kissing small dog

Final Notes

Managing diabetes in dogs involves various costs, including the price of insulin, veterinary checkups, specialized food, and potential surgical interventions. So, how much is dog insulin? The overall expense depends on factors like the type of insulin prescribed, dosage requirements, and the frequency of administration. Unfortunately, you won’t know the true cost of your dog’s treatment until you discuss it with a vet. 

As you navigate the financial aspects of caring for a diabetic dog, try Dutch telemedicine for pets. With a Dutch membership, you can consult with experienced veterinarians to get expert guidance for managing your dog’s health. Access professional advice, discuss treatment plans, and receive support from the comfort of your home.


  1. Jones, Lauren. “Diabetes in Dogs.” PetMD, 28 Apr. 2022, www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/endocrine/diabetes-dogs

  2. “Managing Canine Diabetes.” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 19 Jan. 2024, www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/riney-canine-health-center/health-info/managing-canine-diabetes

  3. “Preventing Diabetes in Dogs.” VMBS News, 11 Mar. 2022, vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/preventing-diabetes-in-dogs/

  4. “Canine Cataracts.” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 19 Jan. 2024, www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/riney-canine-health-center/health-info/canine-cataracts.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $11/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.