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Last updated: 25 Jun 2020

The Best Glucose Monitors for Dogs (Review) in 2020

AlphaTRAK 2 Veterinary Blood Glucose Monitoring

AlphaTRAK 2 Veterinary Blood Glucose Monitoring

AlphaTRAK 2 Blood Glucose Test Strips

AlphaTRAK 2 Blood Glucose Test Strips

PetSure! Blood Glucose Testing for Dogs

PetSure! Blood Glucose Testing for Dogs

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Destin Benoit
Published 14:33 pm

There are a few reasons why you might want to monitor a dog’s blood glucose levels. Perhaps you’re a veterinary professional trying to rule out various health conditions, or testing for pancreatic abnormalities. However, the most common reason to keep an eye on an animal’s blood sugar level is diabetes.

Having a pet diagnosed with this illness can be frightening, but fortunately it’s a condition that can be managed largely at home. One of the most important things you’ll need to do as the owner of a diabetic dog is to track their blood glucose levels. Luckily, pet care companies have made things easier by developing glucose monitors for dogs that you can use without rushing off to the vet’s.

With so many options to choose from, though, finding the best dog glucose meter for your pet can be something of a challenge. To help you make an informed decision that works for you both, we’ve put together this handy guide. Below, we run through some of the best glucose monitors on the market right now, before turning our attention to how you can use them most effectively.

The Best Glucose Monitors for Dogs

1

The first monitor to make our list is the Alphatrak 2. Affordable and easy to use, it’s the go-to option for pet owners the world over. The sleek design fits comfortably into your hand, while the highly accurate probe reveals results in just a couple of minutes. To use, simply take a tiny blood sample from your pet using the lancets included, and slot it into the machine.

Unlike earlier designs, this one makes use of capillary blood, avoiding veins and arteries. This ensures minimal blood is needed, and avoids hurting your pooch. In fact, thanks to AlphaTrack’s patented technology, the 0.3 micrometers of blood needed for each sample is the smallest in the world. Owners say this monitor is used by their vets, and put their faith in it to give accurate readings time after time. It’s calibrated to work for cats as well as dogs.

Portable glucometer for dogs and cats

Comfortable, quick, and simple to use

Highly accurate monitor

Patented lancets take only a tiny blood sample from your pet

Used by many veterinary professionals

Affordable price point

Specification:
  • Brand: AlphaTrak
  • Model: BD16347
  • Weight: 1 pound
Pros

Affordable quality

Provides fast and accurate readings

Customer favorite and vet recommended

Cons

Some users say the lancet requires practice to use well

Using on long haired dogs can be tricky

2

The first monitor to make our list is the Alphatrak 2. Affordable and easy to use, it’s the go-to option for pet owners the world over. The sleek design fits comfortably into your hand, while the highly accurate probe reveals results in just a couple of minutes. To use, simply take a tiny blood sample from your pet using the lancets included, and slot it into the machine.

Unlike earlier designs, this one makes use of capillary blood, avoiding veins and arteries. This ensures minimal blood is needed, and avoids hurting your pooch. In fact, thanks to AlphaTrack’s patented technology, the 0.3 micrometers of blood needed for each sample is the smallest in the world. Owners say this monitor is used by their vets, and put their faith in it to give accurate readings time after time. It’s calibrated to work for cats as well as dogs.

Small, portable glucose monitor

Suitable for both dogs and cats

Quick and easy to use

Requires minimal blood sample

Specification:
  • Brand: Advocate
  • Model: PHA00602
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
Pros

Budget-friendly price point

Customer-approved

Switch from cat to dog calibration with the press of a button

Only a tiny amount of blood must be used for each sample

Cons

Applying the correct measure of blood to the test strip can be tricky

Beeping sound could irritate pets

3

For data-savvy owners, this glucose monitor by Cera-Pet could be the perfect option. Not only does it provide an accurate blood glucose reading time after time, it can also log up to 1,000 test results, so you can keep an eye on your pet’s levels over the course of weeks and months. Another handy feature is the ability to convert between mg/dL and mmol/L units when reading the device, saving you the hassle of any conversions you might have to do.

Each testing kit also comes with everything you need to get started. Along with the meter itself, you’ll also receive 25 lances, 25 test strips, and an adaptable lancing device that helps make the experience of providing a sample a bit more comfortable for your pet. Finally, a handy travel case makes it easy to keep everything together, so you can check up on your dog’s sugar levels quickly when it matters most.

Portable blood glucose measure for dogs

Includes lances, lancing device, test strips, and a carry case

Results can be viewed in different units

Test results can be stored

Specification:
  • Brand: Cera-Pet
  • Weight: 12.6 ounces
Pros

Storing test results on-device makes for easier monitoring

Budget-friendly price point

Starter kit comes with everything you need to test immediately

Relatively comfortable for pets

Cons

Designed for dogs specifically and may provide inaccurate results for cats

4

It might not be a glucose monitor per se, but our list wouldn’t be complete without these test strips by AlphaTrak. Each box contains 50 strips, more than enough to provide accurate testing for months on end.

Compatible with all AlphaTrak monitors, they’re guaranteed to provide highly accurate test results every time. In line with AlphaTrak’s patented technology, these strips require very little blood in order to provide a reading. This adds up to an overall more comfortable testing experience for your diabetic pet. Owners agree that these test strips provide consistent results, so you can make an informed decision about when to give your pet an insulin boost.

Pack of 50 blood glucose test strips for pets

Suitable for use with AlphaTrack blood glucose monitors

Provide accurate blood sugar readings time after time

Specification:
  • Brand: AlphaTrak 2
  • Model: 14535
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
Pros

Suitable for testing both cats and dogs’ blood glucose levels

Large pack means better value

Highly accurate readings

Very small amount of blood required for each reading

Used by many vets

Cons

Relatively high price point

Only compatible with AlphaTrak branded monitors

5

EverPaw have also earned a place on our list thanks to their own glucose test strips. Each pack contains 50 testing strips, which can be used to check blood sugar levels for not just dogs, but also cats and horses.

Like the AlphaTrack strips, only a small amount of blood is required to carry out each test, causing less discomfort to your diabetic pet. Owners were impressed with the accuracy of the strips, which matched up with readings taken at the vet’s office. With an affordable price point of under $25, they’re also a great option for owners on a budget.

Pack of 50 test strips for EverPaw blood glucose monitors

Suitable for testing blood sugar levels in dogs, cats, and horses

Reliable and accurate results

Strips only require a very small blood sample

Pros

Affordable price point compared to other brands

Most owners report accurate results

Small blood sample required to minimize discomfort to your pet

Cons

Can take practice to place a correctly sized sample on the strip

Only compatible with certain brands of monitor

6

If you’ve purchased an Alphatrak blood glucose monitor but find their replacement strips a little on the pricey side, PetSure have you covered. These test stips are suitable for checking in on the blood sugar levels of both cats and dogs, and they’re very affordable at less than $15 for a pack of 30.

Each strip works perfectly with both AlphaTrak and AlphaTrak2 monitors, making it simple for owners to test blood glucose accurately at home or on the go. Like most good quality testing strips, they only require a small drop of blood to produce an accurate and reliable reading. Owners found they worked as expected, and were as simple to use at other, more expensive, options on the market.

Pack of 30 blood glucose test strips

Suitable for testing blood glucose levels in cats and dogs

Compatible with AlphaTrak and Alphatrak2 glucose monitors

Accurate and simple to use

Specification:
  • Brand: PetSure!
  • Weight: 1.4 ounces
Pros

Most budget-friendly strips on our list

Compatible with popular AlphaTrak brand glucose monitors

Accurate, reliable results

Cons

Owners found one or two faulty stips per pack

Placing blood at the end of the strip makes reading tricky at times

Best Glucose Monitors for Dogs Buying Guide & FAQ

These six monitors and test strips are the best of the bunch, and we’re confident that owners will find the perfect option for their diabetic pet somewhere among the list. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve also put together this handy guide.

What to Consider When Buying a Glucose Monitor for Dogs

When you need a blood glucose monitor for your dog, there are a few key factors that should influence which one you choose:

  • Accuracy

When selecting a blood glucose monitor for your pet, accuracy is perhaps the most important factor. An accurate monitor will ensure you are treating your pet’s diabetes appropriately, helping them maintain a healthy lifestyle. If in doubt about a monitor’s accuracy, look out for positive customer reviews, or ask your vet which brand they’d recommend.

  • Ease of use

It’s also crucial to find a glucose monitor that’s simple and easy to use. If a monitor is tricky to get the hang of, you’re less likely to achieve consistently accurate results, which means running the risk of giving your pet inappropriate treatment.

  • Recurring costs

Another important consideration to make when buying a glucose monitor is cost. Prices can vary quite a bit, and it’s important to find a solution that works for your budget. When selecting a monitor, bear in mind that you’ll need to pay more than the upfront cost. Test strips are an important part of the testing process, and cannot be reused. When selecting your monitor, take time to check out the price of compatible strips. Sometimes paying more upfront for a monitor with less expensive test strips can save you money in the long run.

  • Comfort

No one wants to hurt their pet, even if it’s for a good cause like blood glucose testing. For this reason, it’s important to choose a glucose monitor that causes your pooch minimum discomfort. Not only will this make the testing experience more pleasant, it will also make your dog less likely to rebel when they notice you’re about to do a test! Look out for a testing system that requires as small a blood sample as possible to avoid hurting your pet. Some devices also include a lance specially designed to work as painlessly as possible.

Why You Should Use Glucose Monitors for Pets

If your dog develops diabetes, monitoring their blood glucose is vital.

Diabetes is a disease that typically affects the pancreas, causing it to stop producing, or produce very little of the hormone insulin. Insulin is required for the bloodstream to absorb glucose (sugar), so it can be transported to cells around the body that need it.

Without the natural production of insulin, diabetic dogs need a little help controlling their blood sugar levels. Too low, and your pet’s cells don’t get the energy they need. Too high, and they can develop some nasty symptoms from nerve damage to depression.

Fortunately, you can keep track of your dog’s blood sugar levels at home using a glucose monitor. The reading will let you know if your dog requires an insulin injection to decrease levels, or food to boost them.

At certain times of day, you can also test your dog’s glucose levels using a urine test. However, this method is much less reliable than using a blood sample.

Dog vs Cat vs Human Glucose Monitors

To ensure you get an accurate blood sugar reading, it’s important to choose a glucose monitor that’s specifically calibrated for dogs.

This is because humans and dogs store their blood sugar in surprisingly different ways. In humans, almost half of blood glucose can be found in the red blood cells, while the rest is stored in the plasma.

In dogs, just 12-13% of blood sugar is stored in red blood cells, and for cats this is even lower at 7%.

Because of these different distributions, using a blood sugar monitor designed for humans to take a reading from your dog or cat will give a pretty inaccurate result.

How to Monitor Ketones and Glucose in your Dog

As we have seen, keeping an eye on your dog’s blood sugar levels is extremely important if the animal is diabetic.

You can do this in two ways:

  • Urine tests

Checking your dog’s urine for glucose and ketones will give you a rough idea of their current blood sugar level. Ketones are chemicals produced when your dog’s body burns fat for energy, and their presence in urine implies that your dog has been unable to use sugar as an energy source, hence doesn’t have enough insulin.

The best time to test a diabetic dog’s urine is just before a meal. You’ll need to collect their urine in a clean container, and insert a testing dipstick - you can buy these online or from your vet.

Remove the dipstick and let it dry. Finally, read the result by holding it against the container it came in and comparing the color to the guide printed there.

  • Blood tests

Testing the blood directly will give you the most accurate measure of your dog’s blood glucose levels. To do this, prick your dog’s ear fold with a sterile lance or hypodermic needle. This will cause a small drop of blood to appear.

Place this drop of blood onto a glucose test strip, before inserting the strip into your glucose monitor. Next use a cotton ball or piece of gauze to stop the bleeding in your dog’s ear.

The monitor should soon display a reading. Different monitors will have slightly different instructions though, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s advice carefully before testing your pet.

For diabetic dogs to remain stable, their blood glucose levels should remain between 100 and 250 mg/dL.

Sick dog in vet clinic

Our Top Pick

AlphaTrak’s reputation for producing highly accurate glucose monitors is well earned, and for us the AlphaTrak 2 glucose monitor is the best option on the market right now. Calibrated to provide accurate test results for both cats and dogs in seconds flat, it’s the idea monitor for busy owners.

The monitor is also equipped with patented technology that works with the world’s smallest blood sample - just 0.3 micrometers. Because it relies on capillary blood, too, there’s no need to puncture larger blood vessels and risk causing your pet more discomfort than necessary. Overall, it’s easy to use, provides accurate readings, and causes minimal discomfort to your pooch. All this, along with its surprisingly affordable price point, means the device is well and truly top of the list.

Destin Benoit
Destin Benoit
A former Special Forces Canine Handler, Destin Benoit has extensive knowledge and experience with military canine training. He has worked with multiple military dogs in the most stressful places and situations in the world. Currently, Destin is a SOC Canine Handler, aiding in the protection of the US diplomats abroad.
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