FreeStyle Libre Could Have Killed My Dog…

Most of you who read our blog have seen recent posts where we sung the praises of the FreeStyle Libre. BOY WERE WE WRONG!!! Keep reading to find out the scoop on what Abbott Pharmaceuticals thinks of dogs.

The last few days, Beignet’s glucose readings on the sensor looked great. But were they actually great??? Unlikely!!! This morning I scanned her and was shocked to see a 47.  I immediately grabbed her AlphaTrak2 meter and got a reading of 313.  I did a repeat reading thinking the 313 had to be wrong with a scan of 47 and got 310.  That kind of variance is NOT okay.  I immediately called Abbott Customer Support where they “had a high call volume” with a “hold time of 30 minutes.”  What did they have to say???

The gentleman acknowledged that the variance we had was not okay but he said and I quote, “It’s a dog so there is nothing we are going to do about it.”  I asked him to repeat his statement and he proceeded to tell me very condescendingly that they are in no way responsible for dogs.   I proceeded to tell him that I called when we first got her sensors and I specifically stated that I was using them on a dog and they replaced them.  I have had many I did not call about because I realize they may not all stick for 14 days on a dog and I certainly don’t expect them each to be replaced if they don’t stay in place.  However, for a malfunctioning sensor, I do expect replacement especially only 4 days into a new 14 day sensor.  He kept talking rudely about it being just a dog.  I informed him I knew for a fact that sales reps market these sensors to veterinarians so again how are they not going to take responsibility for a faulty sensor?  I was put on hold and he came back once or twice and asked my address, etc.  Then I was sent to Miles the supposed technical specialist.  Miles was incredibly rude about it being for a dog and he delighted in telling me what was wrong with my sensor but that they were not responsible because “it’s on a dog.”  I was also told that if a veterinarian requests information on their product they send a rep.  Well isn’t it unethical to do that if your product is not for pets and you delight in telling pet parents this?

So who’s dog is “just a dog” and not a valued member of your family?  Who of us on the dog diabetes journey isn’t giving their all to keeping their dog healthy and happy each and every day?  How many of us are spending a small fortune to do so?  Most humans are able to use insurance while pet parents are their probably almost 100% exclusively cash paying customers.  From the get go, I wanted a Dexcom because it is far superior to the FreeStyle Libre but just not affordable.  I was very pleased with the results I got with the FreeStyle Libre and I recommended the product to many human diabetics being that I am a physician.  At this point, its hard to articulate the callous manner I experienced with these Abbott representatives for anyone to fully appreciate.  I will say it was enough to make me NOT want to recommend any Abbott products which quite frankly is more of a problem for them and not me in my field of pediatrics when there are equivalent if not better products from other companies.

The worst part about it that I can hardly let myself dwell on, is the harm that could have come to my precious Beignet due to me relying on this sensor that gave faulty readings. I can’t even think about all the consequences, but realize this device COULD HAVE KILLED MY DOG! Yes I know (and have many, many times) cross-checked readings with her glucometer. But when you’re readings look wonderful, it doesn’t cross your mind to bother her by poking for a blood sugar. No one says being a good diabetic pet parent is easy. Perhaps, one should always question a device that makes it so much easier because there’s that saying about if it seems to good to be true…… I’m sure I will continue to beat myself up over this for quite some time.

I ask that each of you let FreeStyle Libre/Abbott Pharmaceuticals know what you think of their position on dogs by commenting below or on our Facebook page or contacting them directly. You can flood their Facebook page with copies of this post and your thoughts [ ] . You can call their Customer Service department at 1-855-632-8658. Support diabetic pet owners, PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!!!!!!! If sensors are faulty in dogs (and we’ve had now 2 in 5 months) it’s clear there are faulty sensors in humans too. Diabetes is no joke. Diabetics require good control or side effects will occur. This device may make you think you’re controlled when you are not. If you chose to use this device for your dog you still must very regularly home test. Don’t become complacent with not testing when numbers look good because your dog will be the one that suffers. And know they will not stand behind a faulty product if it’s used on your pet. I can understand not continually replacing sensors not staying on a pet (which is why I’m out money for many of those) but a defective product – absolutely ridiculous!

~Angry Doxie Mom

Author: Devoted Doxie Mom

I'm a wiener dog obsessed mom of Beignet (long haired dark red brindle) and Andouille Sausage (short hair red brindle) as well as Boudin the cat. When I'm not spending my time caring for my dachshund divas and crazy cat, I'm also a general pediatrician. My background is therefore in the care of little humans and not animals. I am not a veterinarian so am therefore not an expert on animal medical care. This blog is intended to chronicle Beignet's battle mainly with diabetes, but also chronic pancreatitis and suspected jejunal inflammatory bowel disease. We hope to help others, but you should always speak with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's care. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

9 thoughts on “FreeStyle Libre Could Have Killed My Dog…”

  1. I have used the Libre as well for my Corgi. Many inconsistencies with levels requiring both systems being used. I quit using the Libre as I found too many errors in its readings. It is too expensive and unreliable

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am wary about the freestyle. I have a diabetic cat, and during my research found that while humans and cats are quite close in metabolism, that dogs are completely different. This is why caninsulin is a wonderful insulin for dogs, but a disaster for most cats. There are a few people in a Facebook group with me when use this as a one time things, but I was never a fan.


  3. I use the Libre on my dog occasionally and some sensors work great for the full two weeks and some start giving bad numbers after a week. If some work well and some don’t then it is probably a faulty meter. There is a big market for diabetic dogs. You are missing out by not working with dog parents.


    1. Out of curiosity, what would I be missing out on? My dachshund is regularly checked with her AlphaTrak2 which is a meter specifically made for dogs and cats. My AT2 readings are equivalent to my vets. The FreeStyle Libre is for humans and doesn’t check blood sugar. It still gives readings when it becomes faulty which is extremely scary to me. My dog can’t speak and tell me she’s feeling high or low. The Libre makes people lazy and not actually check their pet’s blood sugars when it gives good readings. I don’t trust it and initially I was a fan. I also am disgusted regarding how the company refers to dogs. I would love a trustworthy, reliable continuous monitor but this is not the right one. If I could afford a DexCom, we would definitely love to try it.
      Also I am not a veterinarian and as stated, our posts are my opinions and not ever intended to replace the advice given by someone else’s vet. Personally because I’m willing to do what it takes for my dog I would never again use the Libre after our experience. My doxie is as well controlled as she could possibly be. However, if it comes down to someone who refuses to home test at all versus is willing to use the Libre – 100% they should use the Libre versus not checking at all. Not checking at all is terrifying to me but without also hometesting it would be difficult for many owners to reliably understand highs and lows.


      1. wow, lazy – you are quite judgmental. you are fortunate that you are able to test your dog easily but that is not the case for all and that is why some of us are looking for other options to try and manage our dogs diabetes not refusing to. not all dogs are cooperative and it becomes a stressful situation for both the dog and the owner.


      2. By lazy I was referring to how I personally (and others) respond when using the Libre and getting good number. It made me not want to do my usual blood sugar checks. I hate that I used that word even though I didn’t mean it in the context you took it. I really meant lazy as a state of mind and not lazy lazy. There is absolutely nothing “lazy” about any diabetic dog owner regardless of whether or not they do blood sugar checks. I did put that although circumstances made me not trust it, I definitely think for those that can’t check blood sugars that the Libre is definitely at this point in time the best option. But I wanted users to know that it can give readings when it malfunctions and they should still see a vet to get actual blood sugar checks. I do apologize for coming off judgmental when that was not my intent. I honestly didn’t understand the previous comment regarding that I was missing out working with dog parents since I still don’t know what that was referring to when I made this comment. Anyways DD – Wishing you and your sugar baby all the best! Basically the most important lesson I’ve learned in our diabetic journey is learning to trust our instincts when it comes to taking care of our dogs. And often what works for one dog doesn’t work for another.


  4. I had the exact same experience with Abbott’s “customer service”. My dog was recently diagnosed with diabetes. So my vet recommended using the libre as he used it on his cat and got great results. The meter was placed on a Tuesday. I was checking my boys sugar before and after meals and every few hours in between. And the numbers didn’t seem right to me. My dog wasn’t acting off but my gut was telling me something wasn’t right. Out of no where the sensor started to malfunction. When I tried to scan it would say ” try again in 10 minutes” and then it deactivated. After only 5 days!
    We tried another sensor and again malfunction. Finally I bought a blood meter and put another libre on my dog to see the difference and my god there would be 70 to 100 points apart. The libre would read 476 before a meal and the blood test would say 320.
    So that is when I called abbott and was told that even though the sensors clearly malfunctioned and the meter itself could potentially be faulty they would not warranty anything because its just a dog.
    And when I told them how the 100 point difference was extremely dangerous and could have caused serious harm they said and I quote ” so what its just a dog” we would be concerned if it was a human.

    I paid hundreds to find a painless way to monitor my furry babbies sugar and instead got a device that could have caused more harm.

    I also want to point out that Abbott is also the maker of the alphatrack 2 so you would think they would have more concern and compassion for the heath of pets.


  5. Even though the FreeStyle Libre system can help monitor pets, it is not made for pets. It is made for humans. My vet gave me plenty of warnings about how the sensor may fail, the sensor may fall off, the sensor may give inaccurate readings that need to be cross-checked with the AlphaTrak2, and that Abbott does not provide support for non-human users. I found the Freestyle Libre to be a very helpful tool, knowing the limits of its use. We are first time users, and it stayed on for the entire 2 weeks. There were many times as the days went on that we would get sensor errors and I was concerned it had stopped working, but I would check again and again to finally get a number. If you go into this knowing the limitations of what the sensor and the company will provide for pets, you may find it to be helpful as well. I plan on using it again whenever my vet recommends.


    1. The FSL is certainly better than not checking at all as stated in this old blog. Back then when we used it, at times it stayed on for 2 weeks at a time as well. The reason I wouldn’t use it again unless it was a last resort, is that I don’t think its safe that if it does malfunction it still gives readings. I’d prefer it just to say error because getting what looks like a normal reading that comes as a malfunction when their actual sugar is different scared the mess out of me. I admit with the FSL I got lazy and didn’t use my meter as often. We’d probably have continued to use it if it would have just done errors even if it didn’t last a full 14 days. This is an old post but the main purpose at the end of the day is that no one solely relies on this device for monitoring sugars. But if someone cannot check blood sugars from home, I’d certainly think this would be better than not checking. 3.5 years later and I personally still am hoping one day the price of Dexcoms go down because I would definitely trust a Dexcom being that it’s overall a superior device to a FSL – but for us, thats just way too big of an expense.
      I am a little concerned that when you are getting sensor errors and then it starts reading again later that it might have malfunctioned and given false readings. Hopefully your vet or other diabetic pet parents have taught you how to check blood sugars – it definitely helps to compare especially since the FSL doesn’t check the same type of sugars as a meter or check at the vet. Happy to help you if not or recommend a group (Canine Diabetes Support & Information – is the Facebook group that taught me how to check).


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