Home Blood Glucose Testing Education


Home blood glucose testing has become a common practice among owners of diabetic pets. This information will help you and your vet learn about home bg testing, be assured that the meters are accurate, help you decide if home blood glucose testing is appropriate for you and your pet, and learn specific testing methods. Home blood glucose monitoring should be performed in consultation with your veterinarian.  

General Concepts

Specific testing methods (locations for getting the drop of blood)

Which Meter Should I Purchase For My Pet?
These meters are good for pets because they have test strips using capillary action to "suck" the blood into the test strip. Many owners of diabetic pets have found this type of meter, to best meet their needs.  Meters that are not listed are not “bad” meters, they are just not commonly used by owners of diabetic pets. The main features of each meter and it's test strips are shown below. You shouldn't have to pay much more than the listed price at a local pharmacy. There are also links to the company web sites, and to their on-line owner's manuals. The companies often run rebate offers, so call them and ask if there are any rebates available (the number will be on the box). Also, you can often find "buy 50 test strips and get the meter free" deals. Many owners have said the folks at Hocks.com have been very helpful in providing meter / test strip deals and they are familiar with the needs of diabetic pets.


Model Website Choices
in Canada)
Comfort Curve Strips
Accucheck Advantage Meter
Website Choices
One Touch

Glucometer Elite 
Elite XL 

Glucometer Elite Meter



Glucometer Dex Meter



Reference Plasma Plasma Plasma Plasma Plasma
Blood (uL) 4 1 2 3-4 0.3
Time (sec) up to 40 5 30 30 15
BG Range
10-600 20-600 20-600 10-600 20-500
lithium lithium lithium AAAA
Auto Shut
Off (min)
5 2 3 3 2
Controls Low,
Temp. (F) 57-104 43-111 50-104 50-104 50-95
Test Strip
Chip   Strip No calibration required Button
on meter
Test Strips Comfort Curve 
test strips 
(100 ct)
  Elite (50 count)
Dex Sensors 
(50 ct)

(100 ct) 

(100 ct) 
Meter Kit Price $65 $65 $45 (Elite)
$53 (XL)
$68 $75
+ touchable strips
+ meter can be held in any orientation 
+ can apply second drop of blood within 15 seconds
+ a very accurate meter
+ rated in top three by Consumer Reports (Oct 2001)
+ rated in top three by Consumer Reports (Oct 2001)
+ touchable strips
+ meter can be held in any orientation
+ 10 sensors in meter are convenient for frequent testers
+ meter can be held in any orientation 
o Rated "very good" by Consumer Reports but a little less consistent than some meters
+ won't start without enough blood
+ rated in top three by Consumer Reports (Oct 2001)
- false reading with too little blood
- false reading with too little blood
- false reading with too little blood
- several owners  report this meter reads low on their cat. I've also had the same report from one dog owner.
U.S. Customer
800-227-8862 800-348-8100
Web link
site quality










Very good


Website Choices If I were to purchase a meter again, I would choose the Accu-Check Advantage, followed by the One Touch Ultra.  Although the Bayer Elite was not a top-rater meter in Consumer's Reports I think it is a good meter for use with pets and many pet owners use one of the Bayer meters (we used the Elite when Barney was being tested). 

 Being able to hold the meter in any orientation (flat, sideways, tipped in some direction) makes it easier to get the test strip to the drop of blood on the ear, paw, lip, etc.

AAAA (that's not a typo). 

* may be too narrow a temperature range for people living in cold or hot climates.

** these pros and cons are either characteristics that are mentioned in the owner's manuals or advantages or disadvantages owners have mentioned when using these meters with diabetic pets. Just because a pro or con is not listed doesn't mean it doesn't apply to that meter, it just means no one who uses the meter has mentioned it. 

All of these meters have a memory that stores recent bg readings. The amount of memory varies, and some meters include the date and time along with the bg. 

All of these meters, except for the Glucometer Elite have data download capability. This feature is not usually used by pet owners, and if you are choosing between the Glucometer Elite and the Glucometer Elite XL, the XL would not be worth the extra expense. 

"Touchable strips" means you can touch the test end of the strip without damaging the strip or effecting the test results. This is a very nice feature.

These meters / test strips have about the same range for hematocrit, with the Bayer Glucometers having the widest range (20-60%). Your pet's hematocrit should be within an acceptable range unless your pet is severely dehydrated or anemic. The same is true of the cholesterol and triglyceride limits of the meters, with the possible exception of hyperlipidemic pets. If your pet is dehydrated, anemic, or is hyperlipidemic, you should be sure to check with your vet and the specifications of your meter to be sure you will get accurate readings. 

Two other meters:
WalMart ReliOn brand of glucometer. The meter kit costs only $25 and a box of 50 test strips costs just $10. It measures bg in the range of 20-600 mg/dl and has a memory that retains the last 10 bg tests. It's operating range is 39-86 degrees F. The auto shut-off is 1 minute, and it has a non-replaceable battery that lasts for about 4000 tests. U.S. Customer Support: 800-992-3612. Unfortunately, the meter is not featured on the WalMart website, and is available only in WalMart pharmacies (not any other store). 

Meters that are not good for use with diabetic pets
The following meters have been used by owners of diabetic pets and they were not happy with them. Usually it's because the meter requires too much blood or because you have to drip the blood onto the test strip (not a capillary action "sippy" type test strip)

  • Accucheck Simplicity

  • Exactec RSG

  • Medisense Precision

Meters recently rated in Consumer Reports
The October 2001 issue of Consumer Reports magazine rated several home bg meters. Meters were evaluated by 9 people with diabetes including four diabetes professionals based on the following criteria:

  1.  how easy it was to use / maintain / transport; and features

  2.  consistency (similarity of reading when retesting the same blood sample)

  3.  accuracy (how closely readings agreed with standard lab results)

They note that consistency was given more weight in the overall rating than accuracy because users can learn to adjust the meter to any bias it might have. The three top-rated meters are noted in the pros in the chart above. The following meters had comments that "there are better choices" because of poor consistency and/or poor accuracy

  • One Touch FastTake

  • MediSense Precision QID

  • AtLast

  • InCharge

Lancing Devices and Lancets
There are many types of lancets and lancing devices on the market. Some lancets are sharper or smoother than others - which can be less traumatic for your pet. But, a lancet that is too sharp may not produce a large enough prick to get a drop of blood.  A few owners have found that the B-D Ultra-fine II lancet is too fine. Whether or not you use a lancing device is personal preference. Some owners feel they have more control holding the lancet in their hand, while others find the lancing device to be very helpful. If you don't like the lancing device that came with your meter, you may want to try the Softclix lancing device. It is pen shaped, quiet (won't scare your pet) and has 6 depth settings. Many owners like this lancing device. 


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Updated February 2004
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