Puppies, especially toy breed puppies less than 4 months of age, are predisposed to developing hypoglycemia because they are less able to store and mobilize glucose. Also, toy breed puppies have more brain mass per body weight compared to other breeds and therefore need more glucose for brain function.
In puppies, certain situations can bring on a hypoglycemic attack. For example, when the puppy misses a meal, becomes chilled, or is suffering from exhaustion, or anxiety. (STRESS)
Usually when a puppy gets older, they will outgrow this condition since canine hypoglycemia mostly affects puppies 5 to 18 weeks of age. However, if the dog is very, very high strung, or has a lot of nervous energy, they should to be kept in a calm state as much as possible.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia in Dogs
Dogs with extremely low blood glucose usually show the following signs:
- Lethargy and weakness
- Confusion and disorientation
- Restlessness and agitation
- Muscle in-coordination
In severe cases, the dog may become unconscious and sometimes die.
The severity of the symptoms depends on the level of the blood glucose and how fast the blood glucose level drops. If left untreated, a dog showing mild symptoms of hypoglycemia can deteriorate rapidly. Immediate veterinary treatment is essential - dogs suffering from prolonged hypoglycemia or repeated occurrences of the condition can have permanent damage to their brains.
First Aid for Hypoglycemia in Dogs
If your dog is prone to hypoglycemia, you should always be prepared to deal with the onset of the condition.
As mentioned above, hypoglycemia is very dangerous and can kill if left without treatment. Immediately veterinary treatment is essential. However, before getting to the Vet, there are several things that you can do to prevent the condition from deteriorating.
The first thing to do is to get the blood glucose back to a safe level. This can be done by giving your puppy a source of sugar such as white corn syrup or liquid honey.
Always have corn syrup (preferred over honey) or liquid honey available. Give 1/2 teaspoon to maximum 2/3rd teaspoon (we say up to 2/3rd only if quite a bit gets all over the outside of the puppies mouth and you are not sure how much is wasted) of syrup or liquid honey to a 1 kg (2.2 pound)to 2 kg (4.4 pound) small breed pup. NOTE: IMPORTANT: Do not give more than that amount before getting it to a Vet!!! To much can also harm your puppy/dog.
If your dog is already unconscious, rub the syrup on the gums, tongue and under the tongue.
NOTE: IF YOU ARE NOT TRAINED IN GIVING A PUPPY LIQUIDS BY MOUTH, WHERE YOU MAY GET THE LIQUID INTO THE ANIMALS LUNGS BY MISTAKE, THEN RUB IT ONTO THE GUMS AND TONGUE WITH YOUR FINGER. The glucose is absorbed faster through the tongue and gum tissue than the stomach. We want it in the puppies mouth until the puppy swallows it naturally.
Note: Keep your dog warm because low blood sugar will cause hypothermia.