Hypoglycemia In Dogs and Puppies

You are about to learn more than you ever wanted to about low blood sugar, but also probably more than most long time breeders I know. 

Part of the reason I have been so successful at Breeding little dogs, is my willingness to learn for myself and not take what other breeders say at face value. I have bred extremely tiny moms. I have learned so much about Hypoglycemia, and most of which you will find so interesting as to the why, its not what you think.

What to look for if you think your puppy might have hypoglycemia. 

– being lethargic 

– slow jerky movements

– white gums 

– lack of appettite 

Treatment of Hypoglycemia in dogs and puppies

Anyone who has yorkies, or a small breed dog, should have DYNE on hand. It is a high calorie gel that will bring your little puppy or adult dog back from the brink. Seizures can come on quick if your dog doesn’t eat for a long time and gets low blood sugar. Seizures can cause death. Low blood sugar episodes can be very common , the smaller the dog the more common. Yorkies are picky eaters so its a perfect storm. The nutri cal at pet co or pets mart is very low quality ingredients that can cause a low after giving a blood sugar spike. Just stick with DYNE !

1. Get sugar into your pups bloodstream as quickly as possible. White Karl syrup is something most families have on hand, and its great because they aren’t getting it into their stomachs as much as right into their blood stream through their gums. This is why Karo is the preferred method, or a nutrical gel.

2. Make sure the pup is warm and relaxed. Once a pup is showing signs of hypoglycemia and you are in treatment mode, get that sugar in and then, make sure your young pup is not struggling to keep itself warm. Young pups can really struggle with heat production when in a sugar crisis, if you place a very low temp heating pad under the pup that will help just be careful about turning the pup from side to side so they don’t get burned. Burn spots on dogs from staying on one spot of skin on a heating bad happens at the vet offices all the time so be careful. You can also get a ziplock of warm water and put it next to your pet. This is great. Helping your pet to stay warm and calm takes some of the demand for energy down so your pets body can focus on other important tasks on a cellular level. Doing these things will bring the overall stress on the pup down, which is the goal so they can recoup quickly.

3. It’s time to eat. Once the pup has had some sugar, and laid down in a warm spot to rest, you need to evaluate if they need real food. If your pup hasn’t eaten for a while, this could be the reason they have low blood sugar. Once their blood sugars start to rise, they will most likely be willing to eat. A classic sign of hypoglycemia is no appetite to eat, but once their blood sugar levels rise from the karo syrup or nutri cal, that’s when they start to feel hungry again. Their appetite has been stimulated by the rise in blood sugar. Offer them some food, to prevent another hypoglycemic drop once the effects of the Karo drop off. The intense sugars cause the rise, but also con consequently cause a sharp drop again once it wears off, make sure your pup eats at about 15 – 20 min after the karo or sugar stimulant you have chosen. This is when you should notice the lethargy to stop. Get food in them. The very best option is their normal food they eat. Kibble expands and feeds them over time. Feeding them chicken and rice is great but for Yorkies, Maltese, Shih Tzu, or other small breeds, sometimes this can create a vicious cycle because they won’t want to eat regular kibble, because kibble sucks after you’ve tasted the heaven of chicken and rice. Also, human made foods don’t stay in their GI affoarding nutrition over a long period of time like kibble does. So if your pet normally eats kibble, lets try the kibble.

4. You should now be out of the woods. But the major question remains: What caused it? Is it simple or a sign your pup has a major health issue?

What causes hypoglycemic episodes in dogs and puppies?

At the beginning intro to this article, I stated you might learn more than veteran breeders I know. Here is the whole kit and kaboodle of what you learn when you breed extreme micro Momma Dogs and puppies. 

1. Over playing and heat. If your pup is young, and has been playing hard for more than 20 minutes and they keep going without water and without food, this can precipitate a low blood sugar episode. Let a tired pup sleep, don’t let children keep a puppy up after a long stretch of playtime. Their bodies are growing like crazy and they need rest often. Same with even adults that aren’t growing, let them rest when they want and encourage it after hard play.

2. Worms my friends. Everything I have learned from studying parasites is that they are so so common. If you got a pup with worms, don’t freak out. In my personal opinion and my Veterinarian, all dogs constantly have worms and parasites moving through their gut and trying to make your pups intestines their new permanently living stitch. In a normal dogs body, with a healthy strong immune system, they fight and deter these pesky little beggars that are found everywhere, in the dirt, on your shoes from Walmart. What we are talking about here is the worm load. Your pet will probably always have some worm load but it should be very very low. When your pup is born, they eat colostrum and get antibodies from the mom in the first 4 hours, that penetrates a brand new intestinal wall and creates their entire immune system for the next 5-7 weeks. This means that around that 6-8 weeks old mark – that’s when your pups body starts utilizing its own immune system. For a pup that gets stressed from changing homes, at the same time this happens, its a perfect storm for a pesky parasite to try to take over. Low appetite is a classic sign of a parasite. Get to the vet, get tested for giardia, coccidia, etc. But bear in mind, that a negative doesn’t mean anything, just means that fecal matter that came out at the time of the test didn’t have any eggs. They could still have worms. If your pup continues to show a lack of appetite and potential hypoglycemic episodes, that’s my first defense. Now onto 3 – the more serious part.

3. Your puppy could have an underlying condition, like a disease, or major organ defect causing continued hypoglycemic drops. For example: a liver shunt, common in small dogs, causes a build up of ammonia in their blood and they will loose their appetite. So you see – the hypoglycemic episode can be a symptom of something much larger. The first time I see a pup have a hypoglycemic episode, its a concern. If they recoup and then crash again, its automatic additional 3 months in my home, so I can look for other symptoms of an underlying health condition like a liver shunt, hydrocephalus, etc. If you are an owner, and you are experiencing continued hypoglycemic episodes, this is not happening because your pup likes to play to much, especially after you’ve already done the deworming to rule out a parasite cause. There are literally 100’s of health conditions that cause a lack of appetite in dogs and puppies. You need an awesome veterinarian, and a close look at common health issues if you have a purebred. 

What are the signs and symptoms of Hypoglcemia in dogs and puppies?

Please read!

1. Probably the first sign you will see, is your pup vomiting up yellow foamy liquid. This is stomach bile. Your pups belly has been empty for too long. They may not even want to eat, because they went so long they lost their appetite. Hit them with karo syrup and then try to get them to eat their regular food if you can’t, or something that smells amazing to them, chicken nuggets from McDonald’s is better than nothing.

2. Lethargy is a classic sign of low blood sugar and hypoglycemia. So if your pup doesn’t want to play, and just wants to lay down for longer than ordinary amounts of time start looking for the other signs.

3. White gums. This is one I ask all my puppy families to look at before there is an issue. I tell them to look at the puppy’s gums, how do they look? They should look nice and pink, and then I tell them, that’s what you want to see. If you think your pup is acting lethargic, we go right to the gums, and since we have seen them at a normal pink, we know what white gums looks like! This is a sign of low blood sugar. If your pups gums are gray, your dog is literally in the process of dying and you need to get to the vet asap. I never run to the vet, but I have never seen any animal with gray gums that wasn’t on their way out the door with needed life saving measures. White gums means low blood sugar. 

Please make sure you understand that this is a serious thing, that if gone unnoticed can turn life threatening really quickly and this is even more true the smaller your dog is.