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The Dangers of Hypoglycemia in Small Dogs and How to Prevent It

August 20th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Hypoglycemia for small dogs is one of the most dangerous and deadly conditions that a toy breed puppy can encounter. I’ve seen too many cases where a new owner is not properly educated about hypoglycemia in small dogs, and the puppy dies because the owner did not know what to do. This post does not only apply to puppies, but adult toy breed dogs as well. Hypoglycemia can occur in adult dogs if you are not careful. I feel this is THE most important piece of information that any new owner should have when it comes to a puppy’s health. It should be MANDATORY that anybody thinking of buying a toy breed dog read this article before they bring their puppy home. It could save you dog’s life!

First off, Hypoglycemia is basically a term that describes a condition in a dog where the concentration of glucose (sugar) suddenly drops. Glucose is used as a primary source of energy in all dogs. Small breed dogs, especially puppies, are extremely prone to this condition. The younger the puppy the more chances they have of becoming hypoglycemic. On a side not, I do not recommend buying a puppy from any breeder that releases their pups earlier than 10 weeks of age. 12 weeks would be preferable. Okay, back to the subject at hand. Small breed puppies obviously have less muscle mass than a breed such as a Labrador. When I mention small breeds, I’m referring to dogs such as Yorkies, Shih Tzu’s, Chihuahua’s, Pomeranians, etc. With the low amount of muscle mass that these breeds have, retaining proper glucose levels is tougher. This is why smaller dogs are more susceptible to hypoglycemia.

As long as your puppy or dog eats on a regular basis they should not have any troubles with this deadly condition. However, if your puppy even misses one meal, they could fall victim to hypoglycemia. Furthermore, the following could speed up the onset of hypoglycemia even further:

1.Stress

2.Change in diet

3.Infections

4.Poor Nutrition

5.Low body temperature

The signs to look out for if you suspect your dog to becoming hypoglycemic are: laziness, lethargic, shivering, non-responsive, stumbling, and worst of all, comatose. Checking your dog’s gums is also an excellent method in detecting hypoglycemia. A healthy dog should have warm and pink gums. If your dog’s gums are cold and white, they are most likely in a hypoglycemic state. If you notice your dog experience any of these symptoms, IMMEDIATELY feed them a couple finger full doses of glucose. There are some products that you can buy that are made for this purpose, such as Nutri-Stat or Nutra-Cal. I’ve also used Karo Syrup which you can find in your local grocery store. Simply place a dab on your finger tip, and scrape the syrup on the back of the top row of teeth. I would repeat this a couple times. Some dogs may recover within 10 -20 minutes, while others may take hours. If you do not see any improvement in their condition within the first 30 minutes, immediately take your dog to the animal hospital.

Raising a smaller dog should be a very fun and rewarding experience. With some proper education beforehand, the process will go a lot smoother and ensure that your puppy grows up healthy. Just remember that hypoglycemia can be prevented by:

1. Keeping a close eye on your puppy’s condition at all times

2. Proper feeding

3. Proper rest

With this information, you should be properly guarded against your dog falling victim to hypoglycemia. However, always consult a vet for any advice you need for your dog. You can read a more detailed article on hypoglycemia and small breed puppy care here.

Tags: Health Tips

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 angelled // Oct 29, 2011 at 7:14 am

    my sister just bought a dog little over a week ago for my neice of 5yrs and we woke up this morning to it being laid over on its side and wouldnt stand up on its own. wouldnt respond to anything even snapping by its ear. they are now headed to the breeder after the breeder said to feed the dog honey and were doing that through serenge but we had never heard of hyplogycemia in small dogs and they left to the breeder and i decided to look it up. its been over 30minutes with no improvement but i wish yes when they bought the dog that the breeder would have said something and hopefully the puppy recovers

  • 2 admin // May 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Sorry for the ridiculously delayed response! I somehow missed this comment. How is the puppy doing now? Yes hypoglycemia is common in small breeds when they leave their mother too soon, have health issues, or are not fed enough. My little miniature yorkie was born only 2 ounces and is full grown at 1.5 lbs and has never had hypoglycemia before but thats because she has an appetite which is the sign of a healthy puppy. I hear these stories time and time again and it is sad that breeders are not properly taking care of their puppies and educating customers as well. Please feel free to contact me anytime for any questions and i will be glad to help and give advice! =)

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