What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is the technical term for low blood sugar. Tissue such as a muscle receives glucose from the blood to use as energy.
Animals that become hypoglycemic have used up all the glucose in the blood and become weak, comatose, and may even die. It is not a disease, but simply the body’s response to a lack of glucose or to a stressful situation.
Hypoglycemia is a serious condition brought on by too much activity and too much stress. Left untreated it can kill your puppy in a matter of hours.
Fortunately, it can be prevented by feeding your puppy correctly and by not allowing the puppy to over-exercise. It is also a good idea to treat your puppy as you would an infant: keep your puppy confined to a small space (such as a puppy playpen).
Small breed puppies might not ever experience hypoglycemia if their owners are attentive and provide for the small puppies’ special needs. All puppies must eat!!
Which puppies are more likely to suffer from hypoglycemia?
Any puppy will become hypoglycemic if he or she quickly burns up more energy than they're consuming. The puppies that are more at risk are miniature and toy breeds such as Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Maltese, and Toy Poodles. Their small bodies have very little energy stores and they cannot eat enough in one meal to keep active all day.
Puppies can also become hypoglycemic from stress. Whenever their environment is disrupted by moving, vacationing, etc. a puppy stands a good chance of becoming hypoglycemic from the stress involved in such situations.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
At first, the puppy will become weak, may stagger or lie down, and the puppy will not want to move. Unless action is taken to correct the puppy's low blood sugar, symptoms will become progressively worse.
The puppy will have a vacant, staring expression and will become unresponsive to stimuli, such as calling his or her name or hand clapping. The puppy will feel cool to the touch as the body temperature begins to drop. If left untreated, the puppy will become comatose and die.
Please be attentive to your puppy's needs!
Treatment & Prevention
What should I do if I suspect my puppy is hypoglycemic?
If your puppy shows signs of weakness, you should suspect hypoglycemia. If your puppy is still alert and responsive, feed the puppy a small meal and allow your puppy to rest. If your puppy is already staring or unconscious, IMMEDIATELY rub some Nutri Cal on the gums, (in a pinch, Karo syrup can be substituted for Nutra Cal, but Nutri Cal is preferred).
How can I prevent my puppy from becoming hypoglycemic?
Puppies are like children. They are very active and burn up a lot of energy. Because some puppies are so small, your puppy cannot possibly eat enough in one meal to fuel the active body for an entire day.
Puppies should eat THREE TIMES DAILY SUPERVISED (We suggest no free feeding). This helps maintain their blood sugar level at a fairly consistent level. In addition to that, miniature and toy breed puppies should receive snacks before bedtime, like food soaked in water and raw honey.