New pet owners are worried about their puppy experiencing low blood
sugar, and rightfully ask many questions pertaining to the topic. How
common is hypoglycemia? Does a puppy's size affect their chances
of getting it? How do I treat low blood sugar? These are just a few of
the important questions we should know, and I am going to help
answer them all during this sweet and sugary article.
for a long time. During my work, I've accumulated vast amounts of
experience in a variety of different dog related areas, one of which
includes hypoglycemia. It's not a common problem I have by any
means, but there have been rare occasians where I've had to deal
with low blood sugar in a puppy. And now I will share what I know with
Does Size Matter?
A common misconception some have is that hypoglycemia affects smaller dogs more frequently than bigger ones. However, whether a puppy is big or small has little influence on their chances of getting low blood sugar. To better understand, let's look at the reasons for why hypoglycemia occurs.
Eating food prevents hypoglycemia from appearing. The only way a puppy can get it then, is if they stop eating. What would cause that? A lack of appetite could be induced by heavy stress or an underlying illness; both of which can impact any sized dog. The only difference being the bigger dog has a fattier liver, thus is able to endure longer off food than a smaller dog, but not for long.
What Causes Hypoglycemia?
Let's take a closer look at each of the individual ways low blood sugar is brought on. These include:
- Lack of Appetite (usually because of stress/illness.)
Stress is one of the major causes of hypoglycemia in dogs or puppies. It can avert your puppy from eating. A puppy that does not eat will not receive the necessary nutrition. Low nutrition for an extended amount of time results in low blood sugar. What can we do to help? Obviously, limiting the stress in our puppy is a good answer, but we should identify what causes the stress. Doing so will help us greatly in preventing it.
Stress can come from a new, unfamiliar environment. For instance, if I sold a teacup Maltipoo puppy to a customer, the Maltipoo would eventually enter that person's home. The new home would feel completely different to what the Maltipoo puppy is normally accustomed to, and that foreign feeling grows into stress. Stress can not only effect a puppy's appetite, but also their personality. They may act more shy or timid than usual.
If you're curious and want to learn how to help a puppy cope during a stressful move, visit our Caring and Feeding guides.
Unfortunately, not all dog breeders share the same level of education and ethics when it comes to the care of their dogs. My standards are relatively high, but they should be. That's why my puppies, including the adults, are healthy and strong. However, irresponsible breeders are a dime-a-dozen, and are the primary originators for why so many consumers today have been led to believe that small puppies and hypoglycemia go hand in hand.
Sickly puppes can be common due to reckless breeders and the poor living conditions and care their puppies experience. Puppies are usually mass produced in unsanitary places, which are accompanied by insuffient diets and uncomfortable housing. Because of these abomidable conditions, bad health can begin in the womb.
A mother dog suffering from malnutrition cannnot properly provide the essential nutrition to the developing puppy. Additionally, the large amount of stress present in the mom dog causes the fetus to be bombarded with abnormally high levels of coritsol, a stress hormone. Stress hormones can cause adrenal exhaustion, resulting in weak puppies being born. Many of these weakened puppies die shortly after birth or weeks later when they are in the hands of the consumer. How depressing.
So depressing in fact, you might wonder: Why are there so many careless breeders producing these sickly puppies? The answer is because current laws do not require dog breeders to take any courses in canine pathology, parasitology, microbiology, or genetics. If a breeder decides they want to produce puppies to sale to consumers, even if they are fully incompetant, they still can do so.
There are even some veterinarians who can be just as bad with animals, and that is with 8 years of study in school; how much moreso than, is a breeder with no study time? How about we shift away from this dark topic and learn about something even colder, literally:
Although a bit rarer, hypoglycemia is possible if your puppy becomes hypothermic (low body temperature from shock or chilling). During the winter, the temperature inside your house may be getting too low. If your puppy does not have a heating pad to keep them warm, a puppy can become cold. A cold puppy will begin shivering in a futile attempt at producing warmth for himself. While the puppy shivers, they start rapidly burning through calories. With time, the body temperature lowers, the sugar levels drops, and hypoglycemia marches in to take over.
An easy way to prevent a chilled puppy is buying a heating pad for them to use. If you're curious on learning more about caring for a Chihuahua puppy or Morkie puppy, or whatever dog you have, then visit our Puppy Care guide!
How Do I Treat Hypoglycemia?
Typically, if a puppy is not eating, immediate steps must be taken to try and alieviate the problem as quickly as possible before hypoglycemia settles in. If sufficient time passes and you are still unable to get them eating, a trip the veterinarian is highly recommended.
These instructions require you to already have the appropriate food supplies available, which you can learn more about on our small Puppy Feeding page.
Early Signs of a Puppy Not Eating:
1. Tempt the puppy with with a delicious food, such as Gerber Baby Meatsticks. Constantly tempt them multiple times during the day.
2. Force Nutrical into them 3 times a day. Continue tempting with Gerber Baby Meatsticks or the food equivalent.
3. Using a dropper, squeeze Esbilac Puppy Milk / Goat's Milk into their mouths slowly a few times a day. Continue offering them food.
4. If the above steps are not working and the puppy still is apprehensive about eating, take them to a veternarian.
Emergency Hypoglycemia Situation:
1. Give Karo Syrup (clear color), three times a day to the puppy. This can help recover even the most severe cases of hypoglycemia.
2. You should also take them to a veternarian.