YOUR SMALL BREED AND HYPOGLYCEMIA
Hypoglycemia? Even the word sounds complicated! But, hypoglycemia isn’t a virus or a disease. Hypoglycemia is a reaction of the central nervous system and is caused by inadequate sugar in the blood stream. Although any pet can display hypoglycemic symptoms, it is most commonly seen in the toy dog breeds during their first three months of life. Breeds, such as Pomeranians and Yorkshire Terriers being the most susceptible. Hypoglycemia is a temporary condition that is brought on through certain actions your puppy makes.
Hypoglycemia usually occurs in response to one of the following stresses:
- Going to a new home
- Skipping a meal
- Becoming exhausted from too much playtime
- Over stimulation or anything that depletes their limited reserves of energy
- Falling/tumbling (off a couch, chair, stairs or even your lap)
The signs of hypoglycemia include weakness, depression, drooling, pale gums and possibly seizures. If not treated immediately, hypoglycemia can lead to coma or death.
The good news is that you can help prevent your puppy from becoming hypoglycemic by following a few simple guidelines.
It is important to make sure that small breed puppies eat often. They will be happier if allowed to graze at meal times or if they are given four – five meals a day as opposed to two – three meals a day.
We recommend to keep your puppy on the same food he has been eating. Switching foods abruptly may cause diarrhea/dehydration, which will contribute to your puppy’s stress level; something you want to avoid during his new home transition period. A premium canned wet food will also need to be offered at meal times (usually mixed with his dry food) to encourage him to eat and consume extra calories. Make sure your puppy’s water is always accessible to him. Remember, he’s small! He needs a lower dish to drink from.
Stimulation in the form of running, playing and visiting with family and friends is always fun; however, much like children, your puppy won’t know when enough is enough. For the first few days, try not to over stimulate your puppy. Limit the amount of people and handling within the first three – five days. Once he is settled, expose your puppy to different people and situations, making sure to watch for signs of over stimulation and following a routine nap/quiet time schedule.
Sleep is an important element in your puppy’s health and well-being. For a small breed puppy, they may require more sleep than a larger breed puppy. This is because their metabolism is much higher and therefore the energy expended tends to come in spurts. He will need a quiet area, such as his kennel, (see Petland’s Give Your Dog a Den tip sheet for an explanation of denning needs) to rest and re-charge at regular intervals.
Should your puppy exhibit hypoglycemic symptoms, a high-calorie supplement must immediately be given to him.
We recommend giving your puppy a high-calorie supplement twice a day for the first 30 days at home. If you run out of the high-calorie supplement, corn syrup may replace it in the interim.
If your puppy becomes sluggish, he will need to have his blood sugar level raised immediately. Force a finger tip or two of high-calorie supplement into his mouth as soon as possible. Cuddle him and reassure him. Once he seems to perk up, offer him small amounts of food every ½ hour for the next two hours. If you feel that your puppy’s behaviour does not seem normal, contact your veterinarian.
*The key to preventing hypoglycemia is making sure that your puppy is eating and drinking regularly!*