Low Blood Sugar in Puppies

Puppy Care in Transient Juvenile Hypoglycemia

Transient juvenile hypoglycemia may be suspected when puppies, especially toy breeds such as Chihuahuas or Yorkshire Terriers, show signs of weakness, lethargy, listlessness, vomiting, or diarrhea. Puppies less than 3 or 4 months of age require strong blood sugar levels while their immature systems sometimes lack the ability to regulate glucose.

Triggers for a Hypoglycemic Attack

  • Cold temperatures
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Overactivity
  • Infrequent, inadequate, or poor quality nutrition
  • Digestive upsets that prevent absorption of nutrients
  • Illness diminishing appetite
  • Moving into a new home
  • Anything that puts a strain on energy reserves

An untreated puppy with low blood sugar may appear weak and show a lack of coordination. In severe cases, the puppy will froth at the mouth, fall into a coma, have a seizure, and die. When the sugar level falls, it must be treated as an emergency or the puppy’s condition will deteriorate rapidly. The puppy’s body must have sugar as quickly as possible.

Good Sources of Sugar for a Quick Boost

  • Karo syrup
  • Honey
  • Sugar water
  • Nutrical

Even if the puppy is too lethargic to swallow, these products can be absorbed into the tissues if smeared on the gums and in the roof of the mouth. Puppies in seizure should not be fed food or water because it can cause choking, but smearing these sugary substances in the mouth may save his life. Nutrical is a paste-like supplement that comes in a tube and supplies vitamins as well as sugar.

Hypoglycemic Puppies Require Vigilant Care

If the puppy does not recover within a few minutes it must be rushed to a veterinarian immediately. When the crisis is over, frequent feedings of a high quality soft food will keep sugar levels up for a longer period of time. If the puppy is not eating on his own, he must be fed frequent, tiny diluted amounts with a syringe.

A puppy with hypoglycemia may need to be fed four or five times a day or as frequently as every hour or so until his system is mature enough to keep glucose levels stable. It’s very important to make sure he is actually consuming the food and water that is offered. If not, he may have to be fed with a syringe. It is also important to keep the puppy warm and discourage too much activity which can lead to exhaustion and depletion of energy reserves.

Sometimes simply having an immature system is the cause and many puppies will outgrow hypoglycemia. However, sometimes bacterial infections or liver problems can contribute to the condition and these cases can be more serious. Prolonged or recurring hypoglycemic attacks can lead to permanent brain damage. A puppy exhibiting signs or experiencing repeated episodes of low blood sugar should see a veterinarian.