When buying a small breed puppy you need to know about the risks of Hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia
is a condition where the blood sugar levels drop to an extremely low level, usually due to lack of
food, or by using up all stored energy without being replenished (playing, running for extended
periods of time, shivering out of nervousness or being cold, stressed etc). Small puppies less than 4
months are prone to this because they have such tiny digestive systems and can only store a little bit
of food (energy) in their bodies at one time. THEY MUST EAT! It is always easier to PREVENT
hypoglycemia than to treat it. Always make sure your puppy is eating every 3-4 hours, even if only
small amounts. Hypoglycemia can be a life-threatening, even fatal condition.
First your puppy must be eating well. If your puppy is not eating his dry puppy food give him can
food, cooked chicken or beef, or even meat baby food. Keep dry dog food out for him/her at ALL
times. Puppies can stress from leaving the only home they know and their litter mates so they
sometimes will not eat right away. Your puppy can not go hours without eating.
Second, too much play over a long period of time isn’t good for smaller puppies. They lose their
energy very fast and that can cause low blood sugar. Small puppies must replenish their energy more
frequently than larger pups! Play with your puppy for a short time, and then let them rest. Tiny puppies
tire easily, so be careful not to over-tire them. A puppy may play so much that it gets too tired to eat.
Third, it is up to you as the owner to be responsible and see that your puppy is eating several times a
day and getting enough rest. The most important rule is always have fresh food and water available for
your puppy at all times and be sure you actually see them eat! . It is not a good idea to show your
new baby off too much and let him/her be handled allot or travel for long periods with them until they
get older. These are babies and must be treated as such. Remember your puppy can not go for a
long period without food!
Signs of hypoglycemia
Lethargy (lack of energy), Weakness, Head Tilting, “Drunkenness”- wobbling when walking,
Unbalanced, Hunger, Restlessness, Shriving, Ataxia-usually lack of muscular coordination, but maybe
changes in head and neck movements, Disorientation, Stupor, Sweating-check the nose and the paw
pads, Lip smacking or licking, Convulsions or Seizures, Coma.
The occurrence of signs depends on how far and fast the sugar level has dropped.
These are some general guidelines for treating hypoglycemia.
Always have something on hand like Nutri-Cal-(works great and you can carry it with you- you can buy
it at most pet suppliers), Corn Syrup, Honey, or even Pancake syrup. Wherever your pet is, there
should be an emergency supply of sugar. It is better to have it then be caught completely unprepared
for your pups hypo attack.
During a hypo attack, your goal is to stay calm, bring the blood sugar back up and continue to
observe your pet. There is a lot to learn in the beginning and sometimes it all doesn’t sink in the first
If your pet is acting strangely, you should assume it is due to hypoglycemia and treat it accordingly.
This is a situation where it is better to be safe than sorry. If your pet is not hypo, your treatment may
have raised the blood sugar for a few hours, but if your pet is hypoglycemic, you just saved its life.
If your pet is only slightly hypo or it is only showing mild signs, you can often treat it by immediately
feeding your pet some of its regular food. Feeding him/her food may be enough to counteract the
hypoglycemia. If your pet refuses its regular food, try offering a food it really enjoys or some treats.
Any food in this situation is probably OK. Your main concern is to get the blood sugar up and
eliminate the signs of hypoglycemia. You need to observe your pet for the next several hours and
make sure the hypoglycemia does not happen again. You can give your puppy Nutri-Cal 3-5 times a
day especially first thing in the morning and last thing before bed! You can also give the Nutri-Cal
mixed with peanut butter before bed and in the Morning.
If your pet is severely hypoglycemic, especially if it is having seizures or unconscious, you must give
Nutri-Cal or corn syrup immediately. Carefully rub small amounts on the cheeks and gums. Do not put
a lot of liquid in the pets mouth and be sure your pet does not choke. Do not stick your fingers inside
the teeth of a seizing pet-you may get bitten.
I know I have scared you but I want you to be prepared just in case. Now go enjoy your new baby.