Puppy Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar

You get home with your brand new puppy, and you couldn’t be more in love! You offer food, but the puppy would rather play, and so you don’t think much of it. Pretty soon, your new pup is all tuckered out from the long play and goes to sleep on your lap. Precious, precious baby!

When your puppy wakes up, it seems a little out of sorts. Nothing is majorly wrong, it’s just “not acting right”. Not really in the mood for play, and not eating, the puppy goes back to sleep. A few hours later, your new puppy wakes up and seems very non-responsive. Your new pup can’t even stand on its own without falling over. It seems “wobbly” and out of sorts. What is going on?! You did everything they told you, even bought the same kind of food. Something is just not right!

It is highly likely that your new puppy, especially if it is a “small breed” puppy, is experiencing hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia simply means low blood sugar. Glucose is the form of sugar found within the bloodstream. Glucose is formed during the digestion of foods and it can be stored within the liver in a storage form called glycogen. Most instances of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in the puppy are the result of inadequate nutrition; either not enough or poor quality (indigestible) food. Excessive exercise may also cause the body to use up more sugar than is available.

What are the symptoms?

A puppy with hypoglycemia will lack energy. Glucose (sugar) is the fuel the body burns for energy; without it the puppy is listless. In severe instances, the puppy may even seizure, since glucose is necessary for the brain tissue and muscles to function. These hypoglycemic episodes will cause the puppy to fall over and appear weak or comatose.

What are the risks?

The risks depend on the severity or extent of the lack of blood sugar. If it is due to lack of food or excessive it can be easily corrected. If however, the underlying cause is more serious, such as liver disease preventing the storage of glucose as glycogen, or intestinal disease preventing the proper digestion and/or absorption of food, then hypoglycemia may be chronic and life threatening.

What is the management?

If a puppy is listless due to low blood sugar, it is imperative to immediately provide sugar. Kayro Syrup and honey are excellent sugar sources and should be fed to the puppy. If the puppy fails to respond to sugar, or the hypoglycemic episodes are frequent, then a thorough exam by a veterinarian is in order. It must be determined if the low blood sugar is imply a result of inadequate nutrition or a more sever underlying disease.

Please remember, if at any time your puppy is non-responsive, starts having seizures, or is lethargic and listless, we recommend you take your puppy to your veterinarian right away. The longer you wait the worse it can get, even leading to death. These are just guidelines to follow, and in no way are intended to treat or diagnose your pet.