Consider that if these dogs are so tiny as adults how tiny they must be as newborn puppies. These itty bitty babies tend to get their baby teeth in late and thus have trouble chewing kibbled foods. They also have difficulty maintaining body temperature, which promotes listlessness as they get cold. Both these factors combine into reduced food intake and difficulty keeping up normal blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) creates even more listlessness, incoordination (the brain cannot burn fat or protein and relies entirely on sugar), and even seizures.
You have a toy breed puppy. Remember how sensitive to problems these puppies are so if your puppy is coughing, has diarrhea, is vomiting, has appetite loss (especially appetite loss!) or seems listless, waste no time in seeing the vet. Be sure your puppy is eating well. Be sure the food you are using is soft enough and that your puppy will reliably eat it.
- pale gums
- comatose/ unresponsive
As the puppy gets bigger, risk factors diminish. Teeth get stronger, body fat stores develop, and the immune system matures. Eventually, hypoglycemia risks become minimal and the puppy can continue life as any other puppy, playing, chewing things up, and learning the behavior control necessary to be a good house pet.
Raising a smaller dog should be a very fun and rewarding experience. With some proper education beforehand, the process will go a lot smoother and ensure that your puppy grows up healthy.
What can you do to help prevent a Hypoglycemia at home?
As long as your puppy or dog eats on a regular basis they should not have any troubles with this deadly condition. However, if your puppy misses even one meal, they could fall victim to hypoglycemia.
If your puppy misses a meal you may want to supplement with Nutri-Cal. This product is frequently provided by both veterinarians and breeders for use in toy breed puppies. It consists basically of a malt-flavored paste with sugar and vitamins. Some puppies will readily lap it off fingers and others will only take it if it is smeared on the roof of the mouth. If a puppy seems listless, the first thing to do is attempt feeding. If the puppy will not eat, a finger tip of Nutrical may make all the difference. If a puppy is missing more than just one meal please contact a veterinarian there may be an underlying reason.
What to Do if you Think your Puppy Is Hypoglycemic
Potentially, hypoglycemia is an emergency. The puppy will be listless, maybe even uncoordinated. In an extreme case, the puppy will become cold, will lose consciousness and begin to have seizures. For first aid, a small amount of Karo syrup can be rubbed on the gums. (It will absorb through the gums; swallowing is not necessary.) Beyond this, and especially if the puppy does not fully regain its normal playful attitude within 20 minutes, the puppy should be rushed to an animal hospital for treatment. If not corrected this may be fatal.
In the hospital, the puppy will be warmed and a blood sugar level checked. If intravenous access is possible, dextrose will be infused directly into the blood stream. Response is generally rapid once sugar is supplied in this way and a sugar drip or regular dextrose (sugar) injections will be continued. But the puppy has to reliably eat before he can go home.
When your puppy comes home again after a hypoglycemic episode, it is important to watch food intake and be aware of any changes in energy level.
Sometimes there is more to hypoglycemia than just low blood sugar. While being extra small and extra young is enough to drop blood sugar, sometimes there is more to the story.
- Bacterial infection - Bacteria can be tremendous consumers of glucose (blood sugar). For this reason, hypoglycemic puppies frequently are given antibiotics.
- Portosystemic (Liver) shunt - This is a problem for the Yorkshire Terrier in particular, although other breeds can also be affected. In this congenital malformation of the liver circulation, blood travels from the GI tract to the general circulation by-passing the liver. The liver does not develop properly and has abnormal function. One of the liver’s functions is to maintain the body’s blood sugar level. An abnormal liver leads to low blood sugar. This condition can frequently be cured with surgery. A liver function blood test is an easy way to rule this condition out as a complicating factor.
- Parasitism/Diarrhea/Stress - Stress from any cause increases the body’s demand for sugar. This is why it is especially important to ensure the general health of the toy breed puppy. When stressors are present, maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is all the more difficult.