HYPOGLYCEMIA, or low blood sugar, is common in toy breed
dogs and puppies. Because small Toy Aussie puppies carry
little body fat or reserves, if they become overly stressed,
miss a meal, over exercise, etc....they may experience a
dangerous drop in glucose (sugar) in their blood. This drop
causes the puppy to become weak, lethargic, nauseous and
generally unwell. Hypoglycemia is LIFE THREATENING if left
untreated. You must intervene and get your puppy's sugars up
When a puppy experiences a hypoglycemic episode, his or her
brain is literally starved for glucose (sugar) and the brain
begins shutting down.
Hypoglycemia is not a disease and it's not contagious, it's
a condition that can happen to any small dog, regardless of
health or age. It's most common in puppies up to 4 months
Please-make sure your puppy eats more than just a couple of
times a day. Once they leave I cannot continue to make sure
they’re eating right and getting enough sleep. Just
remember, they are babies.
The puppy may exhibit some or all of the following:
Appearing weak, disoriented, acting "drunk", not responsive
when you call his or name. Vomiting. Can't stand up or walk
well. Trembling or being nervous, uneasy or agitated. Most
will seem very lethargic and listless. Advanced
hypoglycemia can include seizures, brain damage, loss of
consciousness and if left untreated, coma and death.
Most hypoglycemia cases can be treated at home, however you
must seek immediate veterinary care if the puppy loses
consciousness, experiences a seizure, is non-responsive to
at home treatment, or if you don't know the cause of the
episode. If you are aware that your puppy missed a meal or
was over exercised, then providing at home care is
acceptable as long as your responds immediately to care.
AT HOME TREATMENT
#1) DO NOT PANIC
These little dogs bounce back fast when treated properly, so
keep calm, follow the steps below and please, call me if you
need some reassurance. It can be scary to see your little
puppy suffering from low blood sugar, but they recover very
quickly in almost all cases, so take a deep breath!
It is imperative to keep Nutri-cal (or something similar) on
hand at all times. This can be picked up at your local vet
over the counter. It is a high calorie diet in a low volume
form. It gives them the sugar and other great supplements
they need quickly. This gel is absorbed through the gums
quickly to get sugar into the bloodstream and glucose to the
If you do not have Nutri-cal, you may use any color Karo
Syrup (very small amount) or honey works well too and can be
given in advance of a hypoglycemic episode if you know your
puppy is under stress, not eating well, was over exercised,
etc...Do not over-do it on treatment or you could upset the
puppy's stomach or cause loose stools.
You don’t want the puppy’s sugar level to sky rocket.
Keep your puppy warm and put a couple of pea sized drops of
gel in his or her mouth (by force if you have to-unless he
is having a seizure).....every 20 minutes or so until the
puppy "perks up" and starts to show interest in food. At
this point, about anything they will willingly eat is fine.
(Using common sense!) You should see a huge improvement
within 30-60 minutes.
Good examples of things you can offer a puppy who is a picky
eater is yogurt (something with live cultures such as
Activia). If they don’t dive right in, stir some honey in
to the yogurt…they can’t resist! Sandwich meat or cream of
chicken noodle soup (if they like this, soak puppy food in
it!). Fluids are also important. Lots of water. Sugar or
honey water is a good thing to try.
If he won't eat, give him some time and glucose...remember,
he is nauseous from the hypoglycemia. It's okay if he/she
vomits the food up at first, but he should be able to keep
it down within the first few hours. Monitor the puppy
closely, continue to keep him warm and watch to see how he
does. If there is little or no improvement, take him to your
vet as soon as possible. If he relapses for an unknown
reason, it's to the vet.
If the at home care is working you'll see your puppy "perk
up", eat the soft food well and begin acting normal again
within a 1-2 hours. Do not let him or her run around or
exercise for a day or two. Keep him or her warm, calm,
quiet, well fed and monitored very closely for a relapse.
Keep the puppy with you when you sleep and check him or her
every two hours or so (in a small laundry basket in bed with
you works well).
AT THE VET
If your puppy needs to be taken to the vet because he is
unconscious, has experienced a seizure or is not improving,
here is what to expect.
The vet techs will whisk the puppy to the back while you
fill out paperwork (be prepared for an emergency exam fee).
The vet will want to start to check the glucose levels and
then immediately start a GLUCOSE DRIP (which is an IV into
the puppy) which delivers glucose directly into the
bloodstream. This is the quickest and best way to get the
puppy stable and prevent seizures, brain damage, coma and
After getting the puppy stable, they'll want to run hundreds
of dollars in tests. We recommend starting with one or two
and working your way slowly to find out what caused the
episode (if you don't know already).
Remember: you are the boss. You are the paying
customer. You have the final say in what they do and don’t
do. In addition to the glucose test and glucose drip,
we recommend starting with a FECAL CHECK to look for
parasites that may have caused the puppy to lose his
appetite which resulted in the episode. If parasites are
found (worms, cocci or giardia), then treatment should begin
when the vet says it's safe. If nothing is found (or the
puppy is exhibiting other symptoms) then a PARVO test is
next on the list. Parvo is almost always fatal, even in
large breed puppies/adults. It can be kinder to euthanize a
Parvo toy breed puppy than to drag out it's suffering.. Keep
your puppy UTD on vaccines and off public grasses/sidewalks
until he is 4+mths old and fully vaccinated.
Remember! Just because a puppy is vaccinated does not mean
they are 100% safe! Precautions should still be taken to
avoid putting your puppy in contact with Parvo.
We are very serious about keeping our vaccines up to date
and to keep our place very clean but your vet will need to
rule it out. And we’re going to talk about parvo for a
A puppy can contract parvo from someone who’s been in
contact with parvo, even unknowingly. Walk behind someone
at Walmart that has a parvo puppy at home and you can carry
it home on your shoes. Yes it’s that easy. Vet clinics are
a hot spot for parvo. Where do people take their sick
dogs? To the vet! Do not touch anything. Do not ever put
your puppy down at the vet clinic. Avoid anyone other than
the vet and select staff handling your puppy. Careless vet
techs that have handled parvo puppies earlier in the day can
give your puppy parvo. Be educated and aware. Pet stores
are also a horrible place to take your puppy. If you must
go, again…do not put your puppy down and do not let people
handle your puppy until it’s fully vaccinated. (2 weeks
after 12 wk shot) A polite way to ask people not to touch
your puppy is to just tell them that your puppy is not fully
vaccinated yet and you are doing your best to make sure he
doesn’t get sick. Gas stations. This is where we stop to
take a break ourselves. So does everyone else with a dog.
As convenient as it is-never let your puppy down in a high
traffic area like this. Instead-stop in the back of a
restaurant parking lot if you must. Or on the side of the
road. Think of the least likely spot everyone else has
taken their dogs potty. Picking up your puppy from the
airport. 9 out of 10 people that pick up their puppy from
the airport take them out of the crate and immediately put
them on the ground and let them walk around and potty. When
these people (100’s a week) take their puppies out of the
crate from wherever they came from-they have no idea if the
puppy is healthy or not. It can appear healthy and be
carrying (and spreading) parvo or other plenty of other
things for that matter. Your puppy can hold it for a few
more minutes. An accident in the car or even on you is
better than parvo! If you have never experienced parvo or
do not know much about it, I highly recommend that you do a
google search about how serious and deadly it is. How easy
it is to catch and pass around.
Back to hypoglycemia, if the parvo and fecal check come back
negative, then the vet will want to run a blood panel. Some
toy breed dogs can have liver or kidney problems that can
result in hypoglycemic episodes. We've never had a test come
back positive (or had any puppy we've placed who has been
treated come back positive) but it's the next step in
testing to be sure.
There are other tests, but these are the most common ones to
The bottom line is that although low blood sugar
(hypoglycemia) is common and easily treated in toy breeds
(if caught early), your vet will most likely want to run
(and have you pay for) lots and lots of tests. Low blood
sugar can happen to a healthy puppy who missed a meal, is
stressed, over exercised, etc.....so don't let your vet push
you around. Do your research, be informed and get a second
opinion if you're not sure.
As always, if you have any doubts or want an opinion from
someone who’s experienced-call me! Do not ever hesitate
when you are worried about your baby to call me. I want to
be your first call when you’re worried and your last call
after everything has settled back down to normal.
My cell phone is 580-695-7711. You can call or text. If
it’s important and I miss you, please call again! Another
number you can try (I shut my phone off at night, but my
husband leaves his on) is 580-284-9940. This is my husband,
We are available 24/7 for questions, concerns and
emergencies related to hypoglycemia, parvo or just the
general wellness of your new family member. But not just
when they are puppies, throughout their lives any questions
or concerns I would be happy to help at any time.