Hypoglycemia can be a life threatening problem for Chihuahuas and other toy breeds. Usually develops in pups younger than four months of age. Hypoglycemia in dogs can occur after exercising vigorously, when they’re stressed (such as during a trip to the veterinarian) or when they’ve gone too long without eating.
Toy breed puppies have various anatomical physiological and behavioral factors that contribute to the development of low blood sugar: small muscle mass and liver (where glucose is stored as glycogen, a large molecule made up of many glucose molecules), proportionately large brain ( a major user of glucose) and high activity level. Immaturity of the body’s systems at processing and storing glucose may also play a role.
Early symptoms of hypoglycemia in dogs can be: trembling, listlessness, incoordination and a dazed or confused demeanor. It occur when the brain is deprived of glucose, its sole energy supply. If untreated, it can lead to seizures, collapse, loss of consciousness and death.
If your Chihuahua develops symptoms of hypoglycemia, start treatment immediately. Wrap your little buddy in a towel or blanket to keep her warm (shivering makes the hypoglycemia worse). If your Chihuahua is conscious, slowly dribble a little corn syrup or honey into her mouth or give her a dollop of high-calorie dietary-supplement paste (available from your veterinarian). Repeat after 10 minutes, if necessary.
Feed your Chi puppy as soon as she’s alert enough to eat. If hypoglycemia causes your Chihuahua to lose consciousness, rub the syrup or paste on her gums and tongue, then immediately take her to the vet for further care. If your puppy is prone to developing hypoglycemia, you should feed her only nutritionally balanced healthy dog food four to five times a day.
Healthy high-calorie snacks may help prevent hypoglycemia between meals. If possible, avoid subjecting your Chi puppy to circumstances that may elicit hypoglycemia, such as stressful situations or extended periods of vigorous activity. Most pups outgrow hypoglycemia by the time they’re 4 months old.
Consult your veterinarian if your dog continues to have hypoglycemic episodes after this age.