What Is Hypoglycemia in Chihuahuas?
Chihuahuas, like many small breeds, have trouble regulating their blood sugar. The first time my Chi suffered an episode of low sugar, I really did not know what was wrong. He was seven months old and had a pretty typical day. Then, a short time after playing, he started walking like he and drunk. It was as though he had no control over his legs. He threw up foam, and then basically fell over. I was beside myself; how did we go from playing one minute to this scene the next?
I have always had at least one dog, but my Chihuahua, Norbit, was my first small breed dog, unaware of the hypoglycemiamia. It was on a Sunday, so we wrapped Norbit up in a blanket and went to the emergency vet. They took one look and said my dog had been poisoned.
I said that was impossible, as he spent zero time unattended, and I knew my dog hadn’t chewed on anything but his toys. Then, another vet tech on duty said, “he is in sugar shock.” She had several rescue Chihuahuas at home herself, and she said low blood sugar wasn’t uncommon in small breeds.
She put some Karo syrup on a flat wooden stick, and he stared at it glassy-eyed like he had no idea how to lick it. So, she put roughly a teaspoon of the syrup in a syringe, and he gently pushed the syrup right down his throat while explaining I should never do this at home as he could choke.
He was seriously right as rain in a short time. It was extremely frightening, however, and I vowed to do my best to keep my dog from ever experiencing this again by learning why it happened and what I could do to prevent it.
What Symptoms Will My Chihuahua Have?
In my dog’s case, his low blood sugar was caused by a play session that went on a little too long and too hard. Who can say no when a puppy keeps wanting to play? That was my mistake, and I learned from it.
I found from talking to my vet that a chihuahua with low blood sugar may:
- Wobble when either standing or sitting.
- If laying down, your dog may have trouble lifting his head.
- Your dog may have a blank stare with glassy eyes.
- Often dogs in sugar shock tilt their heads to one side as if their charge is hefty on one side.
- As the low blood sugar progresses, your dog may shake badly, drool, and foam at the mouth.
- Obvious signs of being disoriented.
Home Treatment of Hypoglycemia for Your Chihuahua
These tips for home treatment are only to get your Chihuahua up and about. Always follow up with your veterinarian. It’s essential to ensure no other outstanding medical issues that may have the same symptoms as low blood sugar, such as tumors, bacterial infections, pancreatic problems, and other severe medical conditions.
Feed Your Chi Something Sweet
Your goal is to raise your dog’s blood sugar, so something sweet is in order. You can use honey, Karo syrup, or maple syrup. Also, I’ve used vanilla ice cream. As hypoglycemia can progress quickly and become life-threatening for your puppy, it’s essential to act fast.
If your dog has passed into the severe stage of low blood sugar and has focal seizures or is unconscious, keep rubbing syrup on their gums on the way to the vet; it may be life-saving for your pet. It doesn’t take much. On a few occasions, my 10-pound Chihuahua has gone into sugar shock, and it’s taken just a couple of teaspoons of honey to bring him around.
Give Them Regular Food as Soon as Possible
After your dog becomes alert, he should eat as soon as possible so his blood sugar can become stable. You can give your dog regular food or treats; whatever you can get him interested in eating is fine.
Last Word About Low Blood Sugar and Your Chihuahua
You can almost entirely avoid bouts of hypoglycemia by feeding your dog regularly. According to Dr. Greg Martinez, DVM, since many commercial dog foods are high in grain, those foods set your dog up for low blood sugar. Switching to low-glycemic dog food can help your Chi maintain a constant sugar level.
My vet advised me to feed my dog more than twice a day, so I just took his total amount of food and divided it into smaller servings. If we have a play session where he over-exerts himself and loves to play hard, I ensure he eats a snack afterward. It’s kept the low blood sugar incidents at bay along with more frequent, smaller meals.
Keep Your Sugar Kit Ready
Also, if you have a Chihuahua or other small breed, make sure you have honey, Karo syrup, or vanilla ice cream at the ready. My vet also recommended Nutri-Cal, a high-calorie supplement that provides extra energy. I hope you never have to experience this with your dog, but now you know how to handle it if you do.