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Is Your Dog Hypoglycemic?

Albuquerque pet vaccinations

Have you heard of Canine Hypoglycemia, Exertional Hypoglycemia or Sugar Fits?   Basically, your dog has a sugar (glucose) problem. These names refer to one single condition:  cells in your canine’s body aren’t receiving the needed amount of glucose.  Your dog’s energy is derived from glucose that is supplied by the blood, but with Canine Hypoglycemia, your dog’s blood sugar levels get too low.

What is too low? Blood glucose levels lower than 70 mg/dL should be cause for concern and are considered increasingly dangerous as  the number decreases.   The normal level is 70-150 mg/dL.

Different factors enter into the cause, but if you suspect your beloved furbaby might be diabetic or have sugar problems, it’s important to have your dog diagnosed properly, and quickly, since untreated hypoglycemia can, ultimately, result in seizure/coma and death.

Symptoms Of Canine Hypoglycemia:

  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Trembling lip
  • Seizures (dogs 4 years old or over are more prone)
  • Weakness-shakiness-dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Lack-luster personality/lethargy/depression


The health goal is to raise your pet’s blood-sugar level or maintain normal sugar levels; and this can be achieved in several ways:

  • Feed your pet smaller, more frequent meals.  Smaller meals can potentially correct the problem, but a blood test from your pet’s vet is required to properly determine if this regime-change will have made a difference.  Treats should be avoided, at this time, unless permitted by your dog’s doctor…no matter how much they beg.
  • If you suspect your dog’s blood sugar is low,  visiting the vet is crucial.  It is important to know what your dog’s blood sugar levels are to establish a proper treatment course. If necessary, a form of glucose will be fed through an IV into their bloodstream.  Your pooch won’t be able to take a drive home until the vet is convinced your dog is acting normally and eating normally for a full 24-hour period.
  • According to the College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, Alabama,  if you suspect low blood-sugar and/or the possibility of an oncoming seizure and cannot see your dog’s vet within a very short period of time, there are ‘quick fix’, emergency solutions you can attempt at home.   They include administering Karo syrup, cake icing,  honey, fruit juices, colas, vanilla ice cream or Gatorade.  About 1 teaspoon of these ‘quick-sugars’ can be given to small dogs; 2-3 teaspoons for medium dogs; and 2 Tablespoons for larger breeds.  These specific foods are ‘fast-acting’  types of sugars and are absorbed quickly, unlike some other sugary foods that would perform too slowly.  If your dog refuses to drink or eat, simply rub Karo syrup, for example,  on his gum and it will absorb.  Your dog should respond within only a couple minutes.  No liquid solutions should, ever, be poured directly into your dog’s mouth due to the possibility of inhalation into the lungs.
  • Your dog’s vet will, likely, prescribe insulin injections for your dog which would include a 1 or 2 injection per day dosage   It’s very important to keep any insulin refrigerated.  You will,  also, need to consistently monitor your dog’s glucose level by using blood-test strips or a handheld glucometer. If you are put on an insuline regiment, make sure you discuss all questions you have with your vet. Fully understanding how to give your dog insuline, and the treatment frequency, can mean the difference between life and death.

Miss Carlson enjoys to write about many different topics.  One topic she covers is insulin dependent diabetes and type 1 diabetes treatment.