TOY BREED HYPOGLYCEMIA
The creation of different dog breeds represents centuries of selective breeding to create true lines of dogs all with similar desired characteristics. Somewhere in all this breeding and selection, toy breeds were deemed desirable and were hence developed. Typical examples of these very small dogs are:
And, of course, there are many others. Consider that if these dogs are so tiny as adults how tiny they must be as newborn puppies. These itty bitty babies tend to cut 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. Because the brain cannot burn fat or protein and relies almost entirely on sugar, incoordination, loss of consciousness and even seizures can result.
BEFORE YOU ADOPT
When you look at these darling miniature puppies, think twice before you adopt. The toy breed puppy is frequently a high maintenance project. This is not a living stuffed animal; this is a live creature with a handicap, at least until he or she has grown up a bit. You may need to feed this animal 4-6 times daily. Soft puppy foods are often needed as these puppies may not be able to eat hard food. They need extra warmth and it is important that you make an appointment with your veterinarian for a “well-baby” check up promptly.
Puppies of this size do not tolerate fleas. They are simply too small to have any blood to give away to blood sucking parasites. They need to be adequately dewormed and checked over for any signs of infectious disease. Diarrhea is common for puppies but a very tiny puppy cannot withstand the dehydration that accompanies diarrhea. Pet store puppies are high risk for kennel cough and the pneumonia that sometimes accompanies it in severe cases. Parvovirus or Distemper are particular disasters for puppies of this size.
A young toy breed puppy is a project more so than any other type of puppy. If this is more than you bargained for, you may want to get an adult toy breed dog or older puppy or even another type of dog.
PUPPIES SHOULD BE AT LEAST 8 WEEKS OLD FOR ADOPTION.
So you already 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 and mentally engaged. If possible, look in your puppy’s mouth and see if there are teeth present. In particular look for the molars and premolars along the sides of the mouth. These are teeth needed for chewing and they may come in late. Lack of teeth will not stop your puppy from lapping up soft food. Be sure the food you are using is soft enough and that your puppy will reliably eat it; putting down a bowl of dry puppy food as the sole diet and assuming the puppy will eat it is asking for trouble.
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.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOUR PUPPY IS HYPOGLYCEMIC
Sometimes there is more to hypoglycemia than just low blood sugar. While being extra small and extra young is enough to drop one’s blood sugar, sometimes there is more to the story.
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. 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.
Page last updated: 8/19/2021