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Things You Should Know

We always send home new owners with some important information regarding Hypoglycemia, toxic foods, proper outside practices for little ones and other things. Here's that same information.

Hypoglycemia - Low Blood Sugar in Puppies

Hypoglycemia is very common in toy and teacup sized puppies. It is less common in larger breeds but can happen to any small puppy. Hypoglycemia is not a disease or sickness nor is it genetic or inherited. Hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar. It is a metabolic disorder and death will result unless properly diagnosed and cared for immediately. It is a problem seen most often in toy breeds and is usually found in tiny puppies or underweight puppies brought on by poor diet, failure to eat, stress, or parasites in some form. Hypoglycemia usually happens to puppies from 2-6 months old, but it can happen to older toy breeds when they are subject to stress. Most puppies will outgrow hypoglycemia by 6-8 months of age or when they reach 3 pounds.

Very small puppies, especially Toy breeds like the Chihuahua or Pomeranian, are so tiny, they have very few fat stores. Fat is body fuel, and when there’s not enough, the blood sugar levels fall. Adult pets can make up this difference when their liver churns out the necessary sugar. But immature livers can’t manufacture enough necessary sugar and as a result, these tiny pups develop hypoglycemia.

What Causes Hypoglycemia? –  Firstly, change of home or environment or food. Hypoglycemia is usually first triggered by puppies not eating a HIGH CALORIE FOOD or being subject to stress. Puppies can become stressed by trips to the Vet, trip to the groomer, changes in home, daily outings, or skipping a meal. Because toy breed puppies are so small, they can't eat very much at a time so they must be offered more frequent meals during the day. Best case, you would offer a high calorie food freely to eat when they want (free feed) or feed every 3-4 hours and your puppy will eat 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. More on suggested foods later.

 

Another cause is over-handling young puppies. Allow your puppy to sleep. Try not to wake a sleeping puppy. Puppies should sleep 85% of the time. Remember they are BABIES and need REST. Until your puppy is 4 months old, do not play for more than 20 minutes at a time with them. You can increase this to 30 minutes by 6 months of age. Then put them in their crate and allow them to rest. Your puppy is a baby and does not know that it must rest---you must insist!

Preventing Low Blood Sugar - When your puppy has suffered from a bout of hypoglycemia, you’ll know to be alert for the signs of low blood sugar in the future. You can also take steps to prevent the problem, especially if your puppy is a high-risk pet.

 

  • Add two tablespoons of honey or Karo syrup to your puppy’s water for all day sipping. Be sure to dump out, wash thoroughly, and add fresh each day or the sugar water will grow bacteria. (If your house is very warm you may want to do this twice daily)

  • Free feed your puppy. Provide dry food out all the time. You can even put it in a puzzle toy ball, for intermittent snacking. You can measure this amount, too, and regulate how much the pup gets to help keep him slim, prevent puppy obesity, but provide healthy blood sugar levels.

  • Schedule 4-5 meals every day. Toy breed adults and any young puppy have trouble eating enough food at one setting. So a small meal several times a day helps keep the blood sugar levels normal.

  • Ensure they get enough rest and are confined to a small, warm space when you are gone.

 

What Are Low Blood Sugar Symptoms? - The signs of low blood sugar can be vague. It’s important to watch out for them especially if your puppy is a tiny breed that’s most susceptible. Without enough sugar, the puppy’s heartbeat rate and breathing slow down and that triggers a cascade effect of other symptoms. Be alert for any one or combination of the following signs.

  • The puppy acts weak.

  • The puppy becomes sleepy.

  • The puppy seems disoriented.

  • They develops a wobbly “drunk” gait.

  • Their eyes look ‘glassy’ and unfocused.

  • Frothing or drooling

  • The puppy’s gums and tongue may be grayish or light pink (they should be bright pink)

  • Body temperature will drop

  • The puppy starts to twitch, shake or tremble/shiver.

  • It’s head tilts to one side.

  • They develops seizures.

  • The puppy falls unconscious and can’t be awakened

 

Without prompt attention and first aid, your puppy could die. But fortunately, when you recognize the signs early in the process, low blood sugar is easy to treat and reverse at home.

 

In almost all cases, the puppy will respond very quickly to treatment, within five or ten minutes. However, if treatment doesn’t reverse the symptoms within this time frame take your puppy to the veterinarian immediately as something else could have caused the signs. Even when your baby dog responds quickly it’s a good idea to have the vet check your puppy sometime that day to be sure everything is as it should be.

First Aid for Hypoglycemia - When you catch the symptoms early and seek treatment immediately, most puppies are fine. But without prompt help puppies can fall into a coma, and their breathing and/or heartbeat may stop. Refer to the articles on rescue breathing and puppy CPR to save your pet’s life.

REMEMBER: Puppies cannot absorb nutrients if they are cold so be sure to wrap your puppy up in a towel or blanket and keep them warm while treating them for any of these symptoms.

 

  • For Sleepy/Woozy Behavior: Getting sugar into the puppy will counteract all these symptoms. Often, you’ll notice the wooziness when it’s been a while since the puppy’s last meal. So as soon as you notice puppy woozy behavior, offer it something to eat. Make it something smelly and yummy that you know they will eagerly snarf up, like a tablespoon or two of canned food.

 

  • For Drunk/Shivery Behavior: A highly concentrated sugar source like Nutri-cal, Karo syrup, pancake syrup or honey can work even more quickly. Just be sure your puppy is still able to swallow before giving it about a teaspoonful of the sugar source. If they are very groggy, offer a bit of water first and if they won’t lap it up, give some with a syringe. Check to be sure they swallow, and then offer the paste or syrup. They should be able to lap it up from the spoon. If they don’t, you can gently scrap it off our finger with the roof of its mouth. Once you have your puppy warm, and have given him some NutriDrops, NutriCal, honey or Karo syrup, call your Vet and follow his recommendations. If you are unable to reach your Vet, do not panic. Continue giving you puppy the NutriDrops, NutriCal, honey or Karo syrup,every 10 minutes for the next hour (even if it seems better in only a few minutes) . Your puppy should begin to respond in under 30 minutes. Once your puppy is alert feed it wet food or baby food mixed with the Karo syrup. Always make fresh water available. 

 

  • For Seizures/Unconscious: Refer to the tips outlined in the article about seizures in puppies (https://www.thesprucepets.com/seizures-in-puppies-2804976). Once the seizure has finished, or when the puppy has fallen unconscious, you MUST ACT QUICKLY to bring up your puppy's sugar level. NutriDrops or NutriCal must be put in your puppy's mouth immediately. If you do not have NutriDrops or NutriCal, use Karo syrup or honey. Rub the NutriCal or honey (or whatever you are using) on the puppy's tongue and roof of the month every 10 minutes. As soon as you have this in his mouth, go get a heating pad and set it on LOW. Wrap your puppy in a blanket or towel and then place him on the heating pad. Warmth is essential because puppies in the progressive stages of hypoglycemia rapidly lose body temperature and can go into a coma. Continue feeding every 10 minutes. Once you have your puppy warm, and have given him some NutriDrops, NutriCal, honey or Karo syrup, call your Vet and follow his recommendations. If you are unable to reach your Vet, do not panic. Continue giving you puppy the NutriDrops, NutriCal, honey or Karo syrup,every 10 minutes for the next hour (even if he seems better in only a few minutes) . He should begin to respond in under 30 minutes. Once your puppy is alert feed him wet food or baby food mixed with the Karo syrup. Always make fresh water available. 

 

  • You can also call me for advice/moral support at any time. I can offer other vets if yours isn’t available and you’re local and advice. Please do not hesitate to reach out. (Kathy: 813-368-9735 – text will always get the fastest response)

Prevention
Symptoms
Causes
Firstaid

Recommended Food and Practices

I strongly recommend free-feeding your puppy until they reach 3lbs. Generally speaking, unless you picked out a really tiny pup, by the time they get all their vaccinations at 4 months (later if the pup was too small to start vaccines at 8 weeks) they should be pretty close to that 3lb milestone. As I don’t recommend taking your sweet baby outside until fully vaccinated, free feeding should not conflict with housetraining. Free feeding is an easy and effective tool in your arsenal to prevent hypoglycemia. It’s also what they are used to, coming from my house to yours!

I use Diamond Naturals Small and Medium Breed Puppy Food. It comes in 3 different sized bags, has simple and quality ingredients, super small kibble and is incredibly affordable. You can find it at Amazon.com, Chewy.com and Petco.com.

 

Other options:

 

Blue Buffalo Baby BLUE Healthy Growth Formula Natural Small Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Oatmeal Rice

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Puppy

Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws Puppy

Iams Proactive Health Smart Puppy Small Breed

Royal Canin Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

(I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you use these links I will get a small percentage.)

Outdoor Practices

I highly recommend not taking your puppy outside until they have had all their vaccinations at around 4 months. Certainly, avoid public places until all vaccines are done if nothing else. I recommend using a pee pad on a pee pad holder until they are of age, teaching them to use it and then slowly taking the pee pad outside so they get the idea of where to potty once they are old enough. House training often isn’t terribly successful before 4 months as they aren’t mature enough to hold it or grasp the concept fully.

Always make sure you supervise your new baby when they are outside!! Birds of prey are absolutely a danger to small puppies and can carry them away if you aren't out there with them. 

Should you use a Collar or a Harness? It is always best to use a harness instead of a collar with a leash. Collars put pressure on tiny little tracheas and can cause lifelong damage. Collars are great for identification tags! 

More information on collars and harnesses:  http://www.petpom.com/pomeranian-harness-collar

Pomeranian Coats

Oh those lovely Puppy Uglies! This is when puppies start to shed their baby coat (around 4-6 months of age) in preparation for the adult coat to come in. Your new baby can look quite startling and the name “puppy uglies” can be rather apt. Other pups hardly look different at all. Rest assured that their coat will come back, and they will look like a real Pomeranian again by the 12-15 month mark. (In some cases it can take up to 24 months)

Once that adult coat is grown in and you're thinking about some fancy Pomeranian grooming, I just want to give you a word of warning. If you want to cut your Pomeranians coat to a lion cut or a teddy bear cut, you can do that, but please be WARNED. Once their inner coat has been cut into, it will rarely grow back properly. Often it will be permanently damaged so be sure this is the cut you love, as it will likely be the only cut they can have once you start.

More information can be found here: http://www.petpom.com/pomeranian-hair-growth

Grooming at home – your new puppy should be brushed at least once a week, especially so you can get it used to a brush. Bathing should be once every 2-3 weeks depending on how much dirt they manage to get themselves into. Don’t shampoo too often if you can avoid it as it will remove necessary oils. You can always just rinse them off if needed! When they grow into their adult coat, you should be brushing 2-3 times a week and seeing a groomer (if you’re not doing it yourself) every 4-6 weeks depending on their coat. No one Pomeranian is the same! If you do plan to use a groomer, I recommend waiting until all their vaccinations are done, and they have reached that 3lb milestone so you can reduce the chances of Hypoglycemia. Start as you mean to go on if you can; introduce them to a groomer young so they don’t get too stressed out every time the appointment comes around!

Toxic Foods

Who can resist those adorable puppy eyes and cute doggie grin? Can a little reward from the table or getting into Mom or Dad’s stuff really hurt your dog? Well, that depends on what it is and what's in it. If it contains the sweetener xylitol, it can cause your dog some real problems. In fact, there’s a lot of people food your dog should never eat. And it’s not just because of weight.

This is not a comprehensive list, and I always recommend NOT feeding your puppy human food.

  • Xylitol – This sweetener can be found in a vast variety of diet foods, and even toothpaste and gum!

  • Avocado

  • Alcohol

  • Onions/Chives

  • Garlic

  • Coffee, Tea or Other Caffeine

  • Grapes and Raisins

  • Macadamia Nuts

  • Chocolate (dark & unsweetened is the most toxic but avoid all. They love it as much as we do so be careful!)

  • Persimmon and Apple seeds

  • Peach, Apricot, Cherry and Plum pits

  • Salt – avoid sharing things like pretzels and chips with your dog. Salt adds up quickly for them

  • Yeast Dough – Yeast dough needs to rise and that’s what it would do in your dog’s stomach. As it swells inside, the dough can stretch your dog’s abdomen and cause a lot of pain. Also, when the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it makes alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.

  • Human Medicine – Please speak to your vet before administering any human medication

  • Citrus

  • Coconut and Coconut Oil

  • Walnuts

  • Milk and Dairy

  • Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs, and Bones – there is a lot of conflicting opinions on this. Please consult your vet before feeding anything recommended by non-professionals.

Other Toxic Things

Cane Toads

Also known as the bufo toad or marine toad, they are common along some waterways year-round but explode in numbers every summer in various neighborhoods and in developed areas. Cane toads breed along the edge of freshwater ponds and lakes between March and September, and the eggs look very similar to native toad eggs. They eat native frogs, toads, insects, and other species, and compete with native animals for hunting and breeding space. But they're most notorious for poisoning domestic animals, particularly small dogs. Cane toads aren't venomous like a rattlesnake, but they do produce a type of poison that can cause serious neurological issues and even death.

Dogs like to chase and catch things, and the cane toads are relatively easy to subdue because they're slow and aren't afraid of predators. They have a natural, biological defense that keeps most predators at bay.  Some toads reach the size of a small rabbit, while others get squashed by car tires when they're little bigger than a golf ball.

Toad toxins are highly poisonous to cats and dogs, and many have been killed after grabbing the toads with their mouths. This can happen within a 15-minute time frame so you must act swiftly! Symptoms of toad poisoning in pets include drooling, brick red gums, loss of coordination, headshaking, and convulsions.

If poisoning is suspected, the University of Florida recommends using a hose, run water in the side of the mouth, flushing the toxin out and not down the throat while pointing the head downward. Pet treatment typically includes a trip to the emergency veterinarian.

Cane toads tend to be more active at night and can sometimes be seen in large numbers on streets and sidewalks. They appear to be drawn to light sources, which draw in bugs. Keep all pets indoors at night if possible. Watch them at all times if they must go outside during night hours.

 

How to spot them:

  • Reddish-brown to grayish brown in color

  • Light-yellow or beige belly

  • Enlarged glands behind the eyes that angle down to the shoulders

  • 6 to 9 inches in length

  • Do not have ridges across the head, that's a southern toad

 

Recliners

I realize recliners don’t seem very menacing other than being careful when putting the foot rest back down and that may seem like common sense, BUT I had a crazy story from a previous owner about how her puppy somehow managed to get her head stuck in the underneath workings of a recliner. This pup had done such a great job that they had to SAW the bar underneath open to get her out and it really was quite the miracle she wasn’t hurt at all. So be extra careful with your little ones! They will find all sorts of ways to get into trouble.

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