Low Blood Sugar Symptoms in Dogs

Low blood sugar symptoms in dogs are caused by a very low blood glucose level and should always be taken seriously if you want to avoid further complications. The dog’s brain and the entire system can’t function without glucose. Low levels of glucose in the blood can induce seizures, comas, brain damage or even death.

Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar

The symptoms of low blood sugar in your dog will depend on the underlying cause and also on how far and how fast the blood sugar has dropped. Some typical symptoms of hypoglycemia may be:

  • Lack of energy, lethargy and sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling, due to hypothermia
  • Ataxia (loss of coordination and balance)
  • Loss of excretory and bladder control
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Twitching muscles
  • Dilated pupils
  • Behavioral changes – for instance an active dog will suddenly become lethargic and uninterested in activities

In more severe cases, the dog may experience temporary blindness, sudden collapse and even coma.

Causes of Low Blood Sugar

The normal value of blood glucose in canines is between 80 and 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). When the blood glucose level is lower, your pet suffers from low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia may be caused by various factors such as:

  • Low temperature in the home
  • Anxiety and stress
  • An improper meal-spacing (the dog is not eating often enough)
  • Lack of protein - dogs are carnivores, so at least 18 to 25% of his food should be made up of protein sources
  • Intestinal parasites that will affect the absorption of the essential nutrients in the dog’s intestines
  • Too much exercise
  • Abnormal functioning of  the hormones
  • The inability of the body to store sufficient amounts of blood sugar. This is most commonly seen in puppies under the age of 3 months, but certain dog breeds are also prone to this type of hypoglycemia
  • Insulinoma (tumors located on the pancreas)
  • An insuline overdose

Detecting Hypoglycemia in Dogs

If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms you have to take your pet to the vet. A general examination, some blood and urine tests and the measurement of the blood glucose levels will help your vet establish the correct diagnosis.

Treatment Options and First Aid Help

Administer one tablespoon of honey or corn or maple syrup by rubbing it on the gums or under the tongue (sublingual) to be sure that the dog ingest it, as a first aid help. After 15 minutes, you may repeat the treatment, if the symptoms persist. If the symptoms still persist you may take your pet to the vet, who will determine the exact causes and will recommend the suitable treatment. A full recovery after a hypo-glycemic incident may take between 40 and 90 minutes after the blood glucose has been brought back to normal. In serious cases, your vet will administrate intravenous injections with glucose to help your pet.