Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar in dogs can cause hypoglycemic seizures. It is a medical emergency. It’s when your dog’s blood sugar drops below normal levels, and they start to have seizures or convulsions. Whether in a dog or a human, any type of seizure is mainly caused by an electrical storm in the brain.
In some cases, the seizure will stop on its own once their blood glucose returns to a normal level. Other times they might need help from you or their vet to recover from it.
This blog post is going to teach you how to recognize the signs of hypoglycemia so that if your pup has one of these episodes, you’ll know what steps you should take next.
What is Hypoglycemia seizure in dogs?
Hypoglycemia, in simple words, can be defined as an abnormal decrease of sugar level or glucose concentration in the pet’s blood. An adequate blood glucose level for a healthy dog is around 3.3-6.1 mmol/L, while anything below or higher than this will be considered inadequate. Hypoglycemia in dogs happens when excessive sugar levels deplete the glucose in the pet’s body.
However, this is not the only reason. In some cases, Hypoglycemia can be due to endocrine or hepatic disorders, a greater energy requirement for sugar/glucose, lack of glucose level due to any reason, or toxicity.
Potentially Hypoglycemia is an emergency condition that makes your pet extremely weak and dizzy, and if you leave it untreated, it might result in the pet’s death.
Hypoglycemia can cause seizures in dogs:
Hypoglycemia or extremely low glucose level is the most common reason for seizures in dogs. It can occur in adult dogs of any breed, but young puppies of small dog breeds are prone to seizures than adult dogs.
What to Do If Your Dog Suffers From a Seizure?
If your lovely pet collapses and you notice a seizure, some things that you can do to help the poor animal are:
- First, stay positive and calm.
- Next, carefully hold your pet and put him away from the objects that might hurt him, such as furniture, tables, stairs, etc.
- Never touch or put anything inside the dog’s mouth as he can bite you.
- Speak politely to him and calm him down with gentle touches.
- If possible, time the seizure.
If the seizure in your dog continues for more than a few minutes, then your dog might overheat. Here we recommend placing a fan close to your dog to blow cool air and at the same time wrap a cool and damp cloth around the dog’s paws to cool him down and to regulate its body temperature.
If the seizure is present for more than four or five minutes, don’t do anything; just take your dog to your veterinarian to manage this severe condition.
When the seizure is over within a couple of minutes, call the doctor and schedule an appointment for the dog’s physical evaluation. In some cases, your vet might perform lab work to diagnose and figure out the potential underlying causes. If they diagnose any medical problem, they will prescribe the treatment plan according to your dog’s condition.
In most cases, the veterinarian recommends an anti-seizure medication like phenobarbital, potassium bromide, or levetiracetam to treat the seizures and to prevent the pet from aftershocks.
What natural remedies can I use to treat hypoglycemia seizures?
Before using natural remedies to treat or prevent hypoglycemia seizures in your dog, it is essential that they meet the approval of your dog’s veterinarian. This ensures that your pet remains safe from any interactions and won’t have adverse side effects.
A vet recommended therapeutic diet can be used in addition to medication for some dogs suffering from hypoglycemia seizures. This modified diet reduces the seizure’s frequency in dogs. According to recent research, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) considerably decrease seizure frequency in almost all dog breeds regardless of their size and condition.
Almost all veterinarians recommend using supplements to decrease the frequency of seizures in dogs. Furthermore, some vets also recommend Chinese herbs as a supplement for dogs suffering from hypoglycemia to prevent seizures, enhance liver function, vitamin E, taurine, and melatonin.
According to some vets and many pet owners, the ancient Chinese treatment is effective for dogs who frequently suffer from seizures. Usually, dogs like acupuncture, and if the treatment is successful for your dog, you can also implant small gold beads at the dog’s pressure points for long-term prevention and treatment.
If your furry dog is suffering from diabetes or hypoglycemic, a tablespoon of honey once or twice a day is recommended, but it also depends on the seizure’s frequency and severity. However, you must consult with your vet for the exact quantity, and we recommend you to follow your vet’s advice regarding diabetes control.
Pet owners should always investigate dog foods and treats before trusting them. The dye used in the manufacturing process can have adverse effects on our furry friends, with some being more hazardous than others. Red dye is one that causes seizures, especially if consumed by dogs suffering from hypoglycemia.
Many other food items such as onion, chocolate, garlic, bell peppers, or grapes can be dangerous and toxic to dogs and might cause seizures.
Oils are an effective and popular choice as they allow you to administer their pet when a seizure occurs. Because seizures can cause the jaw and teeth to clamp suddenly, you cannot give your dog medicine during a seizure, and it is not recommended as well.
However, no problem is rubbing homeopathic oil onto the dog’s skin or even on the gums of a seizing dog. But be careful when doing so, as your little friend can accidentally bite you.
Overall, homeopathic oils and substances are an effective natural remedy to treat dogs’ hypoglycemia seizures. Some recommended homeopathic oils that you can use are:
Seizure Prevention in Hypoglycemic Dog
If your dog is suffering from hypoglycemia or it is diabetic, seizure prevention is necessary, and you can’t afford to overlook it. The prevention mainly includes preventing a more severe state of hypoglycemia. Here vets mostly advise pet owners to use insulin formulated explicitly for dogs such as Novolin, Vetsulin, and Caninsulin.
Moreover, you should closely monitor your dog’s blood glucose levels frequently to ensure that the insulin dose is correct and has a positive effect on your pet. Similarly, monitoring your dog’s feeding and workout patterns is also necessary, and it should be consistent with a regular schedule.
Still, if you see hypoglycemia begins to manifest, give a little bit of sugar source to your dog. In this critical situation, you can feed your dog a glucose solution, honey, through a squeeze bottle, or a small amount of vanilla ice cream to regulate its blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia Seizure in Puppies
Puppies, especially those of some small dog breeds such as Yorkshire terriers, toy poodles, and Chihuahuas, are more prone to hypoglycemia seizures because they have smaller glycogen stores.
Due to this, such dog breeds cannot preserve large quantities of liver or muscle glycogen, and puppies are more dependent on regular meals to maintain the correct blood glucose levels.
Furthermore, stressful incidents and colds can also cause hypoglycemia in small dog breeds and puppies. If a small puppy gets ill due to any reason or has stopped eating, it means the pet needs immediate treatment with fluids and glucose to avoid hypoglycemia.
What dog breeds are more vulnerable to hypoglycemia Seizures?
Vulnerable breeds are Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, Toy Poodles, and Pomeranians are more susceptible to this problem.
What is the average cost of Treating Hypoglycemia seizures in Dogs?
The treatment cost of hypoglycemia varies from case to case, and it is dependent on many factors and the underlying conditions. Generally speaking, an initial consultation, along with routine blood glucose tests, glucose syrup, the charges will be between $80 – $200 approx.
If your pet needs arterial glucose infusion, the cost will be higher and might cost you an extra $100 to $300. The cost of the treatment also depends on the procedure used for treatment, surgical intervention needed or not, and essential medical therapies.
Ongoing treatment of hypoglycemia seizure is also vital, and it is expensive than the initial treatment charges.
What to do if my pet has a seizure when I am not home?
When your dog suffers from hypoglycemia, it’s vital for you to modify the home settings in anticipation of seizures occurring, especially when no one is around. You can do it in many ways, including setting up baby gates at the top of your staircase, so your dog remains only on one floor of your home. When you have baby gates on the stairs, your dog will not fall down from the stairs during a seizure.
Similarly, move heavy items such as furniture and other objects that might fall or break if struck by the dog’s leg during a seizure. Before leaving home or arriving home, try to monitor changes such as spills or things that have been moved, as these can be evidence of the seizure occurrence in your dog.
In the End:
Dog Hypoglycemia seizure, or low blood sugar, is a serious issue for all dogs regardless of age and breed. Left untreated, it can lead to other severe problems and death. The good news is that hypoglycemia in dogs and puppies is preventable with some proactive steps on your end.
You must keep an eye on your dog’s food intake for new parents, especially if the pet is diabetic. Similarly, try to determine when your dog becomes more erratic than normal to avoid events where it fasts for too long without eating, leading to hypoglycemia later down the line.
Lastly, ensure that your pup’s diet is balanced and includes high-quality protein sources and other beneficial nutrients.