How Do I Treat Low Numbers in My Diabetic Dog?

Happy Monday!

Today we are going to talk about low BG (Blood Glucose) numbers. You know that its coming (: so here it is… How do we know that our pup has low numbers? We TEST of course (wink face)!!! Knowing where BG (Blood Glucose) is at all times is important. I’m not telling you to follow your pup around and test every hour, I’m saying that the more information you have about your pup’s patterns is a blessing, especially if you find yourself in the midst of a hypo (hypoglycemic) event.

If you test at home, a hypo event is very manageable! If you don’t test, you’re flying blind particularly in the event that your pup’s numbers are too low… Ok, I’ll get off of my “soapbox” and move on to the topic at hand (:

What do you do if your pup is between 100 and 150?

Always have some treats on hand, we covered that in the “supplies” entry. If you missed it, here are a couple of the things that you will need to have on hand in the event that your pup is running low. I kept fat free Fig Newtons, organic dog biscuits; some people use the little peanut butter crackers, frosted mini-wheat cereal, dehydrated sweet potato, something that is a faster acting carb than we usually feed. You will want to test an hour after you give the treat to see what affect it had on BG (Blood Glucose). This is a good thing to do so that you know how many points you get from each type of treat. For the dog biscuits that I kept on hand, I got 30-50 points (they were very small), for a half of a Fat Free Fig Newton, I got 100 points. Knowing this will help you not to panic. For example, on a warm morning after our walk if Max was 135 or so, I’d give him one or two of the small organic dog biscuits and I knew that he would be fine.

If you’re seeing consistently low numbers, you’ll want to chat with your vet about lowering your overall dose. Summer is fast approaching and for many, that means less insulin. For me, it meant half a unit more insulin because we just had to be different! (:

What do you do if your dog is between 70 and 100?

Follow the protocol above just give a bit more

If your dog is below 70:

First of all breathe!!! You’ve got this. This is when you use one of your SOS syringes that are stashed all over the house. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, you’ll get some Karo syrup or honey or pancake syrup and rub it on your pup’s gums. Do not feed it; rub it on the gums for immediate absorption. Follow it with one or more of the treats above. The Glucose SOS, honey or syrup will bring numbers up, but will not keep the numbers up, that’s why the treat must follow. You will want to test every 15-20 minutes until you start to see BG (Blood Glucose) start to come up. Once you see the upward trend, test every 30 minutes or so until you see that the numbers are staying up. Then, every hour until you are confident that the numbers are staying up and in a safe range.

The natural reaction during a hypo situation is that “more is better” that the more you put on their gums or the more treats that you feed is better for them. Nope, that is for YOUR comfort, not their safety. Remember that any intervention that you do is going to show up in the next fasting number. If you overcorrect, you may face consequences as a result of that too! Just like the disease itself, slow and steady is the way to treat a hypo.

In this case, your meter is without a doubt your best friend! We often see on the Facebook group Canine Diabetes Support & Information) a pup that is having a hypoglycemic seizure; the parents don’t test, the parent comes on and is in a panic (rightfully so). The first question asked is what is BG (Blood Glucose)? We can help to a degree, but we can’t accurately talk someone through the situation without those readings which means that you NEED to get to the vet or ER immediately to insure the safety of your dog.

Over treating a hypo isn’t good for anyone. Your dog runs the risk of becoming nauseous from all of the sugar, your next fasting number is through the roof and for a dog that is susceptible to pancreatitis, a very high number for an extended period of time can put your pancreatic pup into a flare. So the moral of this story is to keep your head about you and take care of your pup.

Many of you are thinking, well I know what to watch for so I don’t need to test. Let me share a story with you.

We had just come back from a walk and Max was following me around trying to get my attention. I couldn’t imagine what was going on so I grabbed my meter to rule out any blood sugar issues. I looked at the meter and it said 32! I quickly retested and it read 35! WHAT!? I grabbed the Karo (that’s all that was available back then) rubbed a finger full on his gums, next came his organic dog treats and gave him 4 of them (remember 30-50 points each as mentioned above). When I tested him 15 minutes later, he was on his way up, at the 30 minute mark he was close to 100, at the one hour mark; he was safely hovering around 180. I tested him at the 2 hour mark and he was still around 200, so mission accomplished. He was safe and his BG (Blood Glucose) was still in a safe range. Crisis over.

I had absolutely NO IDEA that he was that low. He never showed a physical sign that he was in a dangerously low range and probably moments away from a hypoglycemic seizure. I’m not too proud to say that it took several hours before my heart rate returned to normal. The important thing is that I had been taught well and I was prepared. I had my supplies and I knew how to use them. I hope that you can say the same <3

If you are reading these posts, please “like” the post so I know that I’m not just talking to myself (: or better yet, leave a comment OR how about you share a picture of your pup with us! Don’t be shy! I would LOVE to see your babies! After all, we are all in this together…

Be sure to keep an eye out for Friday’s post as there will be some special events for Mother’s Day!