Stress in puppies

Meet Bonnie – the adorable Pomeranian puppy who was recently re-homed. Unfortunately, Bonnie experienced stress from the change of environment and was brought into Uni Vets Camden as an emergency after she had two seizures in one morning.

Bonnie was diagnosed with having a “hypoglycaemic crisis” which means she had severely low blood sugar. Hypoglycaemia is defined as a blood glucose level of < 3.3mmol/L (Bonnie was 1.2). Puppies of toy and small breed dogs are predisposed to hypoglycaemia because it takes a lot of energy to maintain their body heat. The stress of re homing resulted in Bonnie losing her ability to keep up with her body’s energy requirements.

Bonnie spent the night in the hospital on IV fluids containing glucose and heat support, she was then able to return home the following day. Some ways to prevent hypoglycaemia is to ensure your puppy is eating enough food, keeping warm, and isn’t too overwhelmed.

When adopting a puppy, make their transition into a new home as smooth and stress-free as possible, here are our top tips:
• Plan ahead - Ensure you will be home with your new pet for a few days, as tempting as it is to show off your new bundle of joy don’t have visitors and introduce children slowly.
• Transport your puppy in a safe and secure way, a puppies first car trip can be very stressful. Bring someone along who can comfort them and consider a crate or harness.
• Ask the previous home/carer about the puppies feeding schedule and current diet. It’s important to continue with the same diet until they are well settled, you can then slowly introduce any diet changes if necessary.
• If other pets are present in the home, make sure the introduction is done safely for all animals.
• Leave your dog for short periods of time in the first few days to help avoid separation anxiety. You can increase this as they become more settled.
• You don’t know your dog’s previous experiences, be patient and forgiving as they settle into their new home.

Written by Chelsi Kiebler, final year Veterinary student, The University of Sydney.


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