“Good things come in small packages” – you’ve probably heard people say that many times and wondered what it means exactly. Well, have you ever seen a person NOT looking happy when they’re out on a walk with their cute, small dog? I bet not! But like all good things in the world, even small dog breeds have special needs that you must take care of.
Small breeds like French Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Schnauzers, Boston Terriers, and Pekingese are perfect for cuddles. However, they are also prone to some serious health concerns. It goes without saying that just giving good food and lots of hugs are not enough. What should you do as a concerned pet parent? Don’t worry; we are here to provide you with some health care tips for small breed dogs.
1. Feed them often and feed them well
Raising your little bundle of joy may require more food than you had expected. Failing to provide them the necessary amount of food may lead to hypoglycemia, a condition that often affects puppies under three months old. Illness, stress, and fasting for an extended period of time may lead to this disease and can prove to be fatal.
Vets advise feeding puppies at least 3 to 4 times a day, or even 5 to 6 times a day if necessary. 3 to 4 meals should be enough once they reach adulthood. Since your small dog can’t eat a large quantity of food, make sure you’re feeding them food that has a high protein content so they get the most energy out of the food they eat. If you notice any signs like loss of appetite, lethargy, tremors, pay the vet a visit immediately!
2. Keep them warm and cozy
Hypothermia is a very common condition in toy breed puppies that mainly occurs due to their small structure and lack of fat for insulation. In this situation, the puppies get extremely cold and show signs of shivering, decreased appetite and blue or pale colored gums. To prevent such a situation from occurring, always provide a warm and cozy place for your dog to retreat to.
If you suspect that hypothermia has already happened, quickly wrap him up in a blanket and stimulate his body. A warm water bottle or heating pad with a blanket works well for raising their body temperature.
3. Provide ample opportunities to exercise
We can’t stress enough the fact that small dogs need as much exercise as their bigger cousins. Sadly, many people get a small breed expecting the exact opposite. Taking your pooch out on a walk is not only beneficial for their physical health, but also for their mind.
Otherwise, conditions such as patellar luxation, pancreatitis due to obesity, hip dysplasia (which is very common) may take place. Take your dog on regular walks, play fetch and do other activities together to stay in shape.
4. Protect them at all times
Small breeds might be tiny in stature but not always with attitude and aggression. Most people would agree that little dogs don’t even know that they are small! As tough as they might be, there are few things that you should keep in mind while handling your pup and letting them socialize with other dogs.
Handle them with care at all times, a fall from your arms could lead to fractured bones, lung injuries and head trauma. Also, keep them away from larger and more aggressive dog breeds unless you’re confident that the two can get along.
5. Don’t let them take the leadership role
Dogs are pack animals and if you don’t take the role of pack leader, it’s likely that your dog will. Not only will they act wild and spoiled, but they will also show signs of aggression when you’re not complying with their demands.
You surely wouldn’t want yourself in a position like that, would you? Avoid the urge to continually treat your dog like a baby and teach him the value of obedience.
Some other diseases small dogs are prone to are brachycephalic syndrome, progressive retinal atrophy and umbilical hernia. Truth be told, most of these conditions are genetic and there is not a whole lot that you can do to prepare for them. As a caring pet parent, what you can do at all times is look after your best friend and care for him at all times.