Small Dog Care Tips: Why They’re Not Easier To Look After Than Big Dogs And What You Need To Know Before Getting One.
Calling small dog lovers only! If your eyes are set on a German Shepherd, English Mastiff, or St. Bernard, this one isn’t for you. However, for those who love Pomeranians, Bichon Frisés, and Chihuahuas, you’ve come to the right place. Tiny dogs are becoming increasingly popular throughout UK households, especially for those that live in apartments or those who haven’t got tons of room.
Small dogs are cuddly, compact, transportable, and generally more affordable than their large counterparts. Although, this isn’t to say getting and looking after one is going to be a walk in the park. Here are some small dog care tips and what you need to know before getting your very own.
Diet And Food
As you would expect, small dogs have small stomachs. They also have tiny appetites and are prone to digestive problems. These include vomiting and bloating that can be courage by eating huge portions of food all in one go. It’s wise to feed your tiny dog two or three meals a day using high-quality, protein-based food.
You may find your small dog is a fussy eater. In this case, it’s best to moisten dry food with warm water. Alternatively, add some canned food to liven up their appetite and mealtime. Small dogs are at a higher risk of hypoglycaemia, so frequent meals help in regulating their blood sugar. If you’re time-poor, it’s best to buy an automatic feeder. This can dispense several small meals throughout the day, meaning you won’t have to worry about feeding them. But, be careful about portion sizes as tiny dogs are prone to obesity.
Small dogs can live for a very long time. Therefore, it’s crucial to look after them properly so they can lead a long, happy, and fulfilled life. The right diet is crucial for your little dog. As they age, you need to start purchasing joint care products, aspirin, and heated beds to provide maximum comfort for their day-to-day needs.
While you may be after a small, cute dog, don’t forget they’re incredibly mighty too! Tiny dogs need daily exercise just like a bigger breed would. While you won’t have to walk endless miles to tire them out as you would with a large dog, tiny canines do still require daily physical activity to keep them in shape and healthy.
The amount of exercise your small dog has will entirely depend on their breed. You may even find an energetic ball game does more than enough to tire them out for the evening. Before deciding on a small dog, take a look at the types of exercise each breed needs.
Unfortunately, small dogs are more susceptible to dental issues like gum disease and tooth decay. For that reason, those looking to get one should invest in toothbrushes or dental pads specifically designed for smaller breeds. Dental treats are great for helping keep a small dog’s teeth clean, as well as freshen their breath.
It’s recommended that you clean your dog’s teeth once each week. This will keep any dental issues from occurring regularly. If you’re not sure what the best practices are regarding your dog’s oral health, it’s advised to speak to your vet for further guidance and advice.
If you’re a lover of small dogs, you may already know just how intelligent they are. Because of this, they can quickly become frustrated or bored. With that in mind, it’s essential that you have training in place the moment they arrive at your front door. Training helps in curbing any naughty behaviour from developing. This may include ignoring basic commands like stay or sit.
It’s good to get your small dog involved in group obedience classes. These help soothe boredom, improve socialisation, and most importantly, teaches them how to behave around the house. If you’re ready to become a small dog owner, it’s crucial you have patience during the training stage.
What many dog lovers find humorous about little canines is how big and mighty they act. While they may have tons of confidence and don’t think twice about taking on a huge Labrador that’s strolling down the road, the reality is that their bodies are too small. Even a slight nudge from a larger dog could cause serious injury.
When you’re taking your small dog out for a walk, it’s wise to keep them on a short lead. If any trouble looks like it’s brewing, it’s your responsibility as their owner to pick them up quickly. Even if your small dog only wants to say a friendly hello to a bigger dog, you can never be certain about what could happen next. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the body language from both dogs in these scenarios.
Unlike many larger breeds, tiny dogs have bouts of energy that they need to shake off, especially when it comes to relaxing at night and getting a good sleep. For this to happen, you will need to incorporate lots of play time and toys into your canine’s day-to-day routine. Doing this helps in preventing boredom and staves off bad behaviour. Most importantly, toys keep your little friend happy!
There are lots of dog toys available that are specifically tailored toward smaller breeds. Whatever ones you decide on, make sure to replace any torn or broken toys. This will prevent any nasty accidents as all it takes is for your little dog to swallow a piece of a toy that could become lodged in their throat.
As we’ve mentioned, little dogs are prone to boredom. This is largely down to their high intelligence. The best way to combat this is through agility courses and extra training. These serve as excellent ways for your dog to socialise and you never know, you could end up with a tiny award-winning champion on your hands!
Depending on where you live, there may be events nearby like agility trails and obedience competitions that your little friend can partake in. What’s more, these events can serve as fun days out for the whole family to enjoy.
While little dogs may spend a large chunk of their time inside, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be groomed! In fact, tiny dogs should be groomed from nose to tail on a weekly basis. You can go down the DIY route with ease for this. Simply grab a soft brush and look out for any mats of hair, especially if you’re getting a long-haired breed. Remember to use a small set of nail clippers too for any small bits of nail that need clipping off.
Alternatively, there is the option to take your small dog to the groomers. Just make sure you find a reputable provider who has plenty of experience in grooming the same breed. When you come to pick them up, you’ll be amazed at how fresh and cute they look!
Keep Them Warm
While our hearts burst with love when we see a little dog in a tiny coat or jacket, they serve an incredibly important purpose. Unlike bigger breeds, small dogs feel the cold much more easily. This is because they haven’t got a winter undercoat to fall back on. Sadly, this does increase their risk of developing hypothermia.
When winter strikes, and it’s chilly outside, ensure you dress your small dog appropriately. Jumpers and coats that are snug-fitting and made from natural, soft fibres are best. Also, make sure to clean any snow or ice from your dog’s feet. This will stop painful ice balls from developing between their toes.
While this may sound like the easiest tip to follow, some of us lead hectic schedules meaning cuddles and affection may be on the backburner for our little dogs. Unfortunately, this can do more harm than good. With small dogs, you’re able to pick them up and handle them throughout the day. Doing so is great for developing a close bond. Also, handling them stops them from becoming nippers!
Make sure you’re always gentle when handling them and touching their ears and feet. It will take time for your dog to get used to being handled, so don’t be alarmed if they lash out at first. After all, put yourself in their position, and you would be the same!
If your heart is set on owning a small dog, we’re not going to stop you! Just be aware that certain small dog breeds can be just as challenging to look after as ginormous ones! Whichever breed catches your eye, having a good idea of what to expect will help you be fully prepared for what’s to come.