Small dog breeds have been around for quite some time and we can’t really blame people for loving them so much. Small dogs come in a variety of different sizes and don’t have a specific weight category to classify them otherwise, but they are not that difficult to spot. Odds are if you’ve been on Instagram in recent years, you probably already like and follow famous smaller dogs. These dogs can weigh as little as 2 pounds and yes, that would be a fully grown small dog.
Small dogs were bred for a number of different tasks and jobs
When we think of small dogs and toy breeds, we would usually think of lapdogs but some of their small cousins are even working dogs such as Corgis, Yorkshire Terriers, and Affenpinschers (the monkey terriers) were originally bred as hunting dogs. No matter what their function, these small dogs are simply the most adorable creatures that you would ever lay your eyes on. In fact, many of these smaller breeds, including Pugs, Chihuahuas, and Jack Russell Terriers made the cut as the Puptrait Studio’s Best Dog Breeds to Photograph. And, coming from famous dog photographers, that is really saying something!
These dogs are versatile and blend well with different types of households. Because they are small, they can also be raised in small apartments – perfect for city living.
With their sizes as cute as a button, they also come with their own set of struggles. Other than some health problems, some concerns arise not necessarily because of their breed but rather how they are handled in the household. Indeed these dogs are cute and you just want to pick them up and carry them all the time, but unknowingly to many, this could actually become a source of bigger problems in the long run.
Small dogs have the same dog needs as larger breeds
Pampering your pet is completely up to you, but this does beg the question of how much pampering is too much?
Mostly because of their sizes, many pet parents forget that these adorable little pooches are dogs too that need the same things as their bigger counterparts. Things that easily get neglected by pet owners with small dogs are the following:
Small dogs are known for being over-indulgent. But if we’re honest, this is usually the owner’s fault. Pet owners tend to give way too much treats for these cute little creature and more often than not, this leads to obesity.
From a recent study of the Association for Pet Obesity in the year 2015, there has been an outstanding 57.6% of obese dogs in the USA. With the staggering number of overweight dogs, this also means that dogs with diabetes, hypothyroidism, joint problems and many other health problems concerning their weight is also at an all time high. With that said, observe the eating habits of your dog. Break the treats into smaller pieces and when possible, teach your dog to only accept food from you and not from other people.
Make your own treats
It often helps to understand what your dog is eating. Sometimes the issue isn’t so much how many treats you are giving your dog, but the types and kinds of treats that you are feeding your dog. The surest way to know what is in your dog’s treats are to make them yourself.
Jerky Dog Treats
Homemade jerky can be a great, high protein and low salt, alternative to off the shelf treats. While it may sound excessive to give your dog jerky – as it is a pretty delicious food for humans and can be expensive to purchase at the grocery store. Making jerky can actually be a great cost saving alternative to traditional dog treats. Many jerky’s can be dried easily at home with the help of a dehydrator from a number of cost effective meats (such as ground beef, chicken, duck, rabbit and venison).
Healthy Dog Biscuits
You may refer to dog biscuits as cookies at treat time, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be unhealthy. Following a healthy dog biscuit recipe isn’t as tricky or difficult as it might sound. While the ingredients in many of these DIY dog treat recipes might be a little different from what you might be used to baking with (fish sauce, we’re looking at you), most are not all that uncommon and if you regularly cook at home, there’s a good chance you already have some of these “weirder” ingredients in your pantry or fridge.
Diet is important, but to help your dog maintain a healthy weight and happy mind it’s important to learn how to safely exercise your dog and make sure that they are active on a regular basis. Despite their size, you would be sorely mistaken if these dogs are not cut for fun activities such as playing catch or tug. Dogs of all sizes need to get moving and with their small bodies, more often than not, toy breeds are packed with energy. So, for your dog to stay happy it absolutely must receive plenty of exercise.
When a household owns a small dog, these dogs are almost always indoor dogs and because they are indoor dogs, it is easy to forget that they also need to have play dates with other dogs too. Small dogs like the Chihuahua, English Toy Spaniel, Havanese, Japanese Chin and many others need interaction with dogs that are of a similar breed. As much as you want to stay at home and dote on these cute and adorable dogs, they need to see other dogs too. (Kind of it’s a not you, it’s me situation).
May it be leash training, obedience training or any training for that matter, start young! Always start young. Including potty training them. Small dogs will be some of the most strong-willed dogs you will have the pleasure of meeting and if you train them at a late age – say – 2 years, they will be a struggle to deal with.
Don’t have room for another dog? Consider getting your tiny dog a feline buddy instead. Many dogs enjoy cross species companionship with a whole host of other animals. Just make sure you learn how to safely introduce dogs and cats before bringing your new family member home.
Although this is basically obvious when keeping a dog, potty training is perhaps the kind that many pet parents are very lax on. Indeed, these dogs are easy to pick up and many tend to develop a habit of picking them up and putting them outside and wait until they are done with their business.
If you are thinking of doing this, you have to stop it. By constantly doing this, your dog will not develop a sense of responsibility of his own. Because they are constantly picked up, they may associate getting picked up as the time to poop and pee regardless of location. Allow them to walk on their own. Again, these small pooches are also dogs, create an environment that allows them to be. And, like any other dog, small breeds often benefit from having space they can call their own, such as a training dog crate or dog bed.
Tiny legs take tiny steps
With their small bodies and seemingly boundless energy, these dogs are also prone to being overworked without knowing it themselves. When they are walking outside, make it a point to put a time limit and observe if they are starting to pant. Thirty minutes of straight walking is sometimes enough to tire these dogs out. These dogs are also prone to overheating so you would have to watch out as well.
When you are out on a walk and you plan on staying out for long periods of time, bringing a leash and carrier with you is most ideal. Try letting your dog walk on a leash for a time and if you feel that he’s starting to tire out, put him in a carrier bag that’s comfortable for him or her.
Small breeds are better than big dogs in at least one way
You wouldn’t want to try this with a larger dog. But there’s nothing stopping your tiny dog from tagging along in a bag. You can even cute find designer bags that will match your outfit. When you take your small dog out with you, it is absolutely imperative to bring treats, a favorite toy, water and poop bags to keep them happy and healthy all day long.
Small breeds are dogs too!
These small dogs hold an appeal precisely because of their cute size and because of their adorable stature, many tend to forget that they are dogs too that need to get down and dirty every once in a while. Just like any dog type, they also have their own sets of concerns but if properly taken care of it shouldn’t be a problem. These small dogs are loyal, lovable and will shower you with unconditional love. Best of all, they are the cutest things you will ever lay your eyes upon.
Christy of Doglifestore.com likes to write about whatever tickles her fancy and loves to document the adventures of her fur baby when she’s not busy going gaga over their crazy antics.
Christy is a guest contributor and her advice and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Puptrait Studio.