While none of the following problems are by any means exclusive to small dogs, they do present extra challenges for small dogs and their owners.
Teeth and Gum Problems
Many small dogs have a tendency to develop teeth and gum problems which lead to tooth loss, because they are often fed canned food as an alternative to larger kibble. Although tooth loss in itself is vexing, oral disease can lead to even more serious heart disease, compromised immune systems and other complications.
Bi-weekly tooth brushing will help prevent this typical small dog health problem. An attractive supply of crunchy treats and chews (high-quality natural ingredients and not too large, please) will also help your pup keep his sparkling smile.
“Small Dog Syndrome”
Even the smallest toy dogs are infamous for their willingness to take on dogs the size of a full-grown man. Your dog may be that brave, but he’s almost sure not to be that lucky. Protect your small dog from his oversized ambitions by picking him up when a larger dog approaches.
Injuries make up more than their share of small dog health problems. Their tiny bones are more easily broken – sometimes, even when a small dog jumps off of the furniture onto a hard surface. As much as possible, try to cushion the normal launch spots by placing carpet and rugs underneath.
Small dogs tend to get underfoot more, and unlike the case with a larger animal, those tiny bones can easily be injured if the dog is accidentally stepped on. Many owners find the best solution is learning to “shuffle” around their dog and not lift their feet too high.
Although small dogs are typically long-lived, illness has even greater ramifications when it comes to small dog health problems. Many opportunistic illnesses like viruses and bacterial infections can take over a small dog’s system much more quickly, causing them to go downhill rapidly.
Small dogs are also more prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because of their faster metabolism. Paying attention to the first signs of any illness and taking immediate action can greatly help to keep small dog health problems in check.
While on the surface, small dog health problems might appear to be much the same as any other dog’s, health issues can have a bigger effect on their tiny systems. Extra diligence on your part will help more effectively treat and prevent many small dog health problems!