Small dogs are little bundles of happiness and cuteness that change your lives forever. Most small breed dogs are less than 18 inches tall and weigh no more than 20lbs. However, they can be quite a handful (literally) if taken for granted. Small dogs like Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers are some examples.
While small dogs may seem like an easy bet, they should be treated in the same manner as you would treat a large dog. Most small dogs often have large personalities and behaviors that can easily outshine any large dog and hence you should not take their size for granted. You should always remember that they’re living, breathing animals and not a possession. They require love, nurturing and proper training in order to be good house pets. Here are some tips and pointers that are important when it comes to taking care of a small breed dog.
- Choosing The Right Small Dog
No two dogs are the same, however, breeds often have similar personalities. Before choosing a dog, it is important to do research on the breed. Each breed has certain temperament indicators, specific care needs and health issues that pet owners should be aware of beforehand. Each household requires a different type of breed based on its circumstances.
While health issues are a major deciding factor, they aren’t set in stone. The reason behind researching health issues of specific small dogs is to assess the financial dependency and lifespan, getting a dog is a long-term responsibility and should always be approached from that perspective. The same goes for temperaments, every dog has a distinct personality and requires special attention and care, which brings us to training a small dog.
Every dog requires training. While small dogs look cuter and more innocent, they are still incredibly smart animals. Unless they’ve been trained to be obedient and follow orders, small dogs too can cause big troubles in your day to day life. A pet owner must teach basic commands such as sit, heel, stay, leave, come, eat, etc to their small dog.
It is important to establish yourself as ‘alpha’ as dogs view your family as a pack unless you do so, they will act out. An important aspect of training a small dog is to socialize it. This means to familiarize the dog with other dogs and people, this should be done at an early stage.
Training a small dog requires patience and perseverance. Under no circumstances should you be physically abusive to a dog. Positive affirmation is key when it comes to training a small dog. Being stern while saying no or telling of a dog is encouraged but it should be supplemented with compliments and treats when the dog obeys your commands.
Feeding a small dog is a tricky situation. In the end, a dog is a dog, just because they’re small doesn’t mean that they don’t love food. Dogs don’t know good food from bad food and hence as a pet owner, it is your responsibility to research the food items that are harmful to dogs and keep them away from them at all costs. Remember that dogs rely on you to feed them.
Establishing a feeding schedule is important and should be done as early as possible. The schedule should be set based on your availability and the dog’s needs. Most people recommend two-three times a day. The next step is choosing the right kind of food.
There are plenty of options available in the market, some even made specifically for small breeds, such as Eukanuba Small Breed Chicken, Wellness Super5mix Small Breed, or Blue Buffalo Small Breed Lamb however, you should take your dog to the vet to figure out any allergies before starting them on a new diet. Small dogs are cute, we know but don’t overdo with the number of treats as they don’t add any nutritional value.
- Grooming Needs Of A Small Dog
Don’t go by their size, some small dogs require extensive and daily grooming. Maintaining the personal hygiene of a dog is also very important. Dog breeds like Pomeranians require regular brushing and fur maintenance. While small dogs, don’t require regular baths, there will come a time when it does need to happen.
A pet owner should approach bath time with a calm and assertive demeanor. Dogs are excellent judges of feelings and temperament and will react to your nervousness or anxiety. Use methods of distracting your dog such as sneaking in a toy and make the experience as relaxing as possible.
Cutting your dog’s nails and brushing its teeth are also part of the routine. If you don’t have the time or are unsure how your dog will react, it is best to take it to a professional groomer. Remember, dogs do need grooming and lack of hygiene can cause many avoidable problems.
- How To Keep A Small Dog Fit
Exercise is crucial for small dogs. A simple walk can provide mental and physical stimulation for a dog. This can either be done through outdoor exercises such as dog parks or walks or indoor toys that provide both mental and physical stimulation. Dogs need to expend their energy in one way or another, through physical and mental exercise, you are channeling their energy in a healthy manner. Otherwise, dogs tend to lash out and develop behavioral issues.
As soon as you get a dog, it is important to visit a vet to start tracking their health. While small breed dogs, tend to live longer than larger breeds, they also have many health issues, the most common one being hip dysplasia. Regular vet visits for vaccination, regular health checkups, and safety precautions will ensure that your dog will live a healthy life.
Dogs are known as a man’s best friend for a reason, they make for a small portion of our lives but we are there for their entire lifespan. If you are thinking of getting a small dog, remember they are a long-term responsibility that requires care, patience, financial and emotional dependence. A dog can truly change your life for the better provided you take good care of them, after all they only ask for love (and treats) in return.