Top 6 Things To Know Before Getting A Small Dog

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Small dogs are adorable as they look like puppies forever. As such, loads of people seem to want one. If you look at the most popular or expensive breeds of dog, then the likes of Pomeranians and Chihuahuas come up all the time. I can easily see why - small dogs look the cutest, and it seems like they require less effort. The smaller the dog, the smaller your responsibilities - right?

Well, no. You’ll see what I mean as you make your way through this article! There are plenty of misconceptions about owning a small dog that people have to know about. I love small breeds, and I think they are amazing. In fact, that’s why I’m writing this. It’s not to put anyone off, it’s because I want these dogs to get all the care and attention they deserve. If you’re not aware of what to expect when you have a small pet, then you often struggle to give them what they need.

With all of this in mind, here are the top things to know before you buy or adopt a small dog:

Small in size, big in volume

Despite their smallness, many of these dogs are incredibly loud. So, if you think you’re avoiding loud barks by getting one, then you’re most likely mistaken. In fact, some small breeds can be much louder than large dogs as they love yapping away all day long. With some dog training, you can obviously calm them down and get them to stop barking at everything. Just be aware that you will have a loud little housemate for the first few weeks or months as they settle in. If you live in a detached house, then this might not bother you. But, if you have neighbors nearby, then it’s worth paying them the courtesy of explaining you have a new dog and they can be loud until trained properly.

Incredibly delusional

I’m not insulting small dogs, trust me! However, my experience has shown that lots of small dogs are so incredibly delusional when it comes to their size. You have to remember that many of the small dog breeds out there come from much larger lines. I mentioned Pomeranians earlier, and they’re descendent from large snow dogs in Eastern Europe. Other breeds have similar lineage, so you can see where this delusion comes from!

I guess the small dogs still think with the big dog mentality. Now, around the home, this isn’t an issue. But, when you venture out on walks and come into contact with other dogs, then it’s a problem. I’ve seen tiny dogs run up to huge German Shephards trying to throw down a challenge. They’re yapping away at a dog whose paw is half the size of the dog itself. Needless to say, this could put your dog in danger. So, be sure you keep them on a leash if other dogs are about to avoid them trying to recreate David vs. Goliath every five minutes.

Prone to health problems

A lot of tiny dogs are prone to developing health problems. Again, this usually stems from the way they’ve been bred. Typically, you’re looking at joint issues because their bones are much smaller and weaker than normal dogs. When you think about it, you’ve basically got a puppy with an adult dog’s mind. So, they love being very active and trying to do things that bigger dogs do, but the smallness of their body can hold them back.

Spinal problems, like IVDD, are also quite common. This can be a genetic thing in some small dogs - Daschunds, specifically - or it can be environmentally-driven. For example, a small dog tries to leap up onto your sofa. It’s a normal jump for a regular or large dog, but it’s the equivalent of you trying to jump over a fence for a small one. As a result, then can easily slip or fall, causing an injury in their spine. There is IVDD relief out there for dogs suffering from this problem, and it’s well worth seeing a vet to understand if your dog genetically has this - or any other - issue.

Yes, bigger breeds can have health problems too. Double yes, you can have a small dog that’s perfectly healthy. I’m just saying that, on the whole, small dogs are more prone to health issues.

Can easily get lost

A small ball of fluff can easily get lost. This can happen when you’re out and about, but it also might happen in your home. Don’t be surprised if your dog suddenly goes missing when you’re inside. Try as you might, you can’t find them anywhere. Before you call a search party, check all the small little nooks and crannies around your home. Due to its size, a small dog can easily fit into tiny places. Thus, they make it seem like they’re lost, but really they’re just curled up sleeping in a secret hiding place.

Obviously, the problem is worse if you’re outside. Take your eye off your dog for a second and you can lose them in the park. So, as mentioned before, it’s a good idea to keep small dogs on a leash during the early stages. As you start to train them, then you can take them off and let them roam more freely on walks.

Are often targeted by other animals

It’s rare that small dogs are targeted by big dogs. As I said before, this is usually their own doing! However, they can be targeted by other animals. Cats will love to try and box your small dogs with their paws - but they do that to much bigger dogs as well. You shouldn’t worry about small dogs and cats, it’s other predators that need your attention.

Most of you might not have any issues as you don’t have any predators where you live. But, if you live near mountains or forests, then you might have coyotes or foxes to deal with. A very small dog can seem like prey to them, so be very cautious and don’t let your small dog out of your sight. The same goes for aerial predators like hawks. If there are any in your area, then a small dog can be a prime target for these birds.

Ultimately, be aware that the smaller breeds come with more safety concerns. So, you have to pay more attention to them to keep them safe!

Specific exercise and eating requirements

If you already own a large dog - or had one in the past - then you may think you know how to feed and exercise a small dog. Well, you don’t. At least, if you follow the same rules for a bigger dog, then you don’t. Small dogs have specific exercise and eating requirements that relate to their size.

For example, their small legs mean they can’t walk or run for as far or as long as a big dog. So, if you take both out on a walk, be aware that you’ll probably have to carry the little one on the way home! Likewise, don’t feed them as much as you’d feed a big dog. Learn the correct portion sizes depending on the breed of dog. This stops you from overfeeding your small one or underfeeding the bigger one!

I hope this has given you an insight into life as a small dog owner. The different small dog breeds are adorably cute and make excellent pets. I just want you to be aware of what you’re getting into before you bring a dog home!

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