Caring for your
small or miniature dog
Four steps to a
healthier little dog
Weight management is essential for a long, healthy life. Even a little extra weight can be a big problem for little dogs. By taking just four steps toward achieving and maintaining ideal body weight, you can support the overall health and wellness of your small or miniature breed dog.
An important note about small or miniature breed puppies:
A weight loss plan is never a safe option for puppies unless your veterinarian recommends it. If you are concerned that your puppy has a weight problem, see your veterinarian. Do not simply begin feeding weight management dog food.
1. Track your dog's weight
Losing weight can propel your dog toward better health, but only if the weight is lost in a healthy, controlled manner. To make sure your dog is losing weight at a normal pace, weigh him regularly, use a weight-tracking chart to track of his progress, and assess his body condition score regularly. Most vets’ offices have scales you can use free of charge.
2. Include healthy activity
When you feed precisely balanced dog food, you know your dog will be eating healthily. However, your dog's weight management programme isn't complete without a healthy amount of physical activity. Whether it's romping around indoors or a walk in the park, make sure your dog is getting the physical activity he needs to get healthy and stay that way.
3. Visit your vet often
Make frequent visits to your vet to ensure that your pet's weight management programme is going smoothly. Your vet knows your pet's ideal weight, how fast he should be losing weight and which foods are best for each stage of the weight management plan.
4. Maintain an ideal weight for life
Your small or toy breed dog's weight management plan shouldn't be temporary. Once your dog has attained ideal weight, switch to a simple weight maintenance plan that consists of regular exercise and proper nutrition. Maintaining ideal weight is very important for:
- Supporting a long life expectancy for your small or miniature breed dog
- Promoting healthy joints and mobility
- Promoting a healthy heart
Big grooming tips
for small breed dogs
Grooming your small dog yourself, from trimming fur to bathing and nail care, can save you money. Most grooming tasks are easy and simply require the proper tools and some basic know-how. Once you've got a routine down, your grooming sessions should turn into wonderful bonding experiences between you and your pet. To get off on the right foot, keep these five things in mind:
1. Use appropriately sized grooming tools
Use small grooming tools for your small dog. If he's a little big for his breed, consult your vet or groomer which size tool is best suited for him.
2. Clip nails after bathing
Nail-clipping might be the most stressful part of grooming. For starters, dogs typically don't like people messing with their paws. Then, even if you're able to hold your pup's paws steady enough to clip his nails, you'll need to make sure you don't hit the quick, where blood vessels and nerves reside, or his nails will bleed. Tip: Clip your dog's nails right after his bath, when they're softer and more pliable. This makes for quick, easy clipping.
3. Brush your dog's coat before bathing
If you bathe your little dog before brushing his hair or fur, guess what? Any knots in his coat will tighten up and be difficult to comb out afterward. Take a few minutes to brush him beforehand, even if he's got a short coat. Brushing and combing not only remove knots and mattes, but also gets rid of any debris in the coat. If your dog likes to be brushed or combed, doing this before bathing him can serve as a little reward too.
4. Understand where your dog is coming from
As a dog owner, you can avoid many frustrations if you keep in mind what your small dog was originally bred to do. (Terriers, for example, were bred to dig after small animals. If they see a darting brush, they might consider it prey and instinctively swat at it. Poodles, used for show and gussied up for generations, are often more tolerant of grooming sessions and all the touching and fussing that goes along with them). Remember, some dogs love to be touched, while others hate it. Don't assume your pet will love all the gentle touching and stroking you're giving him during his grooming session.
5. Play before grooming
Many small dogs are quite energetic. They don't like to sit still for a long period of time or relax in the tub. So set aside 15 or 20 minutes before your grooming session to play. Toss a ball, wrestle with a toy, play a game of tag - anything that will tire your dog out and also put him in a good mood. If you managed to groom your little dog well, a small post-grooming play session also serves as a nice reward.
Regular check-ups will help your little dog get used to the experience of going to the vet, and help the vet become more familiar with your dog.
Tips to make small dog
vet visit easier
A trip to see the veterinarian can be a stressful experience for your little dog. There are lots of sights, smells, sounds, people and animals that may be new and unfamiliar. However, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you and your dog have a comfortable and productive vet visit:
1. Play a little or go for a walk prior to your visit.
This will make your dog calmer and more docile, while also making an accident less likely.
2.Use a carrier.
This is a good option for small and toy breed dogs because it prevents biting, scratching and attempts to run away. It will also protect your dog from other pets at the vet clinic.
3. Take control in the waiting room.
Keep your dog relaxed by giving lots of physical attention and talking softly.
4. Be ready to help.
Ask your vet if your presence will help the examination. Vets and vet nurses are very experienced at holding nervous and frightened animals, but your familiar face and smell may bring necessary comfort to your dog while in the exam room.
5. Plan for extra time.
If you would like extra time to talk to your vet about your dog, be sure to schedule it when you make your appointment or try to avoid peak hours. Veterinary clinics are usually busiest in the early morning or the early evening.
Allergies and other pesky
Allergies are all too common. The same pollens and house dust that cause allergic reactions in people often cause allergic dermatitis in small and miniature breed dogs. Allergic dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin, which can be caused by many things. Most commonly this results in your dog licking, scratching, sometimes even hair loss, and above all discomfort for your little dog.
Your vet may try to help manage your dog's allergy by numerous methods, including injections, oral medications, nutritional management, topical shampoos, dips, ointments and environmental treatments. Do not hesitate to call your vet if questions or problems arise.
Here are some common, seasonal pests
to protect against
Heartworms can be prevented. This disease is frequently fatal, so take the steps your vet recommends to keep your small or miniature breed dog from catching heartworms. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. Your vet can prescribe a heartworm preventive and recommend the appropriate testing and a preventative schedule for your dog. Consult your vet immediately if you suspect that your dog has heartworms.
When your dog goes outside, complete elimination of fleas is often impossible. A more realistic goal is flea control, especially in warmer areas. Flea control requires controlling the life cycle of the flea. There are many new, highly effective topical or oral products available. Frequent vacuuming removes flea eggs from rugs and carpeting (promptly dispose of the vacuum bag). Laundering your dog's bedding is also advised. Preventive measures taken before you see fleas can save you and your dog a lot of discomfort.
While ticks can spread infectious diseases such as ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease, infections spread by ticks occur rarely in the UK dog population. Dog owners who travel to continental Europe with their pets can be more at risk to diseases such as Lyme disease, which are found on the continent. Remove ticks as soon as possible and be sure to wear gloves when getting rid of them.