Taking care of your small breed dog

May 19, 2022 9:09:50 AM

“Almost anything big dogs can do toy breeds can do as well! From becoming service dogs to working as therapy dogs there are many small dogs doing very big jobs. Toy breeds excel at obedience and agility, scent work, tricks, and other sports. Don’t underestimate these pint-sized athletes— if given the opportunity, toy breeds can make great canine competitors in performance events.”

[American Kennel Club]

With hundreds of dog breeds in existence it’s true to say that they all need the same basic care – a good diet, exercise, a warm bed and lots of love.

However, every breed has its own set of considerations that go alongside the basics and with a small breed there are several important things to know. You’ll need to understand small breed needs together with those of your specific breed. We are here to help!

Activity levels

Small dogs have the same needs as all dogs in terms of playing, learning and being active. They love to explore the world, engage in fun and games and race around. However you may find that your small breed dog exercises in short bursts and might need more frequent exercising but for shorter periods of time. You can be led by them on this – gradually build up the time they spend exercising, allow them to rest and take him out again a little later – until you have reached a routine that satisfies your dog and suits you both.

Feeding your small breed

It’s important that you feed according to your dog’s build, exercise levels and breed. You can ask your breeder or a Trophy Nutritional Adviser for help with this as it’s vital that you don’t overfeed. Overfeeding a small dog can put unnecessary strain on their joints and organs.

Kibble size is also very important so we make sure that our pieces are well aerated, perfectly sized and shaped to suit a small dog. Our Premium Holistic Small Bite is suitable for tiny, small and medium dogs, is completely natural and includes vital Omega 3 and 6.

If you have a high energy small dog you may find he prefers to have four small meals a day instead of the traditional one or two. Make sure you measure out the day’s food and divide it up as required. Their small stomachs are only able to digest a little at a time so be guided by your dog and adjust as you need to. Allow for treats within your dog’s total calories.

Safety considerations

One thing to be extra careful about is your small dog’s safety. The smaller the dog, the easier it is for it to escape through (or under) the most secure fences and gates. Sadly they are also much easier to steal. For both of these reasons we recommend not leaving them outside unsupervised unless you are absolutely sure they are safe. When running free, consider using an extendable lead instead of letting them off – unless you are completely sure their recall is reliable or they stay close to you.

If you are in a crowded area we’d recommend lifting your dog to avoid it being accidentally hurt or stepped on. You’ll probably do this instinctively anyway. Also, be aware that busy places or crowds of people are likely to be overwhelming for a very small dog unless they’re used to it.

Inside you might consider adding stairgates, ramps or confining your dog to areas of the home so they don’t fall or get lost.

Socialising

Being sociable with other dogs and humans is important and something small breeds enjoy. In this respect they aren’t any different to other breeds. Don’t be tempted to over-protect your small dog from others unless, of course, there is imminent danger. They usually stand their ground well and can be quite assertive.

Socialising or puppy training early on are the best ways to introduce them to other dogs in a controlled environment. Once they realise they aren’t under threat they will have a much more relaxed, comfortable time wherever they are.   

Training needs

Because a small dog is easier to handle than a big dog due to their size and light weight, training is often overlooked as less important. However small dogs should be given the same investment of time to make sure they are well trained for several reasons. A good recall can be a life saver in many situations – and especially as a small dog can escape more easily than a Saint Bernard!

Teaching a dog to sit before they are fed or given a treat is important as it establishes the command/reward transaction which is useful. Also, learning and understanding a range of commands provides excellent mental stimulation and allows you to form strong bonds together. Interestingly, small and toy dogs do very well in agility training and respond very well to the challenges set in dog sports.

 

Trophy is dedicated to providing the very best food for all dogs – of every size, shape and age! Please follow our Facebook page to see what’s new and to keep up to date with our regular competitions.

 

References:

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/care-toy-breeds-extra-small/

https://www.trophypetfoods.co.uk/products/details/25/premium-holistic-small-bite

 

 

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