Small and miniature breed dogs are famously classified as "Toy", "Miniature" or "Companion" dogs. For centuries they've been the favourite friends of humans everywhere, from Tibetan Spaniel-loving Himalayan Monks, to Papillon-prizing European royalty. Other small breeds, like the terriers, were bred to toil tirelessly alongside their favourite humans. Whatever their original purpose, today these dogs are sure to win hearts wherever they go.
- The big world can be overwhelming for a small dog. Even everyday items like the vacuum cleaner loom large. Changes in routine - think traveling, a vet visit or meeting new people - separation from family or loud noises can trigger stress.
- Because of their size, small dogs live longer. However this also means they face more prolonged exposure to free radicals, which can damage cells and DNA.
- Your dog may look fine to you, but ideal weight varies by size and breed. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you what your dog's ideal weight is.
We can help our pets by reducing stressors in their lives where possible and ensuring they have plenty of reassurance and familiar human company. A dog should have their 'own space', a basket or mat, where they can feel safe and calm. The right food can also help to promote emotional balance in small dogs.
A predictable daily routing with regular feeding, walking and play times can help your dog to feel more confident.
Consider playing soft music to help mask the sounds.
CHANGES IN ROUTINE
Dogs love having a comfortable personal space to retreat to. A familiar blanket or old sweater makes a reassuring bed when traveling.
Children, especially, may need guidance on handling pets sensitively - and on leaving them to relax when they have had enough.
Grooming needs vary with breeds. Fluffy Poodles and silky-haired Yorkies have coats that need more maintenance than shorter-haired types like Shiba Inus or Miniature Pinschers. Long-haired dogs should be brushed at least daily to keep in good condition and to prevent knots and tangles, which can can be painful to remove. Alway brush gently in the direction the hair grows and be sure to cover every part of your dog's body. The right food can make a big difference - ingredients like Omega-6 fatty acids help to support a healthy skin and shiny coat.
Good grooming habits are important for small breed dogs:
- Be sure to use lukewarm water that feels comfortable to your pet.
- Use a specialised shampoo that’s made for a dog like yours, never use human products.
- Use a detangler brush designed for long-haired dogs.
- Rinse well to prevent skin issues.
- Use the towel-drying phase to snuggle and reassure your dog.
- It’s possible to blow-dry your dog’s coat on the coolest setting; switch to a towel if your dog seems nervous.
Playtime with toys is an important opportunity for your dog to get a little exercise, mental stimulation and bonding time with you. You can make the most out of your dog's toys by putting out a small selection and switching them every few weeks so that the toys stay novel and interesting to your dog.
Give the Right Size Toy
Toys that are too small are a choking hazard and could be swallowed by your dog.
Keep Playtime Safe
String, ribbons or elastic bands may be interesting to your mini-breed dog, but they can also cause dangerous digestive problems.
Household items may seem fun to your dog, but they may be toxic or can splinter.
Time for a New Toy
A good rule with any toy is that once it begins to fray or fall apart, it's time to get it replaced.