A dog born in El Dorado Hills, California on March 8 to a dachshund mix mother is being called the ‘smallest dog in the world.’ Although tiny dogs are all the rage (and yes, they are adorable) their size proves to be a health danger throughout their life. Before you submit an adoption application for Beyoncé (as the tiny K9 has been dubbed for her ‘survivor’ attitude), make sure you know what you are getting in to by owning a small dog.
Small Dogs and Bad Teeth
Bad teeth are the curse of the small breed. The smaller the mouth: the more crowded the teeth. This is a dream environment for plaque and tarter. My elderly poodle has had annual dental cleaning visits for 4 years-and has had to have 16 teeth removed during the span because they were rotting. When I adopted her she was developing gangrene in her mouth from dental neglect.
This could have been prevented or slowed greatly with proper food choices and dental care. Table scraps are the WORST for small dog teeth! If you own a small breed, I suggest brushing their teeth at a young age and feeding them hard kibble. You may also consider water additives that fight bacteria.
Knee Problems in Small Dogs
Sliding knee caps are very common in small dogs. My toy poodle suffered from this ailment for years before I knew it was a problem. Dogs with this issue will ‘hop’ on three legs for a short period of time (seconds to a minute) after running or jumping.
Most pet-parents wither don’t notice the behavior or don’t find it problematic, as the dog doesn’t seem to be in pain and always corrects itself. In some cases the dog will need corrective surgery, as it can cause a ligament in the leg to rupture. My dog’s case is mild, I just prevent her from jumping and encourage her to walk more and run less. Leash walking and pet stairs have been very helpful.
Heart Issues in Small Dogs
Heart murmur and difficult birthing can also plague small dogs. On the bright side- if you can avoid or treat these problems, small dogs have a very long life span. Every dog has health problems. Large breeds have their typical set of problems, as well as small and medium breeds have their own. It is important to research any pet before adopting or purchasing it so that you are aware of what to expect.