No two dogs are the same. They all have unique personalities and needs and deserve the utmost care. While dogs’ needs often vary by breed, their size also plays a part. Small and miniature breeds like Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, and Pugs all have unique needs that differ greatly from their larger counterparts. As for Chihuahuas, they are known for being loving and loyal dogs. However, they get a bad rep for their temperament. Take a closer look and know how to care for this breed with these chihuahua facts. If owning a small dog breed is your dream, read on for these care tips.
What Are Small Dog Breeds?
When picturing a small dog breed, you might automatically think of those tiny dogs people would carry around in their purse. While those dogs fit the description, the range is broader than you might think. Any dog breed that clocks in at under 21 pounds count as a small dog, including Jack Russell Terriers, Beagles, and Shiba Inus.
That Sweater Is Not a Fashion Statement
While you might see small breed dogs dressed up more often than larger pups, it’s not just to look fabulous! Small dogs are more sensitive to the cold and need extra layers of protection. During winter, small dogs and dogs with short coats should bundle up. Fortunately, you can go to Pet Life for a variety of dog clothes to keep your pup protected from harsh weather conditions!
Take A Look Through Their Eyes
One thing you should always do before bringing a pet home is to look around your home from their level. Are surfaces too high for a little dog to jump on? Should you add steps or stairs to get them up onto the furniture, if they’re allowed to climb up there?
A big leap can take a lot of energy or even be dangerous for smaller dogs. Similarly, how far across your home are their rest and play areas? A long run from his water dish back to his dog bed might not be convenient for little legs.
Big Attitudes Come in Small Packages
It’s a joke that often carries some truth: small dogs can get away with a lot of bad behavior! Many owners of small dogs let their pet pull on the leash or bark excessively since it’s not as intimidating or dangerous as it would be, coming from a Rottweiler or a German Shepherd.
However, you should be training your dog the same no matter its size. A Pomeranian may not be able to yank the leash away from you as a Rottweiler would, but you should still correct this behavior and train your pet properly.
Find The Right Balance
Believe it or not, small dogs need to eat more calories per kg daily than larger dogs. The reason for that is smaller breeds burn energy much faster. They, of course, require more steps to cover the same amount of distance, but they also need to use more energy on basic body functions like keeping warm.
You need to strike the right balance in your pup to make sure they’re getting enough calories and nutrients to get through the day without packing on extra pounds. Calorie-dense meals are important, but small breeds can’t stockpile energy like larger dogs, so they need more frequent meals throughout the day. Make sure to talk to your vet and carefully read the labels on your pet’s food to make sure your tiny tot is getting all they need.
Keeping It Cute
Some small dogs, like Pomeranian or Maltese, require more grooming than other breeds. These pups should be taken to a professional groomer regularly to maintain their coat, while small short-haired dogs can get away with less frequent visits.
You should still bathe your dog regularly (at least once a month) and clip their nails to prevent breakage. This can be done at home or at the groomer’s — whichever works for your schedule and budget. It’s also important to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. This isn’t just to help out their breath, but to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can become an issue as a dog age.
Carry With Care
Small dogs are often carried in their owner’s bags, or even in their arms, but there are pros and cons to this method of transportation. On the one hand, it can be an easy and convenient way to transport your pet. In the winter, it can even be a beneficial way to keep your dog warm after a long walk or while traveling to visit friends or to an appointment.
However, if you choose to carry your dog, you need to make sure you’re doing it correctly so as not to injure them. Dogs can become overheated in bags without adequate ventilation or enough space for them to breathe properly.
Instead of using an oversized purse or duffel bag, shop for a carrier that is specifically made to accommodate pets. If you’d rather just carry your dog in your arms when they’re too pooped after a walk, you still need to proceed with care. Never take a dog by its front legs, neck, or tail. Always pick your dog up with one hand under its chest and the other supporting its back legs.
They’re Prone to Injuries
Unlike their larger counterparts, small breeds of dogs can injure easily. This is mostly due to their size: a jump that lands wrong or a fall can impact them more severely than it would a big dog. Smaller dogs also have the misfortune of accidentally being stepped on or tripped over. These accidents can cause bone fractures or other trauma.
Small dogs can also escape more easily: a hole in your backyard fence might not pose a problem for a Saint Bernard, but a Rat Terrier could squeeze through easily. And of course, small dogs are less likely to win in a fight with another, more aggressive pup.
When you’re taking your dog to the park or to visit with other animals, keep an eye on their behavior and be prepared to intervene if the dogs seem ready to fight. It’s important to be vigilant and take extra precautions with small dogs. Despite their big personalities, they are vulnerable!