2001-Sun Dec 10 23:16:12 EST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
I never thought of myself as a small-dog person. When I was growing up, I much preferred my dad’s German Shepherds to my stepmom’s Toy Poodles. The first dog I acquired as an adult was a retired racing Greyhound. But although Greyhounds are wonderful apartment and condo dogs, we have stairs, and it became difficult to get Savanna up and down them after she lost a leg to bone cancer.
The next dog, we decided, would be smaller. That’s how we ended up with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (and one Chihuahua mix). But although they are more portable, small dogs come with their own set of issues. If you are considering acquiring a small-breed dog because you think one will be easier to live with, here’s what you should know.
Small dogs are, well, small. It’s easy to step on them, no matter how careful you try to be. It’s not so bad with the larger Toy breeds such as Pugs and Cavaliers — at least, not once they reach adult size — but smaller dogs such as Chihuahuas, Papillons and Yorkies run the risk of getting stepped on or kicked not just by the humans in the home but also by other pets. We frequently joke about attaching a balloon on a long string to the collar of our Chihuahua mix so we’ll be more likely to notice where she is.
Other pets may bully them. Lots of small dogs rule the roost, but when they have a gentle personality, their size can work against them. Esmeralda, a Papillon, was stalked by her owner’s much larger cat, who seemed to view the small, fluffy dog as a toy at best, potential dinner at worst. It was a painful dilemma for the owner, who finally ended up placing her cat in a new home to save her dog’s life.
Little dogs can hurt themselves jumping on and off furniture. It’s an especially common problem with breeds such as Italian Greyhounds, who have long, thin legs, or Japanese Chin, who often enjoy being on high places such as the back of the sofa. This is more common in young dogs, who are not only still growing but also tend to be fearless, but any small dog can suffer a broken bone if he lands the wrong way jumping off the furniture, is stepped on by an errant guest or is dropped to the floor by a child.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.