If you're like many people, you find toy dog breeds almost irresistibly cute. If you live in an apartment or a house with only a small yard, you probably also like the idea that these dogs don't need the same amount of room required by their larger counterparts. However, if you've never shared your home with a tiny dog, you probably also have numerous questions and concerns about any possible health issues they may have. Fortunately, toy breeds enjoy good general health, and as an added bonus, they tend to live longer than larger dogs. There are some health concerns specific to toy breeds, though. Here's what you need to know:
Toy Breeds Have Fragile Bones and Organs
Toy breeds are more easily injured than larger dogs because their bones and internal organs are far more fragile. For this reason, they aren't the best option for homes with small children in residence. If you decide to include a toy breed in your family, it's best to implement and enforce a policy that prohibits any sort of roughhousing with the dog.
Small children usually mean well when they're playing with animals, but they aren't good judges of what's too rough, and it's not at all uncommon for tiny toy dogs to end up in the animal hospital because a play session was a little too rough.
Some Toy Breeds Have Tracheal Issues
Certain types of toy breeds may experience tracheal issues, such as partial tracheal collapse. Although this condition is only fatal in a small number of cases, it has the potential to present serious quality-of-life issues. For instance, dogs with tracheal problems may cough often, and they may need to stop and catch their breath during periods of activity. Breeds known to be particularly vulnerable to tracheal issues include Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Papillons, and King Charles Spaniels.
Since these issues tend to come on quickly, many pet owners first find that their furry friends have tracheal problems after a visit to an animal hospital when the dog begins to show signs of difficulty breathing.
Toy Breeds May Experience Knee Issues
Knee issues are common in toy breeds because their legs are proportionally much smaller relative to their body mass. In other words, even though these dogs only weigh a few pounds, their little legs carry quite a burden. Always make sure that any vigorous physical activity that your dog engages in happens on soft surfaces in order to help prevent putting too much strain on its knees. For instance, if you want to play fetch with your furry friend, do so on the lawn or indoors on a carpeted area rather than on a concrete patio, walkway, or driveway.
No matter how careful you are, it's always a good idea to have the contact information of your local animal hospital on hand in case your toy breed needs immediate care.