Teacup and toy dogs have exploded in popularity in the United States, and it’s easy to see why. Not only are they absolutely adorable, it’s easy to think smaller dogs are ideal for apartments and other small homes.
But while toy dogs have some unique needs, their care and keeping is similar to that of all dogs!
Caring for Toy Dogs
Exercise – Toy dogs may be small, but their exercise needs are not. These tiny friends need consistent daily exercise and play to keep them healthy, happy, and at an ideal weight. Talk with your veterinarian about how much exercise your toy dog should be getting each day. Avoid the temptation to carry your dog around in a purse or dog stroller – all dogs need the chance to move their bodies and experience the sights and smells of the world around them.
Training and socialization – It can be easy to let your toy dog’s obedience training and socialization fall to the wayside – after all, how much damage can those little teeth and paws really do? Neglecting their training is a huge mistake, however, as it can create an aggressive dog who uses your living room like their personal bathroom. Seek out a training class for smaller dogs, and remember that patience and consistency is key.
Unique dangers – Due to their small size, toy dogs are at an increased risk for injury. Not only do they have finer bones than larger dogs, their size makes them more difficult to see. Teach your small dog to go to their crate or bed while you’re busy around the house or when you have a lot of guests over.
Kids and toy dogs – Make sure kids understand the vulnerability of your small dog. Teach them how to gently handle and play with the pup, and always supervise their interactions.
Choosing A Breed
Your lifestyle should play a main role in selecting a toy dog breed. Certain breeds, such as Yorkshire terriers, are hardy but need a lot of grooming. Some toy dog breeds need as much exercise as a larger dog (and even more grooming!), such as Pomeranians who were bred for pulling sleds and still have similar energy levels to notoriously energetic (read hyper) breeds like huskies. Other breeds are better suited to the lap dog lifestyle.
Before You Buy
Sadly, it is very common for toy and teacup breeds to come from illegal breeding operations such as puppy mills or even just irresponsible breeders.
These exist for the sole purpose of making a profit, and have little to know regard for the wellbeing of the dogs or puppies in their care. Mother dogs are bred continuously, and both adults and puppies are given little to no room to move and often live in squalid conditions.
Always select a reputable breeder, or better yet research breed-specific rescue organizations in our area. In many cases, even rescues operating in other parts of the country are willing to transport a dog to you.
Whether you’re the proud owner of a Chihuahua, Italian Greyhound, or anything in between, proper care will increase the bond you share and give your pet the best shot at a long and happy life. As always, don’t hesitate to contact the staff at BEEVET with your questions or concerns about your pet.