8 Things to know about owning a mini-breed dog
- by DR Roxanne Jones
There's no denying that puppies are adorable, which explains why mini and 'teacup' breeds of dogs are so pup-ular! Imagine owning a dog that stays a ‘baby’ fur-ever.
If you love the idea of toting a tiny pooch in your bag or being the pet-parent of toy-sized pup, a miniature breed may be right for you. And you have a wide variety to choose from - Yorkies, Chihuahuas, dachshunds, toy poodles and spaniels, Pomeranians and Shih Tzus are just a few. But before you commit to a pint-sized pooch, there are a few things you should think about.
Things to consider if you want to own a miniature breed dog
- How busy is your household? Small dogs are small, which means it's really easy to step on them. And if that happens, they can be seriously injured. If your household is filled with other, larger animals, or kids, or lots of activity, a small breed runs the risk of getting injured. Broken bones (and worse) can happen if they're stepped on, attacked, or dropped by a child.
- Bullying. If you have other, larger dogs - or even cats - your tiny furbaby could become a victim of bullying. This will, of course, depend on your dog's personality! Tiny-but-bold dogs may still rule the roost, regardless of their size. But if your mini has a retiring personality, she may get picked on.
- Furniture. With most dogs, your concerns around furniture usually involve chewing. With a mini breed, you have to be very careful that your doggie doesn't sustain injuries by falling off beds and couches, for example.
- Eyes everywhere. You'll need to supervise your mini pooch whenever there's even the slightest risk of falling or sustaining injuries. Never leave your dog alone on balconies, decks or outdoors, or anywhere where there's a risk of them falling or jumping off.
- Prepare to make your home more mobility-orientated. Little dogs may struggle to jump onto the couch - but continue trying anyway, leading to injury. You may find that to help your furbaby's mobility around the house, you might need to have special ramps or steps to help her reach certain places.
- Kids may treat them like toys. Because they look cute and fluffy, kids may confuse your mini (but very much living) pet with an inanimate toy, leading to rough play that can harm your pet. If you have kids and you decide to add a miniature breed to your family, it's important to teach your kids to treat them gently and respectfully, just as they would a regular-sized dog.
- Weather. Extreme temperatures can severely affect tiny breeds. Because they're so small, very cold temperatures can cause their regular body heat to drop suddenly and dramatically - while excessive heat can cause them to overheat much more quickly than regular-sized dogs.
- Health troubles. Your pooch may be susceptible to certain ailments that are specific to small breeds (think of dachshunds and their well-known back problems,teacup Yorkies and low blood sugar, diarrhea’s of all kinds just to name a few ), so it's a good idea to chat to your vet to understand more about your type of dog and the unique issues she may face.
While it may sound like there are a lot of negatives, there are so many positives to owning a petite pooch! They generally live longer than bigger dogs, and they're easy to accommodate and transport. Plus, they're more affordable to feed than larger dogs, and generally have less expensive needs: smaller leashes, beds and harnesses means lower costs overall. And of course, the smaller the doggie, the smaller the poop!
Now for the best part: get out there and find your new furbaby!
Disclaimer: Always consult your vet for professional advice. The zuki.co.za blog is provided as an educational tool and should not be used to diagnose illness or treat an animal.