Keeping Small Dog Breeds Healthy

Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier, and Pekingese are only a few of the dog breeds that are considered small in size. Although considered small, generally these cutie patooties are mighty in terms of loyalty to their owners. With all dog breeds, from puppy to full grown dog, proper diet and exercise are the foundations in keeping them healthy. Our fur babies require our attention, love, respect, and care. As such, we will discuss a couple of small dog breeds today. We will include a brief snippet on their origin, their temperament, and general health maintenance information.

Chihuahua

This small breed is immediately recognized by its small stature, erect ears, and bulging eyes. The distinctive rounded “apple head” feature is also considered to be the hallmark of its breed. The average Chihuahua weighs 3 to 6 pounds. Their average height is between 6 to 9 inches but may grow to be 15 inches. Said to have originated in Mexico, Chihuahuas come in a variety of colors, color combinations, and patterns. There are two categories of Chihuahuas: short hair and long hair.

Nutrition

As with any breed of dog, beginning and maintaining a proper healthy and nutritional diet is highly recommended, especially at an early age. High-quality dog food appropriate to the age (puppy, adult, or senior) of your Chihuahua is recommended. Daily small dog supplements are also encouraged, again specific to your fur baby’s age. Check with your vet for additional recommendations. Chihuahuas are packed with energy. Daily walks are a must for all breeds, especially one in the late afternoon to help them wind down for the night. Chihuahuas are no different. However, because of their small size, Chihuahuas can get their essential daily exercise by running and playing within a small space. An average Chihuahua’s life span is between 10 to 18 years.

Temperament

Chihuahuas are widely known for their “larger than life” temperament. Loyal and faithful to the core, this mighty little dog breed ferociously alerts its owners of any strangers nearby. Their high pitched bark sounds off whether a human or animal (no matter the size) is close by. As mentioned, they are extremely loyal to their owners and love their attention.

Health

Small dog breeds are susceptible to Patellar Luxation. Patellar Luxation is caused when the patella is not properly lined up. This can cause extreme pain and can be crippling. Chihuahuas are also known to have weak teeth. Some are born with very little enamel. They are prone to dental issues such as cavities and rot.

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Shih Tzu

Another small dog breed, Shih Tzu, literally means “little lion.” Shih Tzus are known for having a silky thick coat that grows tremendously fast. Traditionally, the length of their coat is long and straight, but some are found to be short and curly. They have large dark eyes and weigh at an average between 9 to 16 pounds. Normally, Shih Tzus do not exceed a height of 10 ½ inches. It is said that this breed originates from China and also comes in a variety of colors and color combinations. Some color combinations include solid black or white, brindle, and grey with white.

Nutrition

As with all dog breeds, a proper high-quality dog food diet is encouraged. In addition, daily supplements are also recommended. As always, check with your vet for more information. Shih Tzus love sitting around looking cute and adorable, especially on laps. That doesn’t mean we forget about exercise. This breed is rather playful and only requires minimal activity. The daily walks and indoor playtime should suffice for this breed’s minimal exercise requirement. The average Shih Tzu life span is between 10 to 18 years.

Temperament

Shih Tzus are known for being cute. As such, this breed is a born charmer. Shih Tzus are known for being extremely affectionate, especially with children. They love attention. They are alert and are also loyal to their owners. At first sight, they will bark at strangers. However, they will quickly warm up to newcomers and guests through constant exposure. Sitting on laps is this charmer’s favorite hobby.

Health

As previously mentioned, Shih Tzus normally have thick coats with short snouts. Because of this, they do not tolerate heat well. It is recommended to keep them in a cool air-conditioned environment. Since they are also considered a small breed, Shih Tzus are also prone to Patellar Luxation. This small breed is also prone to hip dysplasia.

These are only a couple of small dog breeds mentioned. There are many lovable and adorable dog breeds that range from teacup, small, medium and large sizes. With any and all breeds, proper love and care will ensure a healthy and happy fur baby.

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