Precautions for Little Dogsby Betsy Gallup
Small dogs are the best option for apartment living because they take up so little space and can get plenty of exercise in small spaces, but caring for a little dog comes with some special precautions. Those precautions vary with the dog breed you choose, so do your research before adopting your furry little friend.
Little dogs sometimes come with big attitudes, and you may find it hard to see around how cute he is to how dangerous an untrained or insecure dog can be not only to others, but himself. Imagine an insecure Chihuahua picking a fight with a Great Dane. No matter how careful the Great Dane is with the Chihuahua, the little dog is apt to come out roughed up at best and dead at worst. Keep your pet leashed in public, especially until you understand how he reacts to other dogs.
Children present a couple of special problems for small dogs. First, children may play a little rough with your pet. Many small breeds have brittle bones that can easily be broken and cannot handle rough handling. Second, certain breeds of dogs are prone to nip when annoyed or threatened, and small or not, a dog's teeth can do damage. With training, both dogs and children can learn to play well together, but take care until you know for sure they both know how to be good playmates.
Learning about the breed you intend to adopt is a must. Certain breeds are prone to certain medical conditions, such as hypoglycemia because they have a fast metabolism, that may shorten your pet's life or lead to large medical bills for you. Breeder integrity also comes into play with how healthy your pet will be over the course of a lifetime. Take special care when adopting dogs that are bred to be smaller than the breed standard, such as teacup dogs. This intentional breeding against the standard can result in a very ill puppy.
While small dogs can get plenty of exercise indoors, they still need the fresh air and socialization that comes with taking walks. They will also need routine bathing and brushing, and the breed of dog will determine how much they shed. The more shedding they do, the more housekeeping you will need to do. Small dogs have small bones, and you must take care not to accidentally step or sit on your pint-sized pup. Just like young children, you need to be careful when buying dog toys and treats. A small dog can easily choke on small pieces that he may chew off and swallow.
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