A Yorkshire dog and a husky. A pug and a German shepherd. A Chihuahua and a Greyhound. Very different in coat, size, physiognomy, needs and characteristics…
According to experts, today there are about 800 varieties of “Canis familiaris”, this faithful friend of man since it was domesticated 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. Thus the dog becomes the most diverse species in the animal kingdom.
But let’s start at the beginning: What is a small dog and what is a big dog?
According to experts, it is called a small dog (or “mini”) a dog weighing less than 10 kilos (do not confuse a small dog with a puppy). This terminology also includes dogs that weigh less than 5 kilos when fully grown (Chihuahuas, for example). Medium dogs weigh up to 25 kilos, large from 25 to 40 kilos) and giants – more than 40 kilos.
Depending on your lifestyle, sharing your life with a small dog can be easier than with a large one: in most modes of transport, they can travel with you and are more likely to be accepted in shops or , if you are a frequent traveler, in accommodation. In fact, most hotels have weight restrictions. However, the owners of a small dog should be aware of specific care and characteristics.
- Faster metabolism
Small dogs burn energy faster; This is due to a fast metabolism. A fast metabolism may mean that small dogs age faster, but this is not the case; large canine grows slowly (actually, they may take 1.5 to 2 years to mature; even their sexual maturity is late) and rapid age; small dogs grow quickly (they reach adult size in 8 to 10 months; they also reach sexual maturity very early) and age slowly. That’s why, according to science, small dogs live longer.
This fast metabolism requires, on the one hand, an adequate diet specially formulated for this behavior, with a large number of feedings spread out during the day they are puppies, because in this way they will be protected against hypoglycemia, and avoid frequent cravings.
And, on the other hand, regular activity, because a small dog is more excitable and active: let him do daily exercises according to his age, because the heart of a 2-year-old dog is not like a 12-year-old dog! Remember that walking and playing are important for their mental and physical health. Experts recommend daily activity of 30 to 60 minutes spread over several walks.
It is common that the little ones, because they weigh less, do not completely rot their nails as they walk; you should pay attention to the size of the nails to give them the much needed repair. Nails that are too long interfere with the dog’s walking and are uncomfortable.
- The tendency to gain weight
Small dogs are more prone to obesity, which can be critical to their health and reduce their quality and life expectancy. Overweight in small dogs is usually due to lack of activity, poor distribution of their food, giving inappropriate food or poorly given “extras” (remember that if we will give “treatment” during training, we need to calibrate the food doses) .
- A small jaw and teeth with a tendency to develop tartar.
Small dogs such as Yorkshire Terrier, Pug, Chihuahua, Dachshund, Poodle or Miniature Schnauzer are more susceptible to certain diseases. Among oral diseases, the most common is periodontitis, and according to some studies, small dogs are up to 5 times more likely to suffer from periodontal disease than large breeds!
This is the buildup of tartar, which if left untreated can lead to problems such as gum inflammation, bone loss and even tooth loss, and is an open door to other potential health issues.
It is because small dogs live longer that they are also prone to heart disease, especially when they reach the age of 10 years and has been old people. Another characteristic of small dogs is that they are more sensitive to very hot or very cold temperatures, as is the case with some breeds of large dogs that lack fat.
So, in winter as in summer, we have to be careful and make sure that they have enough heat and are hydrated enough, especially in the case of toy types. Our attention and the provision of adequate food with a well-distributed amount are essential for this type of dog to control its body temperature.
- Adapt the house to its size
Like a child, everyone in the house is viewed as big, fat or distant for a small dog. Adapting the house to them is a good idea: if they climb on the couch or our bed to rest, the ramp will make their life easier; if we have multiple floors, distribute their resources on one floor to prevent them from going up and down the stairs. (especially in breeds that may suffer from spinal problems such as dachshunds) ; create safe places for them if there are many people living with them, children or other big dogs is best: so that the dog can hide and rest. Common sense and empathy to make life easier for our friend.
- Education, always positive
The size of a dog under ten kilos means that many parents are overprotective of the dog (obsessively pamper it, humanize it, hug it, allow it certain behaviors that we will not tolerate with a bigger dog, etc.) However, as a “toy” as it were, the dog has needs: jlisten, sniff, walk, run, socialize.
Some studies suggest that small dogs tend to exhibit behaviors that dog owners view as problematic, such as excessive excitability, a greater tendency to bark at strangers and other dogs, or when alone they are less obedient and more protective of their territory.
According to some experts, this is because a large dog’s brain has more developed areas responsible for desirable behaviors. Also, brain size matters. In fact, some studies suggest that height appears to be related to other cognitive abilities, namely short-term memory and self-control.