What Are The Characteristics Of Very Small Dogs And For Whom Are They Suitable?

More and more Italians choose to adopt a puppy, often to keep at home to keep the whole family company. Not everyone, however, has the opportunity to live in a house with a garden or open air spaces, a motivation that has often led to desist from the idea of adopting a dog. However, an apartment does not necessarily prevent us from bringing a four-legged friend into the family: the options we have are different, many, in fact, choose the smallest dogs. In order to understand which breeds fall into this category, which characteristics they have and why they are also suitable for apartment life, we interviewed Dr. Chiara Caruso, who works in Internal Medicine at the Veterinary Center of Turin.

Very Small Dogs: Which Ones Are They?

“When we talk about very small dogs – explains the veterinarian – we refer to animals of certain breeds that have been selected ad hoc to be even smaller. These are, therefore, all those types in which we find, next to the “classic” breed, the specific “Toy”.

Trying to generalize, the very small dog is the one which, in principle, does not exceed the 5 kg of weight: examples are, in fact, the Yorkshire Toy, the Chihuahua, or even the Dwarf Poodle. “In practice, when we talk about “very small size”, we use a label of a popular type, useful for identifying a group of dogs. A need that responds to the ever-increasing demand for animals of this type.

Why The Success Of Very Small Dogs?

First of all, Dr Caruso points out that these animals are, on average, easier to handle and take with them, even on means of transport, including air travel. “In addition, they often have less demands from the point of view of motor activity: many “toy” dogs make a life more similar to that of the cat. It is important, however, not to underestimate the needs of the animal, which is still a dog, so it needs to move to keep healthy.

Many people appreciate and choose “toy” dogs also for aesthetic reasons: the physiognomy of these breeds, in fact, makes them look like eternal puppies. “Also in this case – emphasizes the interviewee – it is important not to be fooled by appearances: sometimes there is a risk of considering the dog as a child. A mistake that can also be serious because not all these dogs have, by nature, a friendly character. On the contrary, some dogs are very determined and, if they are faced with a person who is too permissive, they can even become biting when they don’t get what they want.

In fact, choosing a very small dog does not always mean adopting a tame animal. “This association is often made by people – explains Dr. Caruso – but it is false, just as it is not true that all these dogs are suitable for children. On the one hand, they are puppies that do not like to be manipulated, on the other hand they are fragile so that a child can, unintentionally, hurt them even very much.

Very Small Dogs, Suitable For Life In An Apartment

Beyond the reasons that lead many Italians to choose “toy” dogs, there are also other reasons why these animals are more suitable for apartment life than others. “They have – explains the interviewee – lower physical and sporting needs than other dogs and are often very shy dogs so contact with large animals may even be unwelcome.

For these reasons, it is the dog itself who lives the apartment with more serenity and a more homely dimension. They are excellent as pets for static people who have no time or opportunity to go out often or to walk outdoors for a long time.

“Then there are some breeds of small but not very small size that are chosen with the same idea,” continues the veterinarian. The mistake is, however, just around the corner: there are, in fact, small dogs that need a lot of movement. “The suggestion is to talk to your vet to see if the dog we would like to adopt is actually suitable for our lifestyle.

What Health Needs?

Although they do not require long walks outdoors, very small dogs also need some specific attention. For example, Dr Caruso explains, it is important not to wash your dog too much because this can lead to skin problems or irritation.

“Let’s not forget that we are in front of a dog even when we educate him on food: in some cases, these dogs can also be overbearing and intelligent so, if they spoil themselves too much by giving snacks or food at the table, it can happen that they disdain their meal. A break from the rule can therefore turn into a matter that revolts against the master who then struggles a lot to get the dog back on a normal diet.

From a medical point of view, dental hygiene is fundamental: “very small dogs often have problems with their teeth because their selection has transformed them in an almost excessive way”. In practice, teeth often tend to form more tartar than other dogs. What can be done? “Keep an eye on this immediately and clean your teeth often. This is a crucial issue, because dental infections can lead to more serious problems, including heart problems in the medium and late ages.

Finally, a common feature of very small dogs to be looked after is their fragility: “Watch out for falls or pawing – the veterinarian points out – the bones are weaker.

Do Not Forget That They Are Social Animals

Those who have adopted a very small dog already know, probably, how manageable these animals can be, but Dr. Caruso would like to recall the fact that they are still dogs: “they need a life of relationship, so I suggest to do an imprinting when they are puppies, a fundamental step so that they can accept other dogs as well. They are, in fact, always social animals and it would be important for them to have relationships with others like them.

Once again, it is essential to trust and rely on your vet who will be able to guide and support the family that wants to adopt a very small dog in all the crucial steps. UniSalute’s DoctorPet policy is perfect for guaranteeing constant and continuous support for our pet and the whole family. Do you still have any doubts about very small dogs?

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