We were surprised to learn just how many small dog owners are not aware of the basics of owning a tiny critter, so we decided to share some helpful tips to make life easier for human parents and their fury children. Now not everyone is created equal, but in general, here are some good things to be mindful of.
Yes that dirty word...ANALS! Most small dogs do greatly benefit from having their anal glands emptied at least every few months. This can be done by a knowledgeable groomer, or your vet. It generally runs around $15 so it is very reasonable and important. If your dog is riding the carpet with their backside like a lawn mower, then as cute and fun as it is to watch, this is a good indication that they are trying to tell you to get it done! If you wait to long, the anal glands can get impacted, and this can lead to surgery.
It is kind of silly, but after decades of owning a dog, I had no idea that there was such a thing as pet insurance. Pet insurance could be a life saver, especially because it can mean being able to afford all those tests for peace of mind; or getting that pricy surgery, which can end up in the thousands range. Although there are several respected pet insurance companies, I have to say that I have had an amazing experience with Trupanion. Unlike human insurance, you normally have to pay ahead and wait for reimbursement unless you get the procedure preapproved. I had a pet that needed emergency surgery that ran 7k and I was so relieved to only pay my 10% plus a small deductible.
You must and I repeat MUST brush your dog’s teeth at least every other day. Small dogs have been known to have heart failure from the toxins of rotting teeth going right into the blood stream. A treat called GREENIES and another brand called NAKED is a great way to help keep your dog’s breath fresh. They are also full of vitamins so it is a win win. I always recommend going as close to natural as possible. It is a good idea to sometimes add a more natural water additive (Nylabone advanced oral care natural liquid tarter removal) to your dog’s water dish (which should always be out at all times filled with fresh clean water), as well as rub a gel on their teeth between brushing that will help their breath and remove tartar. The best options that I have found are VET’s BEST dental care gel. If you are lucky enough to keep your dog’s teeth clean on a regular basis, you just might be able to avoid the expense of having to put them to sleep about every other year for a dental cleaning at the vet’s office. It is recommended to purchase a small soft infant toothbrush such as a finger one you can purchase cheap on eBay and peanut butter doggy toothpaste is always a favorite. A good hack, is to wet the toothbrush with a bit of apple cider vinegar before adding the toothpaste; this will not only help keep them alkaline and help melt the tartar, but will also help repel fleas and ticks from their coats! You can also add a tiny bit of raw organic apple cider vinegar (use the mother brand) to their drinking water but be careful since mold will form quickly so make sure that you are swapping their drinking bowls daily for a fresh one. A do it yourself task which could be a struggle is trimming your pet’s nails while they scream bloody murder (unless you get lucky and get a mellow pet): You can purchase a sharp pet nail cutter or take your pup to Petco or your local groomer. A good trick is to cut the hair around the nails if needed first, then make sure you do not get close to the pink quick part of the nail.
When it comes to food, not all are created equal. I always thought if my pup gave me the desperate glare, I could offer a taste of whatever I’m eating (as long as it is good for you). However, not all things good for people are also healthy for your pet. My rule of thumb has always been that all things are best in moderation. Here are a few things you should never give your dog with the biggest being anything with caffeine, including chocolate; mushrooms, onions, (xylitol which is a preservative sweetener found in things like Pinkberry which can be toxic) and macadamia nuts. Of course, you should always stick to raw and organic as much as possible. Stella & Chewy is a great raw freeze dried snack. They have a huge variety. I love the freeze-dried chicken, duck, beef and other flavors they carry, which include antioxidants, probiotics and vitamins. I have never seen a dog that didn’t go nutty for this brand. The food that I have had a good experience with for years is Holistic Health Extensions small bite that can be purchased online. It has all kinds of goodies that are healthy for your fur ball. I always have food and water out and that way they eat as needed with other treats and meals in between.
PEE PAD TRAINING
Ugh the dreaded pee pad training...well you are in luck, because it is actually pretty simple if done correctly. Just give a treat each time you see the pup go on the pad and get really excited and say: Good Boy/Girl. Never hit if pup has an accident, or poke the nose in it; this will only make them scared and take away from the training. If you see an accident in progress, just say a stern NO and put the dog back on pad; then say Good Boy/Girl while petting to show they need to go on pad. Sometimes I cut out treats and only give when pee on pad till they get the hang of it, it always works! Especially if you give them something they love like people food, they will just keep using pad to get more YAH.
I normally don't give them flea meds unless living near the beach or foresty area. However, if you find your pet scratching, you need to just make sure you give the appropriate amount back of the neck (read instructions) but ADVANTAGE works best. Although recently, I have heard fleas are getting immune to it so you might have to try the natural route. You can also do some natural things like wash them with apple cider vinegar or spray them with peppermint. Another great trick that you can use on basically everything and even eat it is Diatomaceous earth. It dries bugs out including fleas. You can sprinkle it all over your bedding, house, yard etc. Just make sure you buy the food grade kind and not the pool one. Also be careful that you and your pet do not inhale too much of it while spreading.
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS
Here are some other good tips to be aware of. Don't let your pet jump off of high places since Chihuahuas and other small dogs have joints that could pop in and out at times as well as a soft spot on top of the head. Make sure to not walk them without a harness that goes around the body like a shirt; we had a well trained Chihuahua see another dog and run into the street so you never know and don't want the outcome. Also a great idea to walk them a few times a week so they stay healthy and fit! Very good idea to get a heating blanket for those chilly nights or you will find the pup hiding beneath your blanket trying to cuddle up. Some other natural lifesavers for your pet’s health are dandelion extract, which is full of vitamins, antioxidants, and aids in many stomach issues. Just get the organic one for humans and only add a drop for a tiny dog once a day and a few drops for a larger one. Pepcid is what most vets recommend if your pet is having upset stomach issues, just google the dosage and remember less is better then overdoing it. It is very important to be mindful of your pet getting dehydrated while vomiting. Keep them hydrated by squirting a bit of water on the tongue several times an hour. If your pet does accidentally ingest something poisonous or that is not sitting well with them, you can give them some activated charcoal vitamin powder if caught early. A bit goes a long way by absorbing the toxin in the stomach as well as going through the colon. There is also Licorice Root extract, which can be given orally as well as applied to the skin to cure many skin conditions. Olive Leaf extract, as well as Goldenseal; are two others that can help boost the animal’s immune system. Always do your research and see your vet first if at all possible. Never try to take matters into your own hands unless you are confident it is the right educated decision.
And of course not to be biased but the HeartPup dog sling has seriously made my life so much easier. It has allowed me to take my dog on the go safely and comfortably close to me and most of the time, without anyone even noticing. Each sling has a harness clip that attaches to your pet’s body harness or collar as well as a side pocket for your stuff. The two ergonomic straps help lessen the weight on your neck.
Disclaimer: The contents of this website, made available through research and personal experience are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical help or delay in seeking it. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.
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