Toy breed dogs are popular choices for canine companions. Their size makes them ideal candidates for toting around the town and for warming laps on chilly winter evenings. Unfortunately, their size also makes them delicate, putting them at risk for injury and even death. Too many families opt for toy breed dogs on the assumption that their miniature size makes them perfect playmates for the kids, but an accidental drop can be detrimental for the dog and heartbreaking for everyone involved. If you wish to include a toy breed in your family, be sure to follow some tips to reduce these risks and keep him safe.
Big Trouble In Little Dogs
Toy breeds may not occupy much space, but their tiny bodies are at risk for a lot of health problems, including the following:
- Patellar luxation, which means that the knee joint easily pops in and out of place
- Open fontanel, which is an open space in the skull where the bones did not fuse together, leaving that spot of the brain unprotected
- Tracheal collapse, which can be exacerbated when pressure on the trachea or excitement cause the cartilage rings to flatten
There are other conditions as well, but these three issues, combined with their dainty physique, can increase their risks of injury as a result of an accidental fall, getting dropped, being trampled or being handled too roughly.
Ground the Kids
Kids and dogs are a naturally winsome combination. From dressing up the family pooch for pretend tea parties to playing fetch to the exchange of comforting snuggles, kids are going to be enthusiastic buddies with dogs. This bond of friendship should be encouraged, but not without conveying the following guidelines first:
- Stress that this is not a dog that can handle roughhousing. Attempting to wrestle or aggressively chase and catch a toy breed can easily result in injuries.
- Teach your children the proper way to pick up and hold your toy breed securely. Never lift any dog by the tail, the legs or the scruff of his neck.
- While you may be able to carry your toy breed around with one hand and arm in the same manner that an athlete carries a football across the stadium field, children should always use both hands to hold the dog.
- Part of your instruction should be a strict rule that they must always be seated on the ground before picking up the dog, and they must remain seated while handling their furry friend.
Toy breeds tend to be little thrashing bundles of energy. If your child is standing while attempting to lift and hold a happily squirming puppy, all it takes is one split second for the dog to wriggle out of the child's grasp and fall to the ground below. For a toy breed, the distance is enough to sustain injury upon the impact from a fall. Cuddle time and playtime at ground level will prevent such falls.
Jingle All the Way
Another frequent accident that toy breeds fall victim to is that of being trampled by the humans of the house. Dogs want to be involved in the household activities, and because a toy breed is so tiny, he will always seem to be underfoot. Any dog can sneak up behind you, which can result in you bumping into him or accidentally stepping on his paws. While a bigger dog may yelp in the moment and then proceed his merry way, a toy breed can sustain serious injuries if he is stepped on. He is low to the ground, and a human foot can easily come down on any part of the dog's body. This typically occurs when people are bustling about while trying to get things done quickly, and they are too busy rushing around to keep their eyes focused on their footsteps below. Children who are in active play mode and zipping around the house can also be the cause of these potentially fatal collisions. Prevent these accidents by attaching a jingle bell or two on your toy breed's collar. This will keep you alerted to his presence when he is within trampling distance of your feet.
Exercise Outdoor Supervision
You should always escort your toy breed whenever he goes outdoors. If you reside in a rural area where hawks and owls dwell, know that some of these birds of prey view your Chihuahua or teacup Yorkshire terrier as their next meal. Keep an eye on your toy breed when outdoors, and always be aware of his exact whereabouts in your yard. Also keep the following tips in mind to keep your toy breed safe:
- Regularly inspect along the bottom of your fence for spaces through which your little dog could escape, and fill in these spaces as needed.
- If you have an elevated deck, install a barricade wall around the perimeter of the railing. A toy breed can slip in between the vertical posts and fall to the ground below.
During the cold winter months, use common sense. If the temperature is too cold for you to be outdoors without a jacket, then it is too cold for your toy breed dog. Consider only bringing your toy breed outdoors to eliminate when the temperatures plunge, and dress him appropriately to combat chills.
Treat your toy breed dog like a piece of fine china, and protect him from falls and accidents by following the aforementioned rules so that he and your family will enjoy years of companionship.