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Taking Care of Your Small Dog: Top Health Concerns to Watch Out For

Where does your pup fall on the size spectrum? While giant breeds like the great dane or mastiff might look like the perfect choice for owners with unlimited space and big budgets for food, smaller dogs don’t need to be left out of the puppy pick-palooza. In fact, small dogs are often a great option for city folks.

As Time magazine put it, “Today’s Teacup Puppies Are Victims of Genetic Drift,” and it’s true, these puppies are often so small they require special care and attention, but for many owners the adorable antics and miniature size is worth the extra work. If you’re considering a mini canine companion for yourself or someone you love, here’s what you should know about the top five health concerns for small dogs.

GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where stomach acid leaks backwards into the esophagus. This is especially common in small dogs because their heads are above their bodies’ center of gravity, putting extra pressure on the throat which can make it more difficult for them to swallow their  food. This pressure can also make it easier for the stomach acid to escape.

Feed your pup a raised diet

Thanks to several specialized diets available, GERD is manageable for most dogs. By feeding your little buddy a raised diet (think kibble on a elevated platform or a bowl for dogs), you can make it easier for them 

Heart disease

Myocardial degeneration is a serious heart condition commonly found in smaller dog breeds. While the syndrome is common in large dogs as well, small dog owners should be aware of the signs which  are often difficulty breathing and coughing.

Certain types of heart disease are treatable with medication and diet changes, but if your puppy has myocardial degeneration and is young (under 6 years old), they may qualify for surgery to repair the damage. 

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Epilepsy

Epilepsy in dogs is a serious condition  that can be controlled with medication. If your small dog starts having seizures without any apparent reason, you should see your veterinarian as they may be able to diagnose and treat the condition without surgery.

Some dogs with epilepsy may have seizures only once or twice in their life, while others may have weekly episodes. Epilepsy is often detected in older 

Remember!

While some health concerns are more common in small dogs, that doesn’t mean that a full-sized pooch is any healthier. Things like fleas and ticks, diarrhea and skin allergies can affect any dog, regardless of size or breed.

 

So what should you do? Start by finding a reputable breeder who has  bred the breed you want for generations. Talk to your local shelter, and perhaps even a foster family who has brought animals into their home. These are the best ways to find a dog that will fit into your lifestyle and home. And remember, any size dog age can develop special relationships and memories that will last forever!

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