Just under half of households in the U.S. have a small breed dog, and their numbers are increasing while the number of medium and large breed dogs is decreasing. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular. They live longer than large breeds, they eat less, and they can live in small spaces. However, these breeds come with their own unique problems. What factors do you and your clients need to focus on to keep their small dogs healthy?
Dental care is a majorly overlooked issue in all dog breeds, but especially in toy dogs. It’s estimated that small breed dogs are 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with periodontal disease than large breed dogs. This is due to genetic issues and crowding of teeth in small mouths. While their bodies have gotten smaller with breeding, their teeth haven’t shrunk in proportion.
Most small dogs need dental cleanings two or three times per year, along with daily brushing. Remind clients that untreated dental issues can lead to a long list of problems, including organ damage, inflammation and bone loss. Proper dental care keeps their dog healthy, and saves money in the long run.
Just over half of companion dogs in America are overweight. If a bit of food falls to the floor and a large dog eats it, it’s usually not a problem, due to their size. However, if a small dog eats it, that can be a sizable percentage of their daily calorie intake. It’s also hard for owners to gauge the amount of dog food their pet needs, since it looks like a tiny amount.
To address this issue, it’s important to go over appropriate portion sizes with clients. Food should be carefully measured to keep their pet’s diet on track. Wet food is usually less calorie dense than dry food, making it easier to portion. Treats must be carefully selected, as calories can vary widely.
It’s easy to carry toy breeds, but this increases fall risk. Likewise, high jumps can be dangerous, especially if they’re repeated. Steps and ramps help dogs get where they want to go with lower risk of injury.
If their dog starts skipping steps, it may be suffering from Patellar luxation. Medial and lateral luxation is a common in small breeds, and can be painful if left untreated.
Other Common Issues
Mitral valve disease is the leading cause of heart disease in dogs, and it’s most common in breeds that weigh less than 20 lbs.
Collapsed tracheas are common, especially among dogs on leashes. Encourage owners to switch to harnesses to move the load away from the neck.
Vaccine reactions are common, especially when given in combination. For these dogs, it helps to spread out vaccinations over a couple of visits, instead of administering them all at once.
Keep Your Clients On Track
Need to send your clients reminders, so they stay on top of their pet’s health care? Looking for ways to keep your contact information on hand, so clients contact you first when they need help with their pet? Positive Impressions, LLC can help. We carry a wide range of products that can be customized to fit your practice, including reminder cards, return address labels, and more. You can add your clinic information, choose from a variety of pet-themed designs, or add your own graphics. See how we can help your clinic keep in touch with clients and patients by visiting our website to see what we offer, or by checking out our Facebook page to see our latest specials.