The Common Health Problems in Small Breed Dogs

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 05/14/23 •  6 min read
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Small breed dogs are often favored for their cuteness and compact size. However, due to their smaller frame, these breeds can be susceptible to certain health issues. This article will discuss the common health problems seen in small-breed dogs such as heart disease, respiratory disorders, and dental diseases. So, if you’re considering getting a small breed dog, be sure to read up on the risks of each breed and how to keep your pup healthy!

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The Common Health Problems in Small Breed Dogs

1. Heart Disease

Small breed dogs are more likely to experience heart issues due to their small size. Congenital diseases such as Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and Pulmonic Stenosis can be seen in these breeds. These disorders affect the way blood is able to move through the body, resulting in a lack of oxygenated blood getting to the dog’s organs. To prevent heart problems, it’s important for owners of small breed dogs to make sure that their pup receives regular veterinary check-ups so any potential signs or symptoms of a problem can be addressed quickly. There is also the best English Bulldog pet insurance, if your pup is of such a breed, that can help alleviate any financial burden associated with vet visits and treatments. It’s important to note that some small-breed dogs may also be predisposed to heart murmurs, a common symptom of heart disease.

2. Respiratory Disorders

Brachycephalic syndrome is associated with certain short-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds such as the Pug, Pekingese, Bulldog, and Shih Tzu. This syndrome is caused by an abnormal structure of the dog’s upper airways, resulting in difficulty breathing and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections. To prevent this type of issue from occurring owners should refrain from over-exercising their pup or exposing them to extreme temperatures (i.e., hot cars during summer months). It’s also important for these breeds to receive regular check-ups at the vet so any signs of respiratory issues can be addressed quickly.

3. Dental Diseases

Small breed dogs are prone to dental diseases due to their small mouths and crowded teeth. Poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay or gum infections which can all result in severe pain and discomfort for the pup. To prevent dental diseases, owners should brush their dog’s teeth regularly with a toothbrush designed specifically for dogs. Additionally, it’s important to feed your dog high-quality food that is appropriate for its size and age as this will help keep its teeth strong and healthy. If your pup is already experiencing dental issues, it’s important to get them assessed by a vet as soon as possible.

4. Ear Infections

Small breed dogs have small and sometimes hairy ears which can make them prone to fungal or bacterial infections. Most ear infections can be prevented by regularly cleaning the dog’s ears with a damp cloth and an appropriate cleanser. Additionally, it’s important to trim any excessive hair in the ear canal so that dirt and debris do not accumulate inside, leading to infection. If your pup does develop an ear infection, it is important to take them for a vet check-up as soon as possible as untreated ear infections can cause severe pain and even hearing loss.

5. Skin Problems

Small breed dogs are prone to skin problems due to their short coats and sensitive skin. This can include allergies, parasites, fungal infections, and bacterial infections. To prevent skin issues, it’s important to bathe your pup regularly using a soap specifically designed for dogs. Additionally, owners should look out for any signs of irritation or itching on their pup’s skin and seek veterinary attention if necessary. Some dogs may also benefit from wearing protective clothing or a raincoat during cold and wet weather.

6. Eye Problems

Small breed dogs can be prone to eye problems due to their facial structure. Some breeds may have eyes that are too large for their face, leaving them more susceptible to irritation and infection. To prevent this issue, owners should keep an eye out for any signs of redness or discharge and take their pup for a vet check-up if necessary. Additionally, it’s important to make sure your pup is not rubbing its eye excessively as this can lead to further irritation or infection.

7. Bloat

Bloat is a condition where the gastrointestinal tract becomes overfilled with gas, causing the stomach to become distended and twist. This can be very dangerous for small breed dogs as it can cause shock or even death. To prevent bloat, owners should feed their pup several smaller meals throughout the day instead of one large meal. Additionally, exercising after eating should be avoided as this can increase the risk of bloat developing. If your pup does develop any signs of bloating such as excessive drooling or an inability to stand, take them for a vet check-up immediately. It’s important to note that some breeds of small dogs are more prone to bloat than others.

8. Arthritis

Small breed dogs are prone to developing arthritis due to their small size and high energy levels. This can cause severe pain and discomfort, making it difficult for your pup to move around or even stand up. To prevent this issue, owners should provide a comfortable environment for their pup with cushioning that supports its joints. Additionally, regular exercise is important as this helps keep the muscles strong and flexible thus reducing the risk of joint problems. If your pup does develop signs of arthritis, take them for a vet check-up as soon as possible so any underlying issues can be addressed quickly.

The vet may also be able to recommend appropriate medications or supplements to help manage your pup’s arthritis.

The Common Health Problems in Small Breed Dogs

Overall, small-breed dogs are susceptible to many common health issues including respiratory infections, dental diseases, ear infections, skin problems, eye problems, bloat, and arthritis. To keep your pup healthy, it’s important to stay up-to-date with regular vet check-ups as well as preventative measures such as providing a comfortable environment, feeding them several smaller meals throughout the day, and exercising regularly. By being mindful of these health concerns, owners can ensure their small breed dog stays happy and healthy for many years to come.

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Tom

Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!