Pet Tips

Health Problems in Small Dogs – Pet tip 154

In general, small dogs live longer than larger dogs. This is partly due to the fact that smaller canine bodies don’t work as hard as larger canine bodies and so their physiological systems and internal organs stay in a better shape for a longer period of time. Of course any single dog, either big or small, can vary greatly with regard to its predicated life expectancy, but on average you can expect smaller dogs to outlive larger dogs.

This is not to say however, that small dogs are without medical issues. Small dogs do have breed related health problems and it is up to the dog’s owner to recognize and treat possible medical problems. The issue that often arises though is that owners of small dogs sometimes fail to recognize problems or think that the medical problems of small dogs aren’t as severe. This is totally false and a great example is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a painful condition that happens when a dog’s hip joint forms abnormally and it is usually seen in larger dogs. What most dog owners fail to realize is that small dogs also get hip dysplasia and they get it frequently depending on their breed. A larger dog with hip dysplasia will likely develop a very noticeable limp which is very painful. A small dog may only show a small limp. More precisely, the dog’s owner may only notice a small limp, but it’s a big limp for the little dog and causes great pain in our little friends.

Another medical problem that is common to some small dogs are brachiocephalic problems. These are problems that dog breeds with smooshed up or flat faces (like Pugs Pekingese and Shih Tzus to name a few) encounter. They often have trouble breathing and frequently wheeze and snort. Many dog owners of these breeds have no idea that this condition can be very serious. They mistakenly think that the snorting and weird noises are a cute part of the breed when in reality, they cause the dog stress. When left untreated, these dogs can expect a reduced lifespan.

Other conditions that are common in small dogs include luxating patella, collapsed trachea and oral disease. These and other diseases are serious and need to be treated even though they don’t present themselves as dramatically as in larger dogs. As always, it’s best to research the breed you’d like to get before buying or adopting. Small breeds are not immune from health problems and when they occur they are just as uncomfortable for small dogs as they are in larger dogs.

7 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar adriana says:

    I was told that a runt dog will die sooner then the others. Is this true. I have the runt of the 3 pikangese dogs. my dog is 8 months old. If i start her on vit. will that help her live longer.

    • Avatar Marko says:

      I have not heard this and i do not believe it to be true UNLESS they are the runt for genetic reasons…..In my experience this is NOT usually the case.

      I also would NOT just give my dog vitamins, I’d call my vet first.
      Good luck!

  2. Avatar Zuly Romero says:

    I have a mix breed he is half yorkie, moticee i have hard tht they have a short life expectancy.. is this true???

    • Avatar Marko says:

      Really hard to predict the life expectancy of a mixed breed from 20 words of text when u only know one of the breeds.
      Your vet would be the best one to ask. Good luck.

  3. What most dog owners fail to realize is that small dogs also get hip dysplasia and they get it frequently depending on their breed.

  4. Avatar Pineapple Squirrel says:

    My parents just had our yorkie put to sleep this morning. She was 13 years old and not the best of health with very few teeth, but do believe she had a little longer to live. Instead of getting tests done, they had her put to sleep so they wouldn’t have to spend alot of money weather she had cancer or some other disease. Can someone please help me understand why someone wouldn’t spend lots of money to save a life of someone they love! Or how vets can do this on a daily basis. I love animals and I will NEVER be able to deal with seeing that. Don’t they feel some kind of guilt!?

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