Health Problems That Haunt Small Dogs

Health Problems That Haunt Small Dogs

While none of the following problems are by any means exclusive to small dogs, they do present extra challenges for small dogs and their owners.

Teeth and Gum Problems

Many small dogs have a tendency to develop teeth and gum problems which lead to tooth loss, because they are often fed canned food as an alternative to larger kibble. Although tooth loss in itself is vexing, oral disease can lead to even more serious heart disease, compromised immune systems and other complications.

Bi-weekly tooth brushing will help prevent this typical small dog health problem. Although having failed to teach any of our dogs to accept this we recommend healthy crunchy treats instead. As long as they are  high-quality natural ingredients and not too large. And of course not made in China! Homemade organic is best.

“Small Dog Syndrome”

Even the smallest toy dogs are infamous for their willingness to take on dogs the size of a full-grown man. Your dog may be that brave, but he’s almost sure not to be that lucky. Training and social interaction should help with this. As a final recourse to a fight small dogs can be picked up to protect them from their oversized ambitions.


Injuries make up more than their share of small dog health problems. Their tiny bones can be more easily broken – sometimes, even by something as simple as jumping down from furniture onto a hard surface. As much as  feasibly possible small dogs should be trained to mediate this behaviour. Placing soft rugs underneath known ‘landing’ spots may also prove beneficial. Elderly dogs may also find small steps useful.

Small dogs tend to get underfoot more, and unlike the case with a larger animal, their tiny bones can easily be injured if accidentally stepped on. Ways I have learnt to avoid injuries include always putting a light on at night. Darkness and small dogs don’t mix. Owners being aware where their dog is before making sudden movements. Teaching children to not run in the home. And finally making use of reflective coats & collars on walks in the evening.


Although small dogs are typically long-lived, illness has even greater ramifications when it comes to small dog health problems. Many opportunistic illnesses like viruses and bacterial infections can take over a small dog’s system much more quickly, causing them to go downhill rapidly.

Certain small dog breeds can also be prone to life threatening hereditary conditions. They are also more prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because of their faster metabolism. Paying attention to the first signs of any illness and taking immediate action can greatly help to keep small dog health problems in check.

While on the surface, small dog health problems might appear to be much the same as any other dog’s, health issues can have a bigger effect on their tiny systems. Extra diligence on your part will help more effectively treat and prevent many small dog health problems!


Before buying or adopting  any dog mongrel or pedigree research is advisable . This is especially true with our smaller doggy friends.