Health of a Small Breed Puppy

10 Tips for Managing the Health of a Small Breed Puppy

Small breeds live longer, healthier lives on average, but they’re not without their own unique health challenges. Know what to look for and keep your pup healthy and happy, with these tips from

Small Breed Puppy Blog Post


The condensed faces and mouths of small breed dogs make them far more prone to a variety of dental issues. Like their larger cousins, small breeds have a full mouth of forty-two teeth or so, but in a much smaller space. That means that individual teeth are more likely to be damaged, as they aren’t as sturdy, and also that teeth can run into trouble fitting into the jaw—much like a human with wisdom teeth and no room for them.


Small breeds with long spines and short legs often run into spinal problems, especially with vigorous exercise or regular impact from jumping off furniture or downstairs. If you have a breed prone to these sorts of difficulties, it may be a good idea to install ramps and stairs to furniture your pet is allowed on, or to forbid being on furniture completely.


Closely related to problems with the back are issues with leg joints and hips. Watch for signs that your dog isn’t walking, running, climbing, and jumping the same way he or she used to, as even a small change can be an early warning sign of a bigger issue.


Many small breed dogs have more stringent dietary requirements than their larger brethren. They can’t eat a huge volume of food at one time but nonetheless consume quite a bit of energy. This makes frequent feeding important to preventing hypoglycemia. Overfeeding is just as dangerous, as a relatively small amount of extra food each day can have a big impact on a small breed.


Some small breeds have a poor ability to maintain temperature homeostasis; in other words, they’ll overheat easily or get cold easily, or both. Make sure you keep an eye on your pup outside of temperate weather.


Flat-faced short-snouted small breeds sometimes have difficulties throughout their respiratory system. This can make it difficult for your pup to keep up with you through sustained exercise, so pay attention to how he or she is breathing when you go for a run or play fetch.


Similar to the difficulties some breeds have with their mouths and noses, some larger-eyed small breeds are prone to conditions affecting their eyes. Watch your dog for itchy or dry eyes, or for signs that the inner edge of the eye is exposed—a relatively common problem in certain small breeds.


If your small breed pup is expecting a litter, it’s especially important that you talk to a vet about your best options. While some small breeds will be fine left to their own devices, several consistently encounter difficulties in giving birth. Your vet will be able to tell you what to expect and what your options may be to ease the process.


Small breeds are unusually prone to inflammation of the pancreas due to disease, infection, and other problems. This can quickly become a life-threatening condition, and even in milder cases will leave your dog sickly and unhappy.

People and animals

Small dogs don’t think of themselves as small dogs, which can lead to complications when they interact with strangers or other animals. To minimize the risk of a dangerous conflict injuring your pet, a person, or another animal, make sure to properly socialize your small breed dog.

Parting thoughts

In general, your best hope for spotting problems with any breed is to read up on the breed. For hybrids, like the Cavachon, you want to look up both parents; it may be less likely to have breed-unique problems, but it can potentially have the problems of either ancestor breed!

Puppy Health Funny Cartoon

• Meet the Author • Julius Rogers

Julius Rogers is a health freak and loves to pen health articles that teach, educate, and entertain. He writes health information at various health outlets. Be sure to check out his other ventures!

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