E. Katie Gammill, AKC Multi-Group Judge
Small dogs require common sense safety precautions since they cannot protect themselves even though toy breed dogs think they are giants and act accordingly.
Toy breed owners have to be vigilant and aware to keep their canine friend from being caught in an irreversible situation or suffering a freak accident. Over the years I’ve had many people call me about freak accidents, most of which could have been prevented, so I’ve provided an important list of common sense reminders.
*Don’t allow children to hold your pet unless they sit on the ground. Even adults must be careful because small dogs will launch themselves out of your arms.
*Be careful when closing doors. Know where your toy breed dog is at all times.
*In the car, crate your small dog or use a safety harness in the back seat of the car.
*Never leave your dog in the car due to possible heat stroke in the summer or hypothermia in the winter.
*Bored and lonely dogs jump out of open windows!
*Never set your small dog down on the floor where there are larger canines. A big dog may consider a tiny dog as prey.
*When around larger canines, hold your small dog in your arms and turn away. Use your body as a block to prevent the large dog from snatching it from your arms. Do not insist on introductions.
*Be careful taking your medication as small dogs can grab a dropped pill quickly and it may make a little dog very ill. Call your vet if you think your dog has eaten it.
*Small dogs can be easily poisoned by just a small amount of chocolate, antifreeze, and other substances. Call your vet.
*When bathing or brushing your small dog put a lead (leash) on it and hook it up in case your dog attempts to jump off the table.
*Don’t let small dogs clean up spoiled food or kitty litter.
*In inclement weather, mentor the time your small dog is out in the heat and cold. Being left outside too long, especially in snow can be disastrous for small breed dogs that chill easily.
*Don’t allow small dogs to jump off couches, beds, and chairs. Small stairs are available for them if they insist being on a high surface.
*Beware of large birds of prey such as hawks and great horned owls as they are predators. Never let your little dog out at night by itself due to coyotes and stray dogs.
*Never use a chain or choke collar. The trachea is easily injured by pulling on a leash and can even collapse! It’s best to use a harness for walking a small dog.
*Buy your small dog a coat in winter for walking outside and always wipe their feet to remove ice melt and salt… Dogs DO get cold feet.
*Check your surroundings when with a small dog because dogs, children, industrial noise, traffic and sudden interruptions may startle your dog.
*If your toy dog gets wet or chilled, wrap it in a warm towel. If you are outside and have no towel, place it beneath your clothing for body heat.
*Small dog puppies are especially susceptible able to hypoglycemia and need regular spaced feedings.
*Small dogs easily drown if unattended near a body of water or even a large water bucket.
*Inoculations. One might consider giving half doses on little 9 week old puppies. Single doses are recommended and not to be combined with other inoculations, flea treatment, heart treatment or worming. Space them out.
*Small dogs do not eat cooked bones, chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, avocado, as they are toxic. Do not give coffee or alcohol.
*Research house plants regarding toxicity.
*Recliners. Don’t let small dogs get under recliners. Before changing positions, know where your dog is, especially if you have an electric elevation chair.
*Remember, when small dogs go under anesthesia for tooth cleaning etc., one is taking a chance with their life. Discuss this with your vet to identify the safest way for your pet and the intervals required for its health.
*Buy toys without buttons for small dogs.
*Your dog’s best protection is a good solid recall. This avoids unknown hazards.
*Small dogs must be held in your arms on elevators. Carry them up and down unfamiliar stairs. Keep large dogs on leash and hold by collar when on an elevator.