Choose Safe Dog Toys For Your Small Dog

October 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Health and Safety of your Dogs

Choosing the appropriate toys will make your small dog’s play time richer, while lessening his chance of accidental injury. Safe toys for your small dog can be purchased from pet supply stores or even made from household items, but it’s good to keep these few main safety concerns in mind.

Size Matters With Small Dog Toys

In general, small dog toys should never be small enough to fit entirely in your dog’s mouth, or be capable of being broken into smaller pieces that can stick in his throat. A dog toy that’s too small can easily bounce back in your dog’s mouth and obstruct his windpipe, meaning he could suffocate to death if you aren’t in the immediate area to intervene! Sadly, this has happened to more than one dog. For that reason, small smooth balls just aren’t the best choice for most dogs.

Tennis balls and the larger, hard rubber balls are big enough to stay out of the throats of most small dogs (make sure both kinds of balls are still whole and strong and not cracked). The small pull ropes found in pet aisles are also a good choice of toy for your small dog, unless you find him attempting to eat the rope when you’re not busy playing. In that case, small fibers and threads from the rope can get stuck in his throat which again can be dangerous, especially if you’re not around to help.

Very high quality, unusual shaped dog toys like Kongs are also a good choice for small dogs. Even much larger dogs find it virtually impossible to chew Kongs into smaller pieces that can lodge in the throat and cause problems, not to mention Kongs can be made infinitely fascinating to your dog by stuffing them with dog treats, peanut butter or frozen beef broth.

Ever thought of getting your small dog a pool? Most dogs love water, and will adore chasing their toys in and out of the pool. For small dogs, however, it’s terribly important to make sure they can easily clamber out, even when heavy and wet from the water. Make sure the sides of the pool are low and that your dog’s head easily clears the water. Avoid pools entirely for the toy dogs.

Is your small dog a ripper, or does he play nicely with his toys? Dogs that are gentle can play relatively safely with a wide variety of toys, including small plush animals and squeaky toys. Other, more aggressive dogs need to be kept safe from toys with ribbons, “googly eyes,” or toys containing a squeaker, which can be chewed loose and pose a danger if swallowed.

Materials Matter For Small Dog Toys

No matter how carefully constructed, most dog toys are capable of splitting or crumbling at some point, and being ingested by your dog. This poses two problems. Most dog toy materials are naturally not meant to be eaten, and some can cause digestive trouble. Worse, if the piece in question is sharp, it can even puncture the dog internally. So it makes sense to select non-toxic small dog toys that don’t contain any brittle materials. The safest route is to stick to high quality latex and vinyl toys crafted specifically for use with dogs. The manufacturers of higher-end products, such as Kongs, have gone to great lengths to eliminate these kinds of risks.

No matter what small dog toys you select for your pet, keeping these main safety points in mind should help you choose appropriate toys for your small dog that leave him happy and entertained — and safe.

Care For Your Small Dog With These Big-Impact Tips

October 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Health and Safety of your Dogs

Basic small dog care is much the same as for larger dogs, but owners need to make a few adjustments to best meet their small dog’s needs. Consider the following daily dog care routines, and how they’re adapted to meet the needs of your pint-sized pup.

Feeding Your Small Dog

Naturally you’re going to feed your dog daily, but the standard-size kibble at the grocery store may be too large for your small dog to eat comfortably. You’ll need to be sure to buy a kibble designed to fit his smaller mouth (these are easy to find among the premium dog food brands). Canned soft foods are also perfectly suitable for your small dog.

Containing Your Small Dog

All dogs need exercise and a safe place to potty outdoors, and a fenced-in yard provides all the security they need, right? Not necessarily when it comes to small dogs. A fence that adequately holds a bigger dog may have gaps large enough for a small dog to fit between or under, allowing him to escape. Fences also can’t provide overhead protection from large hawks, which sadly have been known to carry small dogs and puppies away. A covered kennel run might better meet your small dog’s needs.

Training Your Small Dog

Small dogs aren’t any harder to train than large dogs, yet the consensus of many pet experts is that many of them end up spoiled. No matter if he fits in a purse or a pocket, your small dog still sees the world in terms of pack behavior, and if you’re not leading the pack, he is. It’s a wise idea to make sure your small dog is thoroughly housetrained, no matter how small and inconsequential the mess might seem when he misses. Dog experts also suggest you make your small dog work for you, to keep him responsive to your rules. Have him sit or do tricks before you give him a tasty treat or even his meal.

Grooming Your Small Dog

Small dog care includes some special grooming needs you’ll need to keep in mind. Small dogs require more frequent nail trimming than larger dogs, because they typically spend less time on rough surfaces wearing them down. You’ll also need to brush your small dog’s teeth twice a week if you’re feeding a soft canned food diet.

As you can see, small dog care largely follows the same route as care for any other sized dog. The differences may seem like minor details, but paying attention to them can make a big impact when it comes to meeting your small dog’s special needs.

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