So as you may or may not know by now, I am the owner of a very small “Teacup” Yorkie. I know there is no such breed as a “Teacup” Yorkie, which is why I use the apostrophes. I only mention this because I’ve had people actually get mad at me for giving false information about “Teacups” and how they’re not an actual breed…its only a description. But I digress. For those of you that don’t know, I have a 2 pound Yorkie named Munchkin. She is currently 2 and half years old, and she is healthy and happy as can be. However, I know there are many people out there that are too scared to buy a toy breed dog because they are afraid that they are too delicate and too tough to care for. Yes, they are definitely more delicate than larger breed dogs, and yes, you they do require special attention when they are puppies. However, toy breed dogs make wonderful pets….especially if you live in an apartment…but they are definitely manageable and you shouldn’t be scared to own one. The object of this post is to give you some certain tips and lessons that I have learned throughout the 2.5 years that I’ve owned my little teeny tiny baby, Munchkin. Hopefully these tips will help keep your dog safe and healthy.
(This cute Yorkie is named Ali and belongs to Kaye Sweetser)
1. When you buy a toy breed puppy such as a Yorkie, Maltese, Chihuahua etc., one of the most important things I can stress is to educate yourself about hypoglycemia. I wrote a pretty decent article that explains in detail on what is hypoglycemia and how to treat it. In short, its a condition that appears much more frequently in toy breed puppies where your puppies blood sugar gets too low, which can lead to a coma and sometimes even death. I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn about the starting symptoms and how to treat your puppy if you suspect the onset of hypoglycemia. Heck, while you’re at it, read this extensive article on Toy Breed puppy care which goes over pretty much everything you need to know before you buy a toy breed puppy. When we got Munchkin, she was a very finicky eater, which can be very dangerous for a puppy of her size. If a puppy her size were not to eat for more than 10 hours, she could have probably died.Â There were times where force feeding Munchkin was necessary just so she could get her blood sugar levels up. Basically, make sure your puppy is eating on a regular basis. Its not uncommon for a puppy to not eat because they are stressed out from their new environment. Again, just read my articles linked above and once more here! Now, Munchkin is probably the biggest pig when it comes to food. She can’t get enough of it…which I’m glad to see!
2. Probably the most common question I get is…”How do you not step on her?” Well, you need to pay very close attention at all times where you are walking when you first get your puppy if you let them run around your house. We kept Munchkin in a playpen when we couldn’t keep full supervision on her for the first 8 months or so. Now, she roams the entire house as she pleases, but we are still careful where we walk. Its actually kind of second nature for both us and Munchkin. I kind of unknowingly look down as I walk around the house, and Munchkin is pretty good at staying away from our feet. Both us and Munchkin just pay close attention to feet!
3. For the first 6 months or so, don’t leave your puppy on the couch or bed unattended. This is a disaster waiting to happen. A fall from a couch or a bed can spell broken bones for your unknowing puppy. At Munchkin’s age, she knows her limits, and she won’t jump down from a level too high. However, puppies haven’t developed the ability to judge these dangers, and I guarantee that they will eventually slip or jump off a couch if they are left unattended.
4. This isn’t really a health concern, but more of a bathroom tip. If you plan on training your toy breed puppy to use the bathroom outside, be prepared to take them out very frequently. Smaller dogs have smaller bladders which requires them to use the bathroom more frequently. I take Munchkin out during the day about every 2 to 3 hours just to make sure she doesn’t make a mistake inside the house. If she does make a mistake, its not her fault, its mine for not taking her out in time. Also, I take her out before I go to sleep each night. In the morning, I take her out as soon as I wake up…or when SHE wakes me up. Either way, she does a pretty good job of not having to potty when she sleeps at night.
5. Beware of birds of prey. These birds include hawks, falcons, eagles etc. They are carnivorous birds and your little baby looks like dinner to them. I once watched a series on the Discovery Channel about birds of prey, and they mentioned that eagles have been known to eat small deer and even small antelope! So don’t underestimate the size of your little dog. If you live in an area with hawks and falcons around, NEVER leave them outside unattended. You don’t usually think of birds eating dogs, but it definitely happens…so be very careful. I once went to a park where a man was flying his pet parrots around. I picked up Munchkin in a second just to be safe.
So I came up with 5 things that will hopefully help keep your little toy or teacup puppy a little safer and healthier. If I think of anymore, I will update this post. If you have any tips of your own, please leave them in the comments for others to read.