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Small Dogs, Large Dogs, Any Size Dog

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Small Dogs, Large Dogs, Any Size Dog
Posted February 08, 2018

Some people believe that small dogs have less health problems as they age than large dogs do. This is actually a myth - small dogs are just as likely to get sick as large dogs. There are some health issues, for instance, that are more common in smaller dogs. And some diseases can actually be found almost exclusively in small dog breeds.

So what are the health risks for your small dog?

What if you notice that your dog is having trouble breathing, coughing, and making a coughing sound that resembles the honk of a goose? These may be signs of a collapsed trachea. This health problem is found almost exclusively in small dog breeds, and can cause severe problems. It interferes with the dog's daily life, and should be treated right away to avoid complications.

Another common small dog health problem is known as luxating patella. This happens when a dog's kneecap slips out of place. When a dog is suffering from this condition, he cannot straighten his leg.  He has to stand with his leg bent and he walks oddly (skipping). Once again, this issue is very common in small dog breeds like the Pomeranian, the Pug, and other toy dog breeds.

As you can see, the small dog has his own set of health problems. Still, there are some other health issues that you should be aware of, even though they're not as common in small dogs as in large dogs. For instance, arthritis is more likely to affect large or obese dogs - but many smaller dogs suffer from it as well. In fact, arthritis can cause big problems for small dogs because the more aggressive procedures to treat arthritis , like surgery, can be very stressful for their little bodies.

This is why it's a good idea to watch out for symptoms of arthritis in your dog, regardless of his size. Some signs to watch out for are:

Difficulty walking, jumping, or even just standing

Limping or favoring a limb

Behavior changes and sudden bad behavior

Being less active and playful in general

If you are concerned about your dog, it's better to take him to a vet than to wait it out. Arthritis can be treated but as it advances, the treatments become more invasive and stressful. It's a great idea to have a list of questions ready for your vet visit, so that you know you are covering everything you're concerned about.

If you find out that your small dog has arthritis, you can help him by switching his diet. Diets specially formulated to help dogs suffering from arthritis typically contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acid to help ease joint stiffness, while EPA nourishes cartilage.


Being aware of possible problems is the first step towards helping your dog! Prevention and early intervention are the best option when dealing with health issues. Have you taken your dog for his regular vet checkup yet?