May 25, 2021 6 min read 0 Comments

Dogs, regardless of their size, are a pillar of emotional support for us. Our dogs uplift our mood,  and stay guarded. Dogs come in different sizes and breeds. Each breed carries different health issues. As a pet parent, you need to be ready to take care of your dog in every aspect. Having a little adorable friend in our family completes our life. 

From stomach ache to vomiting, dogs, like humans, suffer from a range of illnesses. This is why being acquainted with the health problems associated with small dogs is important to maintain their quality of life. Knowing the common health issues small breed dogs face puts you in a better position to look after and care for your beloved furry friend. Staying connected with a vet is also important because as with humans, early detection of health issues can lead to better outcomes. 

Having set the backdrop, here are the ten common health problems to be aware of in small dog breeds:

1. Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal Collapse is a disorder in whichthe rings of cartilage lose strength and rigidity and become slack and can flatten making it difficult for a dog to breathe. sags, the tracheal rings will flatten when air is drawn into the airway during inspiration. 

Pomeranians,Shih Tzu's, Toy Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers and Chihuahuas are more prone to Tracheal Collapse than other small breeds. This issue is more common among middle-age and older dogs. Tracheal Collapse is a progressive health issue that can slowly get worse if left untreated. One early sign of Tracheal Collapse is adry, harsh cough, which can be worse at night. Veterinarians can often detect early signs of Tracheal Collapse during routine checkups. 

One way to reduce the risk of Tracheal Collapse is using a dog harness instead of a collar on dog walks. Unlike a collar, harnesses do not put pressure on a dog’s throat if they pull on leash when walking. 

2. Mitral Valve Disease

Mitral Valve Disease is a serious heart disease  where the mitral valve of their heart starts deteriorating. This disease is more common with small dogs and typically shows up after the age of eight. The earliest symptom of this disease is usually a heart murmur, which is caused due to the turbulence created by the backflow of the blood into the left atrium of the heart. Other symptoms of this disease include chronic cough and tiredness. 

The prolonged symptoms of heart murmur increase the risk of sudden death by congestive heart failure in small dogs. Therefore, diagnosing this disease at the earliest stage to decrease the risk of sudden death. Protect your little dog from this fatal disease by having a regular check-up through a good veterinary cardiologist.

3. Homeostasis Imbalance

Small dog breeds often face difficulty in maintaining the normal body temperature. They are not only heat-sensitive but also cold-sensitive due to their difficulty in regulating the body temperature. Consequently, they can be prone to hypothermia and overheating. However, homeostasis imbalance can easily be cured by adopting simple measures. 

Knowing small dogs can quickly get overheated, it’s important to stay weather aware. Limit your little dog’s outdoor time during excessive heat and when your pup is outside in the heat, try to keep him or her in shaded areas. During extreme cold, you’ll want to limit your little dog’s outdoor time. A warm coat or sweater can help their body temperature from dropping. These simple measures can help ensure the healthy body temperature of your pet. If your pet’s temperature becomes too hot or cold, find an emergency vet near you to get fast treatment to avoid any further issues.

4. Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation is a usual orthopedic disorder occurring mostly in small dogs. In this, the kneecap is dislocated from its normal location. This orthopedic disorder is almost 12times frequent in small dogs compared with the large ones. If left untreated, this disease can cause lameness in the small ones. Chihuahua, French Bulldog, Pug, Bulldog are the commonly affected breeds by this disease. 

This is also an issue that can often be detected during regular vet checkups. Be careful when your small pet starts walking on just three paws, moving with discomfort. If your pet shows any such symptoms, get your pet treated to adjust the dislocated kneecap back in its place and ease the discomfort of your loved one.

5. Whelping Complications

Whelping Complication arises mostly in small breeds due to less space in the birthing canal for holding puppies. It occurs in female dogs when they have puppies larger than their birthing canal.  This happens usually when the pet parents aim at making breeds larger. The general symptoms of whelping complications include prolonged hours of gestation, failure of normal labor, untimely delivery of puppies, or fetal pain. If your dog experiences any complications during labor, contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately.  

6. Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome is a pathological condition causing anatomical abnormalities in dog breeds with pushed in faces, such as Shih Tzus, Pugs, FrenchBulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese and Lhasa Apsos.The anatomical abnormalities comprise stenotic nares, (abnormally small nostrils), extended soft palate, small trachea, etc. So it is important to know the symptoms of this syndrome.

If your short dog faces dyspnea (difficult breathing), prolonged open-mouthed breathing to compensate for obstruction of a nasal tube, choking, vomiting, or snoring, get him physically examined by the vet.  Your pet may be required to go under general anesthesia or even surgical repair to cure the underlying airway abnormalities.

7. Legg Calve Perthes Disease

Legg Calve Perthes Disease (also called avascular or aseptic necrosis of the femoral head) occurs on the degeneration of the femur causing the collapse of the hip in a small dog. This condition forces a small dog to limp on its affected leg. This disease is most common in Terriers, toy breeds and dogs under 20 pounds and often diagnosed at an early age, between three to eighteen months of age. 

Common signs of this disease include extreme pain in the affected leg of the dog and loss of muscle mass in the infected area.  It is often diagnosed through radiography, and surgery of the affected leg becomes inevitable if it is left untreated for a while. You should get the radiography of the affected leg of your dog from a good veterinarian.

8. Paroxysmal Respirations

Generally, a dog pushes out the air quickly through its nose, however, when it is infected with paroxysmal respiration, it pulls the air quickly into its nose. This condition is also known as reverse sneezing, as the dogs try to inhale while sneezing. Usually, a loud honking sound is produced by your small dog, if it is infected with it. This disease is mostly harmless and can be cured by your gentle stroking over its neck. Once the air gets exhaled out of the nose, the reverse sneezing gets over. You should schedule a visit with your vet if episodes become more frequent or are associated with abnormal breathing, any sort of snorting, choking sound, or any irritation in its throat. 

9. Hypoglycemia Disorder

Hypoglycemia refers to the drop in the blood sugar level of the body. Low blood sugar level adversely affects neurological functions causing tremors and coma in small breeds. Toy breed dogs are more susceptible to this harmful disorder. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include loss of appetite, acute lethargy, weakness, seizures, lack of coordination, loss of color in skin and gums. 

Get your pet physically examined by a vet if he or she becomes very inactive in between meals or stops eating or drinking suddenly. Further, an oral concentrated glucose solution should be given to increase the blood sugar level in the dog. Always make sure that glucose source is readily available in your home. 

10. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis occurs in the inflammation of the pancreas in the body. This disease is potentially life-threatening for a small dog, therefore every pet parent should be at least aware of it. Pet owners must be acquainted with its symptoms, which include diarrhea, acute pain in the abdomen, fever, dehydration, continuous vomiting, or loss of appetite.  Generally, a high-fat diet, obesity, dietary indiscretion, hypothyroidism are leading causes of this dangerous disease. 

A suspected case should immediately be dealt with by a veterinarian to avoid further serious issues. If your pet happens to demonstrate any of the above symptoms, quickly take them to your vet orfind a vet nearby.

Where can you find the best vet near you?

As a caring pet parent, it is important to be aware of these diseases to ensure a good quality of life for your tiny loved ones. is an excellent resource for finding a veterinarian or veterinary hospitals in your is an exclusive platform for pet owners to find the most efficient vets close to their locations.

We hope the article was helpful in informing you about common health problems in small breed dogs.