toy story: a primer on toy breeds

Posted by Dr. Jules Benson on Oct 21 2013



Yesterday, Dr. Kim Smyth talked about toy breed dogs and dental health. While dental disease is one of the most common conditions we see in our diminutive furry friends, there are plenty of other things to learn before bringing a toy breed home. To give you some practical advice for keeping petite pups healthy, you can turn to our Toy Issue of fetch! magazine.


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While obesity makes matters worse for any breed of pet, it is particularly dangerous for miniature mutts. To help keep pets at a healthy weight, Dr. Ernie Ward offers an easy make-at-home treat recipe perfect for toy breeds that keeps calories low and packs a nutritional punch in Chow Down.

The toy breeds are known for having larger-than-life personalities and plenty of heart, but those big hearts are also subject to big-time cardiac issues. Many toy breeds — particularly Cavaliers — are at high risk for mitral valve disease (MVD), a health condition that weakens the heart valves and in many cases causes congestive heart failure. In Secrets of the Heart, Heidi Jeter of the Morris Animal Foundation shares the research being done to better diagnose and monitor matters of the heart.

Luxating patellas can occur in any dog, but are most common in toy and small breed dogs like Toy Poodles and Yorkshire Terriers, where the condition is considered hereditary. About half of dogs with luxating patellas are affected in only one knee, but the other half develops the condition in both knees. Read all about the risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of luxating patellas in our Ruff Guide.

Did you know that the Pomeranian once averaged 30 lbs. and was used to herd sheep? As he became more desired as a furry companion than a sheepherder, the standard Pom became smaller and smaller. Now, he generally tips the scales between 4 and 7 lbs, and is thought of as an excellent apartment dog. While all of this selective breeding has created an amazingly wide variation in our dogs, it also offers some insight as to why health-related inheritances have become part of many small pets’ pedigrees. Size up your pet’s risk of breed-related health conditions in Splitting Heirs.

Finally, have a little fun perusing our fun finds for toy breeds – and pets of any size – in the Toy Issue’s edition of We <3 This. There’s something for everyone!

For more tips, tricks, pet health news and advice from fetch! magazine, check out our archives – and be sure to subscribe to the fetch! health e-newsletter to have all the goods delivered straight to your inbox once a month.

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