Teacup dogs are cute and have become trendy in the media—but do these dogs make the best pets? Today, our Torrance vets share the truth about teacup dogs.
What is a teacup dog?
Teacup dogs are dogs that have been purposefully bred to be as small as possible, however, the practices used to breed these dogs can lead to some health concerns. Most dogs considered to be teacup size weigh 5 pounds or less.
There are many different breeds of teacup dogs, including poodles, Pugs, Yorkies, and Shih Tzus. To create teacup dogs, breeders will breed together runts from different litters. This can be a problem because sometimes dogs are the runts because of a birth defect or other medical condition.
Why are teacup dogs so popular?
Dogs are subject to trends. There has been a rise over the last decade of celebrities in the media who have teacup dogs which made them popular. There is also the cuteness factor—people love that their dog can fit into a small bag and go everywhere with them.
Small dogs are also appealing to pet owners who live in facilities with pet size restrictions or can only provide short walks or other forms of exercise. When healthy, their day-to-day costs are low because they don't require much food.
But veterinarians say that because of their breeding history these pocket-size pets are predisposed to some medical conditions.
So, what are the health risks for teacup dogs?
Good breeding practices state that you should breed the healthiest pups, not just the ones you like the look of. Teacup dogs are at risk for a number of medical conditions, including:
- Heart defects
- Collapsing trachea
- Respiratory problems
- Poor liver health
- Dental and gum issues (often their baby teeth will not fall out on their own)
- Patella luxation (sliding kneecaps)
- Easily broken bones
As you can see, there is a range of issues that could affect your tiny pup and so diligent care is important. While you should bring every pet to the vet annually for a routine exam, your vet may suggest you bring your teacup pup in more often to screen for potential health conditions.
There is also the difficulty of treating teacup dogs. It is difficult to operate on teacup dogs as their bodies have a hard time with anesthesia and it can be challenging to get an IV into them.
If you're considering a teacup dog, it is important to buy from a reputable breeder who actively screens their dogs for medical conditions and only breeds healthy pups. You should also be sure that you are committed, both financially and emotionally, to your tiny friend.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.