Keeping Your Little Dog Safe
As many of you may know, Jett is the newest addition to my furry family. Although I’ve had many dogs throughout my life (Poodle mixes, Chows, Scottish Terriers, a Briard, a Doberman, and most recently, my sweet Boxer Oski), Jett is unlike any other dog that I have ever had. I never realized how different it is to have a tiny dog. Weighing in at 8 pounds, Jett makes a 20+ pound Scotty seem stocky. Jett is even smaller than 2 of my 3 cats! Having a small dog definitely has some cool perks. Jett is so small he fits in purses and adorable dog carriers. He can go kayaking, biking and hiking (while in his cozy backpack), and if the pandemic ever ends, he can easily travel around the country with me. He easily fits on our bed along with our three cats, unlike our Boxer. And unlike his larger predecessors, eating (and pooping) are at a much smaller and manageable scale. Unfortunately, there is a major downside to his diminutive size. He is so small and delicate that I constantly worry about him being attacked and hurt by another dog. This is a novel problem for me. Even with my Scotties, though short in stature, they were built like a tank and had the toughness of a terrier. So, what can you do to protect your little dog?
So what dangers do little dogs face? The most common is other dogs! It is important to know that your little dog could be attacked by another dog. While this is also true with bigger dogs, if you have a little dog, the results could be deadly. The damage that a large dog can inflict is magnified in a little dog’s body. In addition, a larger dog can grab a small dog and shake them violently, which is often fatal.
Depending on where you live, you may also need to worry about wild animals like coyotes, foxes, bobcats and mountain lions. Little dogs are easy prey for these predators and they are sometimes tragically attacked in the presumed safety of their own backyards. If that wasn’t bad enough, birds of prey, like hawks and eagles, can swoop out of nowhere to attack your dog.
Unfortunately, little dogs are also vulnerable to people. Since they are so small, it is easy for a someone to accidentally step on them. This can result in a broken bone. Children are also drawn to little dogs, and if they are too rough, they can accidently injure your dog.
The best way to protect your little dog from another dog is to keep them on a short leash and to be prepared to pick them up quickly if necessary. Whenever I encounter a dog I do not know, I always ask the owner if their dog is dog-friendly. I also keep an eye on their dog’s body language and look for signs of aggression. If the hackles go up or I see other signs of dominance, I pick up my dog and move on. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Another way to protect your small dog from an attack is to carry a dog deterrent spray. These sprays usually contain citronella and can be used to distract the attacking dog. They fit easily on your key chain or leash so you have it handy. If I want my little dog to have some fun off-leash, I go to small dog-only dog parks so he can frolic with others dogs his size.
The best way to protect your little dog from wild animals is to avoid dangerous situations. When taking your little dog on a walk at night, keep them on a short leash and avoid dark areas near brush. It only takes a moment for a predator to attack your dog. If your dog has to be in the backyard, make sure your yard is secure. Avoid leaving your dog unattended. Remember that some wild animals can climb fences! If you wish to have additional peace of mind, consider protecting your little dog with a Coyote Vest. Coyote Vests are made of puncture-proof materials and have spikes to deter predators. They even have an attachment to protect against an aerial attack from a bird of prey.
Since little dogs are prone to being stepped on, avoid crowds or simply pick up and carry your dog. Also be prepared for your little dog to be a child magnet! I remind curious children that Jett is a lot smaller than they are and they need to pet him gently. This a wonderful opportunity to teach children to treat animals with kindness and respect.
Having a little dog has been an eye-opening experience in many ways. For starters, it’s surprising how much personality can fit in such a small package. I also have to see the world from their perspective. Little dogs are vulnerable to hazards big dogs don’t have to worry about. Fortunately, common sense and following these tips can help keep your little dog safe.