Small breeds, big needs: 5 nutrition tips for long and happy life of your mini companion - Hindustan Times
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Small breeds, big needs: 5 nutrition tips for long and happy life of your mini companion

By, New Delhi
May 26, 2024 05:43 PM IST

The requirements of small breed dogs may significantly differ from bigger dogs, especially in terms of nutrition due to their smaller digestive tract.

Good things come in small packages. This is especially true for your small four-legged friend that may fill the room with its presence but occupies very little space. Small dog breeds are indeed a pleasure to have. Not only they can be easily carried to anywhere you want, but they can also be groomed and washed easily compared to larger dog breeds. They can even be accommodated in a small house. No pet owner ever wants to part with their beloved pooch. Small dog breeds have longer lifespans than bigger breeds in general. The nutritional requirement of a small breed dog is different. They are not just a bit fussy about their food, they also require small portions of food to avoid digestive trouble. Apart from other essential nutrients, fibre and probiotics are among the recommended groups. (Also read: Should you shave your dog this summer? Pet expert shares skincare tips for dogs during heatwave)

While no pet parent would want to compromise the quality of nutrition they wish to give their best friend, it’s important to understand their dietary requirements, especially for first-time pet owners(Freepik)
While no pet parent would want to compromise the quality of nutrition they wish to give their best friend, it’s important to understand their dietary requirements, especially for first-time pet owners(Freepik)

"For those with a small dog breed at home, you know your furry four-legged friend may be small in size but have a larger-than-life personality. These loveable companions are by your side day and night, and while they might make up for their size with their personality, the truth is, their requirements differ significantly from bigger dogs, especially in terms of nutrition. This is due to their smaller digestive tract and unique metabolism. While no pet parent would want to compromise the quality of nutrition they wish to give their best friend, it’s important to understand their dietary requirements, especially for first-time pet owners," says Dr. Bala Guru Chinnappan, Scientific Communications Specialist, Royal Canin in an interview with HT Digital.

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Nutrition tips for small breed dogs

Dr Bala shares a few tips for small dog owners to help them understand their pet’s unique nutritional needs and cater to them accordingly to ensure their furry friend lives a long and healthy life.

Healthy skin and shiny coats

A healthy skin and a glossy coat indicate a well-nourished dog. Supplementing your small breed dog’s diet with zinc, selective amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids can significantly improve skin health and coat lustre. These nutrients help maintain the integrity of the skin barrier and promote a shiny, lustrous coat, making your pet look and feel its best.

Enhanced palatability

Small dog breeds can often be picky about food, thereby requiring a diet that stimulates their appetite. Kibbles specifically crafted for miniature jaws, combined with exclusive aromas, can satisfy even the fussiest of dogs. This tailored approach ensures they receive the necessary nutrients without the struggle of getting them to eat.

Balancing the scales: Weight management

Given their larger surface area-to-volume ratio, small dogs tend to have high energy needs. Their smaller digestive tracts require more frequent feeding, increasing the risk of weight gain, especially in indoor dogs with less exercise. A diet that perfectly matches their specific energy needs, with adapted calorie content from high-quality protein and fat, helps maintain an ideal weight. This balance also supports lean muscle mass, keeping your small dog fit and active.

Digestive and bone health

Small dogs can sometimes find it challenging to digest certain nutrients, which can affect their digestive health and result in smelly stools. A diet rich in fibre, highly digestible proteins, and a combination of prebiotics can improve digestive health. This specific blend reduces stool odour and volume, making life more pleasant for both you and your pet.

Besides gut health, bone health is crucial, especially for small dogs. These dogs are typically very active and require nutrition that supports their high energy levels and helps keep their bones strong. A diet with the right balance of nutrients is crucial for maintaining strong and healthy bones, ensuring that your dog can enjoy all their favourite activities without discomfort or injury.

Quality of life

As small dog breeds age, their nutritional requirements change. Senior dogs benefit from diets enriched with essential nutrients such as antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and vitamins. These nutrients support healthy ageing, helping your dog maintain vitality in their senior years.

Additionally, small dogs are prone to urinary tract problems. Ad libitum water supplementation and mixed feeding (a combination of dry and wet foods) can prevent urinary stone issues. Dental health is another concern due to their small jaw size and closely packed teeth. Regular oral hygiene and specific kibbles that clean teeth and prevent tartar and plaque formation are vital for preventing dental issues and ensuring overall health.

Ensuring that your small breed dog receives the right nutrition tailored to their unique needs is crucial for their health and happiness. With the right diet, your mini companion can lead a vibrant and active life full of energy and joy. Remember, ensuring good health through proper nutrition is the ideal way to ensure your furry companion lives a healthy, fulfilling life.

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