Small-sized dogs, the MINIS, are those whose adult weight does not exceed 10 kg. Most of them are company dogs, even though they’re often derived from breeds used for hunting, such as the Dachshund. They live indoors most of the time and their outings often take place in an urban environment.
A small breed dog develops rapidly, between 8 and 10 months, and has a longer life expectancy in front of him than large breed dogs. Most of his growth takes place in the first six months during which the MINI puppy gains 20 grams a day on average. This short and intense growth presents a few specific features to which attention should be paid. This essentially involves particularities relating to dentition, digestive abilities and a lifestyle which may promote excess weight.
In certain MINI puppies, such as for instance the Yorkshire Terrier, deciduous teeth have a much reduced size. They just show on the surface of the gums. Even though deciduous teeth are progressively replaced by permanent teeth between the 4th and the 6th month of age, it is important for the kibble to be well suited in size and texture to this dentition which, though permanent, will be small in size and will therefore have to be very closely monitored. The MINIS are indeed more exposed to buccodental problems. Dental arch closure defects between the inferior and superior dental arches promote poor occlusion, food debris buildup between the crowns of teeth and, as a consequence, bacterial colonization.
Throughout weaning, a puppy’s ability to digest lactose decreases and he gradually becomes apt to digest grain starch. Even though his digestive abilities evolve rapidly, the protein, fat, organic matter and energy in the food remain much less well used by a 3-month puppy than by an adult dog. Dietary transition will enable switching to a Health Nutrition diet suited to the size of his jaws and of his teeth, contributing to supporting his natural defenses and favoring harmonious growth while ensuring optimal digestive tolerance
Satisfying the sometimes capricious appetite of the MINIS implies taking into account possible excess weight risks.
At birth, the weight of a small breed puppy accounts for 5% of his adult weight, i.e. five times more than for a large breed puppy. He’s going to multiply his birth weight by 20 over a very short growth stage reaching its maximum intensity at as early as 2 months of age. It ends around 8 months of age for Toy dogs (Chihuahua, Miniature Spitz...), around 10 months of age for other small breed dogs.
Because of this quite early growth, adipose tissue development starts very early in MINIS. Adipocyte formation being directly influenced by the quantity of consumed calories, it is important to monitor their weight trend, all the more so as sterilization generally increases this risk of excess weight. A Health Nutrition food suited to MINI puppies and supplied in the recommended quantities will enable to prevent this risk while ensuring harmonious growth.
Food rewards should be given only if they observe food requirements and are integrated into the calculation of the daily intake.