Small-sized dogs, the MINIS, are those whose adult weight does not exceed 10 kg. Most of them are pet dogs, even though they are often derived from breeds used for hunting, such as the Dachshund. They live indoors most of the time and their walks out often take place in an urban environment.
A small breed dog develops rapidly, over a period of 8 or 10 months, and has a longer life expectancy than large breed dogs. Most of his growth takes place in the first six months during which the MINI puppy gains around 20 grams a day. This short and intense growth presents a few specific features for consideration: particularities relating to dentition, digestive sensitivities and a sedentary lifestyle, which may promote excess weight.
In certain MINI puppies, such as the Yorkshire Terrier, deciduous teeth are very tiny; 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, these also are small, so it is important the kibble is well suited in size and texture. The MINIS are also prone to teeth and gums problems. Dental arch closure defects between the inferior and superior dental arches produce poor occlusion, allowing food debris buildup between the teeth and then bacterial colonization.
Through weaning, the puppy’s ability to digest lactose decreases, and he gradually becomes more able to digest grain starch. Even though his digestive abilities develop rapidly, the nutrients in the food are much less well used by a 3-month puppy than by an adult dog. A Health Nutrition growth diet will be suited to the size of his jaws and of his teeth, and help support his natural defences. It will support harmonious growth and optimal digestive tolerance.
Whilst satisfying the sometimes capricious appetite of the MINIS, we should also take into account possible excess weight gain.
At birth, the weight of a small breed puppy accounts for 5% of his adult weight, which is five times more than for a large breed puppy. He will multiply his birth weight by 20 over a very short growth period. This ends around 8 months of age for Toy dogs (Chihuahua, Miniature Spitz...), around 10 months of age for other small breed dogs.
Adipose tissue development starts very early in MINIS. Adipocyte (fat cell) formation is directly influenced by the quantity of calories consumed; it is important to monitor their weight gain, especially following sterilisation- this vastly increases this risk of excess weight. A Health Nutrition food suited to MINI puppies and fed in the recommended quantities will help reduce this risk, while maintaining harmonious growth.
Treats should be given only if they are integrated into the calculation of the daily intake.