The smallest of the Poodles, your Toy is a highly trainable, very intelligent, athletic, and versatile breed.
While you might have chosen a Toy Poodle because they are lovable and loyal companions and excellent dogs for small living spaces, your dog’s ancestors were considerably larger. In fact, toy poodles were bred from the larger, Standard Poodle. Standard Poodle traits include their propensity toward water. This explains the classic, pom-pom poodle cut—a functional style that kept the standard poodle streamlined in the water, but warm at the joints and organ areas.
A cute and colorful breed
To be a true Toy, your Poodle must be 10 inches or under (at the shoulder), and weigh between 6 and 9 pounds. Their curly coats appear in many colors, from apricot and café-au-lait, to black-and-white and shades in between. While the coat is relatively shed-free (making them a good dog for allergy sufferers), it needs to be clipped and groomed every four to six weeks.
Unusually alert and sensitive
You’ve probably already discovered that your Toy Poodle is a sensitive dog that wants to be a member of the family. The breed has an uncanny ability to read body language and anticipate owner commands, sometimes acting before you speak or gesture. But this sensitivity can also make some toys skittish, snappy, or territorial. They may be quick to bark and act suspicious of strangers. And while they’re good family pets, the toy has a reputation for not being the best dog around small children.
The Toy Poodle is generally a healthy breed, although they are prone to watery eyes, digestive problems, heart disorders, and skin conditions. Still, you can plan on many good years with your Toy because their life expectancy is generally between 12–15 years. As with all dogs, regular visits to your vet will help ensure that you have a healthy pet for years to come.
As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.
When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.
Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food
If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.
However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.
Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.
It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.
Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.
While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!
Whether you choose dry food, soft food or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.