As a Toy Poodle owner, you can consider yourself lucky. Your cuddly little breed is not only a generally healthy one, it has a life expectancy of as long as 18 years. Of course, like all purebred dogs, the Toy Poodle does have its share of inheritable health problems.
A brief look at some of the most common ailments facing your breed
Skin Tumors: These tumors are a result of abnormal cell growth on a dog's skin. They appear as lumps that don't go away, unless surgically removed. Skin tumors can be malignant—which spread to other areas of the body—or benign. A biopsy is the only way to determine what kind of tumor your dog has. If a lump is benign, your veterinarian will likely tell you to do nothing. But if malignant, a skin tumor must be treated aggressively. It's best to have any skin lumps checked by your veterinarian.
Bladder Stones: Just like humans, dogs can suffer from bladder stones—and they can be very uncomfortable for your Toy Poodle. Bladder stones occur when there are high concentrations of minerals in the urine. Bladder infections can also contribute to the onset of bladder stones. If your Toy Poodle is urinating more than usual, is unable to urinate, or has blood in his urine, contact your veterinarian immediately. These are all signs that your pet may be suffering from bladder stones or another urinary tract problem. Consult your vet about treatment for bladder stones in dogs.
Tracheal Collapse: This occurs as a result of a weakness in the cartilage rings of a dog's windpipe. If you notice your Toy Poodle wheezing, having trouble breathing, or coughing a lot, have your vet see him right away.
Cushing's Disease: This very serious condition occurs when the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol (a hormone produced by the body). A dog suffering from this problem will drink more, eat more, and urinate more than usual. You may also notice that your dog is losing his hair. Be on the watch for a swollen abdomen—it's an early warning sign of Cushing's Disease.
Cataracts: When a Toy Poodle suffers from cataracts, the lens of the eyeball begins to get cloudy. If your dog has cataracts, you may notice that the center of his eye is no longer clear, and has become white. You may also notice that your dog is having trouble seeing and is walking into the walls and furniture.
Watching for symptoms of these particular problems is your best defense. You can also talk to your veterinarian about preventive health measures that can help minimize illnesses that affect your favorite pooch.
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.