Thursday, May 25, 2017

Teacup Dogs: The Cute That Kills

It’s a fact:  purebred dogs are produced to make money.  Much like shopping for a car, you can pick and be sure of exactly what you are buying.  You can choose the color, size, characteristics, etc.  And, like a car, the market is often based on trends.
One of the hottest canine commodities currently trending are teacup dogs.    These dogs are miniature versions of already-small breeds such as the Shih Tzu, Yorkie, Schnauzers and Chihuahuas. They’re smaller than any officially recognized dog breed, generally weighing four pounds or less at maturity.
You don’t need to be a veterinarian to figure out why these micro dogs are so popular.  With the current goal of pocket-sized electronics, and our obsession for “portion control”, why not breed dogs to fit the latest trend?
Here’s why–they’re living creatures, not cell phones.  While it may sound great to have a pal who never grows larger than a puppy, there are reasons to stop the madness of teacup breeding.
High demand results in questionable breeding practices
Teacup dogs can naturally occur, often called the “runts of the litter.” But to guarantee a teacup, a breeder will intentionally pair two undersized dogs.  Because the mother dog is small, her litter will be small and there is a greater chance for complications.  Result:  risk for both mother and puppies.
However, the teacups are in high demand.   They can sell for thousands of dollars, and that’s an enormous incentive for unethical breeders.  In the worst cases, breeders may mate closely related animals or deliberately stunt a puppy’s growth through starvation.
Fraud is another issue. No teacup breed is recognized officially, and there’s no guarantee that your micro-pup won’t grow to standard size.  It’s well documented that unscrupulous breeders will pass off pups at a younger age than advertised so they can reap the economic benefits associated with teacups.
Teacup dogs suffer from a long list of health problems
Every breed is subject to certain diseases and disorders, but the list of issues for teacups is lengthy.  On the one hand, there are health issues directly related to their unnaturally small size. Additionally, there are problems that come from inbreeding and other vague practices of backyard breeders. Thanks to all of these issues, teacups as a group don’t live as long as their normal-sized counterparts. A few of the health issues include:
  • hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which can result in seizures and death
  • hydrocephalus (water on the brain)
  • heart and respiratory problems
  • incontinence
  • bone fractures
  • chronic stress
Teacup dogs are simply too delicate
Micro dogs are easily injured, especially when jumping or dropped from heights. This makes them a terrible choice for families with young children, who will want to carry around these living doll-sized creatures.   Other dogs – particularly big dogs – can accidentally harm a teacup dog.
Like any small dog, a teacup has a tendency to get underfoot. The difference is, you’re less likely to see them, and more likely to cause an injury when you kick or step on them.
If after reading this, you are still determined to own a teacup…
Do your research and find a reputable breeder.   Make sure you visit their place of business and meet the puppy’s parents. And, absolutely, take the puppy to a vet to get it checked out before finalizing your purchase.

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