The runt of the litter is often believed to be prone to health problems, but that's not always the case. Besides being smaller than the other pups in the litter, runts do not always survive, due to poor health.
According to the Times Herald, the runt is usually the animal who develops in the center of the mother's uterus. He gets the least amount of nourishment compared to the other pups in the litter and is more likely to have a lower birth weight.
The newspaper reports that experts say if a runt survives to six or eight-weeks-old, he is likely to make it to adulthood and grow close to full size.
While it is true that some runts have health problems, pet health experts say choosing a runt for your family pet can prove to be a great decision. Many people gravitate toward these smaller dogs simply because they're cute. But veterinarians say it's a good idea to have any dog - especially a runt - checked out by a doctor before bringing him home to ensure there are no underlying medical problems that could affect his survival, like a heart problem.
Like other dogs, runts should be given their vaccinations according to the schedule your vet recommends.
The good news is that helping a runt thrive really won't take any additional effort from you. Usually, he needs exactly what any other puppy needs - vitamins, food and exercise.
And even though a runt may start out small, experts say pet owners should not try to help him "catch up" by giving him more food. According to Yahoo!, overfeeding a puppy could result in joint and digestive problems.