VCA Animal Hospitals

What to expect when caring for a big dog or a small dog

Published: Nov 28, 2012

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One of the fun things about dogs is that they come in such a variety of different shapes and sizes. If you compare a Great Dane to a Chihuahua, they may not even seem like they're from the same planet, let alone the same species. The truth of the matter is, big dogs and small dogs can be very similar in personality, but they will require different kinds of care from their owner. Here's a guide to help you decide how to make sure your pet is healthy, no matter how big or small he is.

Caring for a big dog
Big dogs can be full of love, but they also have some special needs that smaller dogs may not have. If you are raising puppies that you expect to get bigger over time, you should be prepared for rapid change, as dogs' growth rate is more accelerated than that of humans. This means that your pooch may end up outgrowing his doggy bed faster than you'd like, so it may be best to try and buy bigger items even if your dog is still growing, provided they're suitable for pups.

Big dogs will also need to be trained to be gentle. Dog aggression is never a desirable trait, but it can be truly dangerous in big dogs. Make sure you spend plenty of time teaching your pet to keep all four feet on the floor when greeting some one, and try to curb dog barking as much as possible. If you have children, you'll need to make sure that your canine companion knows to treat the young ones with extra care and tenderness.

Remember that big dogs will need to spend a lot of time stretching their legs. If you live in a city or a small apartment, a big dog may not be a good match. Large canines thrive in rural areas where they can go for long walks, run around and explore their surroundings.

Caring for a small dog
Little dogs can be fun and energetic, but they too will have their own special set of needs. While you'll still want to train them to be gentle, you should also be sure that you and your family take care with them. Small dogs may have a tendency to get under your feet, which can be dangerous for both you and your pet, so make sure you are cautious when walking near your dog.

Just because your canine is small does not mean that you should feed him more often to "fatten him up." Obesity is a dangerous health risk for canines of any size, and your dog's lighter natural weight may make him more likely to fluctuate in size. An overweight canine has a higher risk of being diagnosed with dog diabetes, so be sure that you check with your vet if you fear he's getting too heavy.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.