curly long-coated brown dog at the fence

Reasons You Might Not Want a Miniature Poodle

Toy Poodles are the smallest poodle variety registered under the American Kennel Club. These adorable dogs are like teddy bears, waiting to be cuddled and loved all day long. 

However, like other Poodle varieties, Toy Poodles suffer from certain health conditions. Given the size, your dog needs more care to keep them living a healthy life. That said, Toy Poodles has an average life expectancy of 15-17 years, which is longer than other breeds.

That said, it’s essential to be aware of a Toy Poodle’s health issues to diagnose, treat, and prevent health issues. Learn all about the minor and major health concerns Toy Poodles are at risk of in the long run.

Bladder Stones

Like us humans, dogs can also go through bladder stones, which are pretty uncomfortable to the small Toy Poodle. These occur when there are high-level concentrations of minerals in the urine. Bladder infections may contribute to bladder stones.

If you notice your Toy Poodle urinating more than expected, has a hard time urinating or has blood in urine, then contact the vet right away, as this can mean bladder stones or urinary tract issues.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapses happen because of the weakness of the cartilage ring from your dog’s windpipe. If your Toy Poodle wheezes, coughing a lot, or has trouble breathing, then take him to the veterinarian right away. If overly severe, veterinarians recommend proper medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery.

Toy Poodles can also have reverse sneezing, which causes honking cough. Fortunately, this is a harmless condition, so your dog can lead a normal life.

Heart Disease and Respiratory Problems

If your Toy Poodle has heart murmurs, it may come from Patent Ductus arteriosus (PDA). It’s a congenital heart defect caused by an issue with your dog’s heart development. That said, most puppies are born with PDA, so veterinarians can catch the problem while they’re young.

Mitral Valve Disease is another common issue in Toy Poodles, which begins with a mild heart murmur. Veterinarians can manage this with affordable medications.

Poodles are prone to chronic bronchitis, are challenging to manage, and require oral and inhaled medication.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease is a condition where your dog’s adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. Dogs that suffer from Cushing’s disease would eat, drink, and urinate more than usual. Your dog may also lose his hair and have a swollen abdomen, an early symptom of the disease.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal problems can affect your Toy Poodle’s stomach, intestines, and digestive system. The common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

There are various causes behind gastrointestinal issues and would usually clear up in a week.

Specifically, Poodles are vulnerable to two digestive diseases: pancreatitis and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Pancreatitis is common in middle-aged female Poodles who are overweight and don’t get a lot of exercises, suddenly eating high-fat foods.

Ear Infections

Since Toy Poodles have floppy ears, they are prone to ear infections. That’s because breeders created long and narrow ear canals for Poodles to look elegant. 

Here’s the way abnormal ear canals make a suitable home for fungi and parasites:

  • Long, narrow tube traps wax and gives a sticky area where fungi grow, and parasites feed
  • Folded ear flaps block air from circulating, giving fungi and parasites a dark, moist, and dirty home, which they love
  • Long hair in the ears attract dirt, moisture, and wax

All these equal ear infections and mites!

That’s why it’s crucial to conduct weekly checks and clean your dog’s ears. If you notice redness or foul odor, then it’s best to take your dog to a veterinarian for treatment.

Bone and Joint Problems

There are orthopedic diseases your Toy Poodle has health risks of, such as:

  • Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are genetic diseases causing the joints to develop improperly, causing arthritis. The stiffness in the hips and elbows can be an issue as your dog matures. You might notice your dog shows lameness in the legs or finds it difficult to stand up or lie down.
  • Patellar luxation happens when the patella (kneecap) slips out of place. Sometimes, your dog’s kneecap slips, and it pops it back in place by kicking the leg out sideways.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease has no exact cause, but it may come from issues with the blood supply to your dog’s hip, causing the femoral head to brittle and fracture easily. The disease usually happens at a young age and requires surgery as it causes pain and lameness in the hind legs.

Spinal Problems

Many Poodles suffer from a common condition called Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). It occurs when a jelly-like cushion between vertebrae ruptures or slips, causing a disc to press on your dog’s spinal cord.

If your dog can’t jump, go upstairs, has a hunched back, cried, poor appetite, can’t potty, or can’t move around much, then he’s probably in severe pain. Your dog might even drag his rear legs or become paralyzed. If that happens, take your dog to emergency care immediately.

In cases that involve paralysis, I recommend surgical removal of the affected discs. Prevent spinal issues through weight control and ramps while your puppy is still young.

Bleeding Disorders

Like other Poodle varieties, there are inherited bleeding disorders occurring in dogs that range from mild to extremely severe. These are a few common bleeding disorders to watch out for:

  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Thrombocytopenia

Eye Disease

Poodles can get vision-impaired, sometimes partially or entirely. Here are the common eye diseases to watch out for:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy can occur from ages 3-5 years old, and unfortunately, they always lead to blindness. A veterinarian can conduct a DNA test to determine if your Poodle inherited this eye condition.
  • When Toy Poodles suffer from cataracts, the eyeball lenses start getting cloudy. If a dog has cataracts, you’ll notice the center of the eye isn’t clear, becoming white. Furthermore, your dog starts having trouble seeing, walking into the furniture and walls. Cataracts appear any time in Toy Poodles; early cases can be more severe, while those older than three years are milder.
  • Glaucoma is an eye disease that may cause blindness if you leave it untreated. Symptoms include watery eyes, squinting, bluing of the cornea, and redness along with the white parts of the eyes.
  • Distichiasis is an eye condition caused by extra hairs growing in the eyelid, rubbing on the eye’s surface. It’s a common inherited disease in dogs, particularly in Poodles.
  • There are other eye conditions Toy Poodles are at risk of, such as tear duct disorders, corneal ulcers, retinal dysplasia, and eyelash abnormalities.

Kidney Disorder

Fanconi syndrome is a kidney disorder with vital blood nutrients escaping into the urine. Affected Toy Poodles may show signs like increased thirst, frequent urination, weakness, and weight loss due to abnormal electrolyte levels.

The symptoms of this kidney disorder usually come when your Toy Poodle reaches 2-6 years old. The kidney disorder can vary in its course and severity among dogs. Some dogs can stay happy and stable for years, while others may experience fatal kidney failure.

Regular urine screening can detect kidney problems early, leading to prompt treatment and improved quality of life for your dog.

Skin Disease and Allergies

Toy Poodles are prone to sensitive skin, with household products like detergents, carpet cleaners, and particular grooming products causing dry, itchy skin and skin irritations.

Toy Poodles may develop allergies to dust, dander, pollen, grass, food, perfume, and other items. Other than itchy and irritated skin, your dog can suffer from red and watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, paw chewing, swollen pads, and vomiting or diarrhea if your dog has food allergies.

Other skin infections or conditions your Toy Poodle may suffer from include sebaceous adenitis. It can cause dry, scaly skin and any patches of hair loss on the back, neck, and head. You’ll most likely notice this when your dog is 1-5 years old.

Treatment for sebaceous adenitis and other skin conditions is highly variable, but will most likely require fatty acid supplements and special shampoos.

Toy Poodles might also have small skin growths around the head and body. Usually, they are non-tumorous cysts and warts, but it’s still best to take your dog to the veterinarian just in case.

Skin Cancer

Skin tumors come from abnormal cell growth on your dog’s skin, appearing as lumps that don’t heal unless veterans surgically remove them. These tumors can be malignant, spread to other body parts, or benign.

Biopsies are the only method to determine the tumor your Toy Poodle has. If benign, then your veterinarian won’t need to do anything. But if malignant, the vet will treat the skin tumor aggressively. If you notice any skin lumps, then have them checked with veterinarians.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is skin cancer some Toy Poodles may have in the toenail bed. If your dog’s toe or nail looks unusual, take them to the vet. If the veterinarian determines it is cancer, then amputating the toe may be needed to prevent the cancer spread.

Neurological Disease

Canine epilepsy is a major concern in Toy Poodles, usually showing up when your dog’s 2-4 years old. It may continue throughout your Toy Poodle’s life span.

Toy Poodles can also have a rare neurological disease, known as the White Shaker Dog Syndrome. The symptoms include full-body tremors, and people theorize them as stress or excitement-related disorders.


Toy Poodles weighing less than four pounds are susceptible to hypoglycemia, ow low blood sugar levels. If an attack occurs, you must treat it with a dose of sugar from honey or Nutrical syrup. If left untreated, an attack can end up with coma or death.

Caring for Your Toy Poodle

While these are common health issues in Toy Poodles, it doesn’t mean your pet would get any of all the diseases. That said, you wouldn’t want to risk your pet getting these conditions. To prevent the disease from happening, you’ll need to care for your Toy Poodle properly.

Here are ways to keep your Toy Poodle living a healthy life:

  • If your dog experiences any symptoms or signs of sickness, you need to take him to the vet for medical emergencies. Watch out for any symptoms and supervise your Toy Poodle at home, keeping him away from accidents and injuries.
  • Take your Toy Poodle to the vet for regular checkups and update his vaccinations. If possible, have your dog go through genetic testing and health clearances to know what to expect and how to prevent any inherited conditions or birth defects before the puppies are born.
  • Your Toy Poodle might have a few expensive tests and conditions to treat in the long run. Because of this, I recommend going to a pet insurance company and avail insurance for your dog. That can save you more money on pricey tests and cover vet bills in case of emergencies. 
  • Proper diet and exercise are critical for your dog to live a healthier life. Feed your dog quality food in amounts and give it 45 minutes of daily exercise.
  • Besides physical activities, provide mental stimulation in obedience training and games. Not only does this aid a Toy Poodle’s physical health, but mental health, too.
  • Regular grooming is a must to prevent skin conditions and allergies. Brush your dog’s coat daily, bathe it every 4-6 weeks. Prevent dental disease by brushing your Toy Poodle’s teeth every other day.