Not many Poodle lovers know this, but there’s a fourth Poodle variety. We’re not only talking about the Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle. Teacup Poodles exist, and as the name suggests, they are the smallest among the bunch.
When you see a Teacup Poodle, you immediately think, “Oh, what an adorable teddy bear; I can keep it in my pocket.” And it’s true, as Teacup Poodles are less than 9 inches and weigh less than 6 pounds!
But with their small size, Teacup Poodles are at risk of numerous health conditions, especially if they come from an unethical breeder.
This article will show you the common diseases of the Teacup Poodle to see if it’s worth owning one.
Teacup Poodle Common Issues
The American Kennel Club does not recognize Teacup Poodles as an official breed. These Poodles are usually born in puppy mills, cared for by a so-called reputable breeder. Unfortunately, many people still purchase these dogs for thousands of dollars because of their small size and “designer” breed.
A Teacup Poodle has numerous health concerns because of the unethical breeding practices and its size. Teacup Poodles tend to suffer from crippling birth defects that turn into lifelong health problems, more so than other Poodle varieties.
While Teacup Poodles can live for 8-15 years on average, they require a lot of care. These are diseases and genetic issues you must watch out for with this popular teacup variation:
Heart Disease and Heart Defects
Teacup dog breeds are at high risk of heart disease due to genetic predispositions.
Chronic valvular disease makes up to 75% of heart disease cases in the teacup variation. It starts with a heart murmur, the first recognized sign, which can progress to heart failure because the heart valves weaken as time passes.
Other signs of heart disease in the teacup variation include excessive panting, rapid breathing, coughing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and fainting. If you see your Teacup Poodle experiencing any of these symptoms, take it to the vet right away.
Dogs are creatures of habit, including the Teacup variation. If a dog feels its routine was compromised, such as an unexpected car trip to the veterinarian, it can cause stress.
While stress is normal, it’s more concerning with Teacup dogs, who tend to be more fragile. Also, since pet owners tend to hold their Teacup puppy more, it leads to more stress and separation anxiety when your dog’s left alone.
Stressed dogs would try hiding and burrowing out of sight. A Teacup Poodle would also bark, whimper, or tremble a lot.
Reduce stress in Teacup Poodles to prevent health risks by providing them a calm environment. Avoid exposing your dog to loud noises and strangers, primary stressors in Teacup dog breeds.
Because of their teacup size, Teacup dog breeds risk low blood sugar levels when they go without food for long periods. If untreated, severely low blood sugar levels can cause seizures or even a coma.
Prevent hypoglycemia by ensuring your Teacup Poodle has access to enough food and water throughout the day.
Here are the symptoms of dogs that experience. drop in blood sugar:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Low energy levels
If your Teacup Poodle suffers from one or more of these symptoms, take him to the veterinarian immediately.
In dogs, the liver shunt is a birth defect, wherein a liver’s major blood vessel will direct blood around it rather than through it.
Besides Teacup dog breeds, Pugs, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terriers are prone to this birth defect.
The primary sign of liver shunt in dogs is the organ’s failure to thrive, resulting in weakness, malnutrition, and stunted growth. Dogs may also suffer from neurological abnormalities since the ammonia levels increase in blood because of liver dysfunction.
The optimum treatment of liver shunt is surgery with hospitalization and supportive long-term care.
If your dog cannot undergo surgery, the veterinarian will medically manage the condition. Such treatment includes a low-protein diet, medications for managing toxins in the blood, and antibiotics for healthy gut function.
Hydrocephalus is a condition directly translating to “water on the brain.” It’s a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. The excess fluid adds pressure on the brain, either present at birth or happening later in life due to inflammation or trauma.
Numerous teacup dog breeds are predisposed to hydrocephalus, resulting in dome-shaped heads.
These are the signs of hydrocephalus:
- Enlarged skull
- Behavioral changes
- Difficulty in learning the basic commands
There are treatments for this condition, including instilling a shunt in the brain and draining cerebrospinal fluid build-up in the abdomen.
Note that the surgery is costly and specialized. Because of that, many pet owners choose medical management to control seizures and brain inflammation. You can also opt for diuretics, drawing excess fluid from the brain.
Unfortunately, if the disease is too severe or progresses, then euthanasia might be the kindest choice.
Besides that, Teacup Poodles are prone to open fontanelles, which causes a soft spot on the skill. The soft spot doesn’t close because of stunted growth, so affected dogs are more vulnerable to sudden death after experiencing trauma.
Teacup dogs have tiny bladders that match their teacup size. Because of that, you need to take your dog for constant bathroom breaks. If you skip bathroom breaks or your pet suffers from stress or anxiety, it can lead to incontinence.
We suggest setting alarms on your phone to take your dog out for bathroom breaks. Also, you may want to housetrain your dog inside, given their size. You can give them a dog litter box or turf potty patch.
Some of the symptoms of incontinence include:
- Skin redness
- Bad smell
- Excessive licking
Besides scheduling bathroom breaks, you may also want to use dog diapers, like a baby.
While you might want to limit your dog’s water intake, do NOT do so until you have consulted your veterinarian first. Dehydration may also result in secondary conditions like hypoglycemia or urinary tract infections.
Teacup Poodles are as fragile as they appear, making them at risk of bone fractures and joint conditions.
That’s because these dogs don’t have much-supporting muscle surrounding long bones, unlike larger dogs. Furthermore, they have very tiny bones, so minor traumatic impact or a short fall can cause a fracture.
Ensure your Teacup Poodle doesn’t jump from elevated surfaces to prevent injuries. Please do puppy-proof your home with baby gates to restrict access to more dangerous areas of your home. Furthermore, make sure you, your family, and guests are mindful of where you step to avoid tripping or stepping on the tiny dog.
Watch out for these signs of a bone fracture:
- Pain and swelling
Stabilize the affected area and take your dog to the vet for immediate treatment if such symptoms occur.
The Teacup Poodle’s fragile body is not the best for families because children may handle and play with them roughly.
Besides fractures, Teacup Poodles are at risk of other joint conditions, like other Poodles.
Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are prevalent among Teacup Poodles. These are conditions that cause joint instabilities, which cause pain.
Teacup Poodles may also suffer from patellar luxation, also called slipped kneecaps. It’s an injury occurring from jumping off elevated surfaces.
What Else Should You Know?
Besides the conditions mentioned above, Teacup Poodles are prone to the following diseases:
- Heart murmurs
- Blindness from Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Ear infections
- Skin allergies
- Respiratory issues
- Conditions related to the adrenal glands, such as Cushing’s syndrome and Addison’s disease
All these conditions are fatal if left untreated, which is why it’s crucial to monitor your pet for any symptoms he suffers from and to take him to the vet for any suspicions.
While Teacup Poodles look incredibly adorable, they are bound to suffer from numerous common health issues that decrease their quality of life.
Before you consider getting a Teacup Poodle, think of the initial costs you’ll spend on a breeder, along with the long-term medical expenses in the long run. If you plan to get a Teacup Poodle, it’s best to avail pet health insurance and take your dog to regular veterinarian sessions to prevent and treat certain conditions.
Moreover, prepare for owning a small dog like the Teacup Poodle, provide the specific care requirements he needs. That includes the following:
Ask the veterinarian for the kind of dog food your Teacup Poodle should have, based on his age, gender, activity level, and any conditions he has. Feed your Teacup Poodle the right amount of food daily to avoid malnutrition or obesity. Half a cup of dry food made for small dogs is best.
This small dog doesn’t require as much exercise as its larger Poodle varieties in terms of exercise requirements. 20-30 minutes of daily exercise through walks and playtime are enough. Use a harness over a collar during walks to prevent injuring their small neck.
Besides daily exercise, you should incorporate daily training sessions while your dog is still young. Begin with housetraining and crate training, then move towards obedience training. Socialization at an early age is vital, so your Teacup Poodle feels at ease around strangers and other animals.
You need to brush your Teacup Poodle’s fur every day to prevent matting and tangles, which can cause skin conditions. Bath them every 4-6 weeks, and clean their eyes and ears weekly to prevent infections around sensitive areas. Tear stains are standard in Teacup Poodles, so you can use a tear stain remover to take them out gently.
Clip your Teacup Poodle’s nails and brush its teeth every other day to prevent dental diseases or discomfort from long nails.
Make sure veterinarians fully vaccinate your Teacup Poodle against certain diseases and that you take it to the veterinarian regularly. It’s also best to conduct genetic testing to know what your dog is at risk of so you know what to prevent.
Should You Get a Teacup Poodle?
With all these health problems and ethical issues listed, we don’t recommend getting a Teacup Poodle. It’s best to purchase or adopt one of the registered and recognized Poodle varieties, which are:
- Standard Poodles
- Miniature Poodles
- Toy Poodles
And other hybrid Poodle breeds that the American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize but are under mixed breed clubs.
Not only are Teacup Poodles prone to more health conditions and require higher levels of care, but they also come with higher initial costs and medical expenses for life. And you wouldn’t want to impose a poor quality of life on your pet just because the small size looks adorable!
Furthermore, many unethical breeders choose to breed dogs in unsanitary environments and unsafe practices.
But if you do plan on getting a Teacup Poodle, make sure you go to a reputable breeder who can provide health clearances and answer your queries.