Top 5 Health Conditions for Small Dog Breeds

While small dogs typically have long life spans, their small size can correlate with a number of unique health concerns. These health concerns affect everything from their teeth to their knees, and small dog owners should be prepared in case a big problem arises.

Trupanion, a medical insurance provider for cats and dogs, looked into its database to find the top five health conditions that affect small dogs more frequently than large dog breeds.

1. Medial Luxating Patella

2. Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)

3. Pancreatitis

4. Conditions relating to the eyes

5. Conditions relating to the mouth

trupanion small dog 3Some of these conditions can be very costly and they can occur at any age. A luxating patella, common in Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, can expect to incur an average of over $1,200 on average in veterinary costs in a given year. IVDD, often affecting Dachshunds and French Bulldogs can cost over $1,000 on average in a given year. Pancreatitis, common in Miniature Pinschers and Dachshunds can be around $1,000 on average. Eye conditions, common in Cocker Spaniels and Pomeranians, and oral conditions, common in Pugs and Pomeranians, can be around $280 and $500, respectively.

In general, the smaller the package, the bigger the risk for injuries. Small dogs can often become injured jumping from the couch or out of their owner’s arms. This is especially true with puppies, whose tiny limbs are still growing.

“All dog owners should be diligent in monitoring their pup’s health,” said Kerri Marshall, DVM, Trupanion’s Chief Veterinary Officer. “While we can’t prevent some of these common conditions from occurring, we can prepare for them.”

Dr. Marshall recommends pet owners take their pet to the veterinarian if they notice any abnormal signs—whether that be a limp or bad breath—and treat conditions early. She is also encourages medical insurance for your small dog.

“Medical insurance for your small dog can help you financially prepare for any injury or illness your dog may have throughout the course of their life. With how costly these common conditions can be, insurance can eliminate that financial burden, and allow them to get the best care.” Dr. Marshall said.

For additional information on specific small dog breeds and what to watch out for, visit Trupanion’s Dog Breed Guide and talk to your veterinarian. For more information on Trupanion, visit

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