Caring For Your Puppy

Teacup Poodles are as healthy as larger poodles but are just in smaller bodies. They have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. The teacup is considered to be two to four pounds and eight inches or less at maturity. The American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the teacup size and registers them as toys. People split the toy size down into toys, tiny toys and teacups.

Most responsible poodle breeders keep teacup poodles until they are at least 12 weeks of age. By that time the tiny puppy is usually eating sufficiently and will transfer to their new home with a minimal amount of stress.

When your puppy first arrives at his new home he can easily become stressed. The trip to his new home, leaving all his friends, a new home and new owners are all stressors. Stress can activate Coccidia, which is a parasite that all pups are born with. It remains dormant and causes no problem unless the pup becomes stressed out. Stress activates the parasite, which then causes diarrhea. If your new pup develops diarrhea soon after arriving you must seek vet intervention. Only medication will treat this parasite.

Teacup puppies are prone to have a sugar low (hypoglycemia) if they do not eat enough or do not eat often enough. They should outgrow this problem by the time they are four to five months old. To prevent sugar lows we recommend you institute a couple of things. The first is to put karo syrup in the pups drinking water (1 tsp. per cup of water). This makes the water sweetened water and even if your pup is not eating enough, as long as he is still drinking water, the sweetened water will help prevent a sugar low. We also recommend the new owner use Nutrical. It is a high calorie nutritional supplement that the pups love. We give it to all small pups at bedtime and each morning. We recommend you do likewise. If you anticipate being gone for several hours at a time we also urge you give Nutrical to your tiny pup before you leave. The use of Nutrical, in addition to the karo syrup, will decrease the possibility of your pup having a sugar low. A ¼ to 1/3 inch of Nutrical each time is sufficient. Continue both the karo syrup and Nutrical until the pup is four to five months of age. (Nutrical can be purchased at most pet stores locally and on the Internet.)

If your pup should experience a sugar low he will act very tired and uninterested in playing. He will be unsteady on his feet when you stand him up. He will be sleepy. If you notice these symptoms and you suspect he has not eaten in several hours we urge you to give him one cc of Karo syrup slowly by mouth and wrap him in something to keep him warm. If the problem is a sugar low the pup should be back on his feet playing and running in thirty minutes. If the Karo syrup corrects the problem you must then get the pup to eat something. If the Karo syrup does not correct the problem within 30 minutes you will need to seek vet assistance. An untreated sugar low can worsen to a coma, seizures and death for the pup.

A teacup that is 12 weeks of age is usually eating dry food. They usually eat dry food better if it is the small bite variety that is offered by several dog food makers such as Eukanuba, Science Diet and Purina Pro Plan. A young pup needs to have access to his food at all times or be fed at least 4 times each day. Teacup pups eat only a small amount of food at any one time. We often call it grazing. If you are concerned that your pup is not eating enough you can put warm water over some dry food to make it soggy. The pup will probably think it is a treat and gobble it up. This will work for a while but you will eventually need to get your pup to eat his food dry. Dry food is better for the teeth as it does not stick to them like soft food does.

A teacup puppy should not be left alone for long periods of time. If left alone he probably will be unhappy, will not eat, and then will experience a sugar low. It is best if arrangements can be made to take him to work with you or to leave him with someone while you are at work. If those options are not possible perhaps someone can check on the pup at short intervals to let him know he has not been forgotten and to encourage him to eat. After the pup has adjusted to his new home and gotten a little older this might not be necessary.

Playtime for a young teacup should be held to short intervals of no longer than 45 minutes to one hour. Since they are so small and eat only small amounts at a time they tend to run out of energy quickly. Extended play times can cause a sugar low. After each play time interval the pup should be given time to eat and nap. As they get older their play times can be extended.

All pups need routine dental care but with teacups it is even more important. Because of their small size and small mouths a teacup has shorter dental roots thus they are at risk of creating dental cavities quicker which lead to earlier tooth extractions. Preventive dental care is very important for a teacup.

Remember that all puppies are close to the floor, especially teacup pups. If you drop a pill, a staple, or anything else that could be harmful if swallowed you must find it and pick it up. A pup is inquisitive and he assumes anything found on the floor is his for the taking. A pill for a person can quickly kill a puppy.

With a little common sense and a lot of love, the puppy will quickly integrate with your family and merit a special place in your heart for years to come.

Edna and John Arnold