OVERVIEW OF THE TOY POODLE
Considering their name, it is no surprise that toy poodles are small and cute enough to be considered your new favorite cuddly toy. Adding to their cuteness, they have friendly personalities to match and love playing or sitting with their owners for hours. Toy poodles genuinely want to be part of the family, which means that if you leave them out or neglect to give them the attention they want, they’ll let you know. While they can be active and playful, they are also great dogs for seniors, people with mobility issues, and ideal therapy dogs.
While standard, miniature, and toy poodles are all the same breed with a similar appearance, their size is a big differentiating factor. At around 10 inches tall and a weight of approximately 5 pounds, toy poodles are the smallest. Although they have a reputation for being pets of the rich and famous, they were initially bred as hunting dogs. In the late 18th century, they were featured in artwork by famous German artists and became popular as pets with the French aristocracy.
Poodles are among the top ten most popular dog breeds for a good reason: They are highly intelligent, trainable, and eager to please their pet parents.
TOY POODLE FOOD AND HEALTH
The toy poodle’s tiny size and bone structure make it somewhat fragile. Toy poodles can easily get injured if something falls on them or they accidentally get stepped on. They are also more prone to suffer from knee and hip problems as well as blood clotting disorders.
Despite their smaller size, the tiny pups have the same number of teeth as other poodle varieties. This makes dental care essential in looking after your toy poodle’s health.
To prevent gingivitis and plaque build-up, brush your pup’s teeth two to three times a week with dog-friendly toothpaste. Don’t ever use your own toothpaste since human toothpaste often contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
Their puppy teeth may sometimes stay intact after their adult teeth appear, making it necessary to pull the baby teeth if they cause trouble. Despite these health considerations, toy poodles live between 10 and 18 years, making them long-time companions.
When it comes to your pup’s diet, toy poodles generally do well with two to three small meals a day. Depending on their size and age, toy poodles only need around 150 to 325 calories daily, and you should also ensure that they get enough exercise. Avoid carrying them around everywhere you go, as tempting as it may be, since they will start to expect this royal treatment and become a little lazy.
Animal protein should comprise at least half of your pet’s diet and is best in the form of poultry, fish, lamb, or eggs on occasion. For example, a six-pound pup can enjoy a diet of 150 calories of protein daily in the form of 3 oz turkey breast, 6 oz chicken breast, or 3 oz salmon in addition to another 100 calories in the form of carbs and healthy fats.
Carbohydrates such as vegetables, starches, and even fruit can make up around one-quarter of your dog’s diet, although you should be picky about the products you choose. Potatoes, rice, and oatmeal are generally safe options, while corn, wheat products, onions, macadamia nuts, avocados, and grapes should all be avoided as they are either toxic to dogs or are common causes of allergies.
Although they only make up a small part of the dog’s diet (around 15%), fats are vital to keeping your pup’s skin healthy, improving brain function, fighting inflammation, and increasing immunity. Meat, an especially salmon, already includes some healthy fats with essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins. Other beneficial oils you can include in small amounts (1/4 teaspoon) are flax oil, virgin coconut oil, and safflower oil.
This diet recommendation should be adjusted if your pup shows signs of allergies or bloating. Allergies can manifest in the form of itchy ears, skin ailments, or a sick stomach. If you add any new foods to your dog’s diet, be sure to introduce them in small amounts and gradually increase them to regular portion sizes.
Part of looking after your toy poodle’s health includes giving it the attention it needs since the little pups can suffer separation anxiety if left alone for too long.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR TOY POODLE
Although poodles are great off-leash companions, they are also quite excitable. The small size of your toy pup means it can get lost or into trouble quite quickly. Avoid hard materials and collars against your toy poodle’s skin, and choose rolled material that won’t cause knots in its curly soft fur.
Too much pressure from collar-tugging or a front-clip harness can be harmful, causing protruding eyes, neck pain, and limited blood flow. The recommended type of harness for a small dog like a toy poodle is a V-neck, back-clip harness. This harness still gives you control and allows guidance without hurting or damaging its fragile constitution and bone structure. It also is less likely to get tangled during walks.
If you want a name collar for your toy poodle, make sure it is lightweight and soft. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck easily to prevent discomfort and choking.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR TOY POODLES
Since toy poodles are companion dogs and consider themselves part of the family, they’ll spend most of their time with you, whether inside or outside. Their small bodies feel extreme temperatures quickly, so it is vital that they have a safe, warm, and comfortable place to sleep indoors.
If you need to get a crate for transport or travel, it is essential that there is enough airflow and that you get the correct size. To determine the size, measure your dog from the base of the tail to the tip of its nose and add four inches for the length. For the height, measure from the tallest point of the head to the ground and add four inches. Extra small dogs usually do well in crates between 18 and 22 inches, while small size dog crates are generally 24 inches.
Soft crates are ideal for these small dogs from a comfort perspective. They are, however, difficult to clean and not as durable as plastic and metal crate types. If your pet is still a puppy, keep in mind that it will grow, so you may want to opt for a toy poodle adult-size crate to avoid needing to get another one as it grows.
When it comes to your dog’s bed, there are several options that will suit the little pup well. Some dogs instinctively curl up into a ball when they sleep to protect their organs and retain body heat. Donut-shaped beds make for a comfortable, inexpensive, and cozy option. They come in a range of different colors, sizes, and fabrics, are easy to move around and feel secure.
Two other bed types suitable for older toy poodles or those with arthritis or other health problems are memory foam and orthopedic dog beds. If your dog is not sleeping comfortably at night, a memory foam mattress may help by eliminating pressure points and molding perfectly to your pup’s body for ultimate comfort.
Orthopedic beds are ideal for dogs with muscle, joint, or hip problems. Providing the right back and neck support can promote recovery at night, improve mobility, and alleviate pain. Always take into account how easy it is to clean the bed, whether the cover is removable, and if it is machine-washable.
Since toy poodles are indoor dogs, you most likely won’t need a doghouse or kennel. If you want one, consider the size and ensure it will provide protection and optimal temperature control.
BEST TOYS FOR TOY POODLES
When it comes to choosing the best toys for your pup, you need to consider its life stage, size, high level of intelligence, and how much time it’ll be alone at home.
While your toy poodle is still a puppy, teething toys can help ease discomfort in its mouth as adult teeth start to appear. Some teething toys are flavored and have small, raised bumps that help massage your pup’s gums, while others can be frozen, which helps ease gum swelling. A teething toy will also be a beneficial distraction instead of having your furniture, or new shoes chomped.
Your toy poodle is a small dog, so don’t play fetch with large items it’ll struggle with. Small squeaky toys are engaging, fun, and durable. To engage your brainiac’s intelligence, give it a treat-dispensing toy. Some models allow you to fill a plastic ball with small treats, choose a difficulty level, and let your pup enjoy an interactive and engaging endeavor.
Since toy poodles love having their pet parents around, leaving them home alone for hours can be distressing. A companion toy can ease anxiety as it provides your fur-baby comfort and a sense of security. Companion toys come in various designs, either as a pillow, teddy bear, or other soft toy shapes. The snuggly toy simulates the sound of a heartbeat and provides body warmth, providing your pup with a soothing companion at any time. Some designs allow you to turn either feature on or off individually and even to set a timer.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR TOY POODLE OWNERS
Whether your toy poodle is black, gray, auburn, white, golden, or brown, these cuties are known to have a medium curly coat with infrequent shedding. This makes them great apartment pets and suitable for owners with allergies. It does mean that their coat will need a lot of brushing and grooming, however.
Since poodle hair is naturally curly, it is prone to matting if not taken care of. Matting can cause skin infections which will require your furry pup to be shaved. To avoid skin issues, toy poodles should be brushed daily and need a shampoo and haircut every four to six weeks. Make sure the fur style is easy to maintain. Keep their nails trimmed regularly, and pay special attention to your pet’s ears since hair can grow inside the ear canal. Untended hair growth in the ear canal can result in trapped dirt and wax, which can lead to infections.
BEST TOY POODLE ACCESSORIES
Taking care of your toy poodle will require a few handy accessories. Although you can just use any brush or feeding bowl, there are options designed to make life a little easier for you and more comfortable for your pup.
Small-sized slicker brushes, for example, are ideal if you have a toy poodle since they make brushing out tangles easy and can be more beneficial to maintaining skin and coat health than using any old brush or comb. If you opt for a comb, pick stainless steel and antibacterial option with rounded tips for safety.
If your dog is getting on in years and struggling to get up onto the couch or cannot get into the car, get a set of dog stairs or even a vehicle ramp to make it easier and safer. Even if toy poodles have joint troubles, they sometimes take the plunge off the couch or bed when they get excited—making it a little easier to get up and down can prevent further injury.
If you and your furry best friend love going to the beach, going for walks, or even doing road trips together, a dog travel water bottle is a must. These water bottles have a foldable flap that allows the water to flow directly into a small bowl for your pup to drink easily while on the go – mess-free!
Check out our breed hub page to learn more about small breeds like toy poodles.