Congratulations on your new Mi-Ki Puppy! Here are some tips and products we use for a great start to a lifetime of health, happiness, and fun with your Mi-Ki.
Food and Treats
Due to the recent current events, we’ve switched to the more readily-available Royal Canin X-Small Puppy and Purina Pro Plan Focus Toy Breed Puppy Chicken and Rice (which gets 4 stars on the Dog Food Advisor) over some of the more exotic brands we’ve used in the past. Since we’ve recently had trouble finding the Royal Canin brand, we’ve also added Diamond Naturals Small Breed Puppy Chicken and Rice as one of our brands. This also gets a great rating on the Dog Food Advisor.
We recommend keeping kibble on the ground and available at all times to keep your puppy from experiencing hypoglycemia.
Real Meat Air-Dried Dog Food, Beef. This jerky-like food is great as a training treat or topper.
We’ve found that even the pickiest eaters like the Royal Canin Puppy Appetite Stimulation canned food, though it is expensive. We also like Nutro and Merrick small breed puppy trays.
We like The Dog Food Advisor online to inform our dog food choices and to keep us aware of any recalls.
Your puppy is fond of bully sticks bites.
Be on the lookout for hypoglycemia
We usually hold on to our puppies for ten weeks or until they weigh 2 pounds to make hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) less of a risk. Be aware that toy breed puppies don’t have much in the way of reserves, so even after a long play session, they can deplete themselves. Mi-Ki puppies need access to food and water at all times.
Tiny puppies should be supplemented with Forti Cal twice a day to help keep their blood sugar levels stable.
If you are traveling a long distance with your puppy, you will be given a vial of liquid Forti Cal for a pre-trip low blood sugar preventative. You will also receive a back-up treatment of a Karo Syrup syringe to squeeze about .5 mL into their mouth or rub on their gums for the following symptoms:
- Glassy-eyed appearance
- Pale gums
- Unsteady walking/dizziness
- Sudden onset of sleepiness, without the ability to wake easily
Karo syrup should revive your puppy during a hypoglycemic episode in less than ten minutes. If not, repeat the Karo dose of .5 mL on the gums. If your puppy isn’t improved, take your puppy to the nearest vet as this is a life-threatening emergency. Read more about preventing and treating hypoglycemia in Mi-Ki puppies in our blog.
Use a pet playpen or large crate to keep your puppy safe during alone time
While many larger puppies do well with crate training, Mi-Kis are too small to be confined to a small space without food or water for more than short periods of time. We advocate free feeding and regular access to water to allow your puppy to keep their blood sugar levels even and to stay hydrated.
When your puppy needs to be left alone, leave them in a large crate or puppy playpen, give your puppy spill-proof bowls, toys, bedding, and a potty pad (preferably one with a grate cover to keep your puppy from shredding the pad.) Your puppy’s playpen will be their safe retreat while you’re gone or during active gatherings at your home.
Your puppy has been working on potty pad training with a grate cover and will thrive with praise whenever they go in the right place, whether outdoors, the potty pad, indoor faux grass patch, indoor real grass patch, or a litter box. If going outdoors, always stay near your puppy so they aren’t taken by predators (hawks, coyotes, etc.) Be sure to pick up solid waste promptly to discourage your puppy from playing with it or even eating it. Puppies have witnessed their mothers clean the nest by eating their poop, so it’s not unusual for them to try it. Tell them “No” firmly if they start to eat poop but never hit your Mi-Ki. They are fragile. Coprophagia deterrents may also be helpful.
Because of their small size, Mi-Kis have to be lured into the desired behaviors rather than pushed or forced. We definitely recommend positive training methods. Usual training methods, such as pushing a puppy into a “sit” could injure their hips. A great small-breed training guide is the book Little Dogs: Training Your Pint-Sized Companion by Deborah Wood.
Consider training at home, private training lessons, or classes designed for smaller breeds to keep your little dog from being injured or scared by large dogs. It’s important to make sure your puppy has received all their vaccinations before attending group classes.
Please do not use a choke collar on your Mi-Ki. In fact, a choke-free harness is preferred for training and walks. Their tiny necks are vulnerable to having a collapsed trachea. Only use collars for identifications purposes. A “kindness” style show lead is an acceptable option for show dogs when used with a loose lead.
Your puppy has received at least one set of shots. For future vaccinations, consider having dye-free children’s Benadryl on hand in case your puppy develops adverse reactions to their vaccine. A common reaction in Mi-Ki puppies is some mild swelling at the injection site and tenderness. Most shots are given on the left side of your puppy’s rib cage or shoulder except for rabies, which is given on the right. Keep this in mind when carefully picking up your Mi-Ki after their vaccines.
Mi-Ki breeders and owners have found that the “L” vaccines (Lyme and Lepto) are not well tolerated by Mi-Kis. Talk to your vet about the risks of various diseases in your area. Should your puppy require Lyme or Lepto vaccines, please have your vet modify their schedule so that these highly reactive vaccines are given alone – never in combination with other shots.
The dangers of over-vaccinating
I’ve talked with some Mi-Ki owners whose dogs received too many vaccines at once and nearly died. One such owner was advised that her Mi-Ki should not receive any more vaccinations ever or it would kill her.
Please limit the number of vaccines your puppy receives at one time. Never get your puppy their rabies shot in combination with other vaccines. Additionally, it is important to space other veterinary procedures such as spaying or neutering, dental work, away from vaccinations as it is too much for a tiny body to deal with at one time.
Once your puppy has received all of his or her vaccinations, in subsequent years, getting your Mi-Ki titer testing will show their immunity levels to help inform your future vaccination decisions. Many people believe that our pets are over-vaccinated and are having negative health consequences (i.e., autoimmune diseases) because of state mandates. Consider going to a holistic vet if your regular vet is adamant about a heavy vaccination schedule.
Do not take your puppy to regular parks, dog parks, dog classes, or public/common dog rest areas until he or she has completed all of his/her vaccines. Otherwise, your puppy could come down with a very serious disease.
To get your puppy out and about and socialize with less danger, consider getting yourself a sling or handbag dog carrier. Some people even like to use a dog stroller. This will minimize their exposure to disease, keep them from getting stepped on, and keep large dogs from hurting your small puppy. Plus, everyone will love seeing your Mi-Ki up close! (Did you remember our business cards?)
Preregistered Microchips are Now Included!
We are are now providing your new puppy with a mini Microchip with a lifetime guarantee and preregistration. This is an international-approved ISO microchip to ensure that even our world travelers will be able to find their way home.
Before you leave with your new puppy, we will go over the microchip registration process together to make sure your Mi-Ki will always find their way home. Royal T Mi-Kis is listed as a secondary contact so that in the event that something happens to you, your dog will always have a place to call home.
Should you not want to have your pup microchipped, please let us know before they are 8 weeks of age.
Your Mi-Ki is most likely of the long-coat variety which means they will require skilled grooming. We send our puppies home with several basic grooming tools for you to use until they’ve completed their vaccines and are eligible for professional grooming.
In addition to regular home care, i.e., brushing/combing at least once a week, your Mi-Ki will most likely require going to a professional groomer every 4-6 weeks. Be sure your groomer is familiar with the special needs of small breeds.
You can have your Mi-Ki kept in a puppy cut for ease or go for the long Mi-Ki show cut. The show style varies from registry to registry. Some shave the dome of the head and in front of the ears while leaving the ears, mustache, and beard. Others shave off the entire muzzle and head (leaving the ears long). Others prefer a more natural long look all over, only using thinning shears around the ears to keep the distinctive, mobile Mi-Ki ears visible.
Mi-Kis can have cottony coats that mat easily or silky coats. Some have very shiny hair that hardly ever mats. I’ve found that cottony coats are easiest to maintain in a puppy cut.
Grooming your Mi-Ki at home
You’ll need to groom your Mi-Ki yourself between professional grooming visits once a week. Use a slicker brush and comb on Mi-Ki hair to ensure any mats and tangles are eliminated all the way to the skin. Never comb or brush a dirty or completely dry coat to prevent coat breakage. For best results, use a spray-on conditioner like The Stuff for Dogs before and during combing or brushing your pet.
We like Cowboy Magic horse mane detangler with a V-rake comb to get out the worst mats. Trimming behind mats with thinning shears also loosens them enough to comb out without leaving a harsh hole of missing hair.
After applying a conditioning spray or cream to the coat, start at the legs and move up the body. Start with pin brush, then a slicker brush. Then use the wide-tooth part of a double-sided comb and then move to the finer comb to finish. TV time is a great time to pamper your Mi-Ki!
Small breeds are prone to dental problems. We use PlaqueOff Powder (made of kelp) daily in their food to minimize plaque. We also use Oxyfresh water additive for fresh breath and tartar control. We provide our dogs with plenty of chews like bully sticks and rawhide-free chews. We recommend chews made in the USA. There are also some great dental dog toys out there. You may also prefer to brush your dog’s teeth daily. Despite these preventative measures, your Mi-Ki will probably need a yearly professional cleaning from your veterinarian or anesthesia-free dental cleanings that are now available in some areas.
Paw and Nail Care
Your professional groomer will keep your dog’s fur between their pads shaved and their nails trimmed to prevent your pet’s paws from becoming misshapen and to keep them cleaner. If you choose to maintain your dog’s nails yourself, a nail grinder is a handy tool that helps you avoid the quick (the blood supply), which is very helpful for dogs with dark nails. Cat nail trimmers are ideal for Mi-Kis. Your puppy’s dew claws were humanely removed as newborns for safety.
Tear staining and eye gunk
If your dog is light-colored, he or she will most likely get tear stains. Most Mi-Kis get eye secretions occasionally. My vet says there is evidence that dogs on a pork diet have fewer tear stains. Keep your pet’s inner eye area shaved or trimmed with blunt scissors.
Cleaning the eye area daily with contact lens solution and a cotton pad is an easy way to keep your puppy’s eyes looking fresh and clean.
We also like the Always Bright Eyes -Tear Stain Remover set for Dogs And Cats. We’ve also had improvement using Vet Classics Tear Stain Chews (cut in half.) Our most fabulous hint for eye and beard debris is to buy yourself a flea comb. Once your pet’s facial area is moistened, the flea comb will remove all the gunky debris.
Stairs and ramps for furniture
Letting your small dog jump up and down off of furniture can cause injuries, especially in developing puppies. There are several styles of pet ramps and stairs available that will help your puppy get up and down off of couches and beds with ease.
After trying a half dozen products for puppies that get sick in the car, we found that HomeoPet Travel Anxiety is the easiest to administer and is most effective. In fact, one of our puppies that had been dealing with car sickness was able to travel peacefully by car from Denver to their new home Texas without vomiting!
Caution with children
Children will need to be taught to sit down and hold a puppy rather than let them carry them around. Mi-Ki puppies are wiggly and prone to jump. Trust me, you don’t want to end up with a broken bone or a neck or head injury on a tiny puppy! Always supervise children and any pet, especially small ones! At my house, sometimes a child will forget they left a puppy on a couch without any stairs. If the puppy jumps and lands hard, it can cause injuries.
Caution with bigger dogs and cats
Large dogs can easily injure your puppy, either intentionally or not. Curious Mi-Kis will likely chase a cat and possibly get a scratch to the eye. Always make introductions with other pets slowly and with close supervision to make sure the play is gentle. Your Mi-Ki has been pre-socialized with a semi-tolerant cat and other Mi-Kis. We also introduce our puppies to larger breeds so they are familiar with big dogs.
In public, always be aware of other people’s dogs. Train your puppy the “Lift up” command that alerts them when you’re going to pick them up. That way, you’ll be ready for a quick rescue should a threatening animal approach.
Caution with essential oils
While some essential oils can be beneficial to animals, some can hurt them. If you use essential oils on yourself or with a diffuser, be sure that your puppy can exit the room if they need to. I tend to apply my essential oils to my feet then put on my socks and shoes to minimize my pets’ exposure.
When should I have my Mi-Ki Spayed or Neutered?
We suggest having males neutered between 8-12 months. Because of the recent UC Davis study on the effects of spaying/neutering dogs, we now recommend waiting until female Mi-Kis are 24 months old before spaying to prevent an increased risk of cancer. To learn more about spaying and neutering, please read our blog on the topic. Puppy panties lined with cut-up sanitary napkins are an easy way to mange your female’s heat cycle.
This guide is not exhaustive, but it’s a start. Should you have any questions, you and your Mi-Ki get a lifetime of support with us. If we don’t have the answers, we will find them for you!
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