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
NutriSource Small & Medium Breed Puppy (this is their favorite brand)
Real Meat brand Beef Recipe Air-Dried Dog Food (this jerky-like food is great as a training treat or topper)
They also like the dehydrated Honest Kitchen Beef recipe for adults and puppies if you like a canned-food supplement. Just add water.
We like The Dog Food Advisor online to inform our dog food choices and to keep us aware of any recalls.
Be on the lookout for hypoglycemia
We hold on to our puppies for ten weeks to make low-blood sugar 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. If you are traveling a long distance with your puppy, you will be given a Karo Syrup syringe to squeeze into their mouth or rub on their gums for the following symptoms:
- Glassy-eyed appearance
- Unsteady walking
- Sudden onset of sleepiness, without the ability to wake easily
Karo syrup should revive your puppy in less than ten minutes. If not, take your puppy to the nearest vet as this is a life-threatening emergency.
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 and will thrive with praise whenever they go in the right place, whether outdoors, the potty pad, 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.
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.
Depending on the sire your puppy came from, your puppy may have received a half-dose of their shots because they are involved with a study to see if they get the required immune response. You are free to discuss your options with your vet. For instance, my vet says in humans, infants and adults get the exact same size vaccines because it’s about the particles in the vaccine, and a half dose might not give your puppy full immunity if some of the particles are missing.
If you have done your research and prefer a minimal vaccination protocol, you may have to sign a waiver to do so.
Your puppy has received at least one set of shots and were given dye-free children’s Benadryl at the same time to minimize the risks of serious adverse reactions. 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.
Some Mi-ki breeders have found that the “L” vaccines (Lyme and Lepto) are not always tolerated by Mi-kis. Talk to your vet about the risks of various diseases in your area. Should your puppy have a bad reaction to a shot, your vet may modify their schedule to include single-ingredient vaccines given over a longer period of time rather than broad-spectrum shots.
Once your puppy has received all of his or her shots, 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.
Please do not take your puppy to regular parks, dog parks, dog classes, or public/common dog rest areas until he or she has completed their vaccines. Otherwise, your puppy could come down with a very serious disease.
To get your puppy out and about and socialized with less danger, consider getting yourself a sling or handbag dog carrier. 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?) 🙂
Your Mi-ki is most likely of the long-coat variety which means they will require grooming. Some things you can do yourself but regular professional grooming (every 4-6 weeks) is recommended. 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 (which the 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. Keep in mind that Mi-kis with fully-shaved faces and muzzles may miss the aid of their whiskers as navigational and sensory tools, but this isn’t usually a significant problem for our highly domesticated and pampered pets.
It is recommended to comb 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. For best results, use a spray-on detangler like The Stuff for Dogs before combing your pet. We also like Cowboy Magic horse mane detangler to get out the worst mats. This will prevent breakage. After applying the detangler spray or cream, start at the legs and move up the body. Start with a wide-tooth comb or pin brush first and then move to a finer comb to finish. TV time is a great time to pamper your Mi-ki!
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.
Teeth. Small breeds are prone to dental problems. We use PlaqueOff Powder (I think it’s mostly kelp) daily in their food to minimize plaque. We also provide our dogs with plenty of chews like bully sticks and rawhide-free chews. We prefer 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.
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. 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 might 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. We also like the Always Bright Eyes -Tear Stain Remover set for Dogs And Cats. 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.
I have been grooming my own dogs for over 15 years. If you live in the Castle Rock area, I would love to groom your Mi-ki for you to your specifications. I have reasonable rates in order to get cuddle time with my former pups! I also offer pet photography services.
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 from Denver to Texas without vomiting!
Caution with children
It’s best to have children 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 supervise to make sure the play is gentle. Your Mi-ki has been pre-socialized with a semi-tolerant cat and a gentle Husky dog.
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 oils to my feet then put on my socks and shoes to minimize my pets’ exposure.
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!