When I first met Anya, one of the first things the employee at Noah’s warned me about was leading the Anya by a collar. She said I needed to make sure I used a harness.
I was startled. I’d always used a collar when leading dogs and never had a problem. I managed to swallow my instinctive sarcasm and not point out that at that very moment, the only thing Anya was wearing was a bright green collar.
Luckily, The Noah Project is run by wonderful people who not only want to find homes for the dog and cats they take in, but who are also interested in making sure all adopters are properly educated. She said that toy breeds, such as chiweenies, are prone to a medical condition called collapsing trachea, and that when a small dog yanks against a collar as some are prone to doing, it can cause the trachea to collapse, leading to problems.
Since I’m not the type of person who takes anyone’s word for anything, I went home, booted up the computer, and did some research. It turns out that pulling on the collar isn’t the only thing that can cause a chiweenie’s trachea to collapse. Coughing and over-exertion is also a problem. The condition is most common in toy breeds who have passed their 5th birthday.
The good news is that most dogs who have a collapsing trachea are able to live long and full lives, provided their monitored and otherwise remain in good health. However, it’s also important to acknowledge that not all dogs are so lucky. Some struggle to enjoy a high quality of life after their trachea has collapsed and require a great deal of medical care and attention. In some extreme cases, surgery is required to correct the problem.
Rather than deal with a serious and potentially life threatening problem, I suggest you fit your chiweenie for a really nice harness. If you have a little one who likes to pull, look for an anti-pulling harness. There are some really nice front leading ones that are a great choice for a Chiweenie who is just learning how to walk on a leash.
Oh yeah, before I forget. The friend who was with me at the time asked about using a dog head halter on Anya, which was also discouraged because they have a tendency to slide into the little dog’s eyes. Chiweenie noses just aren’t long enough to manage the halter.
Good luck and don’t forget to give your chiweenie an extra cuddle from me.
Written by Jess Schira