Small breed dog food – does your Morkie need it?

Small breed dog food – does your Morkie need it?

Small breed dog food is the latest spin manufacturers are putting on commercial pet foods… but do small dogs need a special diet? And why are these so formulas much more money than food for ‘full size’ dogs?  More about the industry’s latest scheme.

There are dozens of special foods on the market now specially made for toy dog breeds; they are the latest from manufacturers like Wellness, Nutro, Blue Wilderness and a host of others.

But are they actually unique? And does your Morkie need to be on one of these small breed dog foods?


Today’s dogs are meant to eat MEAT. But plant material can’t hurt them, just fill them up. That’s something small dogs do not need; instead, every bite they eat should be maximum  nutrition.

All dogs need the same, good nutrition

Dogs are carnivores, not matter their size. Some experts say they are also omnivores – or eaters of just about anything. Their teeth are definitely for eating meat. But their intestines are longer than cats, who are true carnivores. So dogs CAN digest some amount of plant material.

A dog’s ancestor, the grey wolf, is primarily a carnivore. But dogs adapted over time to be scavengers, picking up the leftovers from humans, and generally eating whatever they could find. Meat was preferred, but not too many dogs will turn down a biscuit.


Commercial diets with plant filler

Any food with corn as its first ingredient, is not top quality nutrition. Corn is used for one reason only – it is an inexpensive filler.

Corn is a contentious subject in the world of dog food, Some experts claim dogs can get nutritional value from corn; others say, they can’t really digest corn, so it’s of little value.

Corn is a cheap filler, and small dogs like Morkies don’t need fillers. Every bite they eat should be nutritious since they’re so small.


What ARE the nutritional needs of a toy dog?

Toys need a quality diet of protein, fats and carbohydrates*. Carbs are starred, because they’re not technically NEEDED, but are usually the carriers of important vitamins, minerals and plant-based nutrients.

But guess what? Any size dog needs a quality diet of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

pet food treats in a dog bowl

Just some of the well-known commercial dog foods that have corn as their #1 ingredient:

Everpet Dog Food (Dry)
Gravy Train
Kal Kan Dog Food (Dry)
Kibbles ‘n Bits
Purina Dog Chow
Ol’ Roy Dog Food (Dry)
Pedigree Dog Food (Dry)

Hill’s Science Diet (Canned)

How important is small size kibble?

If you feed your Morkie a dry diet (kibble) how important is the SIZE of the kibble pieces?

Many Vets recommend that you add water – an equal amount as the kibble – to the meal before you give it to your dog. That’s because kibble diets can be very drying and can even result in dehydration.

So if you follow that advice, the size of the kibble doesn’t really matter, since it will soften right down.

Otherwise, the kibble size shouldn’t be an issue. Look at how a toy dog will grab onto a meaty raw bone and you’ll see there’s nothing too big for these guys!


Your Best Bet for Toy Dog Diets

 If you feed your Morkie commercial dog food, look for:


  • good quality food, with a high levels of protein
  • without fillers like corn, soybeans or glutens (if they’re listed in the first 5 ingredients, try another brand)
  • add at least some fresh food to your dog’s diet, by hand; a little bit of beef or chicken (raw or cooked); veggies your dog might like and even fruit. 
  • keep training treats very small
  • no other snacks
  • food consistently available throughout the day, to stave off hypoglycaemia
  • don’t overfeed
  • balance feeding with 20 minutes a day of exercise (leashed walk) to help your toy dog build muscle tone

Here’s a quick guide to help you pick better quality food — 

Let's sum up: does your Morkie really need small breed dog food?

Being labelled for toy dogs, doesn’t mean the food is superior than regular dog food.

Always check the label carefully – especially the first 5 ingredients. They are what matters most. You want to see real meat products named, not “meat by-products” or “meat meal.” Instead look for beef, chicken, lamb, etc.  And avoid anything called a by-product.

If the food checks out, and there is a small dog version available (at the same price), then go for it. Otherwise, stick to a regular, quality food.

Download a list of quality dog foods to take shopping

If you feed your Morkie commercial food, you’ll want this list. Download it here free. 

Designer dog collars for your Morkie

Designer dog collars for your Morkie

Designer dog collars are perfect for the adorable Morkie. Whether we’re talking $3.2 MILLION, or $9.95, a designer dog collar just has that extra bling a Morkie deserves. Here’s a brief look at the amazing range of designer dog collars available.

Let’s start at the top: $3.5 MILLION!

This may look like a queen’s necklace but it’s actually a designer dog collar.

The Amour, Amour luxury dog collar is made with 1,600 hand-set diamonds, totalling 52 carats. AND, the strap itself is 18-carat white gold with crocodile leather trim! But where do you put the dog tag?

Created by I Love Dogs Diamonds, the dazzling, diamond-studded collar includes 3 brilliant 7-carat diamonds in its design. And don’t worry, it’s custom fitted to your dog.

Yours for just – 


Speaking of diamonds

A Maryland dog was in the doghouse after he ate a diamond worth $20,000 dollars. On this particular day, a diamond dealer came in to show some some gems to George and Robert. Sollie stood nearby. Suddenly, the dealer dropped one of the expensive rocks, and Sollie went for it. “Saw Sollie go for the diamond — gobbled it up,” Robert told ABC 7 News. “Tried to get it — couldn’t get it — gone!”

(No word on the breed, but I don’t think it was a  Morkie.)


Wait, these collars are almost as cute. And you can find them in stores or order online. For a lot less than $3.2 million.


Pink princess collar 

This one’s nearly as cute as the $3.2 mill number, and it’s only $50 at

Red dingo designer dog collar

Adorable collar, from Red Dingo. Available at

silver and turquoise dog collar

Handsome! Silver and torquoise with brown leather. A steal at

Rhinestone-Crown-Decoration Dog Collar Purple

Also available at for just $5.00!

Beautiful! And a matching leash is available.

Luxury lineup from Saks Fifth Avenue – google SaksFifthAvenue to see more


collars from Saks Fifth Avenue

Tips for buying a designer dog collar for your Morkie

What’s the BEST collar to use for a Morkie?

The best collar to carry your Morkie’s identification, is soft, pliable and not too thick.

The best collar to WALK your Morkie is not a collar – it’s a harness.  (More on harnesses in the next post)

Identification is a MUST

For identification, pick from an engraved metal tag, a metal nameplate that goes right on the collar or a collar with the name embroidered right into the collar.

There are some FABULOUS dog tags available on ETSY –




Best type of material for a collar

morkie on a ridiculously heavy chainChain – is not good for Morkies since it puts a lot of pressure on their throat when attached to a leash. Plus they’re quite heavy.

Neoprene is rubbery and soft. It is waterproof and comfortable.

Nylon collars are the most popular. They’re inexpensive, and come in lots of cute designs. However they’re not very durable, and can get dirty over time. But at the price, you can replace it. With a nylon collar, be sure it’s not too wide; pick the most narrow one you can find.

Leather – looks good and last a long time. Again, don’t get one that’s too deep. Leather collars come in a variety of colours and designs.

Faux leather is inexpensive but breaks down quickly. Good for a ‘fast fashion’ choice.


Type of closure

A small, plastic clip type of closing is fine for a small dog, since it’s not likely he can break it by pulling hard. Other fasteners are metal or the traditional buckle style.

dog collar closings


Why you can’t use a CAT COLLAR for a Morkie

Yes, they fit better.  But did you know that cat collars, by law, must release?

So if the cat is caught up in a tree or in bushes and suddenly takes off, the collar will break apart without much effort.  It’s a safety thing for cats. But obviously not a good thing if your Morkie suddenly decides to run.


Sizing the collar

Measure your Morkie’s neck, hold the measuring tape firmly but not tight. Then add 2″. You should be able to slip 2 fingers under the collar when your dog is wearing it.


how to fit a dog collar

Not-quite-designer collars at Amazon

These collars may not be the super glam but they’re pretty cute!

There’s even a dog collar for Pats’ Fans, and who doesn’t love the WINNERS!

Or how about FLAMINGOES! They go with everything!

Was this the FIRST Designer Dog Collar?first bling dog collar

We started decorating our canine companions’ collars about 10,000 years ago.

Ancient Egyptians were crazy about cats, but they loved their dogs too. This collar was found in a tomb, along with the mummified dog and owners. It’s a work of art in itself.


Here’s an awesome store I came across browsing online, called MUTTROPOLIS. Lots of great stuff, including these unique collars.


muttropolis designer accessories for dogs

A SPECTACULAR collar - Black Ice Swarovski & Crystal

How would this look on your Morkie?

To read more, visit Holly and Lil.

For the male Morkie in your life

Another gorgeous collar; this one is from Joshua Jones, again in the UK.
Click here to visit.

And to top it all off, from Tiffany of course!

Sterling silver collar charm from Tiffany. $250.  

What is Kennel Cough?

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough can be scary – your Morkie can sound like he’s choking on a bone, thanks to the intense, frequent coughing spells that come with this ailment. It’s a dry, hacking cough that can be quite alarming, but don’t worry. Most cases of kennel cough run their course over a week or so.

Kennel cough starts with a virus, followed by a secondary bacteria infection. Your Morkie’s upper airways become inflamed and that’s what causes the harsh, dry cough.

What’s the difference between kennel cough and a cold?

Dogs CAN get colds just like us and there’s a small risk that you could pass your own cold to your Morkie. However, it’s not that likely.

Your dog can catch a cold from other dogs more easily. They don’t have a natural immunity to the cold virus, so you need to keep an eye out for:

  • cough
  • runny nose
  • fever
  • sneezing
  • tiredness, lethargy

Kennel Cough on the other hand, is mostly a powerful cough, a honking kind of sound or a harsh raspy cough. Kennel cough is extremely infectious, especially in tight quarters (hence the name).

It’s VERY common among dogs all over the world, and chances are, your Morkie will catch it at least once in his lifetime.  There can be other symptoms of kennel cough including runny nose and eyes.


How Kennel Cough is treated

Most dogs that get kennel cough just ride it out without needing treatment or medication. However, you may want to take your dog to the Vet anyway, just to be sure it IS Kennel Cough and nothing more serious.

If the dog has a fever along with the cough, and the Vet has determined it’s kennel cough, he/she may also prescribe an antibiotic along with a cough suppressant.

What else could it be if it is not Kennel Cough?

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV)

Dog Flu is caused by two distinct strains of viruses:
H3N2 is the newer strain. You might recall the big dog flu outbreak in Chicago in 2015, when over 1,000 dogs were very sick and at least 5 died. This virus has since spread to virtually every state.

H3N8 has been recognized since 2004.

Both strains can result in pretty severe illness or just a mild infection. This varies from dog to dog. Both are very contagious dog-to-dog. (There’s no evidence that people can pick up either strain of dog flu.) Dogs in kennel environments will pick up the virus more easily since they may be sneezing all over each other.

Symptoms include runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fever and generally not feeling great. Dog flu can also include pink eye.

If you suspect your Morkie has dog flu, talk to your Vet. Milder forms of the illness are treated with cough suppressants while more serious cases take custom care.

Controversy around vaccinations against canine influenza and kennel cough.


Allergies also look like colds or kennel cough at times. Dogs experience seasonal allergies just like us, and are particularly sensitive to dust, pollen and mites.

Collapsed Trachea

This is a hereditary illness and unfortunately both Yorkshire Terriers and the Maltese dog, can be prone to it. The cartilage of the tracheal rings is weak, and over time fails to hold the dog’s windpipe open. Dogs with this problem have laboured breathing and a wheezy cough that’s made worse with excitement, eating, drinking, playing and walk on a leash with a collar. That’s why Morkies and their Yorkie Maltese parents should always have a harness, not a leash, for walking.

"Should I get the kennel cough vaccine?"

Yes and No

There’s good news/bad news about the Kennel Cough Vaccine

The bad news is, you may be forced to get this vaccination (which is actually a nasal SPRAY) because you want to board your dog. Even though you’re strongly against over-vaccination, many kennels and even groomers insist that all dogs have the the BORDATELLA vaccine.

The good news is, this is not necessarily an effective vaccine but it does not seem to have a lot of negative side effects either. Since the vaccine reduces the risk of kennel cough – a mild and short-lived infection – why have one at all?

You can read more about the canine vaccination controversy here and here on 

Coyote attacks and your dog

Coyote attacks and your dog

If you have a dog, this is the time of year to be on high alert for coyote attacks. Because these animals are in the middle of their mating season, they are more aggressive than ever, and coyote attacks on dogs have increased.

Right across the country, there are news stories almost every night about coyote attacks. Rabbits, squirrels, mice, even calves and fawns all fall prey to the coyote and his close relative the wolf.

Small to mid-size dogs are no exception; and there is even the rare attack on people.

It’s heartbreaking to read these stories because, in nearly every case, the dog was in his own yard, or was with his human. But coyotes can be lightning fast, darting in to snatch a dog and then disappear.

Coyotes sightings are not unusual in cities; and these animals can easily jump over backyard fences.

coyote attacks in the news

Spot a coyote

  • coyotes are smaller than their relative, the gray wolf
  • males usually weight around 20 to 40 pounds and females are a little smaller
  • coyotes stand 15″ to 20″ high at the shoulder
  • fur is predominantly light gray and red, or light gray with black and white throughout

Photo by pixabay on

Is it a coyote or a wolf?

Is it a coyote or a wolf?

There are plenty of details on how to tell which is which, here at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A coyote’s face is narrow and pointed, with a small nose pad while the wolf has a broad, blocky head, with a large nose pad.

Wolves are bigger and heavier, running 26 to 32″ high at the shoulder, compared to coyotes at 15 to 20″.
Similarly, coyotes are much lighter; wolves run between 70 to 150 pounds.

Coyotes are gray or reddish brown, grizzled. Wolves are usually grizzled grey but they can be almost all black, cream or white.

How dangerous is the coyote? He’s “more predatory” than the notorious jackal, found in Eurasia.

Make no mistake, the wolf, coyote and fox are all dangerous predators when it comes to dogs.

Coyotes are abundant throughout North America, and down into Central America. They live on:

“animal meat, including deer, rabbits, hares, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates, though it may also eat fruits and vegetables on occasion” according to Wikipedia

Both coyote and wolf attacks on humans are rare. But these hunters will attack a dog and almost any kind of livestock or game.

 carry a whistle with you to scare off coyotes

Experts say, if you encounter a coyote or a wolf, make lots of noise, stand up tall and raise your arms to look bigger and snarl and growl. Meanwhile, back away slowly.

Tip: Carry a whistle with you to scare off coyotes.

Try the Coyote Vest™

Pet Body Armor designed to protect. This crazy looking vest just might save your Morkie’s life one day. 

It features stab-resistant Kevlar panels and removable spikes to ward off attacks from coyotes plus other predators like hawks.

See all the models offered on the CoyoteVest Pet Body Armor site.


Excellent protection for your Morkie. 

Have you spotted a coyote? Please share.

News dog: pups in the news — 2

News dog: pups in the news — 2

A little news roundup for Friday. I get lots of alerts about dogs, mostly Morkies, and come across stories I think you’d like. Let me know in the comments if you like this new feature.

You think it can’t happen to you!



(WSVN) – It was supposed to be a simple four-hour flight for their four-legged friend, but one South Florida couple’s dog ended up 4,000 miles away. It’s a strange story that spans three continents.
7’s Brian Entin has our special report “‘Ruff’ Ride.”

Jessica and Sebastian got married last year. They met in Colombia, where Sebastian lived, but he moved to Miami to be with Jessica.

Married life was great, but one thing was missing: Sebastian’s Labrador retriever, named Yorkie, was still back in Colombia.

Jessica Dominguez: “So for Christmas, I figured that was the perfect Christmas present.”

To surprise her husband, Jessica paid $1,200 to have Yorkie shipped from Bogota to Miami on Avianca Airlines.

File this one under YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING!

But when she got to Miami International Airport to pick him up…

Jessica Dominguez: “That’s not the dog.”

Worker: “Are you sure?”

Jessica Dominguez: “Yeah, I’m positive!”

The dog inside the crate was not Yorkie the Lab.

Worker: “That’s the number I have here.”

Jessica Dominguez: “Nope. That’s not the dog. I am 100,000 percent sure.”

Jessica says she waited at the airport all night, worried about Yorkie.

Jessica Dominguez: “Finally, like at almost 6 o’clock in the morning, they told me, ‘Oh, we have good news and bad news. Good news is we found your dog. Bad news is he’s about to get to Spain.’”

Yep, you heard that right: Spain.

Jessica had to break the news to her husband.

Sebastian Alvarez (translation of): “I was in shock and desperate.”

Yorkie was accidentally put on a nine-hour Avianca flight from Bogota, Colombia to Madrid, Spain.

Then he was flown back to Bogota on another nine-hour flight … before he was finally put on an almost four-hour flight from Bogota to Miami.

Jessica Dominguez: “How many times a day did they feed him, did they walk him? Who knows?”

After three days of traveling, Yorkie finally made it to South Florida.


Some of our Readers' Pix

Do you have a great Morkie photo to share? Please send it to [email protected]

Shoutout to Joie T. for sharing her pix of little JAX!


Click on a photo to see it B-I-G!

jax the morkie

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