How often should you bathe your dog?

How often should you bathe your dog?

How to give a dog a bath

Wondering how often should you give your dog a bath?  One of the mistakes first-time dog owners make is bathing their dog too often. That will strip the natural oils from your Morkie’s coat and can cause skin irritations. Plus dry hair is more prone to tangle and go frizzy.

Limit dog baths to every 2 to 3 months

Too much washing will actually harm your dog’s coat and skin rather than make it healthy. Your Morkie’s skin can become dry and flakey, and his coat will go dull when the natural oils are washed away.

Generally speaking, a bath more than once every 6 to 8 weeks is too often. Most experts recommend waiting at least 3 months between baths. Try more combing instead: regular combing keeps your Morkie’s coat smooth and mat-free. Frequent combing can reduce dirt and even reduce the smell.

Try a foot bath for your Morkie instead of a full bath

Your dog’s feet can pick up lots of stuff outside including road salt. Plus, dogs sweat almost entirely from the bottom of their paws. Their little feet can end up smelling like a teenage boy’s who’s worn high tops all day!

Clean paws will make your Morkie more comfortable, and a cleaner companion. There’s even a handy little cup tool for dipping one foot at a time in warm soapy water available from Amazon. (Be sure to use unscented, dog-friendly shampoo.)

Hey, how come my dogs feet smell like FRITOS?

The American Kennel Club’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM, explains this odd mystery!

bag of Frito corn chips

At any given time, dogs have some level of bacteria and fungi on their feet. Bacteria called Pseudomonas and Proteus have a real yeasty odour and can smell just like Frito corn chips.

But don’t worry, this is completely normal and doesn’t mean your dog has an infection or problem. Anything wrong with your Morkie’s feet will show up as lumps or bumps on his paws, or the paw pads are red or irritated. Then it’s time to see your Vet

It’s not hard to bathe your Morkie and if you make it a habit when the dog is young, he may even enjoy it.

Remember that your goal is more than a clean dog. You want to create a positive bonding experience between the two of you. Take your time, be positive, and offer lots of praise.

Dog expert Cesar Millan recommends a long walk before the bath, to burn off your dog’s excess energy. I can attest that this is a great idea.

BEFORE YOU START, make sure your Morkie’s hair is mat- and tangle-free. A matted coat will only get worse when you add water. In my experience, there isn’t a conditioner or special treatment in the world that will help. In fact, these products can make it even worse. (I know professional groomers will bath a tangled dog, but I leave it to their expertise.)

Step One: gather together everything you need before you start

Get organized first; you can’t dash off and get what you forgot. A smaller dog might jump down from the counter and injure himself. A bigger dog might panic and become aggressive. 

Keep everything you need within arm’s reach and be calm and measured. Your dog can sense if you are nervous, and he’ll get worried too.

  • a plastic apron for you.
  • 2 large towels.
  • a non-slip rubber mat on the bottom of the sink or tub to keep your dog from skittering around on the slick surface.
  • a non-slip mat for yourself.
  • a good quality dog shampoo. It must say “Certified Organic” because terms like natural, pure, or organic have no standardized meaning.
  • cotton balls.
  • wide-toothed comb or a coat rake.
  • hair dryer.
  • ear cleaner: an over-the-counter type of ear cleaner made for dogs.
  • treats to give throughout the process.

Step Two: start the bath

Put the rubber mat in the bottom of the sink or tub, and run some lukewarm water. (Dogs cannot tolerate hot water the way we can.) For smaller pets, a laundry tub works well, or you can use your kitchen sink. Some people prefer a portable dog bath, available at pet supply stores.

Take your dog’s collar off and put one or two cotton balls in each ear. Don’t jam them in with anything other than your finger.

Put the dog under the lukewarm running water, encouraging him to keep all four feet on the bottom of the sink or tub.

Wet your dog’s body but leave the head and neck for last; dogs aren’t crazy about water on their head or in their face. As you wet down your dog, praise him and talk to him in a low, gentle voice.

As he gets used to the water, put the plug in, and fill to the top of his legs. Now, pour some of the dog shampoo in the palm of your hand, and rub to warm it up. Don’t use too much or it’s hard to rinse out. Apply to your dog’s body, not the head.

Massage your dog all over with shampoo, starting with the top of the body. Work your way around to the tummy, giving the tail and genitals extra attention. Lift each leg and give it a quick shampoo.

Don’t scrub too hard; your dog’s skin is sensitive and will become irritated.

Refresh the dog’s coat with some more lukewarm water and keep shampooing.

Finally, wet the head and face area with a wet washcloth. DON’T pour water over your dog’s face – it’s like waterboarding him. The washcloth will clean any debris on his face. Don’t use shampoo on his face unless it’s really dirty.

Keep water out of your dog’s ears if possible.

Let the plug out and rinse your dog with more lukewarm running water, starting with the head. Again, don’t run water onto your dog’s face – let a little run on top of the head and down.

There’s no need to ‘rinse and repeat.’ One shampooing will do the job. And dogs do not need a cream rinse or conditioner unless your home is very dry.

Step Three: finish the bath with a towel dry and light blow dry

Once he’s thoroughly rinsed, lift your dog out and put him on the waiting towel. Be watchful he doesn’t try to jump down after his “ordeal.” Pat down his coat with the towel then wrap him up in it. Don’t rub the hair, it will cause mats.

  • Remove the cotton balls in his ears if they haven’t already fallen out.
  • Use ear cleaner to rinse out any residue; the alcohol in it will help dry the ears.
  • This is the ideal time to trim your dog’s nails since they will be softer and easier to cut.

Wet Morkie shivering in the coldOnce your Morkie is dry, give him a gentle, all-over brushing, starting at the head and working your way to the tail. If you want to do any clipping or a cleanup trim, use the right scissors and don’t cut your dog’s hair until it is thoroughly dry. 

Get the second towel you’ve set aside, and pat your dog all over with it. Then, with the setting on cool to medium, use a hairdryer. You can pause every couple of minutes and gently run a comb through, for smooth, tangle-free results.

Keep the nozzle of the hairdryer moving so there’s no chance of overheating one area. Another safety measure is to leave one hand on your Morkie as you’re drying so you can tell how hot the airflow is. Your Morkie hates air blowing in her face, so keep the dryer moving, and never focus the heat on only one area at a time.

The hairdryer’s sound might stress him, so take it slow. 

Don’t forget to put your Morkie’s collar back on – a collar with legible, up-to-date I.D.


7 Mistakes to Avoid When Bathing Your Morkie

The water is too hot

Dogs feel temperature more than we do, so go on the cooler side.

The water is spraying too hard

This will be scary for your little dog. Instead of spraying him directly, let the water run over your hand and THEN onto him. And of course, NEVER spray your dog directly in the face or around the ears!

It’s the wrong shampoo

Our shampoo, even if it’s baby shampoo or marked gentle or organic, is FAR too harsh for dogs. Their skin is only 3 cells deep while ours is 15 cells deep so they are much more sensitive than we are. Invest in a quality organic dog shampoo for your Morkie.

You’re not massaging the shampoo

To get rid of the dirt and grime, you need to massage the shampoo in to your Morkie’s hair, gently rubbing down to his scalp. Gently work the shampoo in for about 4 minutes in each area.

You don’t remove mats BEFORE the bath

A recipe for disaster: take coat mats and add water! Only expert groomers can do it without making the mats much worse. Give your Morkie a light brushing before bathing.

Not thoroughly drying your pet

Start by patting him with a dry towel.  Keep your dryer on LOW heat and never point a  hot stream of air on your Morkie. Low heat takes more time but it’s safer. Lift his hair with your fingers, so the drying air gets all the way down to his skin.

Bathing too often

Remember, your dog doesn’t need to be bathed more than once every 2 or 3  months. If he’s stinky, give him a good combing or brushing and try the footbath.

Try my Kindle Book –

Groom Your Morkie at Home: Keep his coat long and luxurious in just minutes a day

Keep your Morkie’s hair long and flowing yourself… in just minutes a day.

Why settle for a puppy cut?

Instead you can enjoy your Morkie’s beautiful long coat, a combination of colours from the parents, the Maltese dog and the Yorkshire Terrier.  By persevering with your Morkie for just a few minutes every day, you can easily groom him yourself, and keep his hair long, flowing and luxurious. That’s the way the Morkie is meant to be. No more puppy cuts for you!

Groom Your Morkie at Home takes you through the steps you need to know.  Click here to order from Amazon today.


Never cut your Morkie’s whiskers – here’s why

Never cut your Morkie’s whiskers – here’s why

Morkie dog whiskers

Part antenna and part sense of touch, whiskers are long coarse hairs on your Morkie’s face. If you cut your Morkie’s whiskers, you can expect him to be grumpy and growly because he’ll be disoriented; even his vision is affected.  So what are the effects of cutting dog whiskers?

funny looking morkie

Called vibrissae because they vibrate, whiskers are long, coarse hairs that act like a dog’s GPS.

About five times thicker than hair, whiskers are sensitive to air currents, touch, or vibrations, so they can help your Morkie find his way, especially in the dark.

Despite a dog’s incredible sense of smell, his vision isn’t so great. Dogs are naturally farsighted (things in the distance are clear, but things closer are blurry).

Add the blocking effect of a muzzle, and most dogs are poor at seeing closer things. That’s where sensitive whiskers really help your dog navigate.

Whiskers are so important, that 40% of the dog’s brain is set aside to process their signals.

from Psychology Today

How do dog whiskers work?

When a whisker touches a surface or is moved by an air current, it vibrates right down to the nerve, which transmits that message to the brain.

Whiskers are SO sensitive that they can pick up the smallest changes in air currents.

Whiskers themselves have no feeling, but the nerves at their base are highly sensitive to touch or movement.

dog whisker diagram

There are FOUR types of whiskers on dogs, and each one has a special function

types of dog whiskers

A dog’s very long eyebrows (called “superciliary whiskers“) have another function. When they touch something, the dog’s eyes automatically close, so he doesn’t get poked in the eye.

Mystacial whiskers on either side of the upper lips pick up shifts in air currents. A dog can have up to 20 on each side. They’re sometimes called moustache whiskers.

That little tuft of whiskers under your dog’s chin — called an Inter-ramal Tuft — helps him figure out how far away the food bowl is and what’s right under his nose, which is where most dogs have a blind spot.

Genal whiskers grow on the cheeks and help a dog judge the distance to the edges of his environment.


Rats, seals, walruses, and monkeys all have prominent whiskers

Most mammals have whiskers. Biologists think they first developed to help the animal in the dark, especially cats who tend to be nocturnal.

Did you know that a cat’s whiskers grow out to be exactly as long as a cat is wide/high? This is because cats use them to figure out if they can fit somewhere, like in an old box.

While cats have 12 neatly arranged whiskers that form four rows on either side of his face, a dog’s whiskers are random.

Ever notice, when kids draw cats, they always include whiskers; but they rarely draw whiskers on dogs

whiskers on cats
how kids draw dogs

What happens if you cut a dog’s whiskers?

Noooooooo………..Don’t ever cut your Morkie’s whiskers! But if you do by mistake, you should know it can leave him feeling disoriented and lost. The stress might make him cranky and growly.

It doesn’t HURT a dog to cut his whiskers, but it does limit hunting and playing for a while. Dogs NEED their whiskers to get around their environment.

Four more cool things about dog whiskers

1. What are whiskers made of?

Whiskers are the same as hair, but they’re about three times thicker. Whiskers and hair are made from keratin, a strong fibrous protein.

2. Can I pluck my dog’s whiskers?

NO, definitely not. There are so many nerves at the base of a whisker that pulling one out will certainly hurt — quite a bit. Plus, each whisker is deeply embedded, much more so than regular hair.

3. Do dogs’ whiskers fall out?

They do fall out from time to time, and it’s nothing to worry about. A new whisker grows in to replace the old one. However, if your dog is losing a LOT of whiskers at once, it’s a good idea to see your Vet. This could be a sign of something else going on, such as mange or ringworm.

4. Why do groomers sometimes cut off a dog’s whiskers?

Some groomers think that whiskers look scruffy, so cut them off for a clean look. Dogs who are in shows sometimes have their whiskers trimmed off too. But it’s not a good idea. Whiskers are much more than cosmetic; they serve a purpose.


Ditch the Puppy Cut!

Ditch the Puppy Cut!

The luxurious, flowing coat is one of the things that may have drawn you to a Morkie. It’s part of his cachet.

With the Yorkie’s range of brown, black and gold colors plus pure white from the Maltese, a Morkie’s coat is beautiful and unique.

But then you get your new baby home. You’re not quite sure how to look after all that hair. Soon the dog gets matted, and you head out to a groomer, who almost always recommends a “cute puppy cut.” But there’s only one thing. Thanks to the mats, the dog needs a real shave down. That puppy cut looks like an extreme buzz cut you’d see on a punk band in the subways of New York. Now your adorable, cuddly Morkie looks more like a skinny, trembling little rat.

Why shave down your Morkie? They don’t shed!

All animals, even us – shed dander, so there’s technically no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog. However, both the Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier come close, along with breeds like Poodles. That’s because these breeds do not have fur. 

Like their parents, Morkies have hair so their coat doesn’t shed. Morkies aren’t like Golden Retrievers, shedding big gobs of fur all over your house.

  • They have a single layer of hair, with no undercoat that sheds every season
  • There’s no fine undercoat floating around in your house, and far less dander (dander is basically animal dandruff, except that it’s natural; and can be controlled).
dog with hair thats too short

What about summer? Shouldn't I cut my dog's hair then?

Contrary to popular belief, the Morkie’s long hair does not make him hotter in the summer.

Dogs with short hair or white coats are more susceptible to insect bites and the sun’s harmful rays. Each sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer later. 

Three of the skin cancers that our vets commonly see in dogs are squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, and mast cell tumors. Each of these dog skin cancers has somewhat different symptoms, and tend to strike some breeds more than others.

But here’s the good news!

You CAN keep your pup’s long, flowing hair yourself in just minutes a day at home,

How to start:

You CAN learn how to keep your Morkie well-groomed in a long, beautiful coat and you can do it all yourself. Grooming your Morkie is not only a great way to bond and stay close to your dog, it saves you time and money, too.

You’ll learn how to handle the 4 essentials:

  1. Brushing and combing
  2.  Bathing
  3.  Nail trimming
  4.  Ear care

I wrote this blog because I hear from lots of people who love luxurious, flowing coats. But they don’t know how to groom their dog. Don’t worry, if you’re  not trying to trim his hair, orr shave it down, it’s easy to groom your Morkie yourself at home and keep his hair long and flowing.

Let's get started

1. Start Slowly - Let your Morkie get used to being handled this way

You can teach your Morkie to love (OK, like) grooming if you start early. And you can teach an older dog to like grooming. The key is frequent, short sessions.

No need to make every grooming session long and tiring. Just a few minutes a day can keep him well-groomed and mat-free.

Mats are irritating and painful and they can lead to skin diseases. They’re the main reason owners end up clipping their dogs down.  The more frequently you comb your Morkie, the lower the chance of a matted coat.

If your dog is really fussy, just handle him all over a couple of times a day, as if  you’re combing – without the comb!


3. Start with VERY short combing sessions

If your dog seems nervous or afraid, make the combing sessions VERY short at first – like 1 minute. Gradually incease the time and introduce a brush. Over time, he’ll get very used to being combed and brushed and may even like  it.

If you’re also giving your Morkie a bath, give him a comb-out before you put him in the water. Wet mats are even hard to get out. Towel dry him gently after, use a dryer, then start combing and brushing again.

dog brush and comb

2. Get some decent equipment

Your new friend: the comb

Combing (not brushing) is at the core of a well-groomed Morkie.

Although it is handy to have a good brush, I recommend that you focus on the comb. Select one with average-spaced teeth.  (There are combs with very fine teeth, but they are for finding fleas.) Metal is best, with a sturdy rubber handle for your comfort. Expect to pay between $10.00 and $20.00 for a superior comb that will last for years.

Select a quality brush

For the brush, pick a “Wire Pin Brush.” As the name suggests, each stainless steel wire or pin is rounded at the end for the dog’s comfort. Wooden brushes are comfortable for you, but personally I prefer a rubber-handled brush. Expect to pay between $15.00 and $25.00 for a brush that will last your dog’s lifetime.

4. Be consistent - shorter sessions, more often

The best and proven way to prevent mats? Comb your dog’s hair at least every other day. Just 3 or 4 minutes will do the job. More frequent, shorter sessions  are better. 

Once your Morkie is looking gorgeous again, consider a natural treatment like Argon oil. Also called Moroccan oil, it’s traditionally used to treat skin diseases, and as a cosmetic oil for skin and hair. You can buy it for less at beauty supply stores, or order online at Amazon and similar outlets.  I pour a little into my palms, rub well, then spread lightly on the surface of my dog’s coat. It leaves her shiny and smooth, and less likely to get tangles.

The Secret Weapon: a de-matting comb 

Get a de-matting comb. Look for a well-made one with a comfortable rubber handle. The de-matting comb has few, single teeth set far apart like the rake, but there’s a big difference. The teeth are actually sharp blades on one side. (These teeth have rounded tips to protect your dog’s skin.)

Gently drag this through your Morkie’s coat in the direction of hair growth. Mats will be sliced apart and tangles cut out, without pulling! It works on loose hair, knots and debris.

This is one piece of equipment that I would recommend for any size dog with any kind of coat. They’re great for cats, too. Like the coat rake, these are advertised as essential tools for dogs like Golden Retrievers with their heavy undercoat. But you’ll be glad to have one for your Morkie.


Dematting comb for dogs

morkie dog before and after a haircut

In this BEFORE and AFTER picture, this little guy looks naked without all his hair – and nothing like a Morkie. But with regular, frequent combing your Morkie can have long, flowing hair.


Looking for more information about grooming your Morkie yourself?

Groom Your Morkie at Home takes you through the steps you need to know to groom your Morkie yourself at home, and keep his hair long and luxurious.

Plus you’ll learn:
– the truth about shampoos (and how to make your own)
– how to safely clean your Morkie’s ears and under his eyes
– how and why to brush your dog’s teeth
– what equipment you need for grooming at home
– removing mats and tangles
– how to do the top knot …and lots more

Complete with illustrations.

Easy to read style
You’ll enjoy the author’s trademark easy-to-read style and insight. Deb is not a Veterinarian, and she is not specially trained in animal care. But she is a dedicated and life-long animal lover with a particular fondness for dogs.

Order your ebook today and read it on any device.

buy at amazon

Want to take better care of your Morkie?

Check out this COMPLETE HANDBOOK for raising a happy, healthy Morkie. From puppy to senior. Includes potty training, feeding, common health concerns, obedience, vaccinations and much more.  Charts, photos, illustrations and easy-to-read text.

Read it on your smartphone, computer, laptop, iPad or reader.

ORDER this invaluable e-book today 

Or read more about the MORKIE MEGA GUIDE e-book.


Order today and take better care of your Morkie

From getting a Morkie, to common health concerns, what to feed your Yorkie-Maltese mix, which deadly vaccinations to avoid — and much more! 

Over 300 pages of vital information.

THE Comprehensive Guide to Morkies

Dog Vacations: take your Morkie on holiday

Dog Vacations: take your Morkie on holiday

Planning your next vacation or family holiday? You might be wondering what to do with the family dog: get a friend or neighbour to help out, board him at a professional kennel, have a dog sitter come into your home, or take him with you for a dog vacation.

Of all the choices, more and more people are choosing dog vacations. That’s because it’s easier than ever to find pet-friendly hotels, motels and campgrounds. And, there are even dog-tailored special vacations offered by specialty travel planners and websites.

The first thing you’ll need to do is narrow down your own vacation choices and then see how that merges with what’s out there for dog vacations. It does mean giving up some of the freedom you might normally have, but on the other hand, it’s a great opportunity to spend more quality time with your pet, something we don’t often enjoy in our time-stressed world.

Airline travel is tough these days for people, let alone pets, so if you are taking your dog with you, dog vacations are almost  always limited to car or RV travel.

Airline travel and your dog

dog vacations via airlines

 Airlines are constantly flip-flopping on allowing small dogs in the cabin with you during a flight or not. Larger dogs have to be crated, of course and are shipped with the cargo. That has so many risks that the American Humane Society doesn’t recommend airline travel for a dog who has to be stowed unless it is absolutely necessary and there’s no other option.   However if your small dog can fit under your airline seat in his carrier, airline travel for dog vacations might not be so bad

Baggage and cargo slip-ups and mistakes are inevitable, and the added degree of security at airports today often means that checked items are lower on the priority scale. There are horror stories of dogs left in freezing cargo bays or extremely hot loading docks, sometimes for hours and hours.

So a vacation is not the time to test your luck with airline travel and your dog, although you might consider it if your dog can be carried with you in the passenger cabin. To find out more about the rules and regulations surrounding that option, check with the airline itself — get their policy in writing.

So… it’s a road trip style dog vacation. What do you need to plan?

First, a secure and safe way to transport your dog in the car

For a longer trip, the most practical is a kennel yorkie_in_seat_beltcage, well strapped in to the back seat of your vehicle. Your dog should have access to water every hour or so, and of course, be given breaks to relieve himself.

I read an excellent suggestion about stopping at rest stops to let your dog out; be sure to put his leash on BEFORE you take him out of the kennel cage, and get a good strong grip on that leash, even for a little dog.

After a car ride, your dog may be a little disoriented and stressed and could dash out of your car right into traffic.

Second, double check that dogs are welcome at your destination

One of the best online resources to find pet-friendly accommodations is called It is a dog travel directory that provides unbiased reviews, detailed pet policy information, and online reservations at more than 25,000 pet-friendly hotels through a partnership with Travelocity.

Since launching in April 2005, Bring has helped more than half a million people take their dog on vacation. When you’re looking for somewhere to stay, play or eat with your dog, is the place to come.

Travel for you and your dog

Another excellent resource when you want to take your dog on vacation with you, is  This site lists  tons of resources for travelling with your dog, including airline pet policies, pet passports and more.

Third: Your Emergency Plan

When you take your dog on vacation with you, here are some of the extra precautions you might want to consider:

  • write down your veterinarian’s name, address and phone number and take it with you: it’s crazy how you can forget even the basics in an emergency situation
  • be sure to write down your dog’s registration, license and/or microchip information, and take a recent hard-copy photo of your dog with you. You definitely don’t want to think about it, but what if he got lost while you were away? You want to make it as easy as possible to get him back – fast.
  • a little dog first aid kit – with dog-friendly insect repellant, extra towels, antibiotic cream, some gauze and some rubbing alcohol would cover off most emergencies until you can get vet care

pack for dog vacations

How smart is this??!!

Everything you need to pack for your Morkie for a great dog vacation.

kit for dog vacations

Read more about travel with dogs here.

Roll with it! That’s what dog vacations are all about!

Remember, it’s a lot of fun taking your dog on vacation with you but it does mean you’ll have to maintain your good humour and flexibility at times.

For example, if your dog happens to be afraid of storms and you encounter a big one while you’re away, plan to order take-out food to eat in the hotel room that night.

Resources Summary:

Does your Morkie Have Small Dog Syndrome?

Does your Morkie Have Small Dog Syndrome?

If your toy dog is a pain in the neck, he may be suffering from Small Dog Syndrome and the problem originates with — YOU! So what exactly IS Small Dog Syndrome, how do you know if your Morkie has Small Dog Syndrome and how do you overcome it?

Is Your Morkie a Spoiled, Snarky Brat?

Does your pet have small dog syndrome.

Symptoms of Small Dog Syndrome

This syndrome defines the little dog who is spoiled and obnoxious.

It is the caricature of some breeds, expecially Chihuahuas or toy Poodles.

Yet there’s no biological reason for whiny, entitled dogs; they all started out as canines. But pets with small dog syndrome have been trained to act badly.

This bad small dog syndrome behavior includes:

  • being territorial over areas of the house, toys, food or people
  • biting and yapping
  • growling
  • peeing or marking all over the house
  • ignoring house training or potty training
  • obsessions with certain toys, food bowl or people
A pet with small dog syndrome may have to wear a muzzle because of biting

You would never accept this behavior from a large dog.

Small Dog Syndrome is NOT the same as Separation Anxiety

sad dog

Separation  Anxiety is a serious problem, not a mere annoyance like Small Dog Syndrome.

A dog with Separation Anxiety is nervous, frantic, sad and agitated when separated from his main caregiver.

There are steps you can take to reduce Separation Anxiety in your Morkie, but it’s likely that the original causes are beyond your control:

  • was your dog removed from the litter too early? Toy dogs should stay with their mothers until they’re at least 8 weeks old.
  • was your dog surrendered to a shelter, abandoned or given to a new family?
  • has the dog lost someone significant in his life?
  • has there been a traumatic event in his early life, such as an attack by a large dog?
  • time spent in a pet shop or an animal shelter
  • being a puppy mill dog

For more about resolving this painful situation, please check out the ASPCA’s article here.

“Small dogs compensate for their size by acting big and tough when they feel intimidated, nervous, upset, threatened or afraid.”

Isn’t Small Dog Syndrome natural?

Small dog syndrome, or the tendency for tiny dogs to be yappy, untrained, snappy and generally obnoxious, is not something that is natural or common to small breeds by nature.

It’s learned behavior that is directly caused by the way we owners treat our toy dogs. Dogs with small dog syndrome have been rewarded for behaviour that is less than ideal.

As humans, we are programmed by Mother Nature to coddle and take special care of creatures we perceive as babies.’ No surprise, it’s a biological response, and it’s how our race has survived. The problem is toy dogs, with their big eyes and tiny size, bring out that babying tendency in us, even when they are adult dogs.

So we keep over-compensating for their small size (carrying them everywhere!) and overlooking bad behavior that we would never tolerate in a medium or large dog.

The good news is, with some understanding of the roots of the problem and active steps to counteract it, you’ll have a happier, healthier small dog.

Toy poodle with small dog syndrome

Dogs with small dog syndrome aren’t necessarily happy dogs. I fact, SMS can make your pet quite anxious to hold on to the power he thinks he has.

seriously spoiled dogs with true small dog syndrome

 Pets with small dog syndrome can be very annoying to others.


What Small Dog Syndrome is NOT

  • It’s not a high spirited, outgoing dog.
  • It’s not a happy, sociable dog.
  • It’s not a high-personality dog.

A dog with Small Dog Syndrome is a spoiled dog who has decided to take the lead in his or her household. The “SDS Pet” often doesn’t see himself as a dog.

But doubling down on discipline is not the solution. In fact, it can make an SDS Pet even worse!

Proper training can do a long way in preventing Small Dog Syndrome

Stronger discipline by itself can actually make Small Dog Syndrome WORSE

How to Conquer Small Dog Syndrome

  • with a sharp verbal correction, let your dog know incessant barking and yapping are not OK. Or withdraw your attention to make your point.
  • don’t let your small dog sit on you to “claim you.” As the owner, you set the time for snuggles.
  • ensure your little dog has his own bed and designated quiet area; a corner or a crate with an open door works well.
  • don’t encourage hysterical behavior by comforting your dog; just ignore the bad behavior.

Small dog sydrome is definitely made much worse by carrying your small dog everywhere – in your arms, a purse or whatever! It’s a DOG – let ’em walk on the ground!

Some truly spoiled dogs featured on

See more.

Small Dog sydrome is a little like a Napoleon Complex. So does your Morkie have a Napoleon Complex?

The Napoleon Complex is named after Emperor Napoleon I of France (1769 – 1821). A French statesman and military leader, he rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars (France vs. Great Britain) 

Portrait of Napoleon

Common folklore about him suggests that Frenchman Napoleon compensated for his lack of height by seeking power, war, and conquest. His enemies, the British, mocked him as being small and short-tempered.

It turns out Napoleon was of average height for the time (5′ 7″ or so), but the term Napoleon Complex stuck. Today it’s the theory that says people overcompensate for short stature with aggressive social behavior and an attempt to dominate others.

dog dressed as napoleon

Ever thought of having a portrait painted of your Morkie?

This fabulous example, a pet dog portrayed like Napoleon, was done by  Check them out – the artwork is fabulous.

Does your Morkie have small dog syndrome, or a Napoleon complex?

small dog syndrome or napoleon complex

Want to take better care of your Morkie?

Check out this COMPLETE HANDBOOK for raising a happy, healthy Morkie. From puppy to senior. Includes potty training, feeding, common health concerns, obedience, vaccinations and much more.  Charts, photos, illustrations and easy-to-read text.

Read it on your smartphone, computer, laptop, iPad or reader.

ORDER this invaluable e-book today 

Or read more about the MORKIE MEGA GUIDE e-book.


Order today and take better care of your Morkie

From getting a Morkie, to common health concerns, what to feed your Yorkie-Maltese mix, which deadly vaccinations to avoid — and much more! 

Over 300 pages of vital information.

THE Comprehensive Guide to Morkies

Holiday safety tips for your Morkie

Holiday safety tips for your Morkie

The festive season means time to enjoy family. But keep these holiday safety tips in mind when it comes to your Morkie. Rich foods, certain decorations and more can mean a trip to the Vet.

holiday hazards for dogs

The Top Ten Holiday Hazards for your Morkie


  1. Raisins and grapes
  2. Nuts
  3. Toxic holiday plants
  4. Tinsel
  5. Electric cords, lights
  6. Wrapping paper, ribbons, ties
  7. Onions, chives, garlic
  8. Chocolate
  9. Turkey, bones and fat
  10. Tree preservative

Raisins and grapes are very toxic for dogs. Although scientists don’t know exactly why, this phenomenon is well documented. Dogs of any age or breed can be affected. Grape/raisin toxicity can lead to suddenly kidney failure in some dogs, but not all.

Just another reason to ban fruit cake from your home.

Toxic holiday plants – two of the worst are holly and mistletoe which can cause gastrointestinal problems, difficulty breath and even heart failure!


Nuts. Most nuts are not good for dogs and some are downright dangerous. Macadamia nuts and black walnuts can be lethal in large enough doses. Others like peanuts (not salted, roasted or spiced) and plain cashews are “OK” for dogs in small amounts, but really, they’re best avoided since they’re also a choking hazard for a small dog like a Morkie.

Tinsel and other ornaments – eeewwww, shiny object! Tinsel can be sharp, and if it wraps itself around the intestines or balls up in the stomach, it can mean major surgery to save your pet’s life.

Turkey bones, fat and skin should be kept well out of reach of pets. Cooked bones especially, revery dangerous. After they’re eaten, bones can break off in shards and puncture an animal’s intestines.

Turkey itself can be quite fatty for a dog, unless you stick to a plain piece of white meat with no skin and no gravy. Otherwise your Morkie could get an upset stomach or even a bout of painful pancreatitis.

Onions are, surprisingly, quite toxic for dogs and cats They contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia. In the same family, garlic, chives and leeks should be avoided as well. Some experts say that garlic, prepared properly for dogs, isn’t dangerous and in fact, is good for your pet. But the benefits don’t seem worth it.


Chocolate contains the toxin theobromine. We can easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, so it builds up to toxic levels in their system. A small amount can cause major gastrointestinal distress; and a large amount, can even lead to death.

Wrapping paper, ribbons, ties are all attractive to dogs, and all can get lodged in your dog’s stomach or intestines, causing illness and pain.

Electric cords, lights. Curious puppies and kittens can get caught up in the excitement of lights, and bite through, burning themselves and shorting the wires. Keep them out of reach, and/or tape them down.

Tree water. Commercial preservatives typically contain some kind of fertilizer, some type of sugar, and fungicides. Some contain other ingredients such as aluminium sulphate.

The amount that a child or pet could consume isn’t poisonous, but will cause a stomach upset and vomiting.

Christmas tree preservatives aren’t necessary, according to experts – just fresh water is all you need to minimize needles dropping and keep the tree from being super dried out. If you really want to add something, try 1/4 cup corn syrup mixed into 1 quart of water. Keep the tree basin filled.

And a big danger during the holidays

morkie running in field good quality photo

Running away. With people coming and going, the doorbell ringing, and lengthy goodbyes at the door, your Morkie has plenty of chances to sneak out and dash off into the night. Keep him in another room or safe in a carrier cage or kennel while your guests are coming and going.

Can dogs eat turkey?

What to do if your Morkie does eat turkey bones

Don’t panic.

Don’t try to make your dog throw up; better, say experts, to let the bones work their way through….UNLESS your dog is pacing, upset, choking, gagging or licking his lips a lot (a sign of anxiety). In that case, contact your Vet or an Emergency Vet right away.

If he seems alright, feed only soft foods for the next few days, such as rice or white bread. Keep him calm and quiet, and monitor his poop for the bones or bone fragments. 

Keep your dog calm and quiet for the next few days. Monitor his poop carefully for bones or bone fragments. 

If your Morkie has any of these symptoms, contact your Vet immediately:

  • difficulty going poop
  • black or bloody stools
  • vomiting
  • no appetite
  • diarrhea
  • seems to have abdominal pain.  

More tips and ideas for the holidays, including gifts for dog lovers.

How to Tell if Your Morkie is Too Fat

How to Tell if Your Morkie is Too Fat

“Does this make me look fat?” Is there a worse question from a partner or friend? It’s just so awkward because no matter what you say it’s still uncomfortable.But what about a friend who asks you, “do you think Max is overweight?” Max is my friend’s four-yer-old Morkie and yes, he is overweight. In fact, he’s FAT, FAT, FAT. I don’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings because clearly she thinks he is absolutely perfect. But what about the all too real dangers of obesity in our pets?

7 Things Excess Weight Makes Worse in Pets

Almost 60% of dogs in America are dangerously overweight. A pet that’s just 10% to 20% over his ideal weight can suffer from:

  • Canine diabetes.
  • Digestive problems including constipation, flatulence and diarrhea. Phew, who needs it!
  • Serious damage to joints, bones, and ligaments are a direct result of too much weight.
  • Heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • Difficulty breathing – fat pushes on the abdomen wall and there is less room in the for the lungs to fill properly. Overweight dogs often wheeze, unable to take a full, deep breath.
  • Increased chance of cancer could be another risk to your Morkie who’s overweight. The exact link between obesity and cancer isn’t known yet, but why take chances?
  • A shorter life – just like people, dogs with all the burdens overweight causes, simply don’t live as long.

Keep your Morkie fit and trim and she’ll be a happy, lively companion for many years.

How can you tell your Morkie is overweight?

Many of us don’t want to see what’s right there. But there are obvious signs of overweight in dogs. First, from the side, you should be able to see a definite ‘tuck’ at his stomach.


From overhead, what shape is your Morkie?

  • He should have a clear waist, not just go straight down.
is my dog fat
Uploaded by: Wikivisual

Here’s what to look for from a top view of your Morkie

overhead view of your dog  

Three ways you can help your Morkie slim down

1. Cut out dog treats and people food

If your Morkie needs a reward, try a baby carrot or a good ear scratching. Otherwise, cut out all snacks. Today’s commercial dog treats are so high in salt, fat and sugar that they’re addictive. Dr. Ernie Ward, who heads up a not-for- profit organization dedicated to healthier pets, calls them “kibble crack.” If you cut out treats and snacks, your Morkie will also miss also a number of questionable products, including rawhide chew sticks, dental sticks, “greenies” and begging strips.

say goodbye to junk food for dogs

2. Gradually reduce your Morkie’s dog food

Does your Morkie have a health problem that’s making her overweight? Check with your Veterinarian before you start any weight reduction program. Go for a gradual and steady loss of weigh over a number of weeks or even months. Reduce your pup’s calorie intake over several weeks, by carefully measuring your Morkie’s usual meal. Then reduce it by 5% to 10% every two or three weeks. Tip: feed your dog at the same times every day, dividing the food into 3 or 4 portions to help him cope.

slowly reduce your morkie's food

3. Walkies!

Now the hard part: daily exercise.

If you’re not on a regular walking program with your dog, why not start one today.

Start out small and build up over time. For the first week, a 10-minute walk every day will be enough to get the ball rolling. Every week, increase this by 5 minutes until you’re up to half an hour.
Then add a second, short walk per day – starting at 10 minutes. Soon you’ll be up to two 30 minute walks per day and both you and your dog will see excellent results.

Weigh your dog regularly and chart your progress – check pet stores for scales sized to Morkies, or use a baby scale (often on sale online, or available in thrift stores).


Monitor your Morkie’s weight

monitor your dogs weight


Keep an eye on your Morkie’s weight with regular monitoring. Invest in a baby scale and track his weight once a month in a notebook. A pound or two, either way, doesn’t seem like a lot of weight, but it could represent 20% of your Morkie’s weight. That’s like the average 140-pound woman gaining (or losing) about 30 pounds.

baby scale


Baby scales are available online and in stores, or check your local thrift shop.

We're so used to overweight dogs, we don't see it any more.

At least 65% of all dogs in America are overweight.

No wonder our dogs are getting dangerously heavy.

An estimated 160 million Americans are either obese or overweight. Nearly three-quarters of American men and more than 60% of women are obese or overweight. These are also major challenges for America’s children – nearly 30% of boys and girls under age 20 are either obese or overweight, up from 19% in 1980.

– source: The CDC

Read more


Want to take better care of your Morkie?

Check out this COMPLETE HANDBOOK for raising a happy, healthy Morkie. From puppy to senior. Includes potty training, feeding, common health concerns, obedience, vaccinations and much more.  Charts, photos, illustrations and easy-to-read text.
Read it on your smartphone, computer, laptop, iPad or reader.

ORDER this invaluable e-book today 

Or read more about the MORKIE MEGA GUIDE e-book.

Order today and take better care of your Morkie

From getting a Morkie, to common health concerns, what to feed your Yorkie-Maltese mix, which deadly vaccinations to avoid — and much more! 

Over 300 pages of vital information.

THE Comprehensive Guide to Morkies

Diseases from dogs

Diseases from dogs

Owning a dog is proven to be really good for you… lowering your blood pressure, encouraging exercise and even reducing depression. But there’s a downside too. There are some diseases that we can catch from our pets, and some of them are serious.

Diseases you can get from your Morkie

The Center for Disease Control says that the most common diseases you can get from your Morkie are:

  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Dog Tapeworm
  • Hookworm
  • Rabies
  • Roundworm
  • Brucellosis

These diseases aren’t that common, and you can’t always blame the dog.  You can get Campylobacteriosis for example, by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or having contact with infected animals.


This one is fairly common, but can be caused by bad food, bad water or an infected pet or another animal.  Cross-contamination of foods, eating raw chicken or not washing your hands well are other causes of Campylobacteriosis – which is a leading cause of diarrhea. 


Read more at the CDC

Campy – what???

Break this word into three parts for easier pronunciation – Campy-lo-bacteriosis

Here’s how from YouTube:

Dog Tapeworm

Again stay away from the raw meats if you don’t want to end up with tapeworms. (We’re looking at you, steak tartare). To get tapeworm from your dog or cat, you’d have to swallow an infected flea.


Read more at the CDC


Keep your shoes on and you’ll be safer from hookworm.

These intestinal parasites are more common in dogs and cats, especially puppies. They’re spread from poop and infected soil, so walking barefoot is a no-no. A child might accidentally eat the worm eggs (we don’t even want to know how!)  Hookworm can cause itchy, painful skin or a queasy stomach.

By the way, puppies not treated properly for tapeworm can die.


Read more at the CDC

More worms you COULD get from your Morkie


This one is more serious: roundworm can cause a disease known as toxocariasis, which takes two forms:

  1. Ocular toxocariasis – which can result in vision loss, eye inflammation or damage to the retina when the creature invades the infected person’s eye. Typically, only one eye is affected.
  2. Visceral toxocariasis: this results when Toxocara larvae migrate to various body organs, such as the liver or central nervous system.

Roundworm larvae are fairly common in puppies. This is another reason to ensure your puppy is wormed at the Vet’s and for doubling up on handwashing.

Read more at the CDC


OK, we have to admit: Ringworm is not a worm, it is a contagious fungal infection.

Ringworm shows up as a ring-shaped rash on the skin or a bald patch on the scalp. It passes easily from pets to people, and from people to people, who can get it from direct contact with an infected animal.

Read more at WebMD

Read more at the CDC


Rabies has been all but eradicated in the western world, but it is still found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. In other countries, however, dogs still carry rabies.

A virus, rabies is spread by saliva from the infected animal so is spread by a bite. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system, heads to the brain and eventually causes death. By the time the symptoms have appeared it is often too late to treat the victim.

Vaccinations for rabies keeps the disease in check. Unfortunately, we tend to over-vaccinate our pets and this includes annual or bi-annual rabies shots when one vaccination at the beginning of your dog’s life is usually sufficient to prevent rabies.


And two more – Lyme Disease and Leptospirosis

According to the CDC, it is highly unlikely you’d get either of these diseases from your pet.

Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners.

However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of natural tick control products for animals. You can read more about this in my book Ticks on Dogs: Small Dog Nightmare.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that your pet COULD get from drinking water contaminated by infected wild animals, mostly rodents. In humans, it may produce no symptoms, or it may come with many, including high fever, headache, chills, aches, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash.

To catch Lepto directly from your dog, he would have to be infected, then you would have to have direct contact with urine through broken skin. You CANNOT get the Lepto virus through saliva.

Because there are so many strains of Leptospirosis, and vaccines have proven ineffective, most dog owners are not vaccinating their dogs – and especially not small dogs.


1. Hygiene

  • good hand washing goes a long way in deterring these zoonoses
  • keep your dog clean as well – regular bathing and combing helps and it also lets you check on the condition of his skin and coat, often leading indicators of illness in dogs
  • clean up dog poop and urine right away
  • wash your dog’s bedding regularly
  • keep water and food dishes clean, and separate for each pet


2. Common sense

  • get your pets wormed regularly and consider heartworm medication
  • make sure they have veterinarian check-ups at least annually
  • feed your dog a quality diet
  • infants, the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system, should be extra vigilant about exposing themselves to dangers

3. Watch your dog

  • keep an eye on your dog:  don’t allow him to eat garbage, dead animals or birds or hang out at bird feeders (birds can a number of zoonoses)
  • beware of pet food recalls – especially pet snacks like jerky treats. They are often recalled because of salmonella dangers (visit for regular updates)
  • don’t let your dog eat poop or drink out of the toilet (which would be quite a feat for a Morkie!)

Read more

You can read about all possible diseases and infections you can get from your pets (zoonoses) here at HEALTHLINE  for more details.

How often should you walk your dog?

How often should you walk your dog?

How often should you walk your dog?

Lots of people get a small dog because they don’t think they need long walks. But small dogs need walks just as much as big ones – so how often should you walk your dog?

There are plenty of benefits for both you and your Morkie, and fall is a perfect time to start a healthy habit like daily walks.

7 Reasons to walk your Morkie every day

  1. Exercise is great for everybody: canine and human. This is a no-brainer reason to walk.
  2. Weight control is easier with regular walking, again, for both you and your Morkie. Small dogs tend to put on weight more easily, since it doesn’t take much and because owners often don’t exercise them enough.
  3. Walking can help relieve constipation.
  4. Gentle, regular walking is a good way to ease arthritis pains.

5. A well-exercised dog is less likely to be destructive at home because he’s had a chance to burn off that excess energy.

6. Walking on a leash is a great way for your Morkie to learn discipline, and to understand that you are the leader of the pack.

7. A walk is a good way to give your dog some mental stimulation too. Dogs love walks because they get to sniff out all sorts of new scents, and maybe socialize with other people and dogs. While you want to keep your Morkie moving, don’t be so extreme that he never gets to “stop and smell the roses.” Those scent trails are VERY important to dogs – they are like their twitter or facebook.

The best leash and collar to use to walk your Morkie

The best collar to use when you walk your Morkie isn’t a collar at all, it’s a harness.

Because both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese can be prone to collapsing trachea (windpipe), it’s important that your dog doesn’t pull on a collar.

A collar is fine for keeping your dog safe via up-to-date i.d. tags, but for walking, look at a harness to minimize the risk of throat and neck injury.

Pulling on your Morkie’s neck can make tracheal collapse – or collapsing windpipe – worse. Morkies are prone to this disease, because both parents are too.

collapsing trachea illustration

say no to retractable leashes

Just say NO! to retractable leashes

Retractable leashes get the thumbs down from most animal experts. Even Consumers Report has warned how dangerous they can be.

Although they will give your Morkie extra freedom to sniff and poke around, they break more easily; they can wrap around your legs easily, and they teach your Morkie to pull because that’s what releases more leash.

A retractable leash lets your dog get too far away from you, too quickly.

Does your Morkie go crazy when you pick up the leash or mention the word “walk”?

My own dogs can make going out very stressful.

The Yorkie, Tinkerbell, SCREAMS she’s so excited. I’ve finally learned how to manage this. When she starts with over-the-top yelping and screaming because she thinks we’re going for a walk, I say (calmly) No, no. Then stop all actions that will lead to a walk. I put down the leash and go into another room and sit calmly.

Then I try it again. Still going crazy? Then I repeat the actions: say No, drop the leash and go into the other room quietly.

It only took two times and now, she’s just fine when we start out on our walk.

How often should you walk your dog?


Finally, to get back to the question of this post: How often should you walk your dog?

Daily is important. Shorter more frequent walks are often better, but longer walks work too, provided your Morkie has built up to them. Like us, dogs need to ramp up to exercise, not jump in all at once.

Experts say that a brisk walk that is 15 to 20 minutes once a day will mean real benefits for your dog… and for you.

Start slowly, keeping your Morkie’s age and health level in mind. Then build to one or two 20-minute walks a day.

Signs you are a bad dog owner

Signs you are a bad dog owner

There are millions of pages online about bad dog behavior, but what about bad dog OWNER behavior? Here are six things that bad owners do and they probably don’t even know it.

If you spot yourself in any of these, it might be time for a change.

1. You treat your dog like a baby.

We all love our Morkies a ton, but sometimes it gets a little weird. You know the type of owner I mean: her Morkie’s name is embroidered on her pillows, and there are dog toys of every kind, scattered from kitchen to bedroom to bath. The dog is so spoiled that she would do well on ‘Toddlers and Tiaras.’

If you want to act silly like that, it’s ok. But what about the effect you have on your Morkie? She is a dog, and she wants you to treat her like a dog. It’s in her DNA. Despite how different they seem, your Morkie and a wolf in the wild are closely related and have the same interests: running, sniffing, chasing, barking, rolling in bad smells, and more.

Like the wolf, your Morkie is a pack animal and needs structure and discipline to feel fulfilled, and not frustrated. Your dog wants and deserves your affection, but he also deserves training and exercise. And to be treated like a dog.

your dog and a wolf are the same

2. Your dog is under-exercised and bored.

If your Morkie has bad habits like chewing or barking too much, it could be a cover for something else: he’s bored. Animals have pent up energy, and it needs to be burned off with activity.

That activity includes plenty of exercise even for toy dogs.

It also includes mental stimulation in the form of training and games.

Dogs have had jobs for centuries, from rounding up cattle to hunting or hauling. Even the little Yorkshire Terrier started out earning his way as a ratter in the mines and factories of Victorian England.

Dogs get frustrated if they can’t meet their instincts, and that’s when they start to show signs of aggressive or bad behavior.

So give your dog a job. Two good long walks a day, sniffing out the neighborhood, is a good start; or tossing a toy to fetch, or learning a trick. These are all ways to use up his excess energy and engage his brain.

3. You're acting like your dog's playmate, not pack leader.

If you’ve watched the Dog Whisperer or read any of Cesar Millan’s books, you know how adamant he is that:

• Dogs are pack animals.
• Someone will be the leader of the pack (the alpha dog).
• It better be you.

You’ve just abdicated being the pack leader, and now you’re the follower. Your dog is calling the shots, not you. Instead of following your dog’s lead, make it clear that play begins when she is calm and responsive, and you are ready.

As Cesar Millan reminds us, “Being a pack leader is not a part-time occupation; it’s all the time.”

Being a pack leader does not mean using aggressive, dominant behavior. It simply means you’re in (calm, controlled) charge.

Follow the example of the mother dog. Mother dogs eat before feeding the puppies. They don’t allow puppies to jump on them, and they make it clear when they need some alone time. Take some leadership lessons from the mother dog.

4. You're inconsistent with your dog.

Sometimes you let him jump up on the couch, then you don’t. You have no established daily routine.

You don’t use the same commands, and instead, try to talk to your dog in full sentences. Then you’re surprised when the dog doesn’t follow instructions.

Dogs love routine, and they respond best when they can anticipate what’s coming.

5. Instead of teaching your dog, you punish bad behavior.

When you don’t have the patience to teach your dog proper behavior, chances are you end up frustrated and punishing your dog. Physical punishment is ALWAYS wrong, and it will always result in the loss of trust between you and your dog.


a trained dog is a safe dog

6. You're tense and nervous around your dog.

Because they can sense so much about us, dogs know if we are tense, angry, tired, nervous often better and before we know it ourselves.

Dogs communicate with you and other dogs through hundreds of non-verbal signs, including reading your body language, tone, facial expressions, scent, and much more.

When they’re upset, dogs have two primary responses: fight or flight. If they’re thrown off by your jangled nerves, then chances are the answer will be “fight.” Your Morkie may become aggressive, whiny, bark too much or even nip and bite.

Glucosamine for dogs?

Glucosamine for dogs?

If you’re worried about your dog’s joints you might want to add glucosamine for dogs to your shopping list.

Glucosamine is an amino-sugar that young healthy dogs produce continually. It helps joints to build and maintain cartilage. Cartilage is vital because it is the tough spongy layer that shields the bones in joints from each other.

As dogs age, they produce less and less glucosamine, which can lead to a painful condition called osteoarthritis, where bones start to rub painfully at the joint. This generates the pain and inflammation of arthritis.

If your dog responds well to glucosamine supplements, he will have healthier cartridge, better mobility, and less pain. Like humans, not all dogs respond to glucosamine, so you need to try it to find out.


normal joint versus arthritis



The AKC agrees

The American Kennel Club (AKC) agrees that no one knows exactly how glucosamine works, but it appears to help build better cartilage to protect against joint degeneration.

Since it has very few side effects it is worth trying because many studies have shown it does provide relief.

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What is arthritis?

Inflammation of a joint or joints causing pain and/or disability, swelling and stiffness, and due to various causes such as infection, trauma, degenerative changes or metabolic disorders.

While there is no cure for arthritis, some treatments can lessen pain and improve mobility.

Signs of arthritis in dogs

  • difficulty standing or sitting
  • stiffness getting up or after resting
  • slow, steady weight gain
  • less interest in playing
  • licking certain joints
  • behavior changes like decreased appetite and snappiness or forgetting potty training
  • difficulty getting comfortable at night
  • sudden whining or crying we your Morkie moves or when you’re petting him

Dogs can’t tell us about their arthritis pain

How big will my morkie get? Picture of a morkie puppy

Is glucosamine safe for dogs?

Glucosamine or glucosamine chondroitin for dogs is safe, say Vets, as long as you follow the recommended dosages and directions. Your Morkie’s weight is an important factor in just how much glucosamine is right.

Fortunately, if your dog does get too much, the excess is flushed out in the urine.

Watch your Morkie for any signs of glucosamine allergy

made from lobster shellsGlucosamine supplements are usually made from something called chitin. Chitin is extracted from the crushed shells of crustaceans, which include lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and barnacles. So if your dog has an unusual allergy to shellfish, this could be a problem.

Symptoms of an allergy can include

  • itching
  • cramps
  • vomiting and diarrhea

Glucosamine plus Chondroitin sulfate

Another nutrient called chondroitin sulfate is often combined with glucosamine for dogs.

It combats enzymes that might damage the cartilage and fluid in the joints. Together with glucosamine, it’s like a double whammy for pain and stiffness.

A vet and tech support person, demonstrating good Veterinary careGet the correct diagnosis

If your Morkie seems to have stiff, sore joints it’s important that your Vet diagnose what’s happening before you start treatment. Osteoarthritis is just one possibly with these symptoms. Others could be Lyme Disease, Tetanus or parasites.

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6 More Ways You Can Help Relieve Joint Pain for Your Morkie

If your Morkie is showing signs of joint pain and/or osteoarthritis, here are 6 more things you can do to help reduce her struggle:

  1. use area rugs for traction on slippery floors
  2. keep nails cut short
  3. provide a warm, padded bed
  4. never let your Morkie jump down from a bed, chair or sofa
  5. keep food and water within close reach
  6. try skid proof socks

It may take at least 3 months to see an improvement in your dog who is taking glucosamine supplements.

Picking a Brand of Glucosamine

Nutraceuticals – dietary supplements – aren’t regulated by the FDA like regular pharmaceuticals, so it’s important to read labels and take extra care in picking a brand.

Some kibbles include glucosamine, but the quantities available in food like this are far too small.

Some foods like Bone Broth (see my latest post on this wonder food) contain good amounts of glucosamine for dogs.

Or you might choose a specific supplement so you’re sure your Morkie is getting enough of the good stuff.  Check out for more information.

For a rundown of the best glucosamine for dogs, see here.

Dogs and fireworks – Keep your Morkie calm this July 4th

Dogs and fireworks – Keep your Morkie calm this July 4th

Dogs and fireworks just don’t mix… for most dogs, celebrations like the 4th of July are the worst day of the year. How can you keep your Morkie calm and safe this year? Here are 4 strategies for a happier, safer Morkie this July 4th.

FEAR OF FIREWORKS is completely normal for dogs. Flashing lights, tremendous noise, and crowds all work to keep your Morkie on edge and nervous. Some dogs are extremely fearful and will do anything to escape the anxiety of fireworks. That’s when a dog will try to run away.

In fact, July 4th is the busiest day for shelters and humane societies because of runaway dogs. One year, a runaway Morkie even made the evening news.

Strategy #1: Keep your Morkie away from fireworks

The best place for dogs during big celebrations like the Fourth of July is away.

Put your Morkie in a quiet place, close the curtains, and run the TV or radio to mask sounds.

Include his crate or bed, plenty of toys, food, and water nearby. Check on him from time to time, but don’t baby him or pay too much attention to his fears – it can make him more fearful and needy.

dog cozy in bed safe and sound

Strategy #2: Keep your Morkie safe

Make sure your Morkie is wearing a collar with up-to-date identification, including your phone number.

If people are coming and going, put your Morkie an extra door away from the action so he can’t suddenly slip out.

Make sure windows are secure. Dogs will jump right through a screen in their panic to escape.

Designate one family member to be in charge of the dog. Sometimes everyone thinks the other person is keeping an eye out, and nobody is.

Never leave your Morkie outside in the yard during a get-together. It’s too easy for him to slip away.

safety first on the 4th of july

Strategy #3: Keep your Morkie calm

Try a pressure vest like a ThunderShirt

Experts say they can really help calm an anxious dog.  You can read all about them in my blog post here.

No time to get a ThunderShirt? Try a homemade version with Ace Wraps, thanks to Kathy Coffman and Gracie Girl on Pinterest.

See my other blog post on ThunderShirts here.thundershirt for dog anxiety

Try a calming scent

Dogs sense of smell is many thousands of times stronger than ours, so aromatherapy makes sense. Four scents, in particular, are found to be effective in calming dogs:

  • lavender
  • vanilla
  • coconut
  • ginger

Other scents reported to calm dogs include cedar, orange, and lemongrass.

lavender oil to calm dogs

An old standby: Rescue Remedy


rescue remedy


Rescue Remedy for Pets is available at Amazon and in health food stores and many drugstores.


And two more remedies – Benadryl and D.A.P.

Benadryl liquid is great for your dog’s allergies, and it’s calming. Generally accepted as safe for dogs, children’s liquid Benadryl in a small quantity may work for your Morkie. Don’t give it to him, however, if he’s taking other medications and be sure to get the regular kind, NOT sugar-free. The Xylitol in sugar-free formulas is highly dangerous for dogs.  (Download a free info sheet about Benadryl for dogs here.)

D.A.P. or dog appeasing pheromones are used to keep your dog calm under stressful situations. A popular brand is Adaptil, which comes with an electric diffuser. Other formats are also available, like a wearable collar scent. Read more here.

Strategy #4: Help your Morkie get used to loud sounds

Well-known dog trainer and therapist Victoria Stilwell offers four individual CDs which you play to your dog to help him get used to loud noises. Different types of loud sounds progressively increase over the course of the CDs. You can read more about this canine noise phobia treatment here.

July 4th for people

july 4th is fun for people

July 4th for dogs

July 4th for dogs is a nightmare


3 things to avoid if your Morkie is afraid of fireworks offers these sensible tips:

Don’t baby your dog. If you fuss over her too much, she may get confused and become more afraid. Or she could learn that she gets extra attention or yummy treats when she’s stressed. Act normally. You can play with her, feed or do other fun activities.

Don’t punish her. Do not lock her in a crate or tie her up. She could injure herself trying to get away from the scary sound. She may also believe she’s in trouble for being afraid. Fear is a behavior, not an obedience issue. Your dog isn’t doing anything wrong by being afraid — even if the noise seems harmless to you.

Don’t force her to gut it out. Making your dog endure the sounds — especially without trained supervision — could make things worse.

And one more way to help your Morkie to stay calm

A brisk walk before the festivities begin is always a good idea – “a tired dog is a good (and calm) dog.”