How to Take Care of a Pomeranian
Pomeranians (Poms) are cute little dogs with big personalities. They are extroverted yet docile and affectionate, love to play and even make good watchdogs. In general, Poms are healthy and robust dogs. However, your Pom will need lots of care from you so he can live a long and healthy life.
Training Your Pomeranian
1. Be firm and consistent.
Although Poms are eager to learn new things and aim to please, they are also very independent. You will need to be gentle, yet firm and consistent when training your Pom so he knows you are in charge.
- Poorly-trained Poms can end up developing what's called the 'Small Dog Syndrome'—the dog believes he is the leader of the pack. This syndrome can lead to serious behavioral problems.
- Without proper training, your little Pom could end up running the household and turning into a tiny terror.
2. Enroll your puppy Pom in a puppy kindergarten class.
If your Pom is a puppy, you should start training him as soon as you can. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten will teach him basic socialization skills that will help him mature into a well-rounded dog.
- In addition to puppy kindergarten class, socialize your puppy Pom by exposing him to different people, sights and sounds. This will get him comfortable with his new environment and teach him how to act properly in different situations.
- As your Pom grows older, enroll him in an obedience training class to teach him to follow basic commands, such as 'sit' and 'stay.'
3. Potty train your pom.
If you have a puppy, it will be critical to housetrain him. Potty training can take up to several months, so be patient with your puppy as he learns the proper place to relieve himself. It is best to train your puppy to go outside, and to let him choose his own spot to go.
- To get your puppy on a consistent routine of going outside to relieve himself, take him outside after certain activities, such as 20 minutes after eating and 20 minutes before bedtime.
- Although it may be tempting to do indoor housetraining on pee pads or newspaper, it can be challenging, since your Pom may not like being forced to use a pee pad in a spot he didn't choose himself.
- If you and your family members are gone for long periods of time (more than eight hours), it may be more practical for you to leave an indoor area for your Pom that contains a pee pad and a few other creature comforts (bed, food and water bowls, toys). Remember, though, that your Pom may relieve himself in a place other than the pee pad.
- A good rule of thumb to remember is that a puppy can hold off from going to the bathroom for one hour per pound of body weight. For example, if your puppy is two pounds, he can hold it for about two hours.
Crate train your Pom. Crate training is a great method to train your puppy Pom. The crate not only keeps him safe from potential dangers, but can also keep him out of trouble when you're not home. In addition, since Poms can be very difficult to housetrain, crate training is a good alternative.
- Crate training make take some time, especially since Pom puppies can be willful and stubborn.
- Visit your local pet store to select a crate size and design that will be comfortable for your Pom.
- When done properly, crate training will allow your Pom to see the crate as a place of safety, not punishment.
- Crate training involves introducing your Pom to the crate, feeding him inside of it, and gradually leaving him in the crate for longer periods of time (including at night).
- Rewarding your Pom with verbal praise and extra treats will encourage him to see the crate as something positive.
5. Train your Pom to sleep at night.
When you first bring your Pom home, you may notice that his sleep schedule does not align with yours. It can take some time for a dog to adjust to the sleep pattern of his owner, so be patient with your Pom as you train him to sleep at night.
- Create a comfortable area for your Pom puppy to sleep. Make this area easily accessible to your Pom so he can rest there at any time of day. He may feel isolated and stay awake at night if he associates the rest area only with the dark.
- In the evenings, dim the lights and turn down the noise on the TV so your Pom knows that it's time to go sleep.
- Do not rush to your Pom if he whines and barks during the night. If you do this, he will associate his noise with getting attention from you, which will certainly affect your sleep quality. Let him soothe himself back to sleep.
- Puppy poms typically sleep 18 to 20 hours a day. Adult poms usually sleep 12 to 14 hours a day, including a few naps during the day.
6. Control your Pom's barking.
Poms bark a lot and have a surprisingly loud bark, making them great watchdogs. However, Poms do not always know when to stop barking, which can turn the barking into more of a nuisance than anything else. It is important for you to train your Pom not to bark.
- Training your Pom dog not to bark begins with teaching him how to bark on command. When you have your Pom's attention, give a short verbal command ('speak,' 'bark') and let him bark a few times. Hold a treat in front of his nose and let him have the treat when he stops barking.
- When your Pom responds to the command to bark, give him a command to stop barking ('quiet'). After a few repetitions and rewards for not barking, your Pom will learn when to bark and when not to bark.
Leash train your Pom. Poms have a lot of energy and love to go out on long walks. Daily walks are an important way to give your Pom the exercise he needs. To make the walking experience more enjoyable for the both of you, train him to walk properly on a leash.
- Your Pom puppy will need some time getting used to the leash before you put it on him. Let him sniff and explore the leash.
- It can be helpful to carry treats with you during the first few times you are leash training your Pom. Reward him with a treat when he doesn't pull on the leash.
- Your puppy Pom may want to pull on the leash. Rather than yanking on the leash, stand still or start walking in the other direction.
- If he decides to lie down during the walk, call him to you and give him a treat when he comes.
Feeding Your Pomeranian
1. Select a high-quality commercial food for your Pom.
A healthy, well-balanced diet is essential to your Pom's good health. High-quality commercial foods will provide your Pom with all of the nutrients he needs to be healthy and live a full and active life. With so many dog food choices, focus on the food label to help you make a good choice.
- High-quality foods will have a specific meat (e.g., chicken, beef) listed first on the ingredient label. Look for other protein sources or dairy products to be listed within the first three to five ingredients.
- Look for the phrase 'complete and balanced' on the food label. High-quality foods will also have a statement on the bag stating the food meets the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
- Your Pom will need to eat food that is specifically formulated for small breed dogs. If you have a puppy, he will need a puppy-specific food that contains the nutrients he needs to help him grow.
- Do not be swayed by labels such as 'premium' or 'natural.' More times than not, these are just marketing terms to get you to purchase the product.
- Ask your veterinarian (or breeder, if you purchased a puppy) about high-quality foods that would be good for your Pom.
2. Feed your Pom the proper amount of food.
Poms are tiny animals, so their stomachs cannot hold much food at a time. In addition to being extra tiny, Pom puppies have very high metabolisms, which means they burn calories very quickly. If you have a puppy Pom, try to feed him three to four times a day.
- For puppies, feed the amount that is listed on the food bag label. Divide this amount into three or four daily feedings.
- If you have an adult pom, feed him one-fourth to one-half cup of food per day, divided into two meals.
- How much you feed your Pom can depend on different factors, including age, activity, and overall health status. Speak with your veterinarian about your Pom's specific nutritional needs.
3. Provide your Pom with plenty of fresh water.
Water is an essential part of your Pom's diet. He should have access to clean, fresh water at all times. If you have a puppy, considering putting the water in a shallow, tip-proof bowl.
Grooming Your Pomeranian
1. Brush and comb your Pom's coat frequently.
Poms have a double coat that needs frequent brushing and combing. The undercoat is soft and dense, and the top coat is long and coarse to the touch. To prevent your Pom's coat from getting mattes or tangles, you should brush and comb it on a daily basis.
- If daily grooming is not practical for you, tend to his coat at least twice a week.
- You will need a bristle brush and metal comb, both of which are available at your local pet store. Try to find a brush with curved bristles.
- To brush his coat, part the hair with your hands and brush downward from the part ('line brushing'). Be gentle to avoid damaging his skin.
- After brushing, use the comb to gently comb out any mattes and tangles.
- Make sure to brush and comb all the way down to his skin. Proper technique will keep his skin and coat healthy by evenly distributing natural oils.
2. Bathe your Pom.
You do not need to bathe your Pom very often—once a month is often sufficient. Bathe him with a dog-specific shampoo for sensitive skin, such as oatmeal shampoo. Make sure the shampoo is free of artificial fragrances or colors.
- Quality shampoo ingredients to look for include vitamin E and aloe vera, which are good moisturizers.
- Do not use human shampoo, since its acidic pH can irritate your Pom's skin.
- After you rinse out the shampoo, spritz a leave-in conditioner throughout his coat to keep it healthy.
- Briefly blot his coat dry with a towel, then dry him off completely with a hairdryer set at the lowest setting. Not all dogs like hairdryers, though, so your Pom may prefer being dried off with towels.
- To give his coat even more sheen and shine, brush his coat with the slicker brush after you've dried him off.
3. Perform other grooming activities.
In addition to bathing your Pom and brushing/combing his coat, you will also need to trim his nails, clean his eyes and ears, and brush his teeth. Trim his nails once every one to two weeks to keep them from growing too long. Plan to clean his eyes and ears on a daily basis.
- Guillotine nail clippers are easier to use than scissor-type clippers. Purchase clippers at your local pet store.
- Trim his nails down to about two millimeters above the quick (the vein running up the middle of each nail). Cutting the quick causes the nail to bleed, and can be painful for your Pom.
- If you are not comfortable trimming your dog's nails, ask your veterinarian or groomer to perform this task.
- You will need specific cleaning solutions to clean your dog's eyes and ears. Your veterinarian can recommend which cleaning solutions to use and give you instructions on how to use them.
- Ideally, you should brush your Pom's teeth once a day. If this is not practical for you, aim to brush his teeth at least once a week.
- Choose a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste, both of which are available at your local pet store. It is best to start brushing your Pom's teeth when he is young so he can get used to the activity.
4. Do not give your Pom a 'lion cut.
' Your Pom's double coat can take a lot of time to groom and maintain. For this reason, some Pom owners will decide to give their Pom a short haircut. This may seem convenient at first, but giving your Pom a lion cut has some disadvantages. For example, it takes away some of your Pom's natural protection against the elements (e.g., rain, cold).
- In addition, once a Pom's coat is cut short, there is no guarantee it will grow back with the same shape or thickness as before.
- Rather than cut your Pom's coat short, you may have to invest in getting his coat professionally groomed if you are unable to do it yourself.
Playing and Exercising With Your Pomeranian
1. Take your Pom on long walks each day.
Poms are athletic little bundles of energy. A long daily walk will help him expend that energy. Poms love to play as well, but playtime is not a substitute for a walk.
- In some dogs, not having a daily walk can lead to the development of behavioral problems.
- Poms are very sensitive to heat, so do not take your Pom out on long walks when it is hot outside.
2. Schedule daily playtimes with your Pom.
Poms love to play, so you should engage in multiple, short playtimes with your Pom each day. If you have a backyard with some trees, your Pom will enjoy running around and chasing leaves. Fortunately, Poms do not need to go outside for playtime, so you can plenty of fun with him indoors.
- Poms have a moderate energy level, so do not push your Pom too hard to run and play.
3. Provide your Pom with a variety of toys.
Since Poms can get bored very easily, you should give your Pom plenty of toys from which to choose. He will especially like toys that give him a mental challenge, such as puzzle toys. Rotate the toys out frequently.
- Choose toys have that have different colors and textures to keep your Pom interested in playing with them.
- Cozy stuffed toys can provide your Pom with comfort when you are not home.
- If you have a puppy, purchase some teething toys that will keep him from chewing on your furniture or shoes.
- Instead of buying new toys all of the time, you can try giving your Pom a different combination of the same toys.
4. Teach your Pom new tricks.
Poms are eager to learn new things. They also love to be the center of attention, so teaching your Pom new tricks will make him very happy! There are many tricks you can teach your Pom, like playing dead, grabbing paw, and playing fetch.
- Poms tend to have short attention spans, so keep your training sessions short (5 to 10 minutes).
- Get creative and have fun with teaching your Pom new tricks. Not only will this keep your Pom physically and mentally active, you will be able to strengthen your bond with him.
Monitoring Your Pomeranian's Health
1. Learn about common health issues in Pomeranians.
Although Pomeranians are generally healthy and robust dogs, they can develop a number of health conditions throughout their lives. For example, small breed dogs are especially prone to collapsed tracheas and patellar luxation (kneecap shifts away from its normal position).
- Pomeranians can also have a heart defect called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which occurs when blood does not start flowing to the lungs after a puppy is born. PDA symptoms may not be obvious, but you may notice your puppy Pom is not very active and not growing as quickly as he should.
- Pomeranians can develop different eye problems, including cataracts and tear duct problems.
- As your Pom grows older, he may develop bald spots due a condition called 'black-skin' disease. Fortunately, it is treatable in some cases.
- Other health issues in Pomeranians are food allergies, epilepsy, and an orthopedic problem called Legg-Perthes. Legg-Perthes, common in puppies four to six months old, occurs when the head of the femur (thighbone) starts to disintegrate from lack of blood flow.
2. Schedule regular dental cleanings for your Pom.
Poms are also susceptible to tooth decay, so it is important to have your veterinarian clean your Pom's teeth regularly. Your veterinarian can evaluate your Pom's teeth and oral health to determine how often his teeth should be cleaned.
- Veterinary dental cleanings require general anesthesia, so it will probably be expensive to have your Pom's teeth cleaned. However, not having his teeth cleaned regularly could lead to very serious oral health problems that could end up costing you more in the future.
3. Take your Pom to your veterinarian regularly.
Veterinary visits will help keep your Pom up to date with his vaccinations and allow your veterinarian to assess his overall health. If you have a young puppy, take him to the veterinarian every three to four weeks until he is 16 weeks old so he can get vaccinated. Your puppy will also need to get started on a heartworm preventative and get heartworm tested.
- Your puppy will also need to be dewormed during his first few weeks of life to get rid of intestinal parasites.
- If you have an adult pom, take him to the veterinarian at least once a year, but more often if he has specific health issues that need more attention.
- Poms make great family pets. However, because they are so small, Poms can get easily injured and are thus not suitable for families with young children. A young child may handle the Pom too roughly and injure him by accident.
- Poms have an average life expectancy of 15 years and weigh between three and seven pounds (1.4 to 3.2 kilograms). Pom puppies tend to reach adulthood more quickly than large or giant breed dogs.
- Poms can get along very well with other household pets when properly introduced.
- If your Pom starts to get a little smelly between baths, sprinkle some baby powder on his coat and then brush it out after a few minutes.
- Poms are well suited to apartment living.
- Poms can develop serious health problems. Take your Pom to your veterinarian if he becomes sick or injured.
- A Pom will become very demanding and snippy if not properly trained.
- Veterinary care could become very expensive over the course of your Pom's life. Consider purchasing pet health insurance to make veterinary care more affordable.
- Do not spank your Pom if he misbehaves. Spanking can cause your Pom to become anxious and develop other behavioral problems.
- Do not let leave your Pom alone with small children.