lap dogs

Lapping up the attention

Lapping up the attention

The companionship and comfort of a little dog curled up on your lap can be a real positive for mental health. Whilst many dogs love a good cuddle, breeds such as chihuahuas, poodles, shih tzus and maltese have a particular reputation for being devoted lapdogs.


Lapdogs often form a strong emotional bond with their owners, making them seem almost human with their perceptiveness and apparent empathy. However, some lapdogs can become so bonded with their owners that they can feel quite anxious if separated from them, or if another human or dog approaches. This can occasionally provoke them to show aggressive behaviours, as they try to ward off the apparent threat.

It’s important to provide your little dog with lots of opportunities to socialise and gain confidence through positive experiences with other people and animals. This is particularly important before sixteen weeks of age, as part of normal healthy development, but should continue throughout life.

If your lapdog is older and showing some anxious behaviours when separated from you, or with other people or animals, have a chat with our vets regarding behavioural modification treatment options to help your pet gain confidence.

Medical issues

Whilst the various lapdog breeds each have their own particular disease predispositions, there are a few common medical issues that we see amongst the group. These are:

A tendency towards obesity, which can place strain on the heart, lungs and joints, and contribute to other diseases
Dental issues leading to pain and infection
Joint issues such as bowed forelimbs or luxating patellas (loose kneecaps), which can cause discomfort and lead to arthritis
It’s best to have your pet health-checked every 12 months up to eight years old, and then every six months thereafter. This will help ensure that your little companion stays in tip-top mental and physical health for many future years of cuddles!

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