The introduction of any pet into our lives brings about new and challenging responsibilities. Bringing home a new dog is similar to bringing home a new child. You now have a new creature in your home that requires your care and attention at all times. This is especially true with small dog breeds.

Small dog breeds have their own unique set of needs and responsibilities that need to be considered before adopting one into your home. Small dogs can equal big responsibility.

Below are 5 things to consider:

1. Size: While this may seem obvious at the start, living with small dog breeds can be a lot more challenging than you think. Their small size means that you have to be more aware of where it is that you step, the small spaces you leave open, and the ability of your new dog to get around the house. Be particularly aware of where it is that you step. It is very easy for small dog breeds to become entangled in your feet and to accidently step on them and cause harm.

2. Floors Must Be Clean - Small dog breeds usually have a common trait that can get them into trouble health-wise. They are small, so that means they are lower and closer to the ground. They are more likely to sniff out and swallow dropped food and small objects. This can cause them to get very sick or even require numerous visits to the vet. Example: At one time, I owned a small miniature dachshund. She used to find and eat numerous small items that would fall to the ground and get caught in her throat and digestive tract. While the vet will be happy, your dog and your pocketbook will not.

3. Feed Smaller Portions - This is actually a benefit because this is a cost savings for you. Small dog breeds equal small appetites. One thing to consider is to not over feed your small dog. If it is available, they will likely eat it. You are the responsible one when it comes to the dog's diet. Do not rely on your dog to exercise self-control.

4. Be Gentle - Due to the diminutive nature of small dog breeds, you need to be especially attentive to how roughly you choose to play. Be aware that they are more fragile than their larger cousins. While it is perfectly ok to play with small dog breeds, please be aware of your own strength in comparison. You are likely many times the size of the dog and thus you have to control yourself and not get carried away. Again, you must also be the voice of reason for the dog as well.

5. Don't Lose It - Small dog breeds are, well, small. This means that it is far easier to lose them. Be attentive of the location of your dog at all times and be sure to keep them on a leash when you are out in public. While this is true of any dog you own, this needs special attention with small dog breeds. The world is a big place full of big things. A small dog can easily get lost in the shuffle.

There are many aspects to consider in the ownership of small dog breeds. The above examples are just a few, but they are very important. Before you adopt one, talk to your local vet, talk to a shelter, and do some research online. Find out exactly what it is that you are getting yourself into with small dog breeds. This will be beneficial for the health of both you and your new dog.

The last thing that needs to be remembered is this. Enjoy your dog. Have fun with it and care for it like a new member of your family. Don't let the small size fool you; these small creatures are big on love and huge on energy. Small dog breeds may be a challenge unlike any other at first, but it is a challenge that brings many rewards along for the ride.

If you are in the market for a dog, I hope that you consider adopting a small dog breed.