Shih Tzu pros and cons
Shih Tzu is essentially a companion dog breed that thrives when interacting and spending time with the owners. Potential pros and cons of Shih Tzu breed include the following:
Shih Tzu pros include the convenient size of the pet. Shih Tzus are small enough to be easily transported. Traveling with this small pet is easier than with larger dogs. Although Shih Tzus are small, they are sturdy and not as fragile as many other small breeds. Other positives about owning a Shih Tzu include the dog's friendly and confident temperament. Shih Tzus are curious and playful. They make wonderful companions for older people and for active families with older kids. Other pros of Shih Tzu include the quietness - this breed does not bark much and makes a great apartment dog. Shih Tzu owners may need to spend more time on housebreaking a Shih Tzu - the breed requires extra effort to house train, which can be a disadvantage.
Shih Tzu cons include the maximum grooming needs. Potential Shih Tzu breed owners need to be prepared to spend at least half an hour every day on Shih Tzu coat maintenance. Shih Tzu dogs do not shed much, which is another advantage for Shih Tzu owners. People with pet related allergies can consider Shih Tzu breed because Shih Tzu pros include hypoallergenic coat. (Spend some time with Shih Tzu dog before final commitment to be sure that the breed agrees with your allergies).
Shih Tzu pro: Shih Tzus are essentially companion dogs that make wonderful pets for older couples and seniors, younger adults and families with older kids.
Shih Tzu con: Maximum grooming needs that Shih Tzus are know for make this breed a challenge for people who do not have the time to care for Shih Tzu's coat that needs daily maintenance and brushing.
Shih Tzu pro: Shih Tzu is a quiet breed that is perfect for apartment living. As long as the dog gets plenty of attention and time with the owner every day, the dog is happy living in a small city apartment or in a large country home.
Shih Tzu con: Shih Tzu can be difficult to housetrain. Potty training this breed can be a challenge that potential Shih Tzu owners need to be aware of. Shih Tzu can be successfully house trained but may take longer to be completely potty trained.
Now that you are aware of most cons and pros of Shih Tzu breed, see below for detailed Shih Tzu breed information.
Shih Tzu size
Shih Tzu dogs are small in size, which makes this breed easy to travel with and Shih Tzus are light enough to carry. Shih Tzu's size and low exercise requirements make this indoor breed perfect for apartment living. Despite the small size, Shih Tzu dogs are sturdy and can enjoy longer walks.
Shih Tzu size in weight and height
Shih Tzu weight
Shih Tzu male weight: from 8.8 to 16 lb (4 to 7.25 kg)
Shih Tzu female weight: from 8.8 to 16 lb (4 to 7.25 kg)
Shih Tzu sizes:
Shih Tzu male height: from 7.9 to 11 in (20 to 28 cm)
Shih Tzu female height: from 7.9 to 11 in (20 to 28 cm)
Shih Tzu is well known for the luxurious coat that requires daily care. Shih Tzu owners need to brush the dog's coat every day to keep it beautiful and free from tangles.
Shih Tzu coat: dense, double-coated, straight and silky
Shih Tzu color: Gold, brown, white, black, black/white, grey, brindle, cream
There are a total of 19 different coat color combinations that can be found in Shih Tzu breed
How many puppies can a Shih Tzu have?
Shih Tzu litter size: 1 to 8 puppies
Shih Tzus can live a long life when properly cared for. Dog's genetics, lifestyle, diet and other factors affect Shih Tzu's longevity.
ShihTzu life expectancy:
Shih Tzu life span: 11 to 16 years
Other names for Shih Tzu breed: Chrysanthemum Dog
How much does a Shih Tzu cost?
Shih Tzu price starts at around $500 and more, depending on many factors
Shih Tzu temperament
Shih Tzu in Chinese means "Lion Dog". This member of the Toy group resulted from a cross between Pekingese and Lhasa Apso. This lap dog breed is more closely related to the wolf than many other breeds. Shih Tzu is a very active dog that has an easygoing, light temperament. Shih Tzu tend to enjoy barking. Sense of smell is not as well developed as in some other dog breeds. Shih Tzu temperament can be described as busy, curious and creative. If you don't provide the dog with dog toys, activities and mental stimulation, the dog will find a way to entertain herself. She may engage in digging, chewing, barking and exploring. If you are inconvenienced by any of these behaviors, find healthy ways to handle these destructive Shih Tzu behaviors. Shih Tzu's amiable and curious personality traits help the dog to be a wonderful companion pet. He makes a perfect companion lap dog for elderly people and can be a great family dog because he really enjoys being around people. These small, gentle dogs need a lot of love and constant attention from their owners. She will follow you around when you walk, will get in your lap when you sit and when you eat count on her eyes watching you eating. Your Shih Tzu will demand to be petted and coddled all the time. If you have lots of time to stay home and want a little dog that will be your shadow then Shih Tzu is the right dog for you. Are Shih Tzu dogs good with kids? While Shih Tzu breed is great with children, the breed may not be the best choice for families with toddlers because the small size makes him vulnerable to unintentional injury. Teach your kids to be gentle with their pet.
Socialize your Shih Tzu early on. Small dogs can be aggressive too, especially the ones that did not receive enough socialization during the puppyhood. The great thing about socializing your Shih Tzu is that it's such an easy task. Simply bring your dog along with you whenever you are going somewhere that he may go as well. When people ask if they can pet your dog, let them pet the dog gently. Your dog will learn to be comfortable around strangers rather than frightened or aggressive around unfamiliar people. Keep in mind that Shih Tzus are strictly an indoor dog breed but still need daily walks and exercise. If you have a yard, leaving your dog unsupervised may be an invitation for trouble. Shih Tzu will quickly start missing you and may try to find a way to get out of the yard if given a chance.
Shih Tzu dogs do not bark a lot. Because Shih Tzus are rather quiet, they make good neighbors and can be pets for people living in apartments. Shih Tzus can be trained to use an indoor potty. Keep in mind that Shih Tzus need a patient owner because this breed can be stubborn and potty training a Shih Tzu may take a while.
Shih Tzus do not do well in hot and humid weather. Please remember not to leave your dog in a car unattended during hot weather. The flat shape of the Shih Tzu's face makes this breed susceptible to heat stroke because the air going into the lungs isn't cooled as efficiently as among long nosed breeds. During hot weather keep your Shih Tzu indoors in air conditioned room to prevent a heat stroke.
Shih Tzu grooming
Shih Tzus require a lot of grooming and hair care. Though they do not shed as much as other dog breeds, they still need daily brushings to maintain the beautiful coat that is free of mats and tangles. Brushing removes dead hairs, stimulates the skin and distributes the natural oils in the coat. Shih Tzus are considered by some to be less allergenic than many other dog breeds. Shih Tzus have two distinct layers in their coat. The top layer is long and silky while the undercoat is fleecy and feathery. The coat keeps on growing much like hair. Most people who own Shih Tzu keep their coat short as it is easier to maintain. If you want the long show dog coat look, be prepared for a lot of work. A beautiful coat is also a product of inheritance. Coat quality, density, length, texture, and color are genetically inherited from the parents. If your Shih Tzu does not have the genetics necessary to grow a wonderful show coat, then no product can create a quality show coat worthy of a champion. There is no substitute for good genetics when it comes to coat quality. In the same way, a Shih Tzu with the genetic potential needs to be in excellent health, receive the best care and nutrition to produce the show quality coat. Many skin and hair problems are caused by poor or inadequate nutrition, food allergies, parasites (both internal and external), fungi, harsh chemicals or inappropriate products used on the skin, or allergies to synthetic bedding material.
Grooming your Shih Tzu should be a relaxing and fun experience for you and your dog. It is a documented fact that people can lower their blood pressure simply by touching or caressing an animal. If you do not like the idea of grooming, a Shih Tzu is not the dog for you because a Shih Tzu requires grooming and lots of it. When you are grooming your dog, be sure to pay attention to the eyes, ears and the skin condition. If you notice an unusually abundant discharge from the eyes or signs of irritation, take your Shih Tzu to the veterinarian as this may be a sign of a serious condition that requires medical attention.
See video demo how to give your Shih Tzu a puppy cut.
Start getting your Shih Tzu accustomed to grooming immediately, while the dog is still a puppy because older dogs have a mind of their own and may not be as flexible and easily trainable as puppies. Shih Tzu puppies may object to brushes and combs in the beginning, but with lots of praise and very short grooming sessions especially in the beginning, the dog will learn to enjoy the process. Make sure to end the grooming session before the dog is tired of it and starts to misbehave. Three to five minutes is enough. If he objects and struggles and you stop the grooming, you will only reinforce bad behavior. Always end grooming sessions on a positive note. Praise your dog after a grooming session and provide a small food reward. Remember to walk the dog before a grooming session so that he can be more relaxed during grooming.
Do not restrain your Shih Tzu by the skin on the back of his neck and do not pull tightly on the skin around his eyes, ears or neck. Excessive force could cause the eyes to proptose (bulge out of their sockets), requiring immediate emergency veterinary care to put the eyes back in place and to prevent blindness.
Comb Shih Tzu's hair gently away from Shih Tzu eyes every day to prevent eye irritation. Continual irritation from hair can cause serious, painful conditions, including dry eyes, corneal ulcers and blindness. Let the hair grow between the eyes and at the base of the muzzle until it is long enough to tie up in a topknot. Trimming these hairs is not recommended because unless you keep these hairs very short, they will injure the eyes. If you notice that your Shih Tzu is squinting, has reddened scleras (the normally white parts of the eyes), is tearing or has a discharge from the eyes, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Shih Tzu puppies look cutest if the hair is cut to emphasize their rounded heads. The topknot is cut with scissors to about two inches (4 cm) long. For active Shih Tzu puppies that enjoy playing and running outdoors a puppy trim is recommended. There are other popular clips, that include Kennel clip, Body clip, Schnauzer cut and Cocker cut, full furnishings clip is for the ambitious individual, able and willing to maintain a long and flowing coat. Only the neck and back are clipped and the rest of the coat is left full length. Shih Tzu hair cutting can be a fun experience for the owner and you can use the time to bond with the dog. Keep on reading to learn about Shih Tzu grooming tools you will need to give your Shih Tzu a nice haircut at home. See video demo how to give your Shih Tzu a puppy cut.
How to bathe a Shih Tzu
Never use hair care products designed for humans on your Shih Tzu. Use a pH balanced shampoo developed for canines that is gentle on the skin. On average, you should bathe your Shih Tzu once every three weeks. Be sure to thoroughly brush the Shih Tzu before you bathe the dog to remove any tangles and mats. Bathing a Shih Tzu video - how to bathe a Shih Tzu dog:
After every bath, make sure to dry your Shih Tzu thoroughly and keep him warm. Make sure the dog's ears are dried out after a bath to prevent ear infection.
Shih Tzu grooming tools
A dog grooming table that can be adjusted to a comfortable height is a good investment if you are planning to groom your Shih Tzu at home.
Professional Shih Tzu grooming can be expensive and some owners choose to learn how to cut their Shih Tzu's coat at home. Not only will you save money, but you will also get the opportunity to bond with your pet in the process. Which tools will help you to get best grooming results at home? You will need dog grooming clippers to cut your dog's hair at home. Grooming scissors set should include straight scissors, curved scissors and thinning shears.
Grooming Brushes for Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu grooming brushes include a slicker brush and a wide-toothed metal comb.
Shih Tzu nail trimming
It is important to keep your dog's nails trimmed as long nails may cause pain and can even affect the dog's posture. Overgrown nails may curl and grow into the dog's paw, causing Shih Tzu pain and discomfort. Use dog nail clippers, dog nail grinders or dog nail trimmers to care for your dog's nails. Be careful not to trim too much as you may accidentally cut the vein that is inside each nail. If you notice any blood as you are cutting the dog's nails - be sure to use styptic powder to quickly stop the bleeding.
Start getting your Shih Tzu comfortable with having her nails trimmed from a young age. Older dogs can also learn to accept the procedure but it may take longer time with an older Shih Tzu. Do not rush the training and at first, get the dog comfortable with having her paws handled. Give Shih Tzu plenty of treats to make the experience positive and do not spend more than a couple of minutes at a time as you are getting the dog familiar with the new experience. After a few days you may cut one nail per day - be sure that the dog is comfortable at all times as you are training him. The positive association will help you to get your dog comfortable with the procedure and he will learn that there's nothing to worry about whenever the Shih Tzu is getting his nails trimmed.
Tear stains on Shih Tzu face
Many Shih Tzu dogs have tear stains that may appear as dark brown or pinkish color around the dog's eyes. Excessive tear stains may be a sign of underlying medical issue - check with your vet if you notice more tear stains than usual on your dog. Tear stains on Shih Tzu face can be removed with a dog eye stain remover.
Shih Tzu grooming tips
1. Keep grooming training sessions short. Several short grooming sessions are better than one long session when you are starting to train your puppy for grooming.
2. Begin training Shih Tzu for grooming early on, starting on the day after you bring the puppy home from the breeder.
3. Designate a grooming area for Shih Tzu that is easy to clean and is in convenient location and with good lighting. Use a comfortable table to place your Shih Tzu for grooming and make sure the table surface is not slippery to prevent falls or injury.
4. When Shih Tzu requires a reprimand, use the word "No" consistently. Never use your pet's name in connection with reprimand.
5. Train Shih Tzu dog by using positive reinforcements like praise or food rewards and not by scolding or punishing.
6. Place all the grooming items near the grooming table when you are grooming a Shih Tzu.
7. Only use products designed for dogs (never use products for humans on your pet).
8. Always praise your Shih Tzu for good performance and behavior.
9. Never leave Shih Tzu unattended on a grooming table.
If you are planning to raise a show dog Shih Tzu, it is important to start the appropriate hair care routine as soon as possible. Shih Tzu hair will require a lot of maintenance on a daily basis. Shih Tzus that will be show dogs do not run loose in the yard, take walks in the park, or play rough with other dogs. They do not spend time on the carpeting because carpeting may damage the fine hairs. The show Shih Tzu are raised in a way that helps to protect the coat at all times. Shih Tzus are housed in a clean exercise pens and long hair may be wrapped to prevent breaking or soiling.
Shih Tzu potty training
How to potty train a Shih Tzu? Shih Tzu potty training may take a while. A Shih Tzu puppy should be started on potty training the minute you bring him home. Get an indoor dog potty solution system prior to bringing the Shih Tzu home. Do not expect quick potty training results. It is important to allocate a specific area that is designated as your dog's toilet. You can choose a Shih Tzu toilet location outdoors but the dog's toilet could be indoors on puppy pads or even a dog litter box which is useful for those who live in apartments or condos and do not have immediate access to the outdoors. Praising your dog every time Shih Tzu uses the potty in the designated area will help you to train the dog faster. Have a command word that your puppy will understand and always use the same word. Just as we teach the word "sit", we also need to use a word command for elimination. You might say "Do your duty" or "Go to potty" while your dog is doing his business and soon your pet will learn to understand the command. Remember to praise your Shih Tzu as soon as he successfully finishes his business in the designated area. Young puppies will naturally need to eliminate after certain events such as eating or drinking, playing, upon awaking from sleep and every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Take your dog to the designated toilet area after the described above events and reward your dog with a praise immediately after he is done. In case an accident happens in the wrong location, do not punish your Shih Tzu - casually clean up the mess and be on the lookout for the next potty time to place the dog in the correct location when Shih Tzu displays any signs of readiness to use the potty. Be sure to completely clean up any accident very thoroughly and remove any scent of the dog's urine because if it smells like a dog's toilet - the dog will continue to use that spot as his toilet in the future.
Watch out for the signs of potty readiness in your Shih Tzu. Signs that the dog is ready to use the potty include sniffing the floor, walking around in circles and acting anxiously. Take the Shih Tzu to the potty area immediately if you see any of these signs. Be patient and consistent with your Shih Tzu and you will achieve your training goals.
Shih Tzu potty training tips (Video)
Thoroughly clean up any mess in case of an accident. Enzyme based pet odor removers work best indoors.
Shih Tzu obedience training
Shih Tzu can at times be stubborn when it comes to training. They may need between 40 or 50 repetitions before learning a new command. This breed is known to have a short attention span and can be easily distracted.
Shih Tzu crate training
While a Shih Tzu is young and more prone to mischief, using a crate when you cannot properly supervise him may be the smartest option for both of you. It can save your home and other possessions from being ruined and it can save your dog from getting seriously hurt. Many dogs enjoy using crates for naps and as a spot to hide or enjoy special treats. Crates are also very useful during housetraining as dogs instinctively do not like to use their sleeping area as a toilet. Never put your dog in the crate as a punishment. Crate should never be used for more than a few hours at a time. It is important for the dog to feel that his crate is his safe place where he can rest and relax. Crates are also very useful for traveling.
Never use a crate for more than a few hours at a time and do not use it as a punishment. It is important for your Shih Tzu to feel that his crate is his den, where he can relax. Begin crate training by placing the crate in a designated location in your home with the door wide open. Your dog will notice it right away and will try to investigate the new surroundings. You may also encourage your dog to explore his crate by placing his toys or some treats inside the crate. Don't rush to close the door right away as this may scare the dog and he may be hesitant to use the crate in the future. Only when the dog seems comfortable with the crate, you can start closing the door for very short period of time at a time, gradually increasing the length and ultimately leaving the room. Praise your dog whenever he enters the crate and always end on a positive note. Even if he howls wildly when you first close the door, wait for that one or two seconds he is quiet and re-open it. Praise him lavishly.
When you are traveling with a Shih Tzu by car, the safest way to transport your pet is by placing the dog in a crate or in a dog car seat.
What to expect when you get a Shih Tzu puppy from a breeder
If you decided that Shih Tzu is the right breed for you and you are ready to provide your dog with love, food, veterinary care, grooming, training classes and exercise for the next sixteen years then it is time to think about the best time to introduce one into your life and your home. If you have too many obligations right now, it is best to postpone your purchase until you have the time to give your Shih Tzu the care and attention it deserves. This dog thrives on companionship and when left all alone it may start developing undesirable behaviors including barking, chewing and trying to escape. A lonely Shih Tzu may get depressed and lose interest in its surroundings and even stop eating. Avoid giving a Shih Tzu as a present to someone. Pet ownership is a responsibility not everyone wants to assume. If someone is interested in getting a pet, you can bet that the person would prefer to choose the animal, rather than have someone make that decision.
Are you getting a Shih Tzu for companionship or as a show dog? If you are planning to get a show dog, be prepared to pay a lot more for the dog. Keep in mind that even if both parents of a puppy won in competitions, there is no guarantee that their puppy will turn out to be a champion too. The best advice is to buy an adult Shih Tzu that already has been successful in the show ring.
Should you get a Shih Tzu puppy or adult? You may choose to raise a puppy, or adopt an adolescent or adult dog. The decision depends on your personal preferences and home situation. Most people want to start with a puppy because they want to integrate it into their family at an early age, and because puppies are so cute. In a few months your puppy will turn into an adult dog. So if you have an opportunity to purchase a wonderful, well-mannered adolescent or adult dog, give it some serious thought. There are advantages to starting off with a more mature animal that has outgrown some of its naughty behavior attributed to "not knowing any better because he's just a puppy". An older, well-trained Shih Tzu may be more expensive than a puppy. This is because the older the dog, the more time, effort, and expense the breeder has invested in it. The initial cost of the dog will be insignificant compared to the costs you will incur in feeding, grooming supplies, toys, housing and veterinary care during the dog's lifetime.
Once you have found a reputable Shih Tzu breeder with available dogs for sale, make an appointment to see the puppies in person. Be sure to verify that they have been registered and ask for a copy of their parents' registration papers. The breeder also can provide you with a copy of the puppies' pedigree. As the breeder if the parents have additional certifications, for example, registration by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF), or any type of testing for freedom of inherited health problems associated with Shih Tzu breed. Before making the final decision, be sure the puppy's health records, pedigree, and registration papers are in order. A puppy should have a health certificate signed by a veterinarian stating that the puppy has been examined and is in good health and able to leave its parents and travel. Dates of any medications should be noted on the health certificate. Your veterinarian will need this info to set up preventive health care program for your pet.
Pay attention to the personalities of the dogs at the breeder. Are the puppies and their parents happy and outgoing? Are they alert and active, playful and curious? Dogs should not be aggressive or shy.
Physical condition is very important. Check Shih Tzu's eyes, ears, mouth, skin, coat and movement. The eyes should be clear and bright and the ears should be clean. Normal gums are bright pink in color. Check Shih Tzu's teeth for any retained puppy teeth - these will need to be extracted if they exist. There should never be more than one tooth of the same type in the mouth at one time. Baby canine teeth should not be next to adult canine teeth so that the adult teeth can grow in correctly and are not overcrowded in the mouth. When the mouth is closed, the teeth and tongue should not be visible.
Ask the breeder to show you the area with all the puppies. The area should be clean and well lit. If the breeder refuses, find another breeder.
Shih Tzu puppy checklist
Shih Tzu supplies
Dog bowls for food and water
Before you bring a Shih Tzu home, be sure to have all the supplies available. Stainless steel food and water bowls are recommended by many vets. Stainless steel material is easier to clean than plastic and is practically impossible to break. Plastic bowls may get scratched or broken and bacteria may accumulate in these hard to reach areas. Some dogs are allergic to plastic and may develop skin irritation around mouth area because of the allergic reaction to plastic dog food bowls.
Dog bed for Shih Tzu
Many Shih Tzu owners use the dog crate as the area where the dog is normally sleeping. If you choose to have a separate dog bed instead of using a crate, there are many healthy dog bed options for Shih Tzus. Dog beds with removable and washable covers are very convenient as it is much easier to keep the dog bed clean.
An orthopedic dog bed for small dog breeds such as Shih Tzu is a nice option if you want to keep your dog very comfortable as he is getting his rest. Older dogs can really appreciate an orthopedic dog bed.
Dog harness for Shih Tzu
A comfortable dog harness is a good option for a small dog such as Shih Tzu. Collars may be less comfortable as collars may cause pressure on the dog's neck as the dog is pulling on the leash. Always have an identification tag on your dog's collar or harness so that in case your pet gets lost, you have a better chance of reuniting with your four legged friend.
During cold winter months a coat harness can be very appropriate for Shih Tzus.
Safety gate for pets
Safety gate for pets can be very helpful if you need to keep any rooms in your house off limits for your dog.
Dog toys for Shih Tzu
Toys make life more fun for dogs and a happy dog has no reason to engage in destructive behaviors. When selecting toys for Shih Tzu, look for things that are appropriately sized. Your tiny dog will need smaller toys than a larger breed, but beware of items that are too little, as they may pose a choking hazard. If your dog is an avid chewer, make sure you confiscate any pieces that break off or become dangerously loose. Never underestimate the power of a squeaker - dogs, particularly puppies love things that make noise. Whenever you introduce a new toy to your dog, begin by showing your dog how to play with it. Roll or bounce a ball, and encourage him to run after it and return it to you. Also it is a great idea to give each toy a specific name and use that name when referring to that toy. This exercise helps your dog to associate toys to their names and can help your dog to stimulate his mind during play time.
How to care for a Shih Tzu puppy
Bringing home a Shih Tzu puppy is very exciting for the whole family. If you have kids, be sure to teach them how to properly handle a puppy. Small children should remain seated on the floor when petting a puppy. A young Shih Tzu can easily get injured if it is dropped. Never lift a puppy by the scruff, by the neck or by the limbs. The proper way to lift a puppy is by gently putting one hand under her chest and the other under her hindquarters for support.
Decide on a safe place where Shitzu will be sleeping and can feel secure. The place should have some privacy, yet be observed. When you first introduce your dog to her new sleeping area, feed her a little treat so that the dog can associate the place with good things. Never put the dog in her resting area as a punishment. Shih Tzu enjoy being in the center of events and would be happy with a sleeping area from which they can observe what is happening in the family. Also keep in mind that this is a strictly indoor breed and should live with the family inside the home.
Puppy proof your home before your new pet arrives. Remove the household cleaning products and chemicals out of sight, remove all the rodent poisons and snap traps so that your dog doesn't get hurt accidentally. All electrical wires need to be hidden from the dog's access to prevent electrocution. Always check the drier before you do the laundry. The dog may accidentally get there and fall asleep. Make sure that all the doors and windows are closed, including the garage and outside doors to prevent the puppy from running away while he is exploring the new home. Some ornamental plants may be poisonous to your dog. Place these out of reach. Small objects should be removed from the floor because many puppies explore the environment with their mouths and can accidentally swallow a small object. Remove all the medicines and candies from the dog's reach.
Start brushing your puppy's teeth early on. The dog will quickly learn to accept this important part of health care. Remember to only use toothpaste for dogs. Human toothpaste can cause irritation and is not safe for dogs. Brush the dog's teeth regularly to prevent dental issues.
Best dog food for Shih Tzu
Caring for your Shih Tzu involves feeding it the appropriate high quality dog food. Good nutrition will determine your dog's health, development and life span. When you are bringing your Shih Tzu puppy home, be sure to ask the breeder for diet recommendations for your new pet and keep at least a two-week supply of the same food that the breeder is feeding the puppies at home. It can be stressful for a young Shih Tzu puppies to change environment and move to another home with a new owner. The stress can cause stomach upset or diarrhea. That is the reason why it is so important to continue feeding your new friend the very same diet that he is used to for at least a couple of weeks. It is also a good idea to take your puppy to the veterinarian for a physical checkup during the first days when you got the puppy. Ask the veterinarian for dog food recommendations and find out which is the best dog food for Shih Tzu. If a change in diet is appropriate, make the change gradually by increasing the amount of new diet and decreasing the amount of the old diet, in small increments of each meal. Some Shih Tzus have stomach sensitivities and if you notice that the brand of dog food that you are feeding your Shih Tzu doesn't seem to agree with your dog, try changing it. The average Shih Tzu that weighs around 10 lbs will need around 350-400 calories a day. The less your Shih Tzu weighs, the less calories it needs per day and the more the dog weighs, the more calories it needs to consume each day. There are so many varieties of dog food for Shih Tzu breed. Some dogs prefer canned food and others may like the dry dog food. Canned dog food may increase the likelihood of the small dog developing dental issues as the canned food tends to stick to the dog's teeth. Dry dog food is easier on the dog's teeth. If your dog enjoys dry dog food, be sure to get dry dog food formulated for small breeds so that it's easier for your Shih Tzu to chew. If your Shih Tzu prefers canned dog food, you may try to add some dry food to the meal and help to keep the dog's teeth healthy. Remember that feeding your dog table food can result in gastric problems because dogs have different nutritional needs than humans.
Some Shih Tzu are more prone to allergies associated with some ingredients in dog food. If that is the case with your pet, try changing the dog food to the one with less ingredients and see if that helps. It is important to know which specific ingredient is causing the allergies in your Shih Tzu so that you can avoid dog food with that ingredient present.
Shih Tzu feeding chart
Shih Tzu puppies up to 4 months of age need more protein than older dogs. They also need to eat more frequently. Feed your Shih Tzu puppy three times a day, dividing the total amount of food given among these meals. Offer water with each meal, but while you are house-training, be sure to remove it about an hour to two before bedtime.
Shih Tzu puppies between 4 months and 1 year old need to eat twice a day: in the morning and in the evening. Somewhere between 9 and 12 months, your pup should be swapped over to an adult dog food. As soon as housetraining is complete, you can begin offering water at all times.
Adult Shih Tzu should continue eating two meals each day. Look for diets specially formulated for small dogs. This way the food is sized more appropriately for your smaller dog's mouth than standard diets. You can offer variety in the form of healthy snacks like raw vegetables. Watch your dog's weight as metabolism slows down with age. Extra pounds will be harder to lose as your Shih Tzu approaches his senior years.
Senior Shih Tzu are dogs that are approximately 13 years old and older. The senior Shih Tzu's diet is the most individualized of all age groups. If your dog has any health concerns, your veterinarian may recommend feeding a specialty diet. If your dog is in good health, he may need a change of some other sort to renew his interest in eating. Wet food or homecooking can often help with this. Since a Shih Tzu's nutritional needs (and metabolism) change once again at this time, changing to a food made specifically for seniors is a good idea. You may also want to discontinue feeding harder foods if your dog's teeth are in poor shape or if he is missing teeth.
Shih Tzu health issues:
The Shih Tzus are generally a healthy breed, but can suffer from kidney and eye problems. When trimming your dog's hair, pay particular attention to the dog's eye area because if the eye area gets dirty, it becomes especially prone to eye problems like Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a group of diseases that attack certain breeds of dogs which is characterized by the bilateral degeneration of the retina, causing progressive vision loss culminating in blindness, Entropy and Juvenile Cataracts.
History of Shih Tzu breed
Shih Tzu originated in Tibet. In 1653, Tibetian Dai Lama presented a Chinese Emperor with several Shih Tzu dogs. According to a legend, Shih Tzu would sleep at the edge of the Chinese Emperor's bed as a foot warmer. Eventually Shih Tzu were forbidden to be owned by anyone except for the Emperor's family. Shih Tzus almost became extinct when communists put a stop to dog breeding and by the 1930's there were only 14 Shih Tzus left in the world. All modern day Shih Tzu come from those 14. Currently Shih Tzu are among the most popular small breeds in the United States.