Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Shih Tzu puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Shih Tzus, the best dog food diet for feeding Shih Tzu puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Shih Tzu dog breed

Shih Tzu Health Problems and Raising a Shih Tzu Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Shih Tzus:

Shih Tzus are a deformed breed in two ways – their short legs and long back are chondrodysplastic, and their short pushed-in face is brachycephalic. Both of these syndromes can cause orthopedic problems, respiratory problems, and eye problems.

Four eye diseases occur in Shih Tzus and can lead to blindness: cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), dry eye, and glaucoma.

Other eye diseases to watch out for include corneal ulcers, eyelash abnormalities (which are particularly persistent and difficult to treat in Shih Tzus), cherry eye, retinal dysplasia, and tear duct disorders.

A serious kidney disease, renal dysplasia, can kill Shih Tzu puppies at 6-12 months old. A simple DNA test is available for renal dysplasia in Shih Tzus, so you can find out at any time whether your dog has the disease, carries the disease, or is completely clear of it.

Shih Tzus are very prone to urinary stones, which are especially dangerous in males.

Allergies cause itchy skin and often lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma). Ear infections are common due to profuse hair in the ear canals.

Liver shunt is a concern in Shih Tzus, as is liver disease (chronic hepatitis).

Orthopedic health problems include luxating patella (loose knees), intervertebral disk disease, and hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of 565 Shih Tzus and found 19% dysplastic. That's a terrible rate for a small dog, and the true rate is even higher because most of the obviously bad X-rays were not sent in for official evaluation. For comparison, Lhasa Apsos, Bichons, and Havanese all have a 6% hip dysplasia rate.

A hormonal/endocrine system disease, hypothyroidism, is seen in Shih Tzus, and a digestive disease, pyloric stenosis, also occurs in Shih Tzus.

Two health problems in Shih Tzus are related to the blood: blood-clotting disease (von Willebrand's) and autoimmune hemolytic anemia.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR Shih Tzu?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Shih Tzus today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Shih Tzu puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental, which means they're caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Shih Tzu puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Shih Tzu puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Shih Tzu lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Shih Tzu
The best diet for feeding your Shih Tzu is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Shih Tzu. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Shih Tzu
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Shih Tzu. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Shih Tzu puppy really need? Does your adult Shih Tzu need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what some vets aren't telling you....


Information on choosing the best vet for your Shih Tzu. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Shih Tzu. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Shih Tzu.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.