Shih Tzu Health Care & Feeding
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Quick list of Shih Tzu health problems
Shih Tzus are deliberately bred to be deformed in two ways – their short legs and long back are chondrodysplastic and their short pushed-in face is brachycephalic. Both of these syndromes are associated with numerous health problems.
A long list of serious eye diseases leave many Shih Tzus blind or vision-impaired.
A serious kidney disease called juvenile renal dysplasia, can kill young Shih Tzus. A congentital liver disease called liver shunt is a major concern in Shih Tzus.
Chronic allergies cause itchy skin and scratching, which often leads to bacterial infections (hot spots). Ear infections are common due to profuse hair in the ear canals.
Shih Tzus are very prone to urinary stones. These can be life-threatening in male dogs because their long narrow urinary tract can easily get blocked.
Bad joints affect the Shih Tzu, especially bad knee joints (luxating patella) and bad hip joints (hip dysplasia), and also intervertebral disk disease. All of these orthopedic diseases cause pain and lameness and can require expensive surgery.
(See more health problems below.)
Preventing health problems
Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your Shih Tzu have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases, hip dysplasia, and renal (kidney) dysplasia, your Shih Tzu has less risk of developing those conditions.
Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your Shih Tzu, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your Shih Tzu puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!
Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Shih Tzu puppy or adult dog:
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.
The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Shih Tzu
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.
Kibble or Canned Dog Food – Almost As Good As Homemade?
Are you looking for the best dry kibble or canned dog food?
Feed Homemade Dog Food Without Needing To Make It
Would you like to feed your dog homemade, but think you don't have the time or skill to make it? I have the solution for you....
Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.
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.
Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.
Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.
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.
Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Complete list of Shih Tzu health problems
Dogs are not supposed to have short legs, a shortened muzzle, and a long back. These deformities are called chondrodysplasia and brachycephaly. Both of these syndromes are associated with a number of health problems.
The Shih Tzu's prominent eyes are easily scratched, leading to corneal ulcers. Other eye diseases include juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, entropion, dry eye, glaucoma, 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 before a year of age.
Shih Tzus are 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 over 675 Shih Tzus and found 21% dysplastic. That's a dreadful rate for a small dog.
A digestive disease, pyloric stenosis, occurs in the breed.
Two health problems in Shih Tzus are related to the blood: blood-clotting disease (von Willebrand's) and autoimmune hemolytic anemia.
Shih Tzus also seem to be predisposed to low thyroid levels and hernias.
To help you train and care for your dog
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.