Shih tzus are delightful little dogs, full of boundless energy. According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the shih tzu is an excellent family dog, due to his spunky attitude and friendliness. With the right care, he will enjoy a lifespan of up to 15 years.
Provide a safe environment for your shih tzu. Due to the shape of his head, this dog is prone to accidental injuries of the eyes. Remove any debris from your yard and trim back bushes and plants that can scratch his eyes.2
Allow the hair around his eyes to remain long. This covering provides a natural barrier against foreign objects that may irritate his eyes.3
Keep your shih tzu's eyes free of dust and irritants by wiping gently with a clean, soft cloth that has been dampened in warm water.4
Clean the inside of the shih tzu's ears regularly by wiping with a moistened cloth. Trim any excess hair from inside the ear. This breed is susceptible to ear infections.5
Exercise your shih tzu regularly to help keep his joints limber. Hip dysplasia is a problem for the shih tzu. It is important to keep the dog active.6
Feed your shih tzu a quality diet and watch his weight. Extra weight increases the pressure on joints that are prone to dysplasia. Switch to a lower-fat diet if he seems to be gaining weight.7
Be aware of allergies that affect shih tzus. This breed seems to be susceptible to allergies caused by food and environmental irritants. Rashes, itchy skin, sneezing, stuffiness and diarrhea are included in the symptoms that can indicate an allergy is present. Try switching to a food without grains or corn. Eliminate chemical-based cleaning products and keep your dog indoors on days when pollen counts are high.8
Avoid exposing your shih tzu to extreme temperatures. The breed is very sensitive to heat and prone to heat stroke when overheated. Do not leave him outside when temperatures are high. Run the air conditioner on hot summer days and never leave him in the car, even for short periods, during warm weather.9
Notice any limping in your shih tzu. This breed is prone to luxating patellas, which is a dislocation of the kneecaps. Take the dog to the veterinarian if you notice limping. Treatment is available. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.10
Be alert to signs of hair loss, lethargy or weight gain. These could be signs of hypothyroidism, which affects shih tzus. Your vet can prescribe medication to treat this ailment.