Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tips On How to Help Your Shih Tzu Live a Long and Health Life

Tips on How to Help Your Shih Tzu Live a Long and Healthy Life
by Connie Limon (Email:

Like people, Shih Tzu needs to be healthy to enjoy life. Our Shih Tzu is our friend, companion and often our guardian, but since they are also totally dependent on us for their well-being, it is our responsibility to look after them properly. One of the most prevalent 'diseases' in dogs, which includes the Shih Tzu, these days, is one that also affects humans. This condition is obesity. A fat Shih Tzu is an unhealthy Shih Tzu and is likely to suffer from arthritis and heart failure. Try to keep in mind that in the wild dogs eat fresh meat that they have killed themselves. They also eat certain types of grass and may eat wild fruits like berries if these grow in their natural habitat. This is not to say, however, that you should begin feeding your Shih Tzu these same things to avoid obesity. The best diet for a Shih Tzu is a commercially prepared diet especially for dogs with treats of vegetables, fruits and cooked chicken. Milk, custard and cake are the worst things you can give your grown Shih Tzu and, though a Shih Tzu puppy may benefit from the calcium in milk, there are commercial milk products available that are especially formulated for a Shih Tzu puppy's needs. On occasion, you may treat your Shih Tzu with the same goodies you eat, but do not ever make it a daily habit. And, of course, always stay away from chocolate treat. Dry dog food, or kibble as it is sometimes called, is said to have all the nutrients that your dog will need for health, but the dearer brands are often better. Shih Tzu fed on cheaper brands may constantly chew grass to supplement whatever is missing from their diet. Canned food can be given as a treat only. We often say that the most expensive things in life are not the best, however, these days with dog food; it does seem to prove out that the most expensive brands are the better. The more expensive brands of dog food use methods that are "quick" in order to turn out thousands and thousands of bags of dog food. They carefully test and retest their formulas among other reasons of why their brands are more expensive. A healthy dog should have a smooth, shining coat, clear eyes and a moist nose. Its breath should not smell foul. It should be slender, though not thin enough to see its ribs sticking out. If your dog's breath is disgusting, it could be due to the tartar on its teeth. Chewing on a big bone will help to clean your dog's teeth. Don't be fooled by the Shih Tzu that begs and begs for more food. Feed your Shih Tzu just what the bag recommends and no more. Shih Tzu should not be able to "instruct" their owners of how much food they need. If this is the case, they will eat you out of house and home and end up one of those "fat" Shih Tzu with all kinds of health problems this article is telling you about. A Shih Tzu is charming and can charm their way into just about anything they want. Just don't let this happen with their food intake if you want them to stay healthy. Regular worming will also help to keep your pet in top condition. Shots for distemper, heartworm, parvovirus and kennel cough are a must. Kennel cough is not likely to be a problem unless the Shih Tzu is kept on cement, or you bring in another Shih Tzu with kennel cough. I prefer giving Pyrantel as a dewormer to my Shih Tzu. I don't like using tablets. Pyrantel is a liquid and is much easier to administer. Parvovirus breaks down the digestive system and eventually affects the heart. Vaccinations against parvovirus and cleaning with Clorox bleach is the best method of keeping this out of your Shih Tzu kennel or home. Symptoms include bloody stool and the animal is quickly unable to move and in obvious pain. Puppies almost always die with parvovirus. However, each Shih Tzu puppy's immune system is different. All depends upon the Shih Tzu puppy's immune system, how many vaccinations they have already received and the cleaning away of the virus using Clorox bleach as to whether or not your particular Shih Tzu will survive the virus. Luckily, it is not transmitted to humans. Symptoms of distemper include runny eyes and a dry nose. It is rather like flu in humans. A Shih Tzu with worms may have a poor appetite, and will often - though not always - look to be in poor health with a dry coat that is harsh to the touch. If your Shih Tzu drags itself along the ground in a sitting position, suspect worms immediately. Worms can sometimes be seen hanging from the anal passage. The problem needs to be addressed as soon as possible, because worms are easily transmitted to humans. Fleas, which will happily jump from dogs to humans, can be another problem. These bloodsuckers can actually kill a tiny puppy, simply through blood loss. Shih Tzu puppies too young to wear a flea collar may be washed in a suitable preparation from the vet. Pat it dry afterwards, or keep it in a warm place so it doesn't get cold. Always be sure to keep kennels and yard clean to reduce the flea problem. If they get out of hand, you may need to spray all bedding and surrounding areas to kill the fleas and their eggs. If you live in a tick prone area, be sure to keep a tick collar on your Shih Tzu at all times. Mark the renewal date on the calendar so you don't forget to renew it. Your Shih Tzu's life may depend on it! Grass ticks cause itchy lumps that can become infected when scratched. If not removed quickly, the paralysis tick can cause death in three to five days. If the Shih Tzu seems to suddenly have weak back legs and falls over often, inspect it immediately for a tick and get it to the vet as soon as possible. Luckily, the tick vaccine works well and quickly and can save a dog that looks like it is gasping its last breath. With attention to these few details, your Shih Tzu should live a long and happy life, rewarding you with years of fun and companionship.

Author: Connie Limon. I raise Shih Tzu puppies in a variety of colors. We have the small AKC standards, imperials and teacups at reasonable prices. Visit us online at , our website provides you with an educational experience all about the Shih Tzu. Purchase Shih Tzu puppies and sign up for our FREE newsletter.

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