Saturday, February 10, 2007

First Aid Treatments for Your Shih Tzu

Connie Limon
Be prepared for injuries and accidents for your Shih Tzu. Accidents can and do happen. Sometimes they can be quite serious. Being prepared for emergencies can increase chances of saving the life of your Shih Tzu and/or reducing the severity of the injury.

Every Shih Tzu owner should have a basic first aid kit. Items included in the kit should be:

* Ace bandage * 1-inch adhesive tape * Anticoagulant powder * Topical antibiotic ointment * Bandage scissors * Betadine soaked gauze sponges * A 2-1/2 inch gauze roll * Gauze sponges * Hydrogen peroxide solution, 3% * Spoon splint * Rectal thermometer

Cuts or lacerations are one of the most common accidents. Even though most likely your Shih Tzu will be kept indoors and carefully guarded, there is always the chance of an unpredictable accident or injury. For cuts or lacerations the most important thing to have on hand is bandage material, cleaning material and anticoagulant powder (the kind of powder you and/or your groomer would use for nails being cut too short).

I keep anticoagulant powder always close at hand when I am grooming my Shih Tzu. No matter how careful I am it seems I always cut a nail too short and it makes me just want to cry and scream to see just the least bit of blood coming from my Shih Tzu nails. I reach for the anticoagulant powder and some q-tips while apologizing for the nick. I dip the q-tip in the anticoagulant powder and apply it to the spot that is bleeding, applying as much pressure as possible for several minutes. This same method will take care of most minor wounds. Larger wounds should be seen by a vet immediately. Even a very small wound, other than a toenail cut too short, should be reported to your vet.

Another problem especially with dogs and the Shih Tzu are bee stings. If this occurs your best bet is to call your vet for his advice. You can give Benadryl, but you will need to call your vet for exact dosage and the go ahead to give this. A good plan may be to ask in advance and have whatever the vet recommends on hand in case of a bee sting emergency. It is reported that most dogs do not have a problem with bee stings, but some may have respiratory difficulty. If your Shih Tzu gets a bee sting, by all means carefully watch him or her for at least 24 hours.

Since the Shih Tzu is considered to be a small breed dog, regardless of the exact pounds, the Shih Tzu may have bouts of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Signs of hypoglycemia are the Shih Tzu will be lethargic and weak. You can rub karo syrup on the gums to quickly give the Shih Tzu an extra boost of glucose. I always keep Nutri-cal on hand to use for this with my Shih Tzu. Multiple episodes of hypoglycemia can be a sign of a more serious problem that should be reported to your vet for proper evaluation.

You should be able to distinguish between choking, gagging and coughing. Coughing may be brought on by strenuous exercise and go away once your Shih Tzu has settled down. Gagging may happen if your Shih Tzu swallows incorrectly and gets food caught in the trachea. If this occurs, a modified Heimlich maneuver can be used. Bend over your Shih Tzu, wrap your hands around its chest and do a quick jerking movement. This technique may be enough to dislodge something caught in the trachea. Choking can be caused by either an obstruction or a defect in the trachea. In the case of choking you should get your Shih Tzu to a vet as soon as possible. You might try to open your Shih Tzu's mouth and remove the obstruction if this is the cause of the choking. Be aware that you could receive a bite; therefore, this is not highly recommended.

If your Shih Tzu is hit by a car, get him or her on a firm surface. If that is not available, put your Shih Tzu in a blanket. You want to move the Shih Tzu in one piece with a minimal amount of motion. In this case, you need to transport your Shih Tzu to the vet as soon as possible.

Poisonings are a major concern. There are three more common types of poisonings in dogs, they are:

* Anti-freeze * Rodenticide * Garbage ingestion

In all cases of poisonings, contact your vet immediately, even if you only suspect a poisoning has occurred. It takes 24 to 72 hours for clinical signs of a poisoning to manifest. In your first aid kit and nearby your phone keep the National Animal Poison Control Center number, which is 1-800-548-2423.

The treatment for heat stroke is to soak your Shih Tzu in cool or lukewarm water. Provide water, but do not force feed water. Take your Shih Tzu's temperature. Normal temperature is 101 F and 102.5F. Contact your local veterinarian for further instructions and treatment.

In all cases of emergency with your Shih Tzu keep your veterinarian informed. He or she will know best as to how to treat your pet once you have administered emergency first aid treatment.

Author: Connie Limon, Breeder of pet and show prospect Shih Tzu in a variety of colors. Visit us at and sign up for our FREE newsletters. Our website provides a wealth of information. Puppies are sold with health guarantee and are bred from champion bloodlines.

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