› Shih Tzu Health Concerns

Shih Tzu Health Concerns & Problems

By Janice Jones   | Published February 18, 2019

Shih Tzu Health Concerns are normally on every Tzu owner from time to time.  Most Shih Tzu are very healthy, but like all breeds are prone to some problems over the course of the lifetime.

His canine mother before you looked after his health, providing him with infection fighting antibodies in the first milk called colostrum.  

Shih Tzu Health Resources

Your breeder made sure he was kept warm and comfortable, provided worming medications and vaccinations and called in the veterinarian if there were any problems. 

The breeder was also responsible for keeping the adult dogs healthy, providing a clean healthy environment for your puppy's mom while she was pregnant, after giving birth and keeping your puppy safe at all times.

Now it is up to you to continue to keep up with your Shih Tzu health.  Your puppy will thank you.  Part of the overall pet care that you assume when you fell in love with that little fur ball is keeping puppy safe, healthy and happy.

The following articles about dog health issues can be found on this site.  They will provide information to you on a wide variety of health related concerns. For convenience, we have divided the list of articles into two categories:

Please note that the list of Shih Tzu health problems are not unique to this breed, but they do occur at some frequency in some Shih Tzu dogs. 

You may or may not ever encounter any on this list, but it is a good idea to have some understanding of what can happen in the breed you are considering.

The articles on this site should not be considered a  substitute for good health care.  If you don't have a vet, read our article on How to Find a Vet


Shih Tzu Health Concerns

Addison's Disease in Dogs

Vague symptoms of intermittent diarrhea and vomiting, lethargy or depression, increased thirst and loss of appetite may suggest Addison's Disease.  Rare in Shih Tzu dogs, this condition does exist and since the symptoms are hard to pin down, it is worth knowing about.

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Allergies

Is your Tzu baby suffering from allergies?  Whether it is Flea bites, food allergies, contact or airborne allergies, there is hope and relief in sight.  Read about the way Shih Tzu Allergies are treated in the 21st Century.

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Brachycephalic Syndrome

Like many other short nosed dogs, the Shih Tzu has a short head which makes them prone to a disorder known as brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS). Find out how this Shih Tzu health problem might affect your fur-baby.

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Coprophagia (Eating Feces)

A most disgusting but common problem.  Whether this is more a behavioral or health problem is still open for discussion.  Learn what you can do to prevent your Shih Tzu from engaging in this practice.

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Cushings Disease

Cushing's Disease in Shih Tzu dogs is a rather complex condition that was named after the doctor (Dr. Harvey Cushing) who first diagnosed the syndrome in 1932.  It is more common for the smaller breed dogs and can occur in Shih Tzu dogs, although not the most common genetic problem.

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Dandruff in Dogs

Got that telltale signs of doggie dandruff?  Find out why your dog has this issue and what you can do about it.  This article also covers walking dandruff if you are concerned about skin mites, this is a must read.

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Dry Skin

Is your Shih Tzu suffering from dry skin?  Is a simple case of dry flaky skin or is there an underlying problem that is causing the problem.   There are many causes of dry skin, but there are also plenty of useful things you can do to cure their dry, itchy skin.

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Eye Problems

Shih Tzu have beautiful eyes that seem to look clear through to your soul, but those amazing eyes can have all sorts of problems.  Some of the most common Shih Tzu health concerns are problems of the eyes.  Learn about the many different types of problems and what you can do to protect your dog.

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Ear Infections

Any dog can get an ear infection, but the Shih Tzu breed is prone to them due to the way their ears hang.  Breeds with floppy low hanging ears have more infections than their erect ear cousins.

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Heat Stroke

Shih Tzu Heat Stroke is a dangerous condition and may be more common than you think, especially if you live in a warm climate. Shih Tzu, like all dogs with short flat noses (brachycephalic), may have difficulty breathing and may overheat, especially in hot weather. 

Shih Tzu dogs tolerate cold weather far better than warm days. 

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Hypoglycemia in Small Puppies

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can be a serious medical emergency especially in tiny Shih Tzu puppies.  This article discusses the causes, treatment and prevention options for new puppy owners.  If you are thinking about a tiny Tzu, this is a must read.

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Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernias are common in many dog breeds but they have also been reported in the Shih Tzu breed.  Luckily, of the many Shih Tzu health concerns reported, this one is relatively rare. Whether the bulge on your puppy's lower abdomen is a true inguinal hernia or just a delayed closure, know the facts and then decide what you should do.

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Renal Dysplasia

Formerly called Juvenile  Renal Dysplasia, this devastating and deadly disease can hit at anytime from puppyhood onward.  Symptoms include increased thirst and urination to lethargy, vomiting and debilitation as renal failure sets in.

Renal Dysplasia


Reverse Sneezing

While not exactly major health concerns, little dogs often have problems with reverse sneezing.  Learn what causes reverse sneezing and how you can stop your dog's reflex easily.

Reverse Sneeze


Scratching & Itchy Skin

Poor pooch looks miserable, scratching, biting at his skin, jerking and then back to scratching.  What could possibly be causing such distress?  There are many possibilities and of the Shih Tzu health concerns, this often tops the list.

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Stenotic Nares

You may have heard them called pinched nostrils, but the condition is very common in Shih Tzu and other Brachycephalic breeds.  When little noses are narrow, airflow is restricted and breathing becomes difficult.

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Umbilical Hernia

This is a problem in many breeds including the Shih Tzu.  It's usually very noticeable as a small swelling on the puppy's abdomen where the umbilical cord was attached. Find out if you should worry.

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Shih Tzu Health Concerns:  Keeping Them in Top Shape

What Puppies Need

If your dog could talk, What do you think he'd ask for?

We can only guess at what puppies need because our little canine friends cannot talk and tell us directly. 

We can only surmise that what we need, they need too.  Here is a list of ten things that we think your puppy would ask for if he/she could talk.

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8 Practical Ways to Keep Your Shih Tzu Healthy

Every breed of dog is prone to some health issues, and Shih Tzu canines are prone to eye, ear, and back problems.

Allergies is another major problem in this breed.  Proper pet care will minimize the risk of these illnesses.

Read more


Puppy Vitamins and Supplements

My dogs' health and the health of my puppies is a top priority to me.  That is why I started using this immune system builder for my own dogs and I am seeing some amazing results in my dogs’ health, coat, and energy level. 

Read more

References and Further Reading

Dog Breed Health

Canine Health Information Center

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