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Shih Tzu Health

Shih Tzu Health ResourcesShih Tzu Health Resources

Your Shih Tzu health care begins the minute you take possession of your new friend. 

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

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. 

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:

  • Problems Associated with the Shih Tzu Breed
  • Problems Common to many or all Dog Breeds

Please note that the list of problems associated with the Shih Tzu Breed 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.  Where to start?  Why not start with the article, How to Keep Your Shih Tzu Healthy?

Please check back frequently as we continue to add articles on Shih Tzu Health.  If you don't see something that interests you, feel free to contact me.  I am always learning, reading, and exploring new topics.

Shih Tzu Health Articles

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.


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.

Anal Glands/Anal Sac Problems

Is your dog scratching, scooting, or biting at his rear end?  It might be time to express his anal glands. Although not the most pleasant of tasks, this page will teach you how to do this yourself at home.

Bee Stings in Dogs

Read this article before your dog gets stung by a bee or wasp and gather up the first aid supplies needed to remove the stinger and treat the wound.  You'll be glad you did.

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.

Coccidiosis in Dogs

Coccidiosis is the medical term used to describe a puppy that has ingested a one-celled organism called Coccidia.  Not all puppies are plagued with these intestinal parasites, but if they are, you should know how to manage the problem. The link will take you to Small Dog Place Website.

Using Coconut Oil For Dogs

You have probably heard about cooking and baking with coconut oil, but that is only one of the many different numbers of uses of the product. Here is a product that has become increasingly popular for uses on the exterior of the body, not limited to just ingestion of it.

There are a countless number of benefits that come from coconut oil. From hair and skin to weight loss and anti-aging, everyone can find a way to benefit from coconut oil.

Collapsing Trachea

This is a common problem in many breeds including the Shih Tzu, but should not be confused with reverse sneezing, listed below.  Learn more about this problem on our sister site, Small Dog Place.

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.

Cushing's 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.

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.

Dental Health

Good dental health is vital to your dog’s overall health.  Poor dental hygiene cannot only affect your dog’s teeth and mouth, but it can also extend to your dog’s vital organs.

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.

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.  Learn about the many different types of problems and what you can do to protect your dog.

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.

Ear Mites

Those pesky little mites - whether they are on your dog's skin or in his ears, any type of parasite can wreak havoc on your Tzu's well-being.  Ear mites are tiny and live in the ear canal.  They cause itching and can lead to additional problems such as secondary ear infections.

First Aid Supply Kit

Hopefully you'll never have a canine emergency where you must dip into a first aid kit.  But, let's face it, this is the real world and even though the Shih Tzu dog looks like royalty, they just can't just sit still and look pretty.

Foods Toxic to Dogs

This is a must-read article for all new dog owners.  There are some foods that dogs should not be given.  Learn what some of these toxic substances are before it is too late.


Another intestinal parasite that is common in dogs, Giardia is a protozoan that wrecks havoc with a dog's digestive tract causing diarrhea and vomiting.  It is also a Public Health Issue. 

Heat Stroke

Dogs can get mites in their ears and if they do, you are likely to see plenty of head shaking and scratching.  Find out what you should do.

A completely preventable problem, hyperthermia occurs when dogs are exposed external high temperature causing their body temperature to rise.  Learn how to prevent this potentially lethal problem.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia can occur in many breeds and is very common in large breed dogs.  Small breed dogs, such as the Shih Tzu are also affected.  Learn more about this crippling condition on our sister site, Small Dog Place.

Human Medicines You Can Give to Your Dog

Did you know that you can give your dog some of the same medications you take yourself.  This list of over the counter medications might surprise you.

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.

Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernias are common in many dog breeds but they have also been reported in the Shih Tzu breed.  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.

Intestinal Worms

Discussing those nasty little worms that exit in the intestines and hearts of dogs does not make for polite dinner conversation. However, if left unchecked, these little creatures can make your dog and even you very ill and could be potentially deadly.

Paw Pad Problems

Shih Tzu dogs tend to pick up debris and other potential toxins on their paw pads and surrounding hair every time they go outdoors.  Some also  suffer from allergies that cause them to bite and lick their paws constantly.  This article will provide some information and hopefully solutions to those ever present paw pad problems.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Who wants to think about the "F" word.  No, No, here I'm referring to "FAT."  This is a problem in this breed, especially for spayed or neutered dogs that have become to comfortable warming laps and taking afternoon siesta.

Tear Stains

If you have a white dog, chances are you will encounter staining at one point or another.  Read up on what causes such an unsightly mess and what you can do to reduce or eliminate these tear stains.

Vaccinations (Puppy & Adult Shots)

There is so much controversy concerning the vaccinations we give our dogs – are they necessary?  What will happen if I vaccinate?  What will happen if I do not vaccinate?  What vaccines should I consider and which ones do not need to be given?  If you want the lowdown on the vaccination controversy, click on our article.

Vitamins for Puppies and Adult dogs

My dogs are very picky and when I found a vitamin that they loved, it made my day.  I use them as training treats and they don' t even know that they are getting extra special vitamins.  They think they are getting treats!

Vomiting (Puppy)

Poor puppy looks miserable but is it a medical emergency?  Find out what causes vomiting and what you should do about it.

Worming Puppies

You might think that worming puppies is simple.  Give the pups some worming medicine and all's right with the world.  Well, sorry to inform you, it is not as easy as it sounds. This article is intended to help other breeders as well as puppy parents deal with those pesky parasites and keep your fur friend happy and healthy.

How to Give a Dog a Pill

Do you have a Shih Tzu that is nearly impossible to give a pill?  We have one.  Learn how we managed to get medication down Cooper's throat. Article and Video.

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