8 Practical Ways to Keep Your Shih Tzu Healthy

Last Updated 06-14-2023

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

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

Like all dogs, Shih Tzu also needs to be protected from pests. The practical tips in this article will help you to keep your beloved Shih Tzu healthy, day in and day out. 

8 Ways to Keep Your Shih Tzu Healthy8 Ways to Keep Your Shih Tzu Healthy. Source Unsplash

Ways to Keep Your Shih Tzu Healthy

There are many ways to keep your Shih Tzu Healthy, but the next eight suggestions are the easiest to implement on a regular basis.

Administer Proper Doggie Eye Care Daily

To reduce the risk of eye problems, you will need to set aside a little time each day. This time will be used to care for your dog’s eyes.

Wiping your Shih Tzu’s eye area daily, even when it appears clean, will be a great form of preventative care.

Rubbing will get rid of discharge from the eye, as well as minute particles of food. It will also cleanse hairs which get wet when your canine drinks water.

Use a wash cloth that’s soft and clean. Moisten it with warm water. You might also want to try eye wipes for dogs which are made just for canine eye care.

These wipes are easy to find and so simple to use. Buying a Shih Tzu from a good breeder should be priority one, as the best breeders do screen their parents for eye conditions and all other health conditions.

Check Your Pet for Back Issues

While you can’t prevent a back injury in your dog, such as a herniated disc, you can keep a watchful eye on your dog.

Look for signs of discomfort, which indicate that inflammation is present. Back pain may result from a bulging disc or a slipped disc.

If you see these signs, take your dog to the vet for proper medical attention. Vets treat back injuries in dogs much the same as doctors treat the same kinds of injuries in people.

The best way to avoid back problems is to prevent your dog from jumping.  With that said, jumping comes naturally to these dogs and preventing them from jumping is no easy task. 

Some ways to help include placing doggie steps by your bed if you allow them on your bed.  Train them to use the steps instead of jumping off. 

Some dogs love to perform high jumps.  Don’t encourage this if possible.  If your dog participates in agility, start slowly and work up to more complicated obstacles.

Keep Ears Clean and Free of Hair and Debris

Shih Tzu dogs have low hanging ears that prevent air from entering easily.  Some dogs also have very thick hair that covers the ear flaps making the circulation of air even harder.  

Some of these dogs also produce copious amounts of ear wax.  Checking their ears once a week is an excellent habit to acquire and cleaning with a good ear cleaner and cotton ball will keep problems down. 

If you notice any bad odors, there is an excellent chance that the ears have gotten infected.  Dogs with allergies have more than their fair share of ear problems.  If you feel your dog is getting too many ear infections, it might be worth doing some allergy testing.  Talk to your vet and get his/her opinion.

Keep Your Dog Clean to Ward off Pests

Your precious dog needs to be kept clean to keep unwanted pests out of his coat. Regular doggie baths and daily brushing are recommended.

If you notice ticks while you’re cleaning and grooming your Shih Tzu, use tweezers to grab hold and pull them off your dog.

Dispose of the tick by flushing it in your bathroom or taking it to the garbage. Be sure to scrub your hands after pest removal.

Fleas can’t be removed in this manner and will require other methods including bathing and treating the environment and pet bedding. 

Check with your vet if you are considering topical flea treatments or internal pills.  Sometimes natural remedies can do the job just as well and will be less toxic to you and your dog.

Provide Clean Water Daily

Ideally, you would be serving filtered water to your Shih Tzu.  

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces The National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) sets standards for the maximum contamination levels in tap water. 

Sadly, there is a whole host of allowable contaminants. 

  • Chlorite (can cause anemia)
  • Antimony (Increase in blood cholesterol) 
  • Asbestos fiber (Increased risk of developing benign intestinal polyps)
  • Barium (Increased blood pressure)
  • Beryllium (intestinal lesions)
  • Cadmium (Kidney damage)
  • Chromium (can cause allergic dermatitis)
  • Copper (GI distress to liver and kidney disease)
  • Cyanide causes thyroid problems and nerve damage)
  • Fluoride (bone disease) 

These are just a few of the allowable chemical contaminants in tap water.

Filtered water is always healthier for both you and your dog.

Serve a High Quality Dog Food

Of all the ways to keep your Shih Tzu healthy, diet is very high up on the list.  Choose the best dog food that you can afford.  Excellent food will go along way towards keeping your dog healthy.  Just like you worry about your family’s nutritional needs, dogs deserve the same concern.

Pick food that is marked as either grain-free or one that contains healthy grains. 

Corn products should not be the first item on the label’s ingredients list

Avoid any ingredient that is non-specific such as meat or meat byproduct, poultry or poultry byproduct, or fish. Instead look for items that specify the actual component. 

Choose Chicken or Turkey over Poultry or Beef instead of Meat.

If you choose to cook for your dog, check with your vet or a pet nutritionist before beginning.  Even if you will be using cook books specifically for canine meals.  Most cookbooks do not address the nutritional needs of dogs and tend to publish recipes that may be taste but not good for dogs.

Schedule a Yearly Health Check with Your Veterinarian

Even though your dog may not be due for shots, it is essential to have him checked out on an annual basis. 

If problems are caught early, the chances of recovery are higher.  Depending on where you live, your vet will do a heartworm test. 

Bring a fecal sample to be analyzed during your yearly visit.  If you have faithfully been giving your Tzu their heartworm medicine, the chances are that they won’t have worms as the heartworm medicine also treats certain intestinal parasites. 

The caveat is that it won’t address all the possible parasites that dogs can get.  The only way you will know for sure is to run a fecal test.


All dogs need exercise, and most Shih Tzu can obtain most of their exercise requirements by playing indoors or following you around the house. 

However, they also love to romp outdoors and take a walk with their owner.  Make time for some play or walking everyday.

When you think of ways to keep your Shih Tzu healthy, don't forget exercise.

8 Practical Ways to Keep Your Shih Tzu Healthy8 Practical Ways to Keep Your Shih Tzu Healthy

Proper pet care is a great way to keep your canine free of illnesses and pests. The tips shared today will help you to enjoy a beautiful relationship with your charming “lion dog.”

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About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and Smart-Knit-Crocheting.