If you have a Shih Tzu who is not feeling well, you might be feeling nervous about what to do next. You can often tell a Shih Tzu is sick if he is displaying symptoms, like a runny nose, a change in appetite, or unusual fatigue. It's important to educate yourself about the most common health problems in Shih Tzus. This will equip you with the knowledge needed to effectively care for your breed of dog.
Common health problems in Shih Tzus
Shih Tzus have large eyes and shallow eye sockets. This means they are prone to several types of eye problems. One inherited condition is retinal dysplasia — an abnormality in the retina that can cause vision impairment. Another is entropion, a condition where the eyelids turn inward and the eyelashes irritate the eyeball. This condition sometimes requires surgery.
Shih Tzus commonly struggle with a luxating patella. This occurs when the kneecap spontaneously dislocates. Dental diseases are regularly present in Shih Tzus too because of their small mouth.
This breed is also prone to respiratory problems due to a short face. Shih Tzus might have trouble breathing on hot days. Their long back leaves them vulnerable to back and neck issues, such as intervertebral disk disease — a painful condition where the disks around the spine become displaced.
How to know a Shih Tzu is not feeling well
It can sometimes be hard to tell when dogs are feeling sick. They don't always display their symptoms as readily as humans and sometimes try to hide in a safe place. Keeping a close eye on your dog is the best way to tell if your Shih Tzu is not feeling well.
Your Shih Tzu might be sick if you notice she isn't eating, she's lying around all day, she's drinking a lot of water, or you can feel her ribs. It's helpful to watch your dog's eating, drinking, urinating, and defecating patterns. Any changes might signal that something is off and a visit to the vet is in order.
Other symptoms for which to look include a runny nose, coughing or sneezing, coat or skin issues, behavioral changes, or signs of being in pain. A Shih Tzu with a fever might also display a warm and dry nose, shivering, and red eyes.
Keeping your Shih Tzu healthy
Stay on top of your Shih Tzu's health. Feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet with input from your vet and provide plenty of fresh water. Don't feed him too many treats. Shih Tzus can easily become obese, and the extra weight may lead to health problems.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise on a regular basis. While Shih Tzus are small, they have a lot of energy. Go on daily walks and play fetch or other games.
You should also take your Shih Tzu for regular checkups at your veterinarian's office. Your vet is the best person to help you determine if your Shih Tzu is not feeling well and to complete any tests that might need to be run. With the help of your vet, you can get your Shih Tzu feeling better as soon as possible.
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- Hill's Pet Nutrition: Is My Dog Sick? How Can I Tell?
- Bark Post: Is Your Dog Sick? Watch For These 10 Common Signs
- American Kennel Club: Fever in Dogs: Causes, Signs, and Treatme
- Hill's Pet Nutrition: Shih Tzu Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits