Four Tips for First-Time Shih Tzu Owners

Four Tips for First-Time Shih Tzu Owners

Shih Tzu is one of the cutest dog

The Shih Tzu (“lion dog” in Chinese) was a precious breed in Chinese history. While historians debate about its origins (some say its earliest record dates back to 2000-year old paintings), they all agree that it was associated with the emperor.

These days the Shih Tzu makes for an adorable yet fierce household pet. Their charm, energy, and expressiveness make it easy for them to get along well with humans. If you have decided to adopt your own lionhearted friend, consider yourself lucky. Here are some tips to help you give your Shih Tzu the royal treatment it deserves.

1. Feeding

Quality dog food and healthy snacks are essential to keep your Shih Tzu happy and energetic. The amount of food you should give your Shih Tzu will depend on your pet’s age and weight. After they’re weaned, puppies up to six months old should be fed four times a day. After that, an adult Shih Tzu should get two to three meals per day.

A veterinarian can give you advice on which foods are safe for your furry friend. Additives in manufactured dog food can be detrimental to your pet’s health and can result in allergies, and skin and digestive issues.

2. Grooming

Shih Tzus are known for their luxurious coats. Make sure it is always healthy, glossy, and tangle-free. To maintain its lustrous sheen, it is advisable to bathe your dog every three weeks. Wash your Shih Tzu in a tub with warm water, lather with dog shampoo, and rinse thoroughly as shampoo remnants can cause skin irritations. Then dry them off using a hairdryer on a low setting. Use a bristle brush to take out mats or tangles throughout their body, including legs and feet.

3. Behavior

Teaching your fur baby discipline and obedience is just as important as providing him with physical care. Because Shih Tzus love human company, they tend to become spoiled. These little dogs are known to develop imperial temperaments, becoming headstrong and stubborn if left untrained. Proper training will not only keep your Shih Tzu from chewing on your favorite shoes. It will also build their confidence and socialization skills.

Because the breed is so popular in the U.S. (The American Kennel Club’s data shows it’s the most popular in Alabama, Arizona, New Mexico, and North Carolina), many schools all over the country are familiar with training them. Dog training in Spanish Fork, UT, for instance, follows a system of obedience training that starts with snacks and treats.  On the other hand, obedience classes in Little Falls, NJ are geared towards potty training and grooming. At the end of the day, proper discipline can help build mutual trust between you and your pet.

4. Health

Just like any dog breed, Shih Tzus are prone to disease and allergies. In fact, Shih Tzus should not be kept outdoors in the summer as their small noses make them more prone to heat stroke than other dogs. Food allergies and bacterial infections are also common problems for them. To ensure your Shih Tzu lives a long and healthy life (10-16 years is the average), schedule regular check-ups with his doctor and a full physical exam at least twice a year. Keep your lionhearted baby at a healthy weight by choosing his food wisely and making sure he gets enough exercise.  

Shih Tzus are lovable pets that bring sunshine wherever they go. Owning a Shih Tzu sure has its challenges, but with proper nurture and discipline, you are sure to have a loyal (and cuddly!) companion unlike any other. 

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