The lovable Shih Tzu has come a long way. All the way from ancient China to now being one of the top 10 favorite dogs breeds for Americans. Also known as “Little Lions” or “Chrysanthemum-faced Dogs”, they are over-flowing with character to make up for their teeny size. Below are 7 top tips for giving your beloved Shih Tzu the care that she deserves.
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Your Shih Tzu puppy will require four small meals per day until he or she is about nine weeks old. At this time you may reduce the number of meals to three until the puppy is twelve weeks old. Meals may now be reduced to three with a snack before bed (puppy treats etc.)
Large amounts of table food will make them “picky” and interfere with normal bowel movements and cause gastric upsets that are unpleasant for you and your puppy. Premium quality dry dog food that is nutritionally balanced, meeting all the dietary needs of the growing small breed puppy is the best option. Dry food may be softened with hot water until the puppy develops good strong teeth. If you choose to change your puppies food, do it gradually over a 10 day period using a 1 – 10 ration. (i.e. first day 1 part new food 9 parts old food, 2nd day, 2 parts new food 8 parts old food etc.)
Your puppy should be bathed weekly. Use of a good oatmeal shampoo is highly recommended. As the puppy’s coat thickens a cream rinse and or conditioner should be used. Coats should be blown dry being very careful not to overheat the puppy. Pet dryers are better than human ones because they tend not to get as hot. Your Puppy or dog should never be left alone while being cage dried because many pets have died because of overheating and the dryer’s timing device not working correctly and shutting off. Combing or brushing should be accomplished during the blow dry procedure as well. Be careful not to allow shampoo to get in the puppies’ eyes because they are very sensitive. There are several ointments available through your veterinarian or pet supply store to help protect your puppy or dog’s eyes during their baths. A good flea protection should be applied each month and after your pet’s bath.
The key to this project is patience and persistence. Your Kyrie Achates puppy has been encouraged to use Puppy Pads. If puppies are given the run of the house they will never be housetrained. Even at a young age, the puppy will usually give ample warning by trying to find a spot. (i.e. turning and sniffing in circles, concentrated sniffing, squatting, etc.) You will soon develop a knowledge of when this will occur. Normally it is when a puppy first awakens, just after eating, or when excited or after playing. Be patient, you or your children didn’t learn this overnight either. When they are young the Shih Tzu will “go” quite often since there is little control during their first three months.
When they have an “accident”, pick the puppy up and say NO in a firm voice, don’t yell as it will confuse and scare the puppy, then place it on the potty pad or take it outside to its designated spot, keeping the same general area until the puppy is completely house trained. Be sure to lavish lots of praise on a job completed in the appropriate place. Do not ever rub a puppy’s nose in it’s “accident”. This only teaches a puppy to fear you and to hide. Clean up the “accident” completely because puppies tend to go where they went before if they can find it. It may help to place the fecal matter where you want the puppy to go next time. They then learn to connect the place to where you want them to go.
If you notice the puppy going in the appropriate place, reward the puppy with praise and maybe a snack. Shih Tzu may be taken out during any weather as long as they are not left sitting in the cold. They love cold weather and are not prone to catching colds. They should have a cool shady spot in the summer months when playing or going out, this breed is a house breed and should be kept inside. When traveling, we keep ice packs for ice chest handy as well as water bottles that we can fill with ice at hotels or fast food restaurants.
Shih Tzus are not a fragile breed, however, should small children allow a “wiggling” puppy to fall, the puppy could be hurt. Do not allow small children to handle puppies while the child is standing. Puppies will chew while teething. They will chew anything including hands, fingers, and toes… Don’t let them as it does hurt and is a bad habit, which can become even worse when they are older. Allow them to chew toys or chew sticks, etc. Remember, if you play roughly with them you will have a rough puppy and an even rougher adult. Puppies are just like children, they learn what you teach them. Nothing more, nothing less. We recommend that all new owners attend a puppy kindergarten class and basic obedience classes. This provides guidance for the new owner and helps the puppy to become a productive and well-mannered part of the family.
Shih Tzus frequently have small protrusions at the umbilical cord. Should you notice one, they are harmless and present no problem to the dog or the owner. They can be repaired when the puppy is spayed or neutered.
Show leads are the best combination collar and leash. They do not need a collar while in the home. They are not attractive on their fur and tend to break the hair off if you are trying to grow their coat. Since your dog will not be allowed to run loose in the neighborhood, lack of a collar should not present a problem. We do recommend that your puppy is microchipped as in the event it does become lost, it will be able to be positively identified and returned to you.
Beds may be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Of course you Shih Tzu is going to prefer your bed but a small box, towel or rug inside his crate will be quite satisfactory. Your puppy will not be fussy. They may be closed in bathrooms if you leave the house, but be sure there are no cords or drawers that your puppy can get into. Be sure all poisonous materials are well out of reach or in a locked closet. Like children, when left alone for any period of time they will find mischief to get into and usually it will cost you money and time to clean up if you are lucky. If not it may cost you the life of your new puppy! Make sure you have plenty of fresh water and potty pads down for their use. My guys love the soft round donut-style beds or you can get special made puppy playpens with tops (these guys can climb as well). These are available form pet supply catalogs and stores in your area and come in 4 – 5 different sizes. Ex-pens also make good containment pens for your new puppy when you can not be with them at all times. They also come in different heights and can be folded and taken with you when you travel or outside when the weather is permitting.
I hope this guide is of assistance to you and I know you will enjoy the Shih Tzu breed!
When not writing about himself in the third person, Andy spends many an hour walking his mischievous, mixed breed rescue Mr Wox, aka Soxy Woxy. A leading authority on all dog-related topics, Andy is highly respected, deeply appreciated and widely admired.