Pet ownership combines a crucial, difficult, and exciting experience for everyone, especially when welcoming a new pet in the family. Dogs, among many pet options, are the best ones to have because of their conditional love and constant companionship.
Overall, all dogs are cute and kind. But, people will still have preferences in picking what dog breed they would like to own, such as a Shih Tzu. These toy dog breeds have a lot to offer to their owners. If you want to learn more about them, you can take a look at shihtzucenter.com.
If you’re considering getting a Shih Tzu as a pet, it’s important that you should be ready in welcoming a new Shih Tzu to your home.
Here are some couple of Shih Tzu care tips:
Necessary Pet Supplies
Before picking up your Shih Tzu from the local pet store, through adoption, or other processes of pet ownership, prepare all necessary pet supplies that you’re going to need throughout the entire experience. More so, get them in advance so you won’t go through the hassle of rushing these supplies from the store.
Some common pet supplies in preparing yourself for a Shih Tzu ownership are:
- Snacks, kibbles, training treats
- Water and food bowls
- Bed and toys
- Leash and harness with an ID tag
- Bath and grooming supplies
- Designated car seat
- Poo bags and pee pads
- Clothing (optional)
Depending on the age of your Shih Tzu, some of their needs will vary and become more specific, which will be discussed further with the other categories of pet care tips. The supplies mentioned above generally apply to all ages of your pet.
One of the most important preparations for pet ownership, but sometimes overlooked by many pet owners, is house proofing their home to implement house, family, and dog safety.
Dogs love to play with different objects once their curiosity kicks in, and they’ll try to bite anything that gets in the way. This can pose a danger for the dog especially when you’re not at home.
Here are some house-proofing tips for welcoming your Shih Tzu:
- While your Shih Tzu is still a puppy, keep them in a designated space known as their pen. Provide two bowls for food and water, pee pads, bed, and some toys.
- Orient your family members not to leave any objects lying on the floor.
- Tie out electrical cords and wires and double proof them with cord protectors.
- Any objects that are not considered as their toys should be kept out of reach.
- Constantly clean the floor from the tiniest objects like marbles, needles, batteries, magnets, etc.
Proper Feeding and Hydration
In order to keep your Shih Tzu’s overall health and well-being in a sound condition, make sure to feed them with healthy meals and keep them physically active. Being inconsistent and doing these things incorrectly can greatly affect your pet and put their health at risk of medical conditions, which are to be elaborated later.
Meals and snacks that you’ll offer to your Shih Tzu vary according to their age:
- Less than 3 months old: Always keep fresh food in their bowls and have them fed consistently. Toy breed puppies are often susceptible to a sudden drop in blood sugar – a condition called hypoglycemia – which usually happens when your puppy is out of fuel in the form of food.
- 3 to 12 months old: At this age, encourage your Shih Tzu to eat meals thrice daily. Feeding them properly will have a positive impact on their development.
- Adult Shih Tzus: At this age, feeding your dog twice daily is necessary while handing them a few treats throughout the day. In some cases, they might also opt for being fed 3 times a day.
There are many factors to consider when choosing dog food when feeding your Shih Tzu. But, dry kibbles are preferable than wet and moist ones as the latter can make their coat dirty. Also, it’s generally healthier for them.
For another option, you can mix wet kibbles with dry ones as long as they’re in the same brand. This can be done by removing ⅛ cup of dry kibble and replacing it with two tablespoons of wet kibble.
Also, home cooking for your dog is also suitable, as long as you meet the canine vitamins and minerals content that they need.
Some wholesome foods that work best with your Shih Tzu’s digestion are:
- Lean beef
- White chicken meat
- Lamb heart and liver
- Green beans
- Baby carrots
- Sweet peas
- Cottage cheese
Lastly, make sure that your Shih Tzu has access to clean, filtered, and uncontaminated water. Using hanging water bottles or dispensers is much better to use than water bowls to keep your Shih Tzu’s coat dry and clean.
Constant Physical Activity
Shih Tzus should always have a daily exercise that lasts for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. These toy dog breeds don’t exercise by themselves and prefer to stay indoors and lie around the floor, so you should encourage them with a positive attitude towards training and exercise.
Whenever they complete sections of the training, be sure to give them some training treats to keep them motivated.
Pent-up energy accumulated through lack of physical activity can result in improper behavioral issues, such as excessive barking and chewing. So, ensure constant physical activity to avoid these problems.
Regular grooming is important for Shih Tzus to maintain their cleanliness, keep them away from parasites, avoid infections, and other health conditions.
Here are specific details on how frequent you should clean and groom your pet:
- Wipe their faces and eyes with clean wipes.
- Brushing their coat depends on the length. Short coats every 3 days, moderate coats every 2 days, and long coats daily.
- Baths should be once in 3 weeks. If there are skin or coat disorders, frequent baths are recommended.
- Nails should be trimmed every 6 weeks.
- Trim their coats up to your desired coat length.
- Always apply balms to avoid dehydration of their paws and nose. You can do this up to 1-3 times a day, especially in cold conditions.
Moreover, dental care should be cautiously exercised when it comes to Shih Tzus. Due to their toy breed, they often experience dental issues specifically overcrowding of the teeth. When overcrowding is neglected, it can lead to plaque and tartar buildup, which can cause tooth decay and tooth loss.
Use the right size of toothbrush and fluoride-free canine toothpaste when brushing your pet’s teeth daily. Have them checked regularly by their dentist or veterinarian.
Regular Medical Attention
Like how you regularly receive medical attention and services from your doctor, your Shih Tzu should always experience the same with a certified veterinarian. Shih Tzus belong to a unique dog breed that needs more frequent vet visits, so make sure to appoint a personal one for your dog.
Moreover, you should be aware of different health conditions that usually occur in Shih Tzus and help you identify their symptoms so you can bring them to the vet and avoid worsening their condition.
Some common health issues that Shih Tzus suffer from are:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Ear Infections
- Hip Dysplasia
Shih Tzus are loveable, energetic, and loyal dog breeds, but their behavior can result in something detrimental, which can pose danger and safety risks if they’re not taken care of properly.
When welcoming a new Shih Tzu into your home, always provide constant care and attention for them, like how you would take care of any pet breeds. No matter how small these Shih Tzus are, their love for their owners are bigger than you would imagine, so make sure to return the favor with these pet care tips.