How to Take Care of a Shih Tzu
This post is a tribute to the best dog anyone could ever have owned. Charlie was my Shih Tzu and he was the sweetest, most adorable dog. Like all Shih Tzus, he loved being with humans and he didn’t know he wasn’t one of us. The Shih Tzu is a very special dog and in this post, I’ll share some information on how to care for a shih tzu puppy.
Shih Tzu Hair Care
When you first get a Shih Tzu puppy, you should ask a groomer to show you how to properly brush your new baby’s hair. The hair can get matted very easily and you won’t notice it until it’s too late.
At first, Shih Tzu’s hair was very short and I could brush it without any problems, but, as it grew longer, I didn’t know that I had to brush the hair in layers. In the picture directly below this section, you can see that Shih Tzu looks “puffy” or “chubby.” That is because the hair under his coat was completely matted (“stuck together”) since I was, foolishly, only brushing the top coat.
The next picture shows the consequences of my ignorance about brushing Shih Tzu’s hair – his first haircut. Shih Tzu was very embarrassed by his baldness, and the groomer advised me to treat him with sensitivity. When we arrived home, he hid under the bed and it took quite some time for me to coax him from his hiding place.
To properly brush a Shih Tzu’s coat, buy a good bristle brush at a reputable pet shop and each day begin by lifting the top hair and brushing the lowest layer of hair (the hair closest to the dog’s body) first. After the first layer is smooth and free of knots, start on the next layer and keep brushing one layer at a time until you are finally at the top layer. By the time you finish brushing your precious one’s hair, all layers should be free of knots and tangles and you should be able to draw a comb through all layers of the coat. The amount of time required to brush your Shih Tzu’s hair will depend on the thickness of the coat.
Note that it is not advisable to have your Shih Tzu’s hair cut short since the coat provides natural protection for the dog. The third picture below, the one with the hair bow, shows how pretty, and thin, baby Shih Tzu looked when his hair was properly groomed.
Feeding Your Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu had a long life and he lived to be 15-1/2 years old. I had an excellent veterinarian for most of that time, and he always advised me on what to feed Shih Tzu. He warned me to never give Shih Tzu bones since small dogs, like Shih Tzus, have problems digesting bones. He also cautioned against too many table snacks from my plate.
The best food for a Shih Tzu is quality dog food, and although the veterinarian often recommended Science Diet, Shih Tzu preferred Kibble and Bits. The food should always be fresh and it is usually not a good idea to leave the food out all day for your Shih Tzu, especially in the summertime.
Shih Tzus can have sensitive stomachs, especially when they are very young, and your puppy’s veterinarian might suggest that you prepare special foods for the pup. Shih Tzu had terrible stomach problems for the first year of his life and I had to boil hamburger and rice three times a day for him. However, only prepare these kinds of meals on the recommendation of a reliable veterinarian.
Shih Tzus love treats and most of the top dog food companies produce yummy dog treats that your Shih Tzu will enjoy. Avoid sweets, however. Just as sugar is not good for your body, it is also not good for your dog.
Shih Tzus Need Love
Shih Tzu dogs need love and friendship
Shih Tzus are very social and they need plenty of love and affection. They are “lover dogs” and most Shih Tzus enjoy sitting on laps and hugging necks. if you give your Shih Tzu hugs and care, you’ll get loved in return.
Shih Tzu liked to “talk” on the phone and he would get very excited when he heard my sister’s voice on the phone. He would bark and then start licking the phone receiver to let my sister know that he was happy to hear from her.
Shih Tzus are very intelligent dogs and they learn to recognize people by their names. For example, whenever I told Shih Tzu to look for “Grandma” or “Grandpa,” Shih Tzu would run to the window and wait there until my parents arrived.
Shih Tzu dogs also enjoy the company of other animals. Shih Tzu was particularly fond of my sister’s cat, Kitty, and we often found him hugging and kissing her.
Shih Tzus Need Quiet Time
When you have a Shih Tzu, you’ll probably want to play with your puppy because Shih Tzus are so cute and loving. But, just like you, your Shih Tzu needs quiet time, too. If you see that your little Shih Tzu is tired and doesn’t want to play, it is best to just leave him or her alone. When your baby is rested, he or she will come to you for attention and love.
Toys for Your Shih Tzu
Your Shih Tzu, like any child, needs toys and playtime. But you don’t need to spend much money to entertain a Shih Tzu. Common items that Shih Tzus love include tennis balls, towels, pantyhose, and old shoes.
In addition to providing toys, you should take time each day to play with your Shih Tzu and give him or her plenty of exercise. This play and exercise routine can be outdoors (for example, playing a game of catch with a tennis ball) or on colder, rainy days, you and your puppy can have a great tug of war with pantyhose.