Choose a veterinarian that your like and trust with
Check with friends first if you are a new shih tzu owner. If you go to
an office that has several veterinarians, then try to make an
appointment with the same doctor each visit so he becomes
familiar with your shih tzu. Make sure you come to the visits
prepared and don't be reluctant to ask for information about your
shih tzu and potential problems your should look out for.
Prepare for the Veterinarian Visit:
- Stool sample for examination of intestinal parasites.
- Inoculation records.
- Ask about flea and tick prevention and control programs.
- Heart worm tests records and ask about types of preventives.
- Ask about Parvo Virus and symptoms to look for.
- Ask about minor injuries and how to treat them.
Let them recommend a good antiseptic cream.
- Use a syringe (without the needle) to give liquid medication. Be
careful not to stab the back of the dog's throat. It is
recommended to insert the syringe while the dogs mouth is closed
directly behind his canine teeth. Inject the medication slowly.
- Position the dog upright sitting down, tilt the dog's head back,
lift the lips away from his teeth and hold his upper jaw by the
gums directly behind his canine teeth and push down on his lower
jaw with your other hand to open the mouth. Place the pill in the
very back of his throat, close his mouth and keep it shut.
Stroke his throat softly until pill is swallowed.
If you have a dog who is not use to taking medication and he is
to difficult to handle, try crushing the pill or opening capsules
and mixing with peanut butter or baby food. Mix it up and stick it
on the roof of the dog's mouth. As the dog licks the peanut
butter off the roof of his mouth, it will melt and he will
swallow the medication with it.
Signs of Distress
A shih tzu may show signs of distress in many different ways. You
want to be familiar with the most common signs of distress
because they indicate your dog could have a problem that may
need immediate attention. This is a general list below that shows
signs of distress and the possible problems they may indicate.
These same signs could indicate problems other than those listed
so be sure to consult your veterinarian.
Dog choking, gagging, drooling or pawing at the mouth.
Possible foreign item stuck in throat or mouth.
Hot ears. Hot to the touch.
Possible fever, but dog could have fever and not have hot
Straining but not having a bowel movement.
Possible constipation or an obstruction of the bowels or
Dog cries, crouches or tenses, trembles, heavy breathing.
Possible poison, bloat, pain from swallowing sharp
object. Intense pain usually abdominal.
Convulsions, thrashing about on the floor, glassy-eyed,
Possible epilepsy or poison, hypoglycemia.
Nervous panting and pacing.
Possible pain or discomfort of some sort. Watch
Squatting numerous times but not urinating or just
Possible bladder or kidney infection.
Scooting across floor on rear.
Possible blocked anal glands or caked stool in hair
Skin inside of ears is bright pink instead of pale. Bad odor
from ears or constant scratching of ears.
Possible ear infection or ear mites.
Pale mucus membranes, heavy breathing and extremities
Spaying and Neutering your Shih Tzu
If you do not plan on breeding your dog, consider the advisability
of spaying or neutering.
By neutering your female shih tzu you are:
Removing the chance of accidental breeding.
Eliminating two three-week-long sessions per year of her
being in season.
Eliminating the problem of vaginal discharge during her
Preventing false pregnancies and infections of the uterus.
Reducing the chance of mammary tumors.
Eliminating the nuisance of male dogs in the neighborhood
congregating at your home during season.
By neutering your male dog you are:
Removing the chance of his accidentally siring a litter of
Eliminating the desire to roam from home if there is a
female dog in season in the neighborhood.
Eliminating the need to mark his territory with urine if he
scents a female dog in season.
Decreasing, in some cases, aggressive behavior towards
other male dogs.
For more information on spaying/neutering, check with your
veterinarian. He can also tell you the best age for these
procedures to be done for your breed.
Dog's normal breathing rate - 15 to 20 per minute.
Dog's normal heartbeat - 100 to 150 beats per minute.
Take pulse under chest or under rear leg where it joins the
Dog's normal temperature - 101 to 102 degrees.
Use rectal thermometer for taking temperature and leave in the
rectum for three or four minutes. Hold the thermometer firmly
while taking the dog's temperature. The rectal muscles can pull
the thermometer completely into the dog's body if you let go of it
Color of mucus membranes ( includes the gums, tongue,
inside of eyelids) should be a nice healthy pink. Memorize
the color of your dog's membranes when he is well (color
varies from dog to dog), so that you will know when there
is a change in the color.
I hope this information will help you understand your dog a little better. Please realize this information given is very general (especially the possible problems which are shown as reasons for signs of distress) and is offered only as an aid for you to recognize that your dog has a health condition that warrants watching. Always follow your veterinarian's advice for your dog.