For most pet owners Shih Tzu care should not present too much of a problem. Obviously this little dog’s long, often flowing coat is going to require a certain amount of attention, but beyond that it is for the most part an easy pet to care for.
Walk, Yes – Jog, No
The Shih Tzu requires some exercise, most any breed of dog does for that matter, but the amount of exercise the Shih Tzu requires is at best minimal. Just remember while it will be good for the dog to have a daily walk, this is not a pet to take jogging or on long distance hikes. Walking it for about half a mile a day will usually be more than sufficient. If you do a great deal of bicycling however, most Shih Tzu’s will enjoy going along for the ride in a basket.
The Shih Tzu is a sweet and playful by nature. As far as bravery is concerned, it doesn’t seem to realize how small a creature it is. The Shih Tzu has the heart of a lion, which may have something to do with the fact that Shih Tzu in Chinese means ‘lion.’
The Coat Requires Some Attention
As far as its coat is concerned it should be brushed several times a week, with a good brushing or combing about every other day being ideal. Grooming is of course essential if you plan on showing one of these dogs as their coat can get out of hand quickly. If you don’t plan on entering your Shih Tzu in a show you could save yourself a great deal of time if you give it a Teddy Bear cut. Being an indoor dog, the Shih Tzu won’t mind going without a long coat. It might even enjoy not having to play the part of a dust mop. To some, a Shih Tzu with a Teddy Bear cut is a much cuter little dog than one with long, flowing hair.
Most Any Premium Dog Food Will Do
While getting your pet food from the vet can sometimes be more expensive, it is often in the pet’s interest if you rely on your vet to prescribe its diet. It’s not that store-bought pet food is unhealthy; it’s just that some brands or types can be. For the most part, feeding your pet a premium puppy food, whether kibble or canned, should be fine. While this is a small dog, you can feed it adult dog food as long as the kibbles aren’t too large. Treats are fine, but as with any dog they should be kept to a minimum. An overweight dog is an unhealthy one, and sometimes an unhappy one as well.
Keep Food and Water Bowls Clean
One way to prevent health issues from arising is to purchase stainless steel food and water bowls. While plastic bowls will get the job done, they can after time require a greater effort to keep them as clean as they should be. Ceramic bowls are also a good choice. The food bowl should be cleaned between meals, and the water bowl should at least be rinsed out before adding fresh water. Dogs often seem to do better than people where dealing with germs are concerned, but when small pets become ill they can sometimes take a turn for the worse very quickly.
Brushes, Combs, and Toothpaste
As far as grooming is concerned, you’ll want both a brush and a comb. A natural bristle brush is recommended, being a much better choice than one with nylon bristles. As far as the comb is concerned, pay a couple of dollars more if need be and get a stainless steel one. A comb containing both a narrow and a wide tooth size will make grooming easier. Such a comb is sometimes referred to as a Greyhound comb. A mat splitter is another item that should be on your list if you plan to groom your pet yourself. If that’s the case, you’ll want to invest in clippers and scissors.
Consider purchasing a toothbrush and toothpaste as well. Canine toothpaste doesn’t come in peppermint or spearmint flavors. It comes in beef and poultry flavors that most dogs seem to enjoy. Brushing your dog’s teeth is good for it and may save you money in the long run. If you plan to incorporate tooth-brushing into your Shih Tzu care program, start when the dog is still a small puppy. It will like the taste of the toothpaste and will gradually learn to have its teeth cleaned. An older dog may or may not put up a battle.
Insofar as shelter is concerned, it should not be a problem with the Shih Tzu, which is an indoor dog. You may want to invest in a small pet crate, kennel, or carrier for trips, even though one of these little dogs will fit nicely in a shoulder bag.
One final thing. Ask your vet if purchasing moisturizing eye drops or tear stain remover for your pet is recommended. Either one may or may not be necessary. Also ask your vet what type of shampoo he or she would recommend, unless you plan to take your pup to a grooming parlor when it needs a bath.