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Shih Tzu Questions & Answers

This page was designed with you in mind. I get many emails from the public asking questions about their Shih Tzu. This is where I will post some of the questions and the answers. I do not mind helping you with your problem, I only ask you search this page first to make sure your question has not already been answered. 

If you do not find your answer here please feel free to email to ask your question. I will happily answer it and post it here. If I do not know the answer, I will find it. 

I strongly feel that your breeder is the first place you should go to ask a question about the dog they bred. Many Shih Tzu owners do not feel they can go to the breeder for answers due to the breeders lack of knowledge or lack of interest in the dog they bred after it is sold. This is another reason I strongly urge the public to do their research before they buy.  If you buy from a reputable breeder who forms a relationship with you, you will have support for your baby forever. 


I found a lovely Shih Tzu in the street a year or so ago. She was in horrible condition...blood in eye, hernia, fur matted to her body, and crusty bumps all over her body. The bumps can be small or large and seem to eventually break into a crusty pimple. The bumps are primarily from her mid back down to running along the tail. Have you seen this in Shih Tzu and do you know what may be causing it?   Ann


Ann, I commend you for taking a chance on a stray and giving her a second shot at life. Some Shih Tzu get wart like cysts as they age. They are prone to having an excretion come out of them. Sounds like those are sebaceous cysts which are hair follicles filled with waxy stuff. Using Benzyol Peroxide shampoo made for dogs is very helpful. Won't make them disappear completely, but helps control them. They are usually slow- growing, painless, freely movable lumps beneath the skin. Occasionally, however, a cyst will become inflamed and tender.  These are not dangerous, but you may want to have it checked out just to make sure, especially if it grows, bleeds, or changes shape.

If the bumps are more like a rash it could be caused from fleas or other allergens. Shih Tzu tend to be allergic to flea saliva, one flea bite can cause all kinds of problems.

As with any growth on the skin if rapid increase in size is noticed please see your vet immediately.




My Shiz Shu is 11 years old and my vet. says she has dry eyes and just to use tears.  Now everyday my dog has matted eyes and she is just miserable.  What I can do to help relieve her?  Vet has been no help.  Sue K.


I am so sorry your pet has dry eye. Below I have pasted a portion of an article from the Shih Tzu club of America explaining dry eye and treatments. You will possibly have to treat this dog for the rest of its life. Dry eye is a very painful condition if its not treated EVERYDAY. Your dog can lose its vision.

The normal tears of a dog consist of the aqueous (watery) portion secreted by the lacrimal glands, and the lipid (oily) portion secreted by the meibormian glands. When properly mixed, the tears form a thin coating, or film, that covers all of the exposed portion of the eyeball. When this film becomes insufficient to keep the eye moist, the cornea dries out. The eye then becomes uncomfortable and will eventually develop corneal damage, scarring, and finally blindness. The lipid portion of the tears continues to be secreted and forms a thick, pus-like substance which can "glue" the eyelids closed. In humans, dry eye is treated with artificial tears, applied in drop form whenever the patient feels the eye becoming dry, normally every hour or so. For most dogs, however, this type of schedule is impractical, unless the animal's caregiver is with the patient all during the day. In all other cases, the cornerstone of treatment for dry eye is a drug called cyclosporine, originally marketed as an anti-cancer agent. When it is diluted in oil and applied to the surface of the eye, it frequently stimulates the existing gland(s) to produce tears again.

Cyclosporine does not work for all patients with Dry eye (KSC), but when it does, it is a real miracle cure. Many dogs are then able to maintain vision for years with a single or twice daily application of cyclosporine. Other medications may also be prescribed, such as antibiotics, corticosteroids, or artificial tears to combat concurrent ocular conditions.

There have been some reports of adverse side effects to treatment with cyclosporine (many only after years of successful therapy) so if your dog is being treated with this agent and seems to develop health problems, contact your regular veterinarian as soon as possible. There are a few patients which simply cannot tolerate the prescription in any dosage.


Hi Leslie,it is Carole from Montreal.I have just read your section on holistic food for dogs.I also read you feed your babies Wellness.The question I have for you is,do you just feed them the dry food or a combination of wet and dry or dry with a topper.I called up the site and saw all the food they have on hand


I feed different dogs different things. As a supplement aI give fish oil. I give them one capsule a day. I give it with a treat and they just swallow it. They get dry food, Grain free. I do chose to give the dogs a small mix in. Every night is different in our home. I buy chicken breast or use old hens we have had dispatched to make a thick chicken soup (little broth left), most nights they get egg. some nights grain free canned food.  Sometimes I give them Ricotta cheese or plain yogurt. Some people believe having mix ins will stain their faces. It does not. All of my dogs have white faces with little to no care at all. They have dirty sloppy faces after they eat but it dries up and faces return to white again.  



I can't find anything under your Grooming

category that might help tame the hair over the nose while it grows

out. I've tried the short-hedge look on the bridge and don't care for

it nor do I think it helps keep his eyes cleaner.


Now that the hair is growing out it is easier to get behind and clean

but more difficult for him to see as it stands up just under each

eye. Since the area is so close to his eyes I don't want to apply a

product that will bother him. I am hoping you might have a product

tip or some advice about this/growing out hair in the bridge/

moustache region that will help us.


You can try a product by Vellus called satin cream or you can use Cholesterol from beauty supply store. The kind we use for our hair. Both products will condition the hair without making it greasy and slick it down until it grows out.



I have a 5 month old Shih Tzu boy and was wondering how young is too young to start trimming their hair? He gets a bath about once a week and combed out every day. His face has the most growth and I would love to just neaten it up some. One person has told me to wait until 6 months old and another said a year. You seem to be an expert so I thought to try your advice too! I certainly appreciate whatever comments you may have.


You can start trimming puppies as young as 12 weeks. I trim all my pet puppies before they leave to buy the new owners time before the hair is in their eyes. You should start early to train the puppy, he needs to learn early about scissors and clippers. Everyday do something in the grooming department. This will make it easier for you or whoever trims him as he grows. 


QUESTION: My dog vomits yellow bile. Mostly in the morning and every once in a while through out the day. Is there anything I can do to stop this? 



Most of the time yellow bile is not a reason to run to your vet.  In most cases it is because your dog has an empty tummy and for whatever reason it became upset. If this is a frequent event for your baby, try giving a small amount of food in the morning or giving a snack around the time you think it will happen each day. Most of the time this takes care of that stinky yellow bile. 


 QUESTION: My Shih Tzu puppy is a dark color right now. Almost black and white but I see brown under his top coat. WIll he stay dark?


Most Shih Tzu coat color changes throughout their lives. Shih Tzu earned the nickname "Changelings" for this very reason.  Most puppies  are born looking black and white. Its because the tips of their hair are black and the color is underneath. A really light gold and white will look dark upon its arrival into the world. A couple weeks after birth the color underneath becomes apparent and as he grows the color lightens. Sometimes as a Shih Tzu matures the color will reverse and darken again. I have seen dark gold and whites or red and whites turn black and white as they age. This is where you should depend on your breeder as they know their lines and how they change.




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Bailley's Blog - Bailley was diagnosed with Cushing's in November of 2014. We lost Bailley 8/15/17

This is a record of our journey and how I chose to treat her. It is my hope others will find comfort and answers.



Tian Mi Shih Tzu uses Pet Oasis Water Stands with Lixit bottles 





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Revised: April 13, 2015