Shih Tzu Common Health Issues

Table of Contents

The Shih Tzu is a popular breed of dog that is known for its small size, cute appearance, and friendly personality. While they are generally a healthy breed, there are common problems with Shih Tzu dogs that owners should be aware of. In this article, we will discuss some of these common problems, including their causes, symptoms, and possible treatments.



Shih Tzus are a popular breed of small companion dogs that are known for their affectionate and loyal personalities. However, like any breed of dog, they are prone to certain health issues. One common health issue with Shih Tzus is allergies.

Allergies in Shih Tzus can be caused by a variety of factors, including pollen, dust mites, mold, and certain foods. Symptoms of allergies in Shih Tzus can include itching, scratching, biting or chewing at the skin, redness or inflammation of the skin, hair loss, and ear infections. Allergies can also cause respiratory symptoms, such as sneezing and coughing.

If you suspect that your Shih Tzu has allergies, it is important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis. The vet may recommend allergy testing to identify the specific allergen that is causing the symptoms. Treatment for allergies in Shih Tzus may include antihistamines, corticosteroids, or immunotherapy.

Preventing allergies in Shih Tzus involves minimizing exposure to potential allergens. This may include regular grooming to remove pollen and dust from the coat, keeping the home clean and free of dust and mold, and feeding your dog a high-quality diet that is free from common allergens. Additionally, keeping your dog’s environment as stress-free as possible may also help to prevent allergy symptoms.


Dental Problems

Shih Tzu dogs are prone to dental problems because of their small mouths. Brachycephalic breeds like Shih Tzus have a shortened snout, which can cause crowded teeth and an increased risk of tartar build-up. Dental problems can lead to infections, inflammation, and even tooth loss if left untreated.

To prevent dental issues, you should brush your dog’s teeth regularly, ideally at least once a day. You should also consult your veterinarian for professional teeth cleaning at least once or twice a year.


Eye Problems

Shih Tzus are prone to eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and corneal ulcers. These conditions can cause discomfort, pain, and even blindness. Eye infections are also very common among the breed.

Symptoms of eye problems include redness, swelling, tearing, cloudiness, or discharge from the eye. It is essential to seek treatment from a qualified veterinarian as soon as you notice any of such symptoms. Treatment may involve an eye drop medication, surgery or monitoring.


Breathing Problems

Shih Tzu dogs have brachycephalic syndrome, which means they have smaller nasal and upper airway passages that can cause breathing difficulties, such as snorting, wheezing, or snoring. This may cause health complications such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a type of airway obstruction common in human patients occurs in some Shih Tzu dogs.

To alleviate breathing problems, you can use a cool mist humidifier, and a well-ventilated room can help ease breathing difficulties. If problems persist, it’s best to seek a vet’s help, who will be able to assess the severity of the condition and provide the appropriate treatment.


Skin Problems

Shih Tzu dogs are prone to skin problems such as hotspots, eczema, and yeast infections. These conditions can cause severe skin itching, redness, and inflammation.

To prevent skin issues, it’s important to make sure your dog gets adequate grooming and hygiene procedures like regular bathing. Ensure to use recommended dog shampoos to prevent bacterial buildup that can act as a breeding ground for different skin infections.



Shih Tzus are prone to obesity and can gain weight quickly. This can lead to significant health problems such as breathing difficulties, heart disease, and even joint issues like arthritis.

To prevent obesity, it’s important to monitor your dog’s diet and ensure that they receive regular exercise. Choosing low-calorie dog food and limiting high-calorie treats and table food can reduce calorie intake. You can engage your dog in regular walks, swimming, and playtimes that involve lots of running around to increase their physical activity levels.



In conclusion, the Shih Tzu breed is a fantastic pet, and they are relatively healthy dogs. Despite their general health, it’s essential to be aware of the common problems with Shih Tzu dogs and take the necessary precautions to prevent them. Maintaining your pet’s regular visits to a qualified veterinarian is crucial to identify early symptoms, provide the right treatment, and ensure the long-term health and wellness of your Shih Tzu dog.

Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Owner of the cutest shih tzu on earth

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