Since Shih Tzu’s are a breed that are generally healthy and have minimal hereditary issues compared to other dogs, life expectancy of Shih Tzus can reach up to 16 years. According to the American Kennel Club, a Shih Tzu life span is on average 11 to 15 years, however, since their health is so good, there have been numerous Shih Tzu’s who have lived up to 18 years old.
Shih Tzu’s have the same type of stages throughout their lifetime that other dog breeds have. They go through their newborn stage, their eyes begin to open, their hearing develops and they begin to walk, their teething stage is goes through the complete process in between three to eight months. At six months old, a female Shih Tzu can enter heat for the first time and is considered an adult. Between the ages of seven and nine is when Shih Tzu’s are considered senior citizens. By the age of 10 years old, your Shih Tzu may be slowing down a bit and exchanging playtime with snuggle-up on the couch time.
According to the Continental Kennel Club, the Shih Tzu life span is above-average and can possibly reach 16 years and beyond. Taking care of your Shih Tzu throughout his lifetime can help encourage a long life span. Pet owners can take certain measures to maintain their Shih Tzu’s health by keeping vaccinations up to date, providing him with clean, fresh water, a healthy diet and daily exercise. Shih Tzu’s require brisk, short walks outdoors for exercise. The limited walk time is due to their lack of toleration for extreme temperatures.
Additional ways to take care of your Shih Tzu’s is to pay close attention to their eyes. Their eyes produce clear discharge on a regular basis that usually sticks to their luxurious hair surrounding their eye area. If this discharge dries it can get crusted and cause pain when removing it. You will want to frequently and gently clean his eyes with a soft cloth, at times you may need to dampen the cloth with warm water to soften the discharge. Do to their luxurious hair, Shih Tzu’s will also require regular grooming ranging from either every day to every other day. This will help prevent the hair from matting and prevent skin allergies from developing.
A possible health issue that you will want to focus on is the possibility that he was born with stenotic nares, which is actually narrow nostrils. This type of condition may put pressure on his ability to breath. To help your Shih Tzu feel more comfortable, especially if he has narrow nostrils, use a harness leash in place of a color leash that wraps around his neck. This will help eliminate any added pressure to his throat area that may further hinder his breathing ability.
Although there may be a few health concern possibilities, Shih Tzu dogs are of generally good health throughout their lifetime and tend to live long, healthy, happy life’s alongside their companion and family.
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