How To Care For An Older Shih Tzu?

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Even though no one would ever want to think about their adorable dog becoming older, it is an inevitable occurrence we must prepare for. Your Shih Tzu getting older means their needs to change as well.

As a dog owner, you must ensure that your Shih Tzu spends each phase of his life comfortably and safely.

When the little puppy transitions into an adult and then to a senior, it is critical for its owner to have an extensive understanding of what to expect.

Certain changes in terms of care will have to be made.

A few general age-related health concerns and illnesses affect senior dogs, which we must be watchful of.

A silver lining of having an older dog is the deep connection that you have formed with him. There are numerous advantages of having a senior dog as a pet.

They have such a calming prescient as their calmer temperament creates a peaceful environment in the house.

Furthermore, an older dog becomes pretty self-sufficient and does not require your attention for small tasks. Older dogs have significantly better manners than younger puppies as well.

Looking after an older Shih Tzu will come with its own fair share of challenges.

With your dog’s reduced cognition and abilities, you will have to be extremely patient with your Shih Tzu.

It might also become difficult to leave your Shih Tzu alone as their ailing health will be a concern.

At the end of the day, your Shih Tzu is your lifelong companion. Just as you do not doubt in your mind that that dog would give its life to save yours, you should be there for the dog as much as possible.

The journey might be hard, but it will be worth the utter sense of fulfillment and joy of being a constant support for your tiny Shih Tzu.

What To Feed Your Aging Shih Tzu: Nutrition and Diet

The dietary requirements for a Shih Tzu change as they grow older, so it is critical to arrange a balanced and age-appropriate diet for an older Shih Tzu.

The core requirement is ensuring that your dog gets the high-standard nutrients he needs at his age.

Read food labels and ensure that you are providing them with the required dosage of vitamins and minerals.

Adding supplements to an older Shih Tzu’s diet, such as glucosamine, will do wonders for his joint health. At an older age, Shih Tzus need food that contains all the essential nutrients along with fatty acids DHA and EPA.

A vast majority of Shih Tzus reach adulthood with dental issues as their teeth become worn out over the years.

It is why it is crucial to opt for soft foods for your little puppy.

Additionally, your diet for your Shih Tzu should consist of at least 25 percent fewer metabolizable calories. Home-cooked meals can also contain all the required nutrients for your Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzus that become elderly do not have much physical activity, and since they do not move around, overfeeding them can become an issue. Your Shih Tzu will end up becoming fat which can put them in harm’s way.

If you wish to feed your old Shih Tzu dog feed, ensure that you select one that has been made particularly for elder dogs.

Dog food made for senior dogs contains a mix of protectants for their joints and antioxidants.

When looking after a senior dog and creating its diet plan, it is vital to watch its weight.

Shih Tzus are in the habit of overeating as they age and become obese.

The added weight places pressure on their joints and lead to various diseases.

Therefore it is important to be cautious about finding the equilibrium between overfeeding or underfeeding an older him.

Exercise and Activity Needs Of Older Shih Tzus

Exercise and Activity Needs Of Older Shih Tzus
Bill from the Philippines

Under activity can become life-threatening for dogs as they age, so avoid cutting any activity or exercise from their schedule.

Senior dogs always want to be lazy and lay around, but if done excessively, it could add to their deteriorating health.

Age-appropriate exercises for an older dog, such as leisurely walks or indoor play, create the perfect balance for a scenario Shih Tzu.

They do not have to sprint around the park, although indulging in some playtime or a walk sometime during the day will help improve their overall health.

The importance of regular exercise for older Shih Tzus is not just for their physical well-being but their mental health as well.

Physical exertion will make your Shih Tzu feel lively, and they might even enjoy a change of scenery.

To break the monotony of old age, you can also invest in some puzzle toys or training sessions to stimulate your Shih Tzu mentally.

Regulating your Shih Tzu’s exercise cycle is a vital part of their health when they grow older.

Start treating your older Shih Tzu like a puppy too.

Do not use force to attract them towards any form of exercise. If your senior doggy does not feel like going for a run, taking long walks, or playing with you, give him some space.

Your focus as a dog owner should be on maintaining your routine of walks with them and giving your Shih Tzu the authority to set the pace.

If you see them getting tired and wanting to sit down, just follow suit and sit down with them.

Similarly, if they want to walk at a slow pace, go slowly.

Make sure you respect your elderly Shih Tzu’s capacity to exercise and let them be the authority in charge. It is especially important as you want to avoid overexerting your older dog.

Health and Medical Care For Senior Shih Tzus

Health and Medical Care For Senior Shih Tzus

The canine family members have a shorter lifespan than humans, making it a heartbreaking ordeal. Regretfully, as Shih Tzus grow older, they cannot have the same vitality as when they were young.

It is why they are more susceptible to infections or diseases, and these can become serious dangers for them.

As their defense mechanism weakens with age, it is extremely important to have regular check-ups and screenings for an older Shih Tzu.

A few of the common illnesses that become normal with age for a Shih Tzu include the following:

  • Cataracts or Blindness
  • Elbow or hip dysplasia
  • Tartar problems in the teeth
  • Occurrence of osteoarthritis
  • Cardiovascular or circulation issues

Shih Tzus are dogs with immensely tiny mouths which makes it probable for them to face multiple dental conditions such as malocclusion and tooth crowding.

As Shih Tzu ages, they can suffer from dental decay and gum disease.

It is one case where preventative care is a must, and you must wash the teeth of your older Shih Tzu properly.

Regular dental cleanings and examinations by your veterinarian are vital for maintaining your dog’s health.

Visits to the vet should become more frequent as your Shih Tzus ages. We can’t emphasize the significance of adhering strictly to a veterinarian’s recommendations for treatment and medication.

In order to prevent your Shih Tzu from facing any sort of medical concern, you should make his health schedule a priority.

Being ahead of the game will help you circumvent any major issues, and your Shih Tzu will remain in tip-top health, regardless of age. Just to make sure that everything is fine, plan a visit to the vet even if your Shih Tzu is not sick.

Another critical factor is to ensure your Shih Tzu has been given all the relevant vaccination.

Furthermore, pay attention to parasite control as a precaution so that your old Shih Tzu does not come into contact with any harmful parasites.

Significance Of Comfort and Care

Significance Of Comfort and Care

Along with physical support, your Shih Tzu requires emotional care as well. It is equally important for his well-being to provide a comfortable and safe environment for older Shih Tzu.

Elderly Shih Tzus also feel more fearful and unsafe. It is where you come in with your warmth and affection to make them feel protected.

Monitor your aging Shih Tzu’s behavior patterns and be concerned if you notice depressive or anomalous behavior.

Oftentimes illnesses exhibit emotional responses.

Another key factor to make notes of is any changes in your Shih Tzus needs or preferences that seem out of the ordinary.

Make a conscious effort and give your Shih Tzu a loving gesture daily. Show him how happy and content you are to have him in your life.

When Shih Tzu feels important, they will also make more of an effort to remain physically active. It is essential to make your Shih Tzu feel loved and accepted as he enters his senior years.

There are numerous acts of love and care that you can perform. Maybe begin with a massage for your elderly Shih Tzu. It will relax his muscles and make them feel more at ease.

Such gestures will also strengthen your bond with each other and strengthen your emotional ties with the aging Shih Tzu.

Adapting Your Home According To Your Shih Tzu’s Needs

To keep your Shih Tzu as comfortable as possible, make adjustments to your home to make it more senior-friendly. Make investments in a few ramps or railings to make it easier for your senior dog to walk around the house.

Also, when they get older, your Shih Tzu might feel colder than usual.

Add an extra blanket or buy a cozy dog bed to ensure they are warm enough.

Furthermore, as Shih Tzus grow older they become extra sensitive to temperature changes.

It is why a soft bed inside the house will make it easy for him to bear with the seasonal changes like cold or heat.

There is even an option of purchasing two beds. One can be placed in your room and the other in the common area so that your Shih Tzu feels at home everywhere.

Concluding Remarks

It can be disheartening to watch your canine friend lose so much of their energy during your lifetime. Although if you take special care of your Shih Tzu, they can live to a comparatively good age.

They can live into their mid-teens and be your consistent partner.

We cannot emphasize enough the significance of being proactive here.

By doing your homework, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu lives into their golden years and lives a comfortable life throughout.

Just ensure that you are fulfilling all their dietary requirements as discussed above and are taking equal care of their exercise routine.

Be consistent and punctual with your vet appointments; you will circumvent any unnecessary scares.

Remember that you are not alone in this journey.

You can look into a plethora of resources online and in libraries, which will help you better navigate the situation.

Dog communities and groups exist in nearly every state, and you can join a Shih Tzu support group.

Dog owners in the same boat as you will have a lot of practical insights to offer.

Do not hesitate to seek help for caring for an older dog. Having a shoulder to lean on can be vital in times like these.

Also, remember to pat yourself on the back for the amazing job you have done till now.

Embarking on a journey of housing and looking after a Shih Tzu is an act of a warrior.

You are an exceptional human being for taking care of your Shih Tzu until the very end and making sure they spend every day with a smile.

Thank you for your attention and consideration and for taking the time to research. Your interest in taking proper care of an older Shih Tzu is admirable.


I am the owner of Shihtzuadvice.com and the proud parent of two black and one gold Shih Tzu's. I belive that the Shih Tzu is the best all-around dog for anyone and want to share with you as much valuable knowledge as possible about this great breed!

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