Home About Teacup Shih Tzus Essential Shih Tzu Dos and Don’ts Guide

Essential Shih Tzu Dos and Don’ts Guide

by Scott Lipe
List of Shih Tzu Dos and Don'ts

When it comes to caring for your Shih Tzu, there are certain dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind. These small but mighty dogs require special attention to ensure their health and happiness. By following these essential tips, you can provide the best care for your furry friend.

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper Shih Tzu care involves following a set of dos and don’ts to ensure their well-being.
  • Puppy-proofing your home is crucial to prevent accidents and keep your Shih Tzu safe.
  • Regular vet visits and considering pet health insurance can contribute to your Shih Tzu’s overall health.
  • Effective behavior and training techniques, such as positive reinforcement, are important for a well-behaved Shih Tzu.
  • Grooming plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy coat and hygiene for your Shih Tzu.

Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Before bringing your Shih Tzu puppy home, it’s important to take steps to ensure their safety and prevent accidents. Puppy-proofing your home is crucial to create a secure environment for your new furry family member. Here are some essential tips to consider:

1. Create a Restricted Area

Designate a safe area in your home where your Shih Tzu can play and relax without any potential hazards. Use baby gates or pet fences to prevent access to off-limit areas.

2. Remove Harmful Objects

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Scan your home for any items that may pose a threat to your puppy’s well-being. Keep cleaning products, medications, electrical cords, small objects, and toxic plants out of reach or locked away.

3. Secure Loose Wires

Tuck away electrical cords and wires to prevent your curious Shih Tzu from chewing on them and risking electrocution. Use cord protectors or conceal wires behind furniture whenever possible.

4. Store Cleaning Supplies Safely

Keep all cleaning supplies, such as detergents and chemicals, in locked cabinets or high shelves. This will prevent accidental ingestion or exposure to harmful substances.

5. Cover Electrical Outlets

Use outlet covers or protectors to cover electrical outlets and prevent your Shih Tzu from putting their paws or mouth in them, reducing the risk of electric shocks.

6. Stow Away Food and Trash

Store all food, including pet food, in sealed containers to prevent your puppy from accessing it. Secure your trash cans with lids or place them in cabinets to avoid consuming harmful or toxic items.

7. Keep Houseplants Out of Reach

Some houseplants can be toxic to dogs if ingested. Place your plants in elevated areas or use hanging baskets to ensure your Shih Tzu cannot reach them.

8. Watch for Small Objects

Be cautious of small objects, such as children’s toys or accessories, which can pose a choking hazard. Pick up any small items and keep them away from your puppy’s reach.

9. Protect Your Furniture

Use furniture covers or pet-proof sprays to protect your upholstery and discourage your Shih Tzu from chewing or scratching your furniture.

10. Provide Safe Toys

Offer your Shih Tzu puppy a variety of safe and appropriate toys to keep them entertained and prevent them from chewing on household items.

Puppy-proofing your home is a crucial first step in ensuring the safety and well-being of your Shih Tzu puppy. By following these steps, you can create a secure environment that allows your puppy to explore and play without unnecessary risks.

Puppy-Proofing Checklist
Create a restricted area
Remove harmful objects
Secure loose wires
Store cleaning supplies safely
Cover electrical outlets
Stow away food and trash
Keep houseplants out of reach
Watch for small objects
Protect your furniture
Provide safe toys

Vet Visits and Health Insurance

Shih Tzu Health

Regular visits to the vet are essential for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s health and well-being. Wellness exams play a crucial role in identifying any potential health issues before they become serious. By staying proactive with your Shih Tzu’s healthcare, you can ensure a long and happy life for your furry companion.

Wellness Exams

During wellness exams, your vet will conduct a thorough examination of your Shih Tzu, checking for any signs of illness, disease, or discomfort. They will assess your pet’s overall health, examine their ears, eyes, teeth, and coat, and listen to their heart and lungs. These routine check-ups give your vet the opportunity to catch any issues early on and provide appropriate treatment.

It is recommended to schedule wellness exams at least once a year for young and healthy Shih Tzus. As your Shih Tzu ages, more frequent exams may be necessary to monitor their health. Regular vet visits allow for early detection of any underlying health conditions, increasing the chances of successful treatment and improving your pet’s quality of life.

Pet Health Insurance

Consider obtaining pet health insurance to provide financial coverage for unexpected medical expenses. Pet health insurance helps alleviate the financial burden of emergency veterinary visits, surgeries, and specialized treatments. By having insurance, you can make decisions for the best interest of your Shih Tzu’s health without worrying about the cost.

Before choosing a pet health insurance provider, carefully review the policies, coverage options, and exclusions. Some policies may offer wellness coverage for routine exams and vaccinations, while others focus primarily on emergency and major medical expenses. Compare different plans to find the one that suits your Shih Tzu’s needs and your budget.

Benefits of Vet Visits Benefits of Pet Health Insurance
Early detection and treatment of health issues Financial coverage for unexpected medical expenses
Preventive care to maintain optimal health Peace of mind knowing your Shih Tzu’s healthcare is covered
Professional advice and guidance from veterinarians Access to a network of veterinary professionals

Remember, a proactive approach to your Shih Tzu’s health is essential. By scheduling regular wellness exams and considering pet health insurance, you can provide the best possible care for your furry friend, ensuring many happy and healthy years together.

Behavior and Training

Shih Tzus are known for their lively and independent nature, which can sometimes make training a bit challenging. However, with the right approach and consistency, you can establish good behavior and training habits early on. Here are some key tips to help you navigate through Shih Tzu behavior and training:

  1. Socialization: Start socializing your Shih Tzu puppy from a young age. Expose them to various environments, people, and other animals to promote positive interactions and prevent shyness or aggression later on.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Shih Tzus respond well to positive reinforcement. Reward good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime to motivate them and reinforce desired actions.
  3. Consistency: Establish a consistent daily routine for your Shih Tzu’s training sessions. Set aside dedicated time for training exercises and stick to the same commands and cues to avoid confusion.
  4. Patience: Shih Tzus can be stubborn at times, so it’s important to remain patient during the training process. Avoid getting frustrated or using harsh corrections, as this can lead to fear or aggression.
  5. Basic Commands: Teach your Shih Tzu basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and leave it. These commands not only ensure their safety but also promote obedience and a strong bond between you and your furry companion.
  6. Professional Help: If you’re struggling with training or behavior issues, consider seeking assistance from a professional dog trainer. They can provide guidance and customized strategies to address specific challenges.

Remember, training should be a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your Shih Tzu. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can help your furry friend develop good manners, obedience, and a harmonious relationship with you and others.

“Training a Shih Tzu requires a balance of patience and positive reinforcement. Their independent nature can make it challenging, but with consistency and rewards, you can shape their behavior effectively.”

Training Progress Tracker:

Command Progress
Sit Mastered
Stay In progress
Come Building confidence
Leave it Needs improvement

Track your Shih Tzu’s training progress using the table above. It’s a helpful tool to monitor their development and identify areas that require further attention. Every dog learns at their own pace, so be patient and celebrate small victories along the way.

Shih Tzu Grooming Tips

Shih Tzu grooming

Proper grooming is essential for maintaining the health and appearance of your Shih Tzu. Follow these grooming tips to keep your furry friend looking their best:

Grooming Routine

Create a regular grooming routine for your Shih Tzu to keep their coat clean and free of tangles. This routine should include:

  • Brushing their coat daily to prevent matting and remove loose fur.
  • Cleaning their ears regularly to prevent infections.
  • Trimming their nails every 2-3 weeks to maintain a comfortable length.
  • Bathing them once every 4-6 weeks using a gentle, dog-specific shampoo.

Coat Care

Shih Tzus have long, luxurious coats that require special care. Consider the following tips:

  • Use a pin brush or slicker brush to gently remove tangles and mats from their fur.
  • Consider scheduling professional grooming appointments every 6-8 weeks for more extensive coat care.
  • Regularly check for fleas, ticks, or other pests that may become lodged in their coat.

Grooming Products

Invest in quality grooming products specifically designed for Shih Tzus. These may include:

  • A good-quality brush or comb suitable for their coat type.
  • Ear cleaning solutions recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Nail clippers or a nail grinder for safe and efficient nail trimming.
  • Shampoo and conditioner formulated for Shih Tzus to maintain a healthy coat.

Remember to be patient and gentle when grooming your Shih Tzu. Reward them with treats and praise to create a positive association with the grooming process. Regular grooming not only keeps them looking their best, but it also promotes good hygiene and overall well-being.

Shih Tzu Feeding and Nutrition

Providing a balanced diet is crucial for the health and well-being of your Shih Tzu. Feeding your furry friend the right nutrients will promote optimal growth, development, and overall vitality. Here are some essential feeding guidelines and nutrition tips to ensure your Shih Tzu receives a well-rounded and balanced diet:

1. Choose High-Quality Dog Food

Selecting a high-quality dog food specifically formulated for small breeds like Shih Tzus is essential. Look for options that contain a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to meet their nutritional needs. Avoid dog foods that contain excessive fillers, artificial additives, or by-products.

2. Follow Feeding Guidelines

It’s important to follow the recommended feeding guidelines provided on the dog food packaging. These guidelines are typically based on your Shih Tzu’s weight and age. Stick to these recommendations to ensure proper portion control and prevent overfeeding, which can lead to obesity.

3. Provide Fresh Water

A well-hydrated Shih Tzu is a healthy Shih Tzu. Make sure to provide fresh and clean water at all times. Hydration is vital for digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall organ function.

4. Incorporate Variety

While consistency is important in your Shih Tzu’s diet, it’s also beneficial to incorporate some variety. Add small amounts of cooked lean meats, such as chicken or turkey, and steamed vegetables like carrots or green beans to their kibble. This can enhance their enjoyment and provide additional nutrients.

5. Avoid Harmful Foods

Some human foods can be toxic or harmful to Shih Tzus. It’s important to avoid feeding them chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, caffeine, alcohol, and anything containing xylitol. These foods can cause serious health issues and should be kept far away from your Shih Tzu’s reach.

6. Monitor Weight and Adjust Portions

Regularly monitor your Shih Tzu’s weight and body condition. Adjust their portions accordingly to maintain a healthy weight. Consult with your veterinarian if you notice any weight gain or loss, as it may indicate an underlying health issue.

A balanced diet is the foundation for a happy and healthy Shih Tzu. By following these feeding and nutrition tips, you can ensure that your furry companion receives the nutrients they need to thrive. Remember to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and recommendations.


Caring for a Shih Tzu involves providing proper nutrition, grooming, training, and medical care. By following these essential dos and don’ts, you can ensure a happy and healthy companion. Remember, consistency is key to maintaining your Shih Tzu’s well-being.

When it comes to feeding, offer a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Regular grooming sessions are essential for their coat’s health and hygiene. Additionally, training your Shih Tzu with positive reinforcement techniques and ensuring proper socialization will help them become well-behaved and sociable.

Don’t forget the importance of regular vet check-ups and vaccinations. These visits will help detect any health issues early on and ensure your Shih Tzu stays in optimal health. Consider obtaining pet health insurance to provide financial support in case of unexpected medical expenses.

With love and attention, your Shih Tzu can thrive and bring joy to your life for many years to come. Consult with your vet for personalized advice and continue to provide the care your furry friend deserves.


Q: How can I puppy-proof my home for a Shih Tzu?

A: To puppy-proof your home for a Shih Tzu, consider securing loose wires and cords, keeping toxic plants out of reach, storing household cleaners in locked cabinets, and placing baby gates in areas that may pose a danger to your puppy.

Q: How often should I take my Shih Tzu to the vet?

A: It is recommended to take your Shih Tzu for regular wellness exams at least once a year. However, consult with your vet for personalized advice based on your dog’s specific needs.

Q: Should I consider getting pet health insurance for my Shih Tzu?

A: Pet health insurance can provide financial assistance in case of unexpected medical expenses. It is worth considering to ensure your Shih Tzu receives necessary veterinary care without financial strain.

Q: How can I train my Shih Tzu to exhibit good behavior?

A: To train your Shih Tzu, establish consistent routines, use positive reinforcement techniques, enroll in obedience classes, and provide plenty of socialization opportunities to help them develop good behavior habits.

Q: What grooming routine should I follow for my Shih Tzu?

A: Regular grooming for your Shih Tzu includes daily brushing to prevent matting, regular bathing to keep their coat clean, ear cleaning, tooth brushing, and trimming their nails. Additionally, consider professional grooming for haircuts and breed-specific styling.

Q: What should I feed my Shih Tzu for a balanced diet?

A: Provide a high-quality commercial dog food that is appropriate for your Shih Tzu’s age, size, and activity level. Make sure the food is formulated specifically for small breed dogs and meets their nutritional needs. Consult with your vet for specific feeding recommendations.

Q: What is the importance of proper care for a Shih Tzu?

A: Caring for a Shih Tzu includes puppy-proofing your home, regular vet visits, behavior training, grooming, and providing a balanced diet. Following these guidelines will help ensure the well-being and happiness of your Shih Tzu.

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