Most dedicated parents do everything right, but turn a blind eye to caring for their beloved canine children.
Below are the 7 Mistakes that can often compromise the quality and duration of your shih Tzu’s life.
- Letting Your Shih Tzu Get Obese
Studies show that middle-aged overweight dogs won’t be around as long as properly-weighted ones. Those who are overweight can leave us up to 10 months earlier, and this is more common in breeds: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, American Coker Spaniel, Beagle, and Shih Tzu.
It’s also a quality of life issue, as many dogs suffer from mobility issues and other obesity-related conditions in their “golden years”.
If your partner is overweight, pay extra attention to having a healthy weight!
- Not taking care of shih tzu’s Oral Hygiene
Tartar is hardened (bacterial) dental plaque after a few days’ buildups. We know that tartar sticks to teeth and irritates the gums.
So we can avoid it! Irritated gums result in inflammatory diseases, especially gingivitis. Shih Tzus with gingivitis have red rather than pink gums and often have bad breath.
If tartar is not removed, it gets stored under the gums and eventually leads to teeth falling apart.
For the health and longevity of your shih Tzu, it is important to be proactive in preventing the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your best friend’s teeth.
- Not doing Regular Check-ups
Regular checkups with your vet are recommended – preferably twice a year (especially for puppies over 8 years old). If you can’t, at least one checkup a year is important.
Remember that annual visits to the vet shouldn’t just be about vaccinations. The purpose of the visits is to review your shih tzu’s health conditions.
- Ignore the athlete inside your Dog
To stay slim, fit, well-conditioned, emotionally balanced, and fully mobile as he ages, your shih Tzu needs to exercise daily.
Canines are by nature made for “movement”! If your dog doesn’t have the opportunity to run, play and do regular aerobic exercise, even if he’s not overweight, he could end up with arthritis and other debilitating conditions that affect his bones, joints, muscles, and internal organs.
Many canine behavioral problems are caused by a lack of physical and mental activity.
Many people don’t understand that, just like people, dogs also need reasons to be physically active.
Even that beautiful field or backyard with green grass may not be reason enough to get in shape.
You can also ride a bike, accompanied by your dog running on a leash.
- Smoke around your dog
If you are a smoker, you know the risks not only to your health but also to others around you. However, what many people don’t know is the risk that smoking poses to pets.
It is important to note that it is not just air contamination. Smoke particles adhere to almost everything inside the house, including the rug or bed your dog sleeps on or even your blanket. It is worth considering smoking outside if you are a smoker.
- Not training your Shih Tzu to be a good “Canine Citizen”
It can be difficult to stay close to an unpredictable or uncontrollable dog that poses danger to other animals or people. One of the most important things a dog owner can provide is training – positive reinforcement behavior.
The purpose of positive reinforcement is to encourage “more of it” (desired behavior).
To achieve this goal, you have to teach your shih Tzu what to do instead of focusing on what he’s doing wrong. Use training sessions to let your Dog know which behaviors deserve your attention and give him that special treat.
In the guide How to Train Your Shih Tzu at Home, Animal Behavior specialist and dog lover Liana Rizel gather Positive Training techniques that can be applied by anyone who is passionate about dogs.
- Ignore the importance of Socialization
Socialization means exposing your Shih Tzu (preferably from an early age) to as many people, animals, environments, and other stimuli as possible.
Socialization should engage all of your dog’s senses by exposing him to the sights, sounds, and smells of everyday life.
This exposure will help to develop a willingness to accept diverse situations and to deal with new experiences and challenges with appropriate behavior.
Dogs that have not been properly socialized often develop deep-seated anxiety or fear. This condition can result in behavioral problems.