how long do shih tzu live

Secrets To A Long And Happy Life: How Long Do Shih Tzu Live

Wondering about the longevity of a Shih Tzu? Let’s talk about how long do shih tzu live and ways to ensure their long, healthy life.

The Adorable Shih Tzu Breed: A Brief Overview

Shih Tzu is a charming and affectionate toy breed that has been winning the hearts of dog lovers for centuries. Originating from Tibet, these small dogs were once bred as royal companions, and their regal demeanor and luxurious coats reflect this history. Nowadays, Shih Tzus make excellent pets for families who want a loving and loyal companion that is easy to train and take care of. These little dogs have a distinctive appearance that sets them apart from other breeds. They are small in size, usually weighing between 9-16 pounds when fully grown, with a long flowing coat of hair that can come in many colors such as black, white, gold or brindle. Their adorable squishy faces with big round eyes and short snouts make them irresistible to anyone who sees them.

The Importance of Understanding Shih Tzu Lifespan

Shih Tzus are known for their long lifespan compared to many other dog breeds. As responsible pet owners, it’s important to understand how long our furry friends will be with us so we can plan accordingly for their health needs. On average, Shih Tzus live between 10-16 years depending on various factors such as genetics or lifestyle. By understanding the lifespan of your Shih Tzu breed specifically you can make informed decisions regarding their diet, exercise routine, and healthcare options throughout their lives. Knowing what to expect when it comes to aging can also help you better prepare emotionally for inevitable changes like mobility problems or senior-related health issues. In addition to the practical reasons for understanding your pet’s lifespan – there is an emotional aspect too – knowing how much time they have with us helps us appreciate each moment more fully in our relationship with them.

Factors affecting Shih Tzu lifespan

The lifespan of a Shih Tzu is influenced by several factors, some of which are beyond our control, while others can be managed. Understanding these factors is essential in ensuring that we take good care of our furry friends and help them live long and healthy lives.

Genetics and breeding

Genetics plays an essential role in determining the lifespan of a Shih Tzu. The breeders who produce these dogs have a significant impact on their health and longevity. Responsible breeders ensure that they produce puppies with excellent health and temperament by testing their breeding dogs for genetic conditions before breeding them. Shih Tzus are prone to several health issues such as respiratory problems, eye infections, skin allergies, dental issues, among others. By selecting only healthy parents with no trace of these diseases in their lineage, breeders can reduce the likelihood of offspring inheriting such conditions. Therefore it’s important when purchasing a shih tzu pup to ensure you obtain one from a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and wellbeing of their animals.

Nutrition and exercise

Good nutrition and regular exercise are critical components that contribute to an extended life for your Shih Tzu. Providing high-quality dog food rich in nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins & minerals will help support your dog’s immune system while maintaining a healthy weight. Regular exercise is also vital for keeping your Shih Tzu at optimal health while building muscle strength through physical activity. Exercise helps prevent obesity which is linked to various chronic diseases like diabetes or heart problems that can shorten the dog’s lifespan considerably.

Health conditions and medical care

Shih Tzus are prone to certain medical conditions like respiratory complications due to their flat faces or eye infections due to their protruding eyes. It’s important that you stay vigilant and take notice of any unusual behaviour or symptoms. Regular health checks with a qualified veterinarian will help detect any potential health issues early, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment. By providing preventative medical care, such as regular teeth cleaning, vaccinations, flea & tick prevention, heartworm medication, etc., you can help mitigate the risk of developing several health conditions that could ultimately impact your Shih Tzu’s lifespan. It’s important to ensure that your Shih Tzu receives prompt and appropriate medical care for any illnesses to increase the chances of a full recovery.

Average lifespan of Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu is a small dog breed known for their long and silky hair, playful demeanor, and affectionate nature. They are often referred to as the “chrysanthemum-faced” dog due to the way their hair grows around their face, resembling a flower. On average, Shih Tzu live between 10-16 years. This lifespan can be influenced by various factors such as genetics, nutrition, exercise, and medical care.

Comparison to other dog breeds

Compared to other dog breeds of similar size such as Pomeranians or Chihuahuas, Shih Tzu tend to live slightly longer. However, larger breeds such as Great Danes or Saint Bernards have a shorter lifespan than Shih Tzu due to their size and weight which puts more stress on their bodies. Understanding the lifespan of different dog breeds can help pet owners make informed decisions when choosing a companion that will fit into their lifestyle.

Research studies on Shih Tzu longevity

Several research studies have been conducted on the longevity of Shih Tzu dogs. A study conducted by Animal Genetics Inc found that the average lifespan for male Shih Tzus was 12.8 years while females lived slightly longer at 13.4 years. Another study published in The American Journal of Veterinary Research found that out of 230 dogs studied over a period of 14 years, the median age at death for Shih Tzus was 13.0 years. Factors such as genetics and medical care were found to play a significant role in determining the lifespan of these dogs. By understanding what influences the average lifespan of this breed it is possible for pet owners to take steps towards ensuring their furry friends live a long and healthy life with them.

How to Increase a Shih Tzu’s Lifespan

Proper Nutrition and Exercise Routine

One of the most important factors for increasing the lifespan of a Shih Tzu is to provide them with a proper diet and exercise routine. Shih Tzus are prone to obesity which can lead to various health complications such as diabetes, joint problems, and heart disease. Therefore, it is crucial to feed them a balanced diet that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. A healthy diet should consist of high-quality protein sources such as chicken or fish along with complex carbohydrates like brown rice or sweet potatoes. Additionally, including fruits and vegetables in their diet can provide essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary for optimal health. It is also recommended to avoid feeding them table scraps or human food as it can be high in fat and sodium which can be harmful. In addition to proper nutrition, regular exercise is also essential for a Shih Tzu’s well-being. Daily walks or playtime in the backyard can help maintain a healthy weight, improve cardiovascular health, and strengthen bones and muscles. However, it’s important not to overdo it since they have short legs and may tire easily.

Regular Vet Check-Ups And Preventative Care

Another critical component of increasing a Shih Tzu’s lifespan is regular veterinarian check-ups. This includes annual physical exams along with preventative care such as vaccinations, parasite control (flea/tick prevention), dental cleanings maintenance etc. Shih Tzus are prone to numerous health conditions such as respiratory issues (Brachycephalic syndrome), eye problems (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), skin allergies(Atopic Dermatitis), etc., so early detection through regular checkups can allow for timely treatment which will reduce the risk of more severe complications down the road.

Providing a Safe and Comfortable Living Environment

Creating a safe and comfortable living environment for your Shih Tzu can help increase their lifespan. This includes providing adequate shelter from extreme temperatures, keeping the living area clean and free of hazards (such as small objects they could choke on), providing fresh water, and ensuring they have a comfortable bed for rest. Additionally, it’s important to monitor them closely when outside in order to prevent them from ingesting harmful substances such as poisonous plants or chemicals. Furthermore, keeping them away from stressful situations or loud noises can be beneficial for their overall well-being. Overall, by providing proper nutrition, regular exercise, preventative care through regular check-ups with the vet, and a safe living environment you can increase the lifespan of your beloved Shih Tzu.

Common Health Issues in Shih Tzu That Affect Their Lifespan

Shih Tzu dogs are generally healthy and long-living, with a lifespan of 10-16 years on average. However, like all dog breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions that can affect their quality of life and lifespan. As a responsible pet owner, you should be aware of the common health problems in Shih Tzus and take steps to prevent or manage them. Here are some of the most prevalent health issues in Shih Tzus that can impact their lifespan.

Breathing Problems such as Brachycephalic Syndrome, Tracheal Collapse, etc.

Shih Tzus have a short snout and flat face, which makes them prone to breathing difficulties associated with brachycephalic syndrome. This condition can cause respiratory distress due to the poor exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs. Symptoms may include wheezing, coughing, snorting, gagging or vomiting after eating or drinking. Tracheal collapse is another common breathing problem that affects small dogs like Shih Tzus. It occurs when the trachea loses its rigidity and collapses inward during breathing. This results in difficulty breathing and a honking cough. Treatment options may vary depending on the severity of symptoms but may include medications or surgery.

Eye Problems such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

Shih Tzus are also susceptible to various eye problems that can compromise their vision and overall wellbeing. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease that causes gradual degeneration of the retina over time leading to blindness if not treated early. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), also known as Dry Eye Syndrome is another eye problem that affects Shih Tzus. It is a condition in which the tear glands fail to produce enough tears to keep the eyes moist and lubricated, causing discomfort, inflammation, and even corneal damage if left untreated.

Skin Allergies such as Atopic Dermatitis, Pyoderma

Shih Tzu dogs are also prone to skin allergies that can cause severe itching, irritation, and skin infections. Atopic dermatitis is a common skin allergy in Shih Tzus caused by environmental allergens such as dust mites, pollen or mold spores. Symptoms may include excessive scratching or licking of paws and belly areas. Pyoderma is another type of skin infection commonly found in Shih Tzus due to their long hair and wrinkles. It occurs when bacteria infect the hair follicles or layers of skin leading to pimple-like bumps filled with pus or fluid. Treatment options may vary depending on severity but usually includes antibiotics medication prescribed by your veterinarian. While Shih Tzus are healthy dogs overall, they are susceptible to certain health conditions that can affect their lifespan if not adequately managed or prevented. As a responsible pet owner, you should be aware of these common health problems in Shih Tzus and take necessary measures to keep them healthy throughout their life span. Regular check-ups with a qualified veterinarian can help identify potential problems early before they become severe issues affecting your dog’s quality of life.


After exploring the lifespan of Shih Tzu and the factors that affect it, there are a few key takeaways that we can use to ensure a long and healthy life for our beloved furry friends. First and foremost, proper nutrition and exercise routines are crucial in extending their lifespan. Providing a balanced diet with high-quality ingredients will keep them healthy on the inside, while maintaining an active lifestyle with regular exercise will keep them fit on the outside. Secondly, regular vet check-ups and preventative care are also incredibly important in ensuring a long life for your Shih Tzu. Consistent medical attention can catch any potential health problems early on before they become serious issues that could shorten your pet’s lifespan. Providing a safe and comfortable living environment is essential to keeping your Shih Tzu happy and stress-free. Make sure they have plenty of space to move around freely, access to fresh water at all times, comfortable bedding to rest on, and plenty of toys or activities to keep them engaged mentally. As responsible pet owners, it is up to us to provide the best possible care for our furry companions. By following these guidelines and staying informed about Shih Tzu health concerns, we can help ensure our pets live long, happy lives filled with love and companionship.

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