shih tzu anxiety symptoms

Recognizing Shih Tzu Anxiety Symptoms in 2023

Notice some changes in your pup? Decode the signs of shih tzu anxiety symptoms and how to support your pet through uneasy times.


Dogs have long been known as man’s best friend, providing emotional support and companionship to millions of families across the world. Among the many breeds available, Shih Tzus are a popular choice due to their compact size, adorable teddy bear looks, and affectionate personality. However, like all dogs, Shih Tzus can experience anxiety and stress in their daily lives. This article aims to discuss the causes and symptoms of anxiety in Shih Tzus so that pet owners can recognize when their furry friend is not feeling their best. We’ll explore common triggers for anxiety in Shih Tzus and how it affects their behavior. Additionally, we’ll discuss strategies for managing your dog’s anxiety to ensure they live a happy and healthy life.

Explanation of Shih Tzu breed

The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed originating from China that has grown increasingly popular over the years due to its cute looks and friendly nature. They typically weigh between 9-16 pounds when fully grown and stand about 8-11 inches tall at the shoulder. Known for their long silky hair that requires regular grooming, they have an affectionate temperament with a strong desire to be around people. Shih Tzus were initially bred as companion dogs for Chinese royalty in the Ming Dynasty era. They were prized because they did not shed much hair which made them ideal pets for those with allergies or sensitivities. Their loyal nature also made them excellent watchdogs by alerting their owners when strangers were nearby.

Importance of Recognizing Anxiety Symptoms in Dogs

Anxiety in dogs is more common than most pet owners realize. It can lead to serious health issues if left untreated or mismanaged over time. Recognizing anxiety symptoms in your Shih Tzu will help you to take timely action to get the necessary help for your furry friend. Anxiety symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include behavioral changes such as increased barking, destruction of property, or even aggression towards other dogs or people. Physical symptoms may also manifest such as loss of appetite, trembling, excessive grooming or scratching, and diarrhea.

Overview of the Article

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to recognize the signs of anxiety in your Shih Tzu. We’ll delve into the causes and common triggers for anxiety in this breed as well as how it affects their behavior. We’ll discuss both physical and behavioral symptoms that pet owners should be aware of when trying to determine if their furry friend is experiencing anxiety. We’ll explore coping strategies and lifestyle changes that can be made to help manage your dog’s anxiety and ensure they live a happy life. By reading this article, you will have all the information you need to recognize when your Shih Tzu is feeling anxious and what steps you can take to keep them healthy both physically and mentally.

Understanding Shih Tzu Anxiety

Anxiety is common among Shih Tzus, particularly when they are separated from their owners. This anxiety can be triggered by a variety of factors such as loud noises, changes in routine, or unfamiliar people or animals. Understanding the causes and triggers of anxiety in your Shih Tzu is crucial to helping them cope with their stressors.

Causes of Anxiety in Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are known to be sensitive dogs that form close attachments with their owners. As such, separation anxiety is a common cause of anxiety in this breed. Other causes may include past traumatic experiences or genetic predispositions to anxious behavior. It’s important to note that some medical conditions can also lead to anxiety in dogs. For example, thyroid problems and neurological disorders have been linked to increased anxious behavior in some dogs. Therefore, it’s critical to consult with a veterinarian if you suspect your dog has an underlying medical issue that could be contributing to their anxiety.

Common Triggers for Anxiety in Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus may experience anxiety due to various triggers such as fireworks, thunderstorms, loud noises like sirens or construction work, changes in routine or environment (e.g., moving), new people or pets entering the home and being left alone for extended periods. Another common trigger for anxious behavior can be associated with situations that involve high levels of excitement – both positive and negative- like being taken for car rides or walking through crowded places where there are lots of people and other animals around.

How Anxiety Affects a Shih Tzu’s Behavior

Anxiety can affect a dog’s behavior either physically or emotionally. Physically they may show signs such as panting heavily, trembling/shaking uncontrollably profuse drooling excessive grooming and scratching, weight loss or loss of appetite and even vomiting or diarrhea. Emotionally, anxiety can cause restlessness, pacing, aggression towards humans or other animals, excessive barking and whining; avoidance behaviors such as hiding, cowering or freezing in place; destructive behavior like chewing on furniture; and other compulsive behaviors like excessive licking or paw chewing. It’s important to note that anxiety in Shih Tzus can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. For example, chronically anxious dogs may develop gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) due to the increased stress levels they experience regularly. Therefore it’s recommended that you seek professional help if your dog is exhibiting any signs of anxiety.

Recognizing Signs of Stress and Anxiety in Your Dog

Dogs, like humans, are prone to stress and anxiety. As a pet owner, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of stress in your dog so you can address the issue and prevent it from escalating. In Shih Tzus, anxiety can manifest as physical and behavioral changes.

Physical symptoms

One of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety in Shih Tzus is panting and drooling. When your dog is anxious, they may start panting excessively or drooling excessively. Trembling or shaking is another physical symptom of anxiety in Shih Tzus. This can be triggered by loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings or stressful situations. Excessive grooming or scratching is also a sign of stress in dogs. When a dog is anxious, they may lick or scratch themselves more than usual. This can lead to hair loss or skin irritation over time. Loss of appetite or weight loss is another physical symptom that pet owners should watch out for. If your dog isn’t eating properly, they may be experiencing some kind of stress that needs to be addressed. Diarrhea or vomiting are two other physical symptoms that could indicate anxiety in your Shih Tzu. If you notice that your dog has loose stools or vomits frequently for no apparent reason, it’s possible that they are experiencing some form of stress.

Behavioral symptoms

In addition to the physical signs mentioned above, there are also a number of behavioral changes that could indicate that your Shih Tzu is experiencing some kind of stressor: Restlessness and pacing: If your dog seems restless and keeps pacing around the room without settling down this could be an indication that they are feeling stressed. Aggressiveness: Dogs who feel threatened may become aggressive when approached by unfamiliar people or animals. Excessive barking or whining: When a dog is anxious, they may bark or whine excessively, even when there’s no apparent reason to do so. Avoidance behavior: Dogs who are feeling anxious may avoid certain people or places. For example, if your dog seems nervous around strangers, they may try to hide behind you or in a corner. Destructive behavior: When a Shih Tzu is feeling stressed, they may start destroying furniture or other items around the house. This is often an attempt to relieve their anxiety by releasing energy.

How to Help Your Shih Tzu

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important that you take steps to help your dog. First and foremost, it’s important that you take them to see a veterinarian. A vet can rule out any underlying medical issues that could be causing your dog’s stress. There are also some lifestyle changes that you can make at home to help reduce your Shih Tzu’s anxiety levels. For example, providing a safe space for your dog where they can retreat when they feel stressed can be very helpful. Increasing exercise and playtime can also help reduce anxiety levels in dogs. In addition to lifestyle changes, there are also medications and supplements available that can help alleviate anxiety in dogs. Your vet will be able to recommend the best course of treatment for your pet based on their individual needs. Overall, recognizing the signs of stress and anxiety in your Shih Tzu is the first step towards helping them feel calmer and more relaxed. By understanding what triggers their stress and taking steps to address it, you can ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy for years to come.

Coping Strategies for Managing Your Dog’s Anxiety

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Stressors

One of the best ways to help your Shih Tzu manage anxiety is by making lifestyle changes that reduce stressors. This means identifying the triggers that cause anxiety in your dog and taking steps to minimize them. For example, if loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms trigger your Shih Tzu’s anxiety, consider investing in a white noise machine or playing calming music in the background. Additionally, try to create a calm and predictable daily routine for your dog since changes in routine can also trigger anxiety.

Providing a Safe Space for Your Dog

Creating a safe space is another crucial strategy for managing your Shih Tzu’s anxiety. This could be a quiet room or area where your dog can retreat when feeling anxious. Consider creating a cozy bed or crate with soft blankets inside as well as providing calming scents such as lavender oil diffusers or sprays. You can also invest in calming products like pet-specific weighted blankets that provide soothing pressure and comfort.

Increasing Exercise and Playtime

Another important coping strategy is increasing exercise and playtime with your Shih Tzu. Regular exercise not only benefits their physical health but also helps relieve anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing tension. Consider engaging in activities that allow you to bond with your dog like going on walks, playing fetch, or participating in obedience training classes together.


Recognizing the signs of stress and anxiety in your Shih Tzu is crucial to their overall health and wellbeing. While there are many reasons why dogs experience anxiety, it’s important to work with them through it using techniques such as lifestyle changes like providing safe spaces, reducing stressors from loud noises, having predictable routines at home etc., increasing exercise time together which can help relieve anxiety symptoms. With some patience and dedication, you can help your Shih Tzu lead a happier and healthier life.

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