5 Things you can do to help your companion live longer
Compared to other breeds, a Shih Tzu’s life expectancy is awfully long. The average Shih Tzu will live 10-14 years. However, it’s not uncommon for these dogs to live 15 years or longer. When you first get a Shih Tzu, life expectancy probably isn’t at the forefront of your mind. However, there are several things you can do to help your Shih Tzu live longer. And, when it comes to increasing a Shih Tzu’s life span, it’s never too early to start!
If you want your Shih Tzu to live a long and happy life, take advantage of these 5 tips:
1. Make sure his skin is healthy
Your dog’s skin is his biggest barrier against infections. If you start to notice allergy-like symptoms or other skin-related issues, talk to your veterinarian. After all, you certainly don’t want an infection to go undetected. If you’re trying to increase your Shih Tzu’s life expectancy, the last thing you need is a lengthy infection.
2. Take care of his teeth
Like many small dogs, Shih Tzu can fall victim to dental problems. And, they can be far worse than a bad case of “doggie breath”. If enough plaque and tartar collects on your Shih Tzu teeth, it can make him sick.
3. Play with him
Shih Tzu love to play, so take advantage of your dog’s bubbly personality! These dogs are typically very energetic, so they don’t do well in confined spaces or when they’re left alone for long periods. In fact, restricting the amount of play time your Shih Tzu gets can be very stressful for him.
Just like people, exercise can keep a variety of Shih Tzu health problems at bay. And, regular exercise is important as your Shih Tzu starts to get older. With that tiny frame, being overweight can put a lot of unnecessary strain on your Shih Tzu joints, muscles, back, and heart. If you want to increase your Shih Tzu life span, make sure his weight stays between 10 and 16 pounds.
4. Invest in some doggie stairs or a doggie ramp
Shih Tzu are so small that even a young, healthy Shih Tzu can have trouble jumping up onto the bed or into the car. By getting a doggie ramp or a set of doggie stairs, you can protect his hips and joints from unnecessary impacts caused by jumping. And, you don’t have to wait for your Shih Tzu to get older to get him a ramp or stairs. In fact, the sooner you start protecting him from unnecessary injuries and movements, the longer your Shih Tzu life expectancy can be.
5. Make sure he starts eating Senior food when he turns 8
8 years-old may not seem old to you, but according to the average Shih Tzu life expectancy, that’s right when your companion is going to start to hit old age. Your veterinarian can tell you what Senior dog food brands and ingredients are most important for your dog.
Senior dog food will provide your Shih Tzu with additional nutrients – particularly calcium – that he needs as he grows older. Plus, Senior dog food is lower in calories and fat and higher in fiber, so that your dog is less likely to become overweight.
If you take care of the “little things”, you really can increase your Shih Tzu life span – and spend even more years with him!
For more information on caring for a Shih Tzu click here!
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