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Shih Tzu Lifespan: How Long Do These Little Dogs Live? (2024)

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shihtzu lifespanDo you know how long a Shih Tzu typically lives? These little dogs are known and loved for their endearing personalities, but the answer to this question may surprise you.

While it’s impossible to guarantee your pup will reach such an age, there are steps owners can take that can help ensure optimal health throughout its lifetime. To keep them healthy and happy as long as possible, read on for key information about the Shih Tzu life expectancy and tips on how to extend it.

Key Takeaways

  • Shih Tzus typically live between 10-18 years, some up to 20 years.
  • Steps for optimal health include a high-quality diet, supplements, regular vet visits, and exercise.
  • Common health concerns include eye problems, ear infections, joint problems, and skin allergies.
  • Responsible breeding, genetic testing, a high-quality diet, and regular vet care can help extend the lifespan of a Shih Tzu.

How Long Do Shih Tzus Live?

shihtzu lifespan 1
You can expect your Shih Tzu to live a long life, often exceeding the average 10-18 years for small dogs.

Feeding them a high-quality diet with supplements such as fish oil and probiotics helps keep their bodies healthy. Regular veterinary visits ensure any health issues are caught early on. Exercise is also important, but these small dogs should be protected from extreme temperatures and swimming due to an increased risk of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) or trachea collapse.

It’s also beneficial to practice responsible breeding practices by engaging in genetic testing, which ensures puppies carry fewer health risks than those born without it. All these steps help create an environment where your Shih Tzu can enjoy its best possible longevity with fewer trips down memory lane spent dealing with illnesses caused by poor lifestyle choices throughout its life expectancy.

What Are the Most Common Health Concerns for Shih Tzus?

What Are the Most Common Health Concerns for Shih Tzus?
As a small breed, Shih Tzus are prone to some common health issues. These include eye problems such as cataracts and proptosis, ear infections, joint ailments like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation, skin allergies, and breathing difficulties exacerbated by Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) or tracheal collapse.

Therefore, it is important to look out for these signs in your pet when considering their Shih Tzu lifespan.

Eye Problems

Common eye problems in Shih Tzus include cataracts, proptosis, and other conditions.

  • Cataract prevention
  • Proptosis treatment
  • Hip Dysplasia management for patellar luxation prevention. BOAS awareness is also important to prevent tracheal collapse. The oldest living Shih Tzu reached 20 years with proper care and genetics testing; corneal ulcer and initial keratitis may require emergency intervention.

Ear Infections

You’re often surprised to hear that ear infections can be common in Shih Tzus, but ironically, it’s one of the most frequent health issues they face. Prevention strategies include keeping their long coats clean and dry and regular dental cleanings.

Signs of an infection may include head shaking or scratching at ears; treatments available range from home remedies to antibiotics prescribed by a vet. Diet changes, such as adding fish oil supplements or probiotics, may also help improve a Shih Tzu’s skin and reduce inflammation caused by ear infections.

Joint Problems

Joint problems such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation are not uncommon in Shih Tzus, so it’s important to be aware of the signs. Early detection, breed standards, exercise benefits, and nutritional support can help prevent these issues.

Regular checkups with a veterinarian for preventative care, along with careful grooming, are essential for Shih Tzu joint health.

Skin Allergies

Skin allergies are a common health concern for Shih Tzus, so it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of itching and irritation. Treating the underlying cause is key to relieving symptoms, whether through allergy prevention methods or natural remedies.

Knowing the causes of skin allergies and recognizing their symptoms can help prolong your Shih Tzu’s life significantly.

Allergy relief starts by understanding how environmental factors like pollen impact your dog’s life in relation to its Shih Tzu’s health.

Breathing Problems

Be vigilant of your Shih Tzu’s breathing, as they’re prone to respiratory issues that can shorten their life if left unchecked. Ensure proper treatment for any difficulty with breathing. Prevent BOAS through regular exercise and nutrition supplements.

Schedule frequent vet check-ups for early detection of kidney disease or allergic reactions. Pay close attention to signs like coughing or wheezing. Exercise benefits the body in many ways. It strengthens the immune system while providing mental stimulation, which helps keep them healthy and happy! Supplement a balanced diet with fish oil or probiotics to maintain good health.

Keeping an eye on our furry friends is essential. Even minor changes should be addressed immediately.

Why is the Shih Tzu Lifespan So Long?

Why is the Shih Tzu Lifespan So Long?
You may be wondering why Shih Tzus have such long lifespans, considering their small size. The breed’s history of over 1,000 years and predating modern veterinary medicine can contribute to its longevity.

Responsible breeding with genetic testing and a high-quality diet, along with supplements like fish oil, probiotics, and pumpkin, are important for maintaining the health of your Shih Tzu. Exercise is beneficial but should not put them in extreme temperatures or swimming pools, as they can easily become overwhelmed by both activities.

Increased Exercise Quality Diet
Responsible Breeding Genetic Testing
Veterinary Care

How Does the Shih Tzu’s History Affect Its Lifespan?

How Does the Shih Tzu’s History Affect Its Lifespan?
Having been around for over 1,000 years, the Shih Tzu’s long history may play a role in its remarkable longevity. The breed predates modern veterinary care and has had centuries of careful breeding practices that could contribute to their increased lifespans.

Diet quality is also important as high-quality food and supplements like fish oil can help support general health. Exercise habits are important too. However, they should not be exposed to extreme temperatures or swimming pools as these activities can easily overwhelm them.

By taking into account all these elements when caring for your Shih Tzu, you will ensure that it lives its full life expectancy, just like our ancient lion sun dog ancestors did!

How Can You Raise a Healthy Shih Tzu?

How Can You Raise a Healthy Shih Tzu?
By taking the right steps, you can ensure your Shih Tzu lives a long and healthy life! A high-quality diet is essential for good health. Supplementing with fish oil, probiotics, and pumpkin helps support their overall well-being.

An exercise regime tailored to their size should also be implemented. Responsible breeding practices are important in avoiding hereditary diseases like hip dysplasia or eye problems, which commonly affect this breed of dog.

Scheduling regular vet check-ups will help catch any potential issues early on, as well as dental cleanings every six months to keep teeth strong and healthy. Trimming the dog’s nails is also necessary; however, use caution when using nail clippers or grinders to avoid cutting into its sensitive quick, which could cause pain or bleeding if done incorrectly.

With proper nutrition, exercise regime, and responsible breeding practices combined with regular veterinary care, Shih Tzus have one of the longest lifespans compared to other small breeds, making them great companions for many years!

What Do Shih Tzus Usually Die From?

What Do Shih Tzus Usually Die From?
Common health issues like eye problems, ear infections, and joint ailments can shorten a Shih Tzu’s lifespan, but what else might be causing them to pass away before their time? Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is an increasingly common issue among diminutive dog breeds such as the Shih Tzu.

BOAS results from exaggeratedly short noses and flat faces that cause difficulty in breathing. Proper exercise routines, combined with dietary supplements such as fish oil and probiotics, can help keep these conditions at bay.

Responsible breeding practices are also important for preventing hereditary illnesses. Genetic testing should be done prior to mating to ensure healthy puppies enter the world. Finally, regular veterinary care must not be overlooked – checkups every 6 months will help identify any potential issues early on so they may be quickly addressed if necessary.

What is the Longest Living Shih Tzu?

What is the Longest Living Shih Tzu?
You can help your loyal companion reach their full lifespan potential by following a few key steps to ensure the health of your Shih Tzu. Responsible breeding and genetic testing are important for preventing hereditary illnesses, while supplements like fish oil and probiotics can support their overall health.

Exercise is essential too, although it’s best to protect them from extreme temperatures or swimming as these activities could have adverse effects on their well-being.

How to Extend Your Shi Tzu’s Lifespan?

How to Extend Your Shi Tzu’s Lifespan?
You can help your Shih Tzu reach its full lifespan potential by taking a few key steps. Responsible breeding and genetic testing will help prevent any hereditary illnesses, while supplements like fish oil and probiotics provide extra health support.

A high-quality diet with regular vet check-ups is also important for maintaining their well-being.

Exercise should be part of the daily routine, but take caution to protect them from extreme temperatures or swimming as these activities could have adverse effects on their well-being.

Regular care, such as preventing Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) and trachea collapse, is essential in extending a Shih Tzu’s life expectancy since it tends to live longer than most dog breeds.

It ranges between 10 – 18 years, with some living even longer! Genetic testing can also identify breed-related health issues that may reduce the average lifespan of purebred Shih Tzus if not prevented early on.

Exercising caution when engaging in strenuous activities should eliminate avoidable causes of death due to overexertion.

With proper care, you’ll ensure your loyal companion enjoys the long, healthy life they deserve!

Top 4 Best Nail Trimmers

Trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails is a crucial part of grooming and maintaining their health. To make the process easier, there are several high-quality trimmers available on the market that provide precision cutting, safety features, and ergonomic designs.

Some of these top products include the Battery-Powered Pet Nail Trimmer by WAHL, the Powerful Dog Nail Grinder in Dark Blue from Casfuy, the Zen Clipper Dog Nail Trimmer for small dogs and large puppies, as well as the PetiCare LED Nail Clipper Magnifier with 4 bright LED lights to illuminate light-colored nails.

With these reliable tools at your disposal, you can trim your pet’s nails easily while avoiding any unnecessary stress or injury to them!

1. Battery-Powered Pet Nail Trimmer

WAHL Battery Nail Grinder, ClawView On Amazon
The WAHL Battery-Powered Pet Nail Trimmer is the bee’s knees when it comes to giving your pet a safe and painless nail trimming experience. It features five different attachments for various sized nails, an ergonomic design, and a contoured grip that makes it comfortable to use.

Plus, this trimmer is powered by a C type battery for cordless operation – eliminating the need for cords or cables! The high-speed sanding disc quickly files excess nail while the attachments can be used for filing, grinding, and polishing.

This trimmer also includes safety features such as its safety cap and stop feature, which reduces potential accidents during use.

  • Suitable for a range of pets, including cats and dogs
  • Ergonomic design with a contoured grip
  • Powered by a C type battery for cordless operation
  • High-speed sanding disc and attachments included
  • Safety cap and stop feature reduce potential accidents
  • Poor power/stalling issues reported
  • No information on battery replacement
  • May be noisy
  • Attachments may not fit securely

2. Powerful Dog Nail Grinder, Dark Blue

Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder withView On Amazon
With its 4.8-volt high-power motor and two grinding speeds of 8000 rpm and 10000 rpm, the Powerful Dog Nail Grinder by Casfuy is an efficient way to quickly trim your pup’s nails without causing stress or injury.

This grinder features a diamond bit wheel for comfortable and precise grinding. It also has two LED lights that provide better visibility during nail trimming, ensuring accuracy with every clip.

The whisper-quiet technology helps keep pets calm while sanding their claws faster and easier than ever before. Plus, it comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 2 hours after 3 hours of charge, making this tool perfect for those long grooming sessions.

  • Ultra-powerful grinder suitable for medium to large breed dogs
  • Quick & efficient nail trimming
  • Diamond bit wheel & built-in LED lights provide comfort & accuracy
  • Super low noise & vibration; calms pets during the clipping process
  • Rechargeable battery offers up to 2 hours of life after charging
  • Not suitable for small breeds/puppies
  • One dog may be unaffected due to resistance
  • May generate dust particles; use in a well-ventilated area

3. Zen Clipper Dog Nail Trimmer

Zen Clipper Pet Nail ClipperView On Amazon
Experience the ease and safety of trimming your pup’s nails with the Zen Clipper Dog Nail Trimmer. It is designed to deliver a precise clip that won’t cause any stress or injury. This unique product is constructed from stainless steel and features a conical blade.

The blade clips only the tip of your pet’s nail without causing pain or harm. The trimmer is medium-sized and suitable for small dogs as well as large puppies. Its cutting hole measures 3mm in diameter. The non-slip handle provides additional comfort during use while ensuring accuracy and precision when clipping their nails.

  • The unique conical blade clips only the tip of the nail without causing stress or injury.
  • It saves time and money compared to visits to the groomer.
  • The medium sizing and cutting hole measuring 3mm are suitable for small dogs and large puppies.
  • It reduces the risk of cutting the sensitive quick thanks to the non-slip handle.
  • The stainless steel blades provide clean cut results.
  • Some users found it hard to maneuver curly nails into the cutting hole.
  • It may not fit over thick nails.
  • It can require re-trimming with regular clippers.
  • It works best snipping tips rather than grinding off the entire surface.

4. PetiCare LED Nail Clipper Magnifier

Allstar Innovations PetiCare LED LightView On Amazon
You’ll enjoy the convenience and accuracy of trimming your pet’s nails with the PetiCare LED Nail Clipper Magnifier. This product has been upgraded from its original version to feature four super-bright LEDs that can illuminate light-colored nails, making it possible to easily locate their delicate bloodline.

The 5x magnification and nail trapper also make this tool an invaluable addition for easy cleanup afterwards.

Its hardened steel blade offers a precise cut quickly without causing any stress or injury, while its non-slip handle makes clipping your pup’s claws comfortable as well as safe and accurate.

  • Four bright LEDs help illuminate light-colored nails
  • 5x magnification helps locate delicate quick accurately
  • Hardened steel precision cutting blades provide fast trims
  • Batteries not included (3 LR44 required)
  • Not suitable for black nails
  • Bulky design may be uncomfortable

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the optimal diet for a shih tzu?

Feed your Shih Tzu a high-quality diet with plenty of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Supplement their food with fish oil, probiotics, and pumpkin to support their health. Ensure that the food is appropriate for their size and age – smaller dogs need more calories than larger ones.

Are shih tzus suitable for families with young children?

Shih tzus can make great family pets, especially when it comes to young children. With their long lifespans and loyal nature, they are a timeless breed that will be around for many years to come. They do require supervision with small kids, however, as these dogs can easily get overwhelmed or frightened by loud noises and sudden movements.

Are there any specific grooming requirements for a shih tzu?

Shih tzus require regular grooming to maintain their luxurious coat and keep it free of mats. Brushing once a week, bathing every month or two, and trimming nails monthly will ensure your pup looks its best.

Invest in high-quality grooming tools like a nail trimmer, grinder, clipper magnifier, and more for stress-free care at home.

What is the difference between a shih tzu and a lhasa apso?

Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos are both small, long-lived dog breeds originating in Asia. The Shih Tzu has a rounder face, while the Lhasa Apso has a longer muzzle. Both have silky coats, but the Shih Tzu’s is usually thicker and often trimmed for show purposes.

They are also known to be gentle, loyal companions with similar temperaments yet different personalities – the Shih Tzu is known to be more outgoing and friendly, whereas the Lhasa Apso can tend to be aloof and independent.

Are shih tzus hypoallergenic?

Shih tzus are not hypoallergenic, but they do have a low-shedding coat. Their double coat does produce dander, which can cause allergic reactions in some people. Regular grooming and brushing can help reduce the amount of shed fur to minimize symptoms.


You’ve learned a lot about the Shih Tzu’s lifespan. From the wide range of health concerns to the breed’s long history, there’s a lot that affects a Shih Tzu’s life expectancy. Responsible breeding and genetic testing, a high-quality diet, and regular vet check-ups are essential for keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and happy.

It’s ironic that despite all the preventative measures you can take, your Shih Tzu’s life may still be cut short by an unforeseen health issue. But if you take the necessary steps to ensure your Shih Tzu’s well-being, you may just be lucky enough to have a long-lived companion.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.