Shih Tzu Health
Shih Tzu, like any other living being, need care and nurturing.  They require proper nutrition, clean water, a warm and safe shelter, lots of exercise and play time.  Regular visits to the groomer and scheduled visits to the vet are necessary for their health and well-being.
Here at SarJan's we vaccinate at 8, 11 and 16 weeks with puppy shots.  Puppies are wormed at  8 and 11 weeks.   We then follow Dr. Jean Dodds recommended protocol for vaccinating our adult dogs for the rest of their lives.  All of our puppies have a well puppy check-up with our vet before going to their new homes.  We also require your vet examine the puppy within  48 hours of their joining your family to ensure you recieved a healthy baby.  The puppy should receive its rabies vaccine as required by your state law.   An annual vet visit is recommended to make sure your Shih Tzu is being maintained in good health.
Teething can be a difficult time for a Shih Tzu puppy because they are a short faced breed.  Puppies may snort, snuffle, snore or wheeze and have a clear nasal drainage when cutting their adult teeth.  It is not necessary to alert the vet unless they have a thick yellow or green discharge which may require antibiotics or nostrils so pinched they can only breath through their mouths.   Teething problems usually clear with age but some vets unfamiliar with our breed are often quick to recommend surgery when it is unnecessary.  Give your puppy time to mature.
Shih Tzu have prominent eyes that require daily observation for signs of injury.   While some tearing is normal excessive tears, redness or squinting are not.   A vet visit is indicated to prevent permanent damage.  Some hereditary eyes diseases such as PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) and juvenile cataracts can lead to blindness  have been reported in the breed.
An annual visit to a vet opthamologist for eye exams can be beneficial.
Long drop ears, having little chance of air circualtion, can harbor disease.
Dark, yeasty smelling discharge or lots of rubbing or scratching at the ears means a trip to the vet is needed.  Whether to pluck the ear hair or not is best determined by your vet's recommendation.  Keeping the ears clean and dry with short hair to allow air flow is the best way to avoid problems.
It is important to clean puppy teeth regularly and report dental problems
such as soft gums, bad breath and loose teeth for early treatment.   Shih Tzu have an undershot jaw.  They can often have missing or misaligned teeth.  This is common in the breed.  Baby teeth may not fall out when permanent teeth emerge and may need to be removed by your vet.

Umbilical hernias are common in this breed.  A small opening with only a fat pad protruding will likely close as the puppy matures.  Many vets unfamiliar with our breed may be much too quick to recommend unnecessary corrective surgery.  Unless there is danger of the intestines becoming strangulated in the hernia, it is best to wait until the dog is mature to determine if surgery is needed.  A good time to do the surgery is when your puppy is being spayed or neutered.   Inguinal hernias are more serious and more likely to require surgical repair.  This should be monitiored by your vet and done when he feels the puppy is ready.
(Please click here to read the American Shih Tzu Club's information on this.)