Signs of the Times: Symptoms to Watch in Aging Shih Tzus

Are you curious about the signs that come with the passage of time for your beloved aging Shih Tzu? Well, here’s a startling fact: did you know that over 75% of aging Shih Tzus experience changes in behavior, mobility, eye health, dental issues, and skin and coat changes?

In this article, we’ll explore these symptoms to help you better understand and care for your furry friend as they navigate their golden years. So, let’s dive in and learn what to watch for!

Key Takeaways

  • Pay attention to shifts in demeanor, anxiety or restlessness, lethargy, changes in appetite or drinking habits, and unusual aggression or irritability as these may indicate discomfort or pain in aging Shih Tzus.
  • Regular exercise, soft bedding, ramps, and addressing signs of pain or reluctance to move can help maintain mobility and independence in aging Shih Tzus.
  • Regular eye exams, monitoring for excessive tearing or discharge, squinting or rubbing of the eyes, cloudy or hazy appearance, and redness or inflammation of the eyes are important for detecting and treating vision issues in aging Shih Tzus.
  • Taking care of dental health through regular brushing, dental chews/toys, and dental cleanings with a veterinarian is crucial to prevent discomfort, infections, and heart disease in aging Shih Tzus.

Changes in Behavior

You should pay attention to any changes in behavior that your aging Shih Tzu may exhibit. As your furry companion grows older, it’s important to be aware of any shifts in their usual demeanor. Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety or restlessness, as these can indicate discomfort or pain.

If your once lively and energetic Shih Tzu suddenly becomes lethargic or loses interest in activities they once enjoyed, it could be a cause for concern. Additionally, watch for changes in appetite or drinking habits. An increase or decrease in these behaviors could be a sign of underlying health issues.

Pay attention to any unusual aggression or irritability, as this could be a result of pain or cognitive decline. It’s also important to note any changes in bathroom habits. Accidents in the house or difficulty urinating or defecating may indicate a medical condition.

Decline in Mobility

There may be times when your aging Shih Tzu experiences a decrease in mobility, but with proper care and attention, you can help them maintain their independence and quality of life. As your furry friend grows older, you may notice that they aren’t moving as quickly or easily as they used to. It’s important to remember that this is a natural part of the aging process, and there are things you can do to help them stay active and comfortable.

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One of the first things you should do is ensure that your Shih Tzu is getting regular exercise. Even if they can’t go for long walks like they used to, short, gentle walks can still provide them with mental stimulation and help keep their joints limber. You can also consider providing them with soft bedding or ramps to make it easier for them to get on and off furniture or navigate stairs.

Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to any signs of pain or discomfort your Shih Tzu may be experiencing. If you notice that they’re favoring one leg or are reluctant to move, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Now, let’s transition into discussing eye and vision problems that your aging Shih Tzu may experience.

Eye and Vision Problems

If your aging Shih Tzu is experiencing any eye and vision problems, be sure to schedule a check-up with the veterinarian. Regular eye exams are important to detect and treat any potential issues early on. Keep an eye out for these common signs that may indicate your furry friend is having trouble with their vision:

Signs of Eye and Vision Problems
Excessive tearing or discharge from the eyes Squinting or rubbing of the eyes Cloudy or hazy appearance of the eyes
Redness or inflammation of the eyes Bumping into objects or furniture Reluctance to go outside or explore new environments
Change in behavior or activity level Difficulty finding treats or toys Increased sensitivity to light
Eye swelling or bulging Changes in the color of the iris Visible third eyelid

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to assess your Shih Tzu’s eye health and recommend appropriate treatment options. Remember, early intervention is key to preserving your furry friend’s vision and overall well-being. So, don’t delay in scheduling that check-up!

Dental Issues

The dental issues your aging Shih Tzu may be experiencing can greatly impact their overall health and well-being. Just like humans, dogs are prone to dental problems as they age. Tartar buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay are all common issues that can cause discomfort and pain for your furry friend. If left untreated, these dental problems can lead to more serious health issues such as infections and even heart disease.

To ensure your Shih Tzu’s dental health, it’s important to regularly brush their teeth and provide them with dental chews or toys. Additionally, scheduling regular dental cleanings with your veterinarian is crucial for maintaining their oral hygiene. By taking care of your dog’s dental health, you can help prevent future health problems and ensure they live a happy and comfortable life.

Speaking of overall health, skin and coat changes are another important aspect to consider as your Shih Tzu ages.

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Skin and Coat Changes

As your Shih Tzu ages, you may notice that their skin and coat become drier due to a decrease in oil production. This is a common issue that many pet owners face as their furry companions grow older. The decrease in oil production can lead to a variety of skin and coat changes, including dryness, flakiness, and dullness. It’s important to keep an eye out for these signs and take steps to address them.

One way to combat dry skin is to ensure that your Shih Tzu is getting a well-balanced diet. Providing them with high-quality, nutrient-rich food can help improve the health of their skin and coat. Additionally, regular grooming can also make a big difference. Brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat regularly helps distribute natural oils and remove any loose or dead hair. This can prevent matting and tangles, which can further contribute to dryness.

In addition to diet and grooming, there are also several products available that can help moisturize your Shih Tzu’s skin and coat. Look for shampoos and conditioners specifically designed for dry or aging dogs. These products often contain ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera, or coconut oil, which can help hydrate and nourish the skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Prevent My Aging Shih Tzu From Experiencing Changes in Behavior?

To prevent changes in behavior in your aging Shih Tzu, establish a routine, provide mental stimulation and exercise, maintain a healthy diet, and ensure regular vet check-ups. Consistency and love are key!

What Are Some Non-Medical Interventions That Can Help Improve Mobility in Aging Shih Tzus?

To improve your aging Shih Tzu’s mobility, try non-medical interventions like gentle exercises, joint supplements, and providing a comfortable and safe environment. These can help them stay active and reduce the risk of mobility issues.

Are There Any Natural Remedies to Treat Eye and Vision Problems in Aging Shih Tzus?

Yes, there are natural remedies you can try to treat eye and vision problems in your aging Shih Tzu. Consult with your vet for options like herbal supplements or eye drops.

How Often Should I Brush My Aging Shih Tzu’s Teeth to Prevent Dental Issues?

To prevent dental issues, brush your aging Shih Tzu’s teeth regularly. Neglecting this important task could lead to serious problems. So, make sure to brush their teeth often for their oral health.

Can Changes in the Skin and Coat of Aging Shih Tzus Be a Sign of a More Serious Underlying Health Condition?

Yes, changes in the skin and coat of aging Shih Tzus can indicate a more serious underlying health condition. It’s important to monitor these changes and consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns.


In conclusion, as our beloved Shih Tzus age, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of behavior changes, mobility decline, eye problems, dental issues, and skin and coat changes.

These symptoms could be indicators of various health issues and require attention. Remember, our furry companions deserve the best care as they grow older.

So, let’s stay vigilant and ensure their well-being, providing them with the love and support they need in their golden years. Together, we can make their journey enjoyable and comfortable.

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