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Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It sounds like behavioural issue. You should see a specialist because biting so strong is a dangerous behaviour that should not be allowed.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Because the Shih Tzu has a long back, he can suffer from back and neck problems. The most common is intervertebral disk disease. The intervertebral disks are made to cushion the spine. When they bulge or rupture they often cause nerve problems as well as severe pain.
The most common causes of lethargy in dogs are: Infection, including parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough and leptospirosis. Metabolic diseases, such as heart problems, liver problems, diabetes, and hypoglycaemia. Medications, such as newly prescribed drugs or a new flea or worm product.
Shih Tzus sleep more than many other breeds. In most cases, it`s 100% normal for your Shih Tzu to sleep many hours, especially if it`s a puppy. Senior dogs and those with medical issues also tend to sleep longer, but ironically, some sleep fewer hours.
Though a Shih Tzu`s intentions will be to offer comfort during long-term stressful times, the daily tense atmosphere can eventually be wearing on them, and as days turn to weeks, and weeks turn to months, dogs can start to feel the same stress and worry that their humans do.
Hip dysplasia is common in Shih Tzus. You may notice that he has lameness in his hind legs or has difficulty getting up from lying down. We`ll take X-rays of your dog`s joints to identify the disease as early as possible, and we can treat the arthritis—the sooner the better—to avoid discomfort and pain.
Shih Tzus are family dogs and are going to close to all members of the family. However, they tends to have a favorite person and it is going to be the one that pays more attention to it and plays with it regularly.
When owners think about those 13 years, it certainly seems like such a short amount of time compared to us humans. In fact, the US average life expectancy for people of both genders combined is 79.3 years (based on 2015 data) and that means that Shih Tzu dogs live, on average, just 1/6th the length of time as we do.
Dogs can smell our emotional changes: Due to their elevated sense of smell, dogs are highly sensitive to changes in our body odor that are undetectable to other humans. Dogs can smell the chemical changes that occur when we feel different emotions, such as happiness or anger, and this impacts their response.
Dogs have the mind of a toddler in terms of emotional intelligence, vocabulary, and cognitive development. Researchers think that canines can experience basic emotions, including joy, fear, love, sadness, and anger. Along the same lines, it is thought that dogs can sense these same emotions in their favorite humans.
The 3 most common issues seen with the Shih Tzu breed are collapsed trachea, elongated palate and stenotic nares. With 50% of Shih Tzu that do have airway syndrome, both elongated palate and stenotic nares are present.
Sudden onset of collapse can be secondary to a variety of disorders including spinal cord injury, orthopedic disease, or systemic illness. This sudden hind-leg weakness may be a sign of a disease that requires prompt attention from your regular veterinarian. Or even a trip to the emergency room.
Dog crying really is more like whimpering, and unlike humans, dogs don`t tear up when they are sad. “Signs that your dog is sad include vocalizations, like whimpering or whining, as well as showing a lack of energy or interest in things they normally love, like favorite snacks or toys,” Caughill says.
A Shih Tzu`s thick, curled coat requires more attention than many other breeds. A shih tzu should typically be bathed every three weeks to keep its skin and hair healthy to prevent bad smells from developing.
The shih tzu tends to require a large amount of personal attention each day. They thrive on human company and can easily become spoiled. They enjoy training and learning tricks, making them the center of attention. Shih tzu should be socialized to children early on, but they enjoy people of all ages.
Pups really do know when their humans are having a rough time, and they use a rich variety of signals to figure it out. Not only can your pet tell when you have the sniffles, but domestic dogs have shown an aptitude for detecting both much more minute mood fluctuations and far more serious physical conditions.
Stressed dogs, like stressed people, may have dilated pupils and blink rapidly. They may open their eyes really wide and show more sclera (white) than usual, giving them a startled appearance. Ears that are usually relaxed or alert are pinned back against the head. Changes in body posture.
The best way to tell if something is wrong is to know how your dog behaves normally, including their eating, drinking, urinating and defecating patterns, as well as what their normal stool looks like and what their normal energy level is.
Shih Tzus love cuddling, being close to their humans and keeping busy with indoor play time to release excess energy.
Heart failure is a leading cause of death in older shih tzus, and 75% of the heart disease is caused by valve deterioration. If your dog has a heart murmur or physical signs that suggest heart problems, we`ll do perform diagnostic testing to determine the severity of the disease.
With the Shih Tzu, the average life span is 13 years, though this can range from 12 years to 16 years; for this reason, Shih Tzu dogs are considered to be seniors by the 10 year mark. If a Shih Tzu has certain health issues, the veterinarian may make this declaration a year or two early, at the 8 to 9-year mark.
So, at what age can you leave a Shih Tzu alone? In a perfect world, it wouldn`t be until the Tzu was 8 or 9 months old. However, since you most likely need to work/go to school/run errands, a puppy of any age can be left for the day… 7, 8 or 9 hours.
Go ahead and sleep with your dog—it`s perfectly safe, as long as you are both healthy. In fact, sharing your bedroom with your canine companion—as long as he isn`t under the covers—may actually improve your sleep, according to recent research published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Research indicates that dogs have a limited range of emotions, similar to what toddlers experience. Canines lack complex feelings such as contempt, guilt, pride, and shame, says Stanley Coren, PhD, psychologist and author of How Dogs Think. Like children, dogs see the world in a simpler way.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Friends easy going yorkie with Addison has started attacking their Shih Tzu., It has had stitches from last attack Owner is in wheelchair Is it common
ANSWER : A. It sounds like behavioural issue. You should see a specialist because biting so strong is a dangerous behaviour that should not be allowed.

Q. My puppy refuses to walk outside on the leash. This only happens when we’re outside… Is it stubbornness or fear?
ANSWER : A. It is never stubbornness. Dogs are not stubborn, they can’t be. Dogs do not generalize well, and dogs display fearful behavior that appears to be stubbornness. Absolutely NEVER force this dog to walk outside when he is uncomfortable with doing so.. the more you force him to do it, opposition reflex – the more he will resist. The more he resists and is forced into it, the less he learns about being comfortable, and the more he becomes fearful of you and of the situation.

What you can do is carry extremely high value treats outside with you. Things like cooked white meat chicken, cooked fish, turkey pepperoni, turkey bacon, diced ham, mozzarella cheese sticks – all cut up into tiny little pea-sized pieces. You can also use peanut butter in a squeeze tube. First, put on the leash indoors and begin feeding him the treats. Help him make positive associations with having the leash put on. Then, take the leash off, and start over in 10min. Put the leash on, feed treats, walk to the door, open the door, feed treats, close door, take off leash. Start over in 10min. Put on leash, feed treats, go to door, feed treats, open door, feed treats, go outside, feed tons of treats and praise. Keep Titus in his comfort zone. If he doesn’t want to go far, just feed him tons of treats where he IS comfortable going. Make sure everything is calm/happy/positive. I bet in a week of doing this, he will be happy with walk further and further all of the time. If ever he is uncomfortable, feed him lots of treats for being a brave boy, and then turn around and go back home. It’s all about keeping him in his comfort zone.. it’s all about remaining within his threshold and never forcing him to feed uncomfortable.

This is very common for puppies. The world is scary! It’s brand new to them, and it’s up to you to make their interactions and discoveries positive, happy, calm, and to never force them into anything.

Q. Which common foods are poisonous to pets?
ANSWER : A. That’s a great question. As responsible pet owners we need to be aware of food items that can be harmful to our canine or feline companions. Here are some of the most common foods proven to cause illness in our animals at home:

Chocolate: A favorite and irresistible treat amongst most humans, chocolate is considered toxic to dogs. In very small amounts it is usually not a huge issue, but with larger volumes and with darker chocolates pet owners should be concerned. Chocolate contains methylxanthine theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. Chocolate ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, issues with normal heartbeats, seizures, and in some severe cases, death. It is best to keep your favorite chocolate treats in a good hiding spot and out of reach of your dog or cat.

Grapes and raisins: Dogs should not consume grapes and raisins because of the risk of acute kidney failure. Most dogs experiencing grape or raisin toxicity will begin to have vomiting and/or diarrhea within 6-12 hours of ingestion. Other abnormal clinical signs include lethargy, abdominal pain, dehydration, and tremors. Kidney failure develops within 24-72 hours of the initial ingestion. There are some dogs that do not experience these devastating side effects. It is best to contact your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you believe your pet has ingested grapes or raisins.

Garlic and onions: We often forget that our meals contain these two popular ingredients and will allow our furry companions a few bites or licks. Onion and garlic both can cause a type of poisoning that results in damage to red blood cells, making them more likely to rupture. They can also cause stomach upset and mouth irritation. Look for pale gums, increased breathing or drooling or any vomiting or diarrhea.

Bread dough: Unbaked bread dough is considered poisonous to our pets. The bread dough, when ingested, expands in the stomach because of the warm and moist environment. This can lead to a bloated or even twisted stomach. In addition yeast is often added to our baking products to help get bread to rise, and when this yeast is fermented it produces both carbon dioxide and alcohol. The alcohol produced can be absorbed into the bloodstream and causes dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Common clinical signs include vomiting or retching, distension of the stomach, weakness and collapse.

Macadamia nuts: Ingestion of these nuts are not proven to be fatal in dogs but can cause them to experience uncomfortable clinical sings, including fever, joint stiffness, vomiting, tremors and difficulty walking, especially in their hind legs. Often your pet will start to feel better after about 48 hours, but supportive veterinary care (such as pain medication) may help ease their discomfort.

Xylitol: The most common ingredient used in sugar-free gum is xylitol, which is a non-caloric sweetener. It is also found in some oral rinses, toothpastes and vitamins. Xylitol and dogs do not mix – it can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugars levels. Dogs will often display signs of disorientation, black tarry stool, tremors and seizures. If severe enough some dogs have developed liver failure. Keep your gum away from your canine companion.

Avocados: Avocados are not actually poisonous to dogs or cats but as many veterinarians can tell you the avocado pits can cause a foreign body obstruction. Avocados contain persin, which is actually toxic to the majority of pet birds. The abnormal clinical signs associated with avocado ingestion in birds include, respiratory distress, inability to perch, liver and kidney failure and sudden death.

Go forth and enjoy your favorite foods, but keep in mind which foods you should avoid sharing with your furry family members. Whenever in doubt, contact your veterinarian for healthy and safe food suggestions.

Q. We have a 4 yr old lab-pit mix we raise from 6 weeks.If my husband tries to take hin by the collar and make him go out to pottie he growls.Problem?
ANSWER : A. This is not good behavior. Rather than take him by the collar, call him to come with you. If he’s not good about coming when called, you can work on that. Keeps treats on hand to to entice him out and reward him when he does go potty and he’ll come to look forward to it. Clicker training is another great way to teach a dog all kinds of things, from obedience to tricks.

Have treats on hand that you know he loves, then simply click and treat. He will come to associate the sound with getting a treat. Start putting distance between you so he has to come to you. Call and click and when he comes to you for that treat, treat him and give him lots of praise. Move to hiding somewhere in the house, call and click. When he comes to you reliably inside when you call, click and treat. When this behavior is consistent, move outdoors with a very long leash. Call and click, if he doesn’t respond, give a light tug on the leash. If he takes even a single step toward you, click, treat and lots of praise. Keep doing this until he comes eagerly. Next, try him off-leash in a securely fenced area. Call and click. At this point he should be responding well and coming easily to the call and click. If he does not, go back to the last step he performed reliably and work on that again until he responds well. Eventually, you can start not treating him every time, but still praise him. Gradually lessen the frequency of the treats until he comes just to the click and praise.

Keep training sessions short, ten or fifteen minutes to start, no more than 30 minutes at a time and do it a few times a day. Try not to do it any time he is overly excited so that he can pay attention to you. Always end a training session on a good note, even if it is just getting him to do something he already does well on command. And never, NEVER punish a dog when they come to you, no matter how far they’ve made you chase them, no matter how frustrated and angry you might be. That teaches your dog that coming to you is a bad thing.

Read Full Q/A … : Causes of Limping in Dogs

Q. Husband shamed dog for having an accident inside, and now she won’t poop when he takes her out. Can we fix this? He realizes he erred
ANSWER : A. Good on your husband for realizing that scolding is not the way to potty train! Hopefully these tips can help both him and your pup get back on the right track and make pottying outside successful.

If your dog is still a puppy, that is good news as you may be able to more easily time your potty outings with your dog’s schedule. Even if your dog is older, this schedule may help. Dogs generally have to go potty about 15 minutes after eating, drinking, waking up or playing. Knowing this, get your husband to start taking out your puppy at these key times, so puppy gets used to going out with him, and the urge to potty may be higher than any fear to go. If the potty is successful, have your husband reward the dog with a favorite treat! For bowel movements, dogs may take a little more time, and you may have to stand outside for a while (sometimes even 10 minutes) to give your dog a chance to go. If she doesn’t go, take her back inside and play some, then try again in about 15 minutes. Again, a success equals a treat which most dogs will like right away!

For any indoor potty accidents that occurred, an enzymatic cleaner is great for cleaning up urine and stool. Not only does it remove the stain and smell, but it breaks down the enzymes in the urine and stool your dog can smell, which may deter her from going potty there again.

Q. Our cat has started pooping (diarrhea) having to go a lot some crying while going. Desperate if she has to go prior she rubbed her bottom scooting. TY
ANSWER : A. It is possible the diarrhea or other digestive upset is causing pain, which is why she is crying while attempting to go potty. Diarrhea can be a sign of a number of things, including internal parasites, digestive disorders, obstructions or as part of illness. It is best to bring in a sample of her stool to your local vet for an exam to check for the most common causes of diarrhea. Your vet may also want you to bring your cat in for a full exam as well to check for illness and look for any other clues as to why she has started having diarrhea. Until you can get to the vet, a bland meal of plain boiled chicken may help keep her eating and soothe her stomach, however veterinary care is best.

Read Full Q/A … : Vetinfo

Q. How should I interpret my cat’s tail movements?
ANSWER : A. Our feline friends express themselves in many different ways, including through the use of their tails. Most pet owners pay close attention to a happy or excited dog, but they are sometimes less attentive to the posture and movement of their cat. Here are some of the most common cat tail behaviors, and the underlying emotion behind each action:

A flicking tail: Many anxious, nervous or stressed cats will hold their tail in a low position and flick it quickly back and forth. This is often referred to as angry tail, and a pet owner or veterinarian should be on guard for any possible aggressive or defensive activity. If a cat is moving their tail slowly, and not exhibiting the flicking motion, then this cat is at a much calmer state.

Vertical position: Most of the time when a cat is holding their tail in a straight, vertical position this is indicating curiosity and a playful mood. A cat chasing after a laser pointer or playing toys will often have their tails in a vertical position showing their enjoyment. This position also helps with balanced movements. In contrast, if the tail is in the vertical position and the cat’s back is arched with pinned back ears then this could demonstrate a feeling of being threatened and thus result in defensive or aggressive behaviors.

The Tucked Tail: Similar to a dog, a tucked tail often indicates submission or fear. Your cat is conveying upset feelings and should most likely be left alone. This tucked tail appearance can also make a cat look smaller and less threatening to an aggressive cat.

The Tail Twine: Cats will often hook their tail around another cat’s tail, owner’s legs or other objects to show a friendly and affectionate nature. They are also trying to indicate whether they want to receive affection from their owners, be fed or have playtime.

The next time you are home with your feline companion take note on how they express themselves through their tail movements, their ears, body posture and vocalization. You can start to better understand their needs and wants, in addition to what makes them uncomfortable or happy. Cats will surprise you with their array of emotions and varied expressions they can express.

Q. 5 Yr old female cat change in behavior last 2 mos: hides, sleeps all the time, meows when touched, decrease appetite; last 1-2 wks wobbley.
ANSWER : A. While I think neurologic disease is certainly a concern based on what you’re describing, and should be ruled out with a good neuro exam (full examination of spinal reflexes and cranial nerves), a cat that sleeps all the time and is wobbly could have many things going on. What you’re describing sounds like generalized weakness to me, and that could be caused by heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, anemia (lots of causes to this) or metabolic/hormonal conditions like diabetes. Often cats “look” neurologic when in fact they’re just really weak.

However, as far as specific neurologic conditions that might cause what you’re seeing, chronic ear infections or a polyp in the inner or middle ear can affect the vestibular nerve and affect balance, some drugs if used long term (metronidazole) can cause it as well. Other things include intervertebral disk disease (slipped disk), cancer in the spinal cord, thiamine deficiency (not a problem if your cat eats a commercially-prepared diet) and feline infectious peritonitis.

Unfortunately the only way to start figuring out what’s going on is likely with lab work (complete blood count, chemistry panel, and urinalysis) and x-rays for starters (likely of the spine). And as I said above a good neuro exam is critical to starting to figure out whether it’s a neuro problem or not. Your vet will possibly recommend other tests based on the initial results. If you’d like to consult further about exactly what’s going on with your cat select the “consult” button.