Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It is very difficult to tell if all these symptoms are linked without an examination. If it hasn’t drunk I would start to be concerned about dehydration especially if it is lethargic too. I would make an appointment with your vet for a check up.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

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

Lethargic and Not Eating

This is also a nonspecific symptom, but not eating combined with lethargy means that the dog is bothered so much by their medical issue that they don`t want to eat and don`t have energy to be themselves. This should not be ignored for more than 24 hours.

A dry, hacking cough can sound like a dog is trying to dislodge something from the throat or mouth. A raspy-sounding, hacking cough can be a symptom of kennel cough, a contagious upper respiratory illness that dogs often get from places where many dogs congregate.
A cough that involves a choking sound can be worrisome. Common causes of this symptom include reverse sneezing, pneumonia, kennel cough, heart disease, collapsing trachea and a foreign object lodged in the throat. Some of these causes are worse than others. Observe your dog closely as soon as you notice the behavior.
A wide range of health issues have decreased appetite as a symptom and it`s often one of the first to manifest. Also, dental issues including painful tooth decay, tooth infections, and/or loose teeth can be the reason that a Shih Tzu suddenly becomes picky about food.
What are the symptoms of canine distemper? Initially, infected dogs will develop watery to pus-like discharge from their eyes. They then develop fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting.
Dogs can start dry heaving or retching for many reasons including: Upper respiratory infection. A foreign object caught in your dog`s throat. Kennel cough.
If you can see an object or a piece of food but you are unable to move it, get your dog to the emergency vet as quickly as possible or try performing the Heimlich maneuver as instructed below. If you can see a small bone lodged in your dog`s throat do not try to remove it yourself.
There are also many health issues that can mess with your dog`s water intake. Bladder infections or urinary tract infections are two major culprits of reduced thirst. It could also be diabetes or kidney disease.
The collective answer from all the responding veterinarians is that a dog can go 3-5 days without eating, and possibly live up to 3 weeks without food. What is this? The vets also agree that drinking water is even more critical.
Symptoms caused by swallowed poisons can include: vomiting, diarrhoea, agitation and heart issues. Inhaled toxins may cause breathing difficulties or loss of consciousness in dogs. If your dog`s skin comes in contact with a poisonous substance typical symptoms include irritation and pain.
Organic meals, natural vegetarian sources, and even biodynamic foods are perfect! Foods like beetroots, carrots and even shredded coconut would work towards detoxifying your dog`s gut! This food can clean out your dog`s digestive system and prevent indigestion.
Initial symptoms of canine distemper include an elevated body temperature (above 103.5°F or 39.7°C), reddened eyes and a watery discharge from the nose and eyes. More developed symptoms include lethargy, tiredness and eventually anorexia. At this stage, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of dogs and other mammals that primarily affects the liver or kidneys. The bacteria (Leptospira) that cause leptospirosis, commonly called leptospires, thrive in water and have a helical or spiral shape with a characteristic hook on one or both ends.
Immediately after swallowing something that has become stuck dogs are usually very distressed. They will often be gagging and retching but usually don`t produce anything except some frothy white saliva. Dogs may be very restless and may paw at their mouth.
Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in Dogs

Loss of appetite (anorexia): Dogs may show no interest in eating. Young dogs with a foreign body obstruction (an object they shouldn`t have eaten) will initially still eat, or try to, but then vomit.

However, if you`re unable to get to the vet right away and you think your dog may have an obstruction, giving them a small amount of coconut oil may help thempass the obstruction until you`re able to get them medical attention.
Dry heaving in dogs may be due to eating food too quickly, or something more serious like bloating. You should schedule a visit with your veterinarian to determine the cause of your dog`s dry heaving. Serious causes of dry heaving include foreign object obstruction, bloating, and tumors.
Sometimes, it may also appear as if the dog is making a gagging or choking motion. Gulping can be a normal behavior in dogs, especially after exercising or playing vigorously. However, it can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as gastrointestinal problems, acid reflux, or bloating.
If your dog is choking, it is a medical emergency and you should take immediate action. Check to see if there is something blocking his throat and try to remove it. If your dog loses consciousness, you should try to push the object out of his throat by performing the Heimlich Maneuver and performing CPR.
An 8lb adult Shih Tzu whose daily activities consist of one 20-minute slow walk and some light indoor activities, he would need approximately 1½ cup (12oz) of water per day to maintain a proper level of body fluids. The source of water doesn`t have to come strictly in liquid (H2O) form.
It`s recommended that you feed your Shih Tzu at least three times a day when they are of adult age. If they are still a puppy, they may require 4-6 meals a day. This is due to the fact that this breed is susceptible to hypoglycemia. With such a fast metabolism, they lack the ability to hold much of an energy reserve.
2 to 3 meals per day.

And, just as many adult Shih Tzu do best staying with 3 meals per day. No matter which you choose, remember that toy breeds like the Shih Tzu should not be fed just one per day; that is reserved for much larger breeds.

how to bathe a shih tzu? the shih tzu should take a bath only once a week. they can`t stay in the water for long especially if they are babies because they might catch a cold. to bathe our pets need warm water so that they do not get cold.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Shin tzu chewed on mulch yesterday am since so making choking sound won’t drink only eats treats very heavy snore like sound lethargic
ANSWER : A. It is very difficult to tell if all these symptoms are linked without an examination. If it hasn’t drunk I would start to be concerned about dehydration especially if it is lethargic too. I would make an appointment with your vet for a check up.

Q. What’s the best way to train a dog to use a lead again?
ANSWER : A. It depends on how serious your issue is. If you need to start from scratch: Bring out the leash, place it on the ground. Click and treat your dog. Say his name, work on attention, click and treat for attention. Work with the cheese sticks, or with some chicken.. something stinky, soft, and high value. Allow him to sniff the leash, praise him, click, treat, click, treat. Pick up the leash, click treat him. Hook the leash to his collar and allow the leash to drag, click treat him. Have him just follow you around, click and treat him to hold his attention.

Then, pick up the leash, click and treat him. Then drop the leash again, click and treat. Take baby steps. Then, hold the leash while you take a step, click and treat him for following. Open the front door, click and treat him. Then, take off the leash, click and treat him, and end training.

Pick training back up in an hour, and do the same exact thing from start to finish, only this time, “finish” will be you two going outside, you clicking and treating him a bunch, and then you bringing him back inside. Work your way up slowly. You can’t expect to just bring him outside and bring him on a walk right away.

When outdoors, use a front hooking harness like the Sensible/Sensation harnesses: http://www.softouchconcepts.com/index.php/product-53/sense-ible-harness / http://www.softouchconcepts.com/index.php/product-53/sense-ation-harness. These harnesses will eliminate the pulling power of your pup in a positive way. This will put you in control without the use of force. Carry high value treats with you everywhere, and offer them for good walking behavior – treats like white meat chicken, cooked fish, turkey pepperoni, turkey bacon, diced ham, mozzarella cheese sticks, hotdogs, all cut into tiny little pieces. The more you work on walking on-leash/attention indoors, the better it will be outdoors, remember that.

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. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. My 20 month Cavalier doesn’t eat unless I let him eat from my finger, then he eats. Sometimes he will only eat once a day and leave his food.
ANSWER : A. It is possible that your dog is just not satisfied with his current food, or may be a picky eater. There are several things you can try to encourage your dog to eat.

The first step is to remove any additional treats or people food that may be more enticing to your dog than his own meal. If you feel you must give him some form of treat, be sure to place them directly in his food bowl and mixed with his regular diet. This allows him to get some snacks while also “forcing” him to try out his current meal to get the reward.

Enticing your dog to try his food by adding a pet-safe gravy or even a few treats of plain boiled chicken mixed in can help. Be sure to mix the foods thoroughly so he must explore his own food before getting the treat.

Some small breed dogs may also have a hard time with certain bowls and their collars. If there is a metal name tag on the collar and a metal bowl, the clinking sound can sometimes scare off dogs and make them not want to eat from their bowl. Using a bowl of a different material, or removing the collar prior to a meal may help with this issue.

Your dog may also just not be into his current food and may like another variety better. You can try a new variety by gradually switching over a period of 7-9 days, slowly adding in more new food and removing old until it is switched. This change may encourage him to try out meals again, and the slow changeover will allow his body to adjust to the new diet without digestive upset.

Q. My puppy is 15 weeks old and is biting me. I can’t seem to stop her. What should I do?
ANSWER : A. Biting and nibbling is very common in puppies, as like infants, they tend to explore their environment with their mouths. As a puppy hits about 5-7 months of age, her adult teeth will also begin to come in, making his need to chew even higher! Providing plenty of distracting chews as well as teaching some bite inhibition can help to save your fingers! Chew toys such as thick canvas toys, toys that can be cooled in the fridge to soothe sore gums and toys that treats can be hidden in make for a great chew experience. If your fingers and hands are the target, letting out a loud “YELP!” and walking away can also teach your puppy that you do not enjoy her nibble sessions. Another way to teach bite control is through “air-planing” treats which involves slowly moving the treat down to your dog’s nose. If she jumps or gets too excited, remove the treat and start again. If she stays calm and doesn’t lunge, award her the treat. This can help teach her patience and control when playing with people!

Q. My cat is excessively scrstching herself., to the point she has sores. She is strictly an indoor cat. Did have flees been treated for 2 months
ANSWER : A. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. Why does my dog eat grass?
ANSWER : A. As another user mentioned, dogs can eat grass when they want to vomit. Sometimes, when a dog has an upset tummy, they will eat grass. If you notice your dog eating grass frantically, you can assume vomiting will shortly follow. Grass does not digest and pass normally. If your dog eats too much grass, it can cause serious issues with pooping. Your dogs poop can end up all tangled inside of her, and it can need veterinary assistance to remove it. The same goes for celery, so avoid feeding celery to your dog.

The other day my boyfriend accidentally left the laundry room door open where we were keeping the trash that was filled with cooked chicken bones. She ate one of the chicken bones lightning fast. We had to induce vomiting by feeding her some hydrogen peroxide. After we had fed her the peroxide, she immediately began frantically eating grass because her tummy was upset.

If there is something lacking in your dogs diet, it could be that your dog is eating grass to make up for it. I am sure that my dogs diet is extremely well balanced (I do not only feed her an air-dried raw food-type diet (Ziwipeak), but a wide variety of safe, healthy foods), so when she eats grass, I know that it is because she has an upset tummy.

That is why I think it is important making sure your dog has a very well balanced diet. If your dog is on a low quality kibble, your dog may be trying to let you know by eating grass (or eating poop).