Shih Tzu Dog Lifespan

Shih Tzu Dog Lifespan

Shih Tzu is a social toy dog breed from Tibet. It is known for its floppy ears, tiny nose, stout posture, long and soft fur, and large googly eyes. This tiny breed is playful, energetic, and friendly attitude. Moreover, Shih Tzus can be distrustful towards strangers; however, they feel the need to socialise with their primary caregivers. Hence, pet parents must ensure they spend quality time with their Shih Tzus dogs. If you want to adopt a dog from this breed or already have one, you might also want to know the average Shih Tzu life expectancy. So, let’s take a deep dive into understanding its lifespan and other essential details around it.

Shih Tzu’s life expectancy

The average age of Shih Tzu is approximately 13 years, while their life expectancy ranges between 10 to 16 years. The world’s oldest Shih Tzu lived for 23 years. This toy breed is commonly known for its independence and ability to thrive in different environments. Their friendly attitude and robust lifestyle affirmatively affect the Shih Tzu’s life expectancy.

Shih Tzu lifespan compared to other breeds

Compared to other dog breeds, Shih Tzu have a moderate life expectancy. This tiny dog breed is known for its cute appearance and active lifestyle. Read the following to know more about the average lifespan of a Shih Tzu compared to other breeds.

  • Shih Tzu vs other toy breeds: As toy breeds are tiny in size, their life expectancy can range between 10 to 15 years. While chihuahuas have the longest life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for having the shortest life expectancy of 9 to 14 years in toy breeds. Shih Tzu’s lifespan on the other hand ranges between 10 to 16 years. Compared to the toy breeds with the longest and the shortest life expectancy, Shih Tzus have a moderate life expectancy. Bichon Frise, Pomeranian, Lhasa Apso, Maltese, Pekingese, Pug, and Yorkshire Terrier are some of the other toy breeds with average life expectancy between 12 to 15 years.
  • Shih Tzu vs medium breeds: Dachshunds are medium breeds with the longest life expectancy of 17.5 years, while Beagles have the shortest life expectancy at 15 years. Compared to these breeds, Shih Tzu live for maximum up to 16 years. However, the world’s oldest Shih Tzu lived up to 23 years making it as hale and hearty as most medium-sized breeds.
  • Shih Tzu vs large breeds: Although large breeds of dogs are taller, heavier, and more muscular, they often tend to have shorter lifespans. The average lifespan of larger breeds like Great Dane, Rottweiler, and Saint Bernard is 8 to 9.5 years, meanwhile, that of a Shih Tzu is approximately up to 16 years.

Reasons for the longer life expectancy of Shih Tzu

  • Toy breed and small breed dogs ideally have a longer life compared to other breeds. Shih Tzu dog lifespan is ideally longer as they are toy breeds.
  • As a breed, Shih Tzus have been around for more than thousands of years. This has helped them evolve and develop better survival instincts. Hence, better evolution could also be one of the many reasons for the Shih Tzu dog’s lifespan.

Shih Tzu's health concerns

Although an average lifespan of a Shih Tzu is between 12 to 15 years, they can suffer from certain health concerns throughout their lifetime. The following are a few of these health concerns that Shih Tzu caregivers should be mindful of:

  • <ul><li>Ear issues: The same long fur that makes a Shih Tzu look adorable and cute can sometimes be a reason for their suffering. The long coat in and around the breed’s ears can sometimes cause ear infections. Caregivers can promptly avoid these infections by simply keeping their pooch’s ears clean. Cleaning the fur around that area regularly is an effective measure for avoiding ear infections. Consulting a veterinarian doctor in case of irritation, foul ear odor, and constant scratching is also suggested.
  • Eyes concerns: Shih Tzus are prone to develop more eye problems as they age. Senior Shih Tzus are more likely to suffer from cataracts. They can also develop eye ulcers because of constant scratching. Corneal irritation because of longer fur is another common issue seen in this breed.
  • Joint ailments: Hip dysplasia and luxating patella are some of the common joint problems seen in this toy breed. The age of Shih Tzu can affect their proneness to such ailments, but regular health checkups, a good diet, and exercising can help subside these issues.
  • Skin conditions: Shih Tzus have delicate skin which can attract a lot of allergies. Frequently bathing the pooch can help keep such dog skin problems at bay. Regulating their diet and taking good care of their digestive health can also help you maintain the Shih Tzu’s skin quality and general health.
  • Dental problems: Shih Tzus have smaller mouths which increase their chances of having misaligned or missing teeth. This also increases their chances of suffering from periodontal diseases. Regular brushing of your dog and dental care can help reduce such instances in this adorable toy breed.
  • Breathing issues: This breed tends to have shorter airways which increases their chances of suffering from breathing issues. Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome and Trachea Collapse are some of the most common breathing problems in Shih Tzus.

Common causes of Shih Tzu’s death

The following are a few of the many common causes of death in Shih Tzus:

  • Urogenital Diseases: Urinary calculi, bladder stones, and other urogenital infections and diseases can turn fatal for Shih Tzus if not treated in time. However, regular health checkups, a balanced diet, and availing the right treatment in time can help in eliminating such drastic outcomes.
  • Cancer: Like humans, dogs too can face fatal health consequences because of cancer. There are multiple causes of cancer in dogs such as age, toxin exposure, environmental triggers, etc. Taking the right precautions and conducting regular health checkups can help identify and treat this ailment before it turns fatal.
  • Infections: Certain infections may turn fatal if not treated in time. Infections attacking involuntary functions like digestion, breathing, etc. are more likely to develop into a serious condition. However, regular grooming, vaccination, health checkups, and proper diet may help you avoid such infections.

Signs to look for in an ageing Shih Tzu

Even though Shih Tzus live a longer life compared to other toy breeds, they are bound to age with time. The following are a few signs to look for in your ageing Shih Tzu to provide it with utmost love and healthcare.

  • Loss of appetite: Senior Shih Tzus tend to eat way lesser than puppies. However, loss of appetite is one of the common signs that your pooch is nearing its old age. In such times, feeding it with nutritious and nourishing dog food can help in providing the senior dog with some much-required energy and nutrients in lesser portions.
  • Low energy: Although Shih Tzu is a playful and energetic dog, they tend to get low on energy as they near their final years. Older Shih Tzus can turn lethargic and low on energy, but providing them with the right diet, adequate care, rest, and exercise can help in maintaining the pooch’s mood and energy levels.
  • Decreased body temperature: While higher body temperature can be a sign of concern, the same can be said for lower body temperature as well. Shih Tzu’s low body temperature could lead to irregular heartbeats, breathing issues, and other physiological concerns. Hence, constant low body temperature could be an important sign of the Shih Tzu’s deteriorating health.
  • Troubled breathing: Allergies and age can be a reason for troubled breathing in Shih Tzus. They are bound to have a weaker body which is more susceptible to health concerns such as infections, allergies, and an overall decrease in energy. Besides, a combination of these factors can further affect your pooch’s breathing.
  • Isolation: With age, most animals lose energy and hence prefer staying away. If your pooch has been isolating itself and not being its usual self since a while, it could be a sign of ageing. During such times, it is best to give the pooch the comfort and love it deserves.
  • Bladder issues: Urinary incontinence is a common health concern seen in most ageing Shih Tzus. There can be many reasons for the cause of this ailment. However, if your pooch shows symptoms of this illness, then it is best to consult a veterinarian and take all precautionary measures to prevent the ailment from worsening.
  • Weight loss: Consistent and constant weight loss could be another sign of ageing in Shih Tzu. If your pooch has been losing weight because of poor diet, ailment, or other reasons, it might be a sign of its deteriorating and ageing health.

Ways to improve your Shih Tzu’s life expectancy

The age of Shih Tzu defines its overall health. However, the world’s oldest Shih Tzu has lived for more than 20 years. Paying extra attention to your pooch’s health, diet, and standard of living can, directly and indirectly, affect its life expectancy. The following are a few things you can do to improve your Shih Tzu’s lifespan:

  • Dog proofing: Installing barriers, covering sharp edges, and locking drawers and doors can help in reducing injuries and mishaps. Lesser accidents ensure better health as it decreases the chances of wounds, infections, and allergies that can occur because of mishaps.
  • Regular exercise: Playtimes and walks help in maintaining your pooch’s health. Exercises and walks keep the Shih Tzu happy and healthy. Exercising also keeps them active which helps in reducing obesity, joint issues, and other health concerns.
  • Health checkups: Periodic visits to the vet’s clinic for health checkups and vaccination is suggested. Regular medical screenings help identify and treat health concerns such as dog allergies, infections, ailments, etc., even before they develop into a serious medical issue.
  • Proper diet: Providing a healthy and nourishing diet helps in maintaining the pooch’s overall health. Your vet can also suggest the right nutrients required for your Shih Tzu’s appropriate growth and development. Eating healthy and nutritious food helps in providing the right vitamins, protein, fibre, and carbohydrates to your pooch. You can also choose PEDIGREE®’s range of wet dog food, dry food, and treats, which are packed with essential nutrients to aid your pet’s growth, health, and development.
  • Spaying and neutering: Getting dog spayed and neutered helps in managing their aggression and puberty behaviour while also eliminating the risk of certain terminal ailments like prostate diseases, breast cancer, uterine infections, etc.
  • Dental care: Good oral health is directly related to better growth and development of your pooch. Clean teeth, gum, and mouth ensure lesser bacterial growth and lower the chances of infections. Regular brushing and dental grooming can therefore improve your Shih Tzu’s overall health. You can also opt to provide PEDIGREE® Dentastix™ to reduce tartar and plaque buildup, improve gum health, and keep the dog’s teeth clean.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shih Tzu Lifespan

Can Shih Tzu live 20 years?

The approximate life expectancy of Shih Tzu is up to 16 years. However, the world’s oldest Shih Tzu lived for more than 20 years. So, with an adequate diet and proper healthcare, your Shih Tzu might live up to 20 years.

What is considered old for a Shih Tzu?

How long do indoor Shih Tzus live?

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