Parasites are a serious concern for any Shih Tzu owner, and if you keep your Shih Tzu’s coat long, they can be difficult to see and catch in the early stages of an infestation. Arm yourself with knowledge. A string of garlic won’t keep these vampires away, but fortunately, other products and practices really work.
Fleas and Ticks Prevention
External parasites like fleas and ticks latch onto your dog or hitch a ride on his coat and feed off his blood. Not only can external parasites cause uncomfortable itching and skin allergies, but they also can transmit serious diseases like tapeworms and bubonic plague, and they can even hop off the dog and onto you. Eek!
Shih Tzu and Fleas
Fleas lay eggs that can lie dormant in your carpet, your dog’s bedding, and your bedding, long after you thought your flea infestation was
resolved. Obviously, if you can avoid ever getting fleas, you should, right? But wait. Before you start dousing your little pet in chemicals, consider whether your dog is even at risk. You can hardly avoid fleas in warm climates, such as in the southeastern or southwestern United States. Fleas thrive all year round because the weather rarely gets cold enough to kill them. In these climates, you want to take preventive measures. In colder climates, however, such as in the upper Midwest, northeast, or northwest, you may not ever see a flea. Then again, if the neighbor dog has them, you may have a problem.
If you do wind up with a flea problem, follow these tips:
Shih Tzu Fleas Prevention
Vacuum the entire house thoroughly, especially carpets and furniture where the dog has been. Throw away the bag immediately. Some people like to cut a flea collar into pieces and put that into the vacuum bag first. If you do, wash your hands thoroughly after touching it because of the pesticide residue. (I don’t recommend ever using a flea collar on the dog or in the house because of the toxicity of the pesticide.)
How to Remove Fleas from Shih Tzu
Wash and dry all bedding in the house, especially your dog’s bedding. Do so every two to three days until the problem is under control to eliminate any eggs waiting to hatch. Brush your pet daily and then work through her entire coat with a steel comb, manually eliminating any fleas. If you see any, pluck them off and drop them into a small cup of alcohol to kill them before dumping them down the drain.
Fleas have tough shells and you usually can’t kill them just by crushing. They can also hop away, so hang on.
The Best Way to get Rid of Fleas on Shih Tzu
Bathe her every week, too, until the problem is under control. You can use a shampoo with natural botanicals that repels fleas, but avoid shampoos with harsh chemical pesticides, unless your vet recommends them. In most cases, simply bathing the coat thoroughly with lots of rinsing will drown the fleas and wash them down the drain, without having to resort to chemical intervention. (Check out more info on how to give shih tzu a bath.)
Shih Tzu Flea Treatment
The best preventive flea products are the monthly spot-on flea control products. These medications really have revolutionized the pest control industry for dog and cat owners, making messy sprays and dips unnecessary. If your shih tzu keeps getting fleas. Visit your vet to get a prescription for these effective products, and always follow package directions. Following package directions, apply the medicine between your dog’s shoulder blades once a month, and fleas (and ticks) don’t have a chance.
You can also try over-the-counter spot-on remedies from the pet store, for less severe flea problems or as a preventive. Always read package directions and follow them exactly. If you don’t want to use chemicals, a careful daily comb-through to manually eliminate fleas, and a good bath in a botanical flea-repellent dip containing products like citrus oils can keep mild cases of fleas at bay.
What to do if Shih Tzu Itching but no Fleas?
If your shih tzu itching but no fleas found on its body, she might have some other skin problem. In this case, you should visit you vet to get right advice.
Shih Tzu and Ticks
Ticks can bite everyone in your family and transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted
Fever, and other nasty infections. They attach to the dog and suck blood. A tick can swell
from the size of a small pea to the size of a large marble after a blood meal. Then, the tick drops off and digests, before starting the whole cycle again. However, unless your Shih Tzu is the outdoorsy type (most aren’t), you probably don’t have to worry about ticks. Unless your dog is exposed to ticks — maybe you walk her every day in a wooded area — you probably don’t need to apply any tick protection.
Shih Tzu Tick Prevention
Whenever she goes outside in a wooded area, into a park with trees, or even if she goes out into your yard if you live in a tick infested region (ask your vet if this applies to you), check her all over with your hands, feeling for any bumps. If you feel something, take a close look. If you see a tick attached to her skin (or crawling around looking for a place to attach), remove it right away. Most tick-borne diseases won’t be transmitted if you remove the tick right away. For example, a tick needs to be attached to your dog for at least five and up to 20 hours before it can transmit Lyme disease.
How to Get Rid of Ticks on Shih Tzu?
Here is how to remove tick on shih tzu, follow these steps:
- Put on rubber gloves or use a paper towel. Tick bacteria can infect you too, if the tick pops when removing it.
- Pull the tick straight out, in a direction perpendicular to your dog’s skin. Pull slowly and carefully so the tick doesn’t break apart and leave mouth parts under the skin.
- Dab a little antibiotic ointment (the kind you put on yourself that you can buy in the pharmacy) on the spot.
- Watch the spot for a few days. If it starts to look infected, some parts of the tick may still be under the skin. Give your vet a call, so she can help cure the infection.
Shih Tzu and Mites
These tiny little spider-like parasites can cause mange (a red, scaly skin infection) and other serious skin problems and can also invade your shih tzu’s ears causing severe itching and discomfort. Mites are most common in shih tzu puppies who haven’t built up a strong immune system yet. Mites can also cause other skin diseases to develop, and they can even jump onto you!
Shih Tzu Mite Prevention
The best way to prevent mites is to avoid contact with a mite-infested animal, but of course, you can’t always know that another animal has mites, so look for the signs:
- Head shaking and ear scratching
- Odor from the ears
- Inflamed, swollen ears or an oozy rash
- Severe scratching and chewing
- Small red bumps on the skin
- Patchy hair loss (in severe cases)
- Big crusty sores (in severe cases)
Shih Tzu Mite Treatment
See a vet who can treat mites with a thorough cleaning and medication. Treatment may involve weekly baths (for about a month) with a medicated rinse, an anti-parasite drug, a topical ointment, or a combination. If the skin is infected, your dog may also need an antibiotic. Make sure to vacuum your house thoroughly and wash all dog bedding regularly to prevent a re-infestation.
Shih Tzu & Maggots
When a long-coated dog hasn’t been groomed for a long time and spends time outside in that long dirty coat, flies can find him and lay their eggs in his coat. The result? Maggots.
Shih Tzu Maggots Prevention
If you ever had a good reason to keep your dog clean and well groomed, the very thought of maggots may just do the trick! Shih Tzu shouldn’t spend too much time outside in the heat anyway because they’re prone to heatstroke (see “The very real danger of heatstroke” later in the chapter for more info), but if your Shih Tzu just loves the outdoors, don’t neglect that daily grooming session! Keep the coat clean and preferably short so you can watch for parasites of all kinds. If you do find a maggot in your Shih Tzu’s coat — they look like tiny white worms — pluck it out, flush it, and take the hint. A good brush-out, comb-out, and bath are overdue.
Shih Tzu and Ringworms
Contrary to the name, ringworm isn’t a worm but a fungus that forms a ring-shaped rash with hair loss over the infected area. Ringworm is easily passed from dog to dog or from dog to human. Young dogs, unhealthy dogs, and dogs that already have skin problems are most likely to pick up a ringworm infection.
Shih Tzu Ringworm Prevention
The only way to prevent ringworm is to keep your Shih Tzu from other humans or animals with ringworm and to keep your Shih Tzu healthy by feeding him a healthy diet and giving him plenty of exercise. A healthy dog has a strong immune system and will be less vulnerable to the fungus. If your Shih Tzu develops ringworm, your vet can prescribe oral and/or topical medication.