Every owner of an animal is very concerned about the life expectancy of their pet. Generally, the life span of the small and toy breeds of dogs is longer than of the bigger ones. The Shih Tzu life span falls between 10 and 16 years, with the average of 13 years. The female dogs expected to live about 1.4 years longer than the male ones.
So, because statistics always give you an average data, your pet might life even up to 17-18 year if it’s in a good health and is taken fine care of. There were some rumors about the longest living Shih Tzu named Smokey who’s allegedly 23 years old by now.
Statistics show that Shih Tzu breed main causes of death are:
- Cancer (15.1%);
- Urogenital (13.9%);
- Infection (7.5%).
The urogenital causes include such sicknesses as urinary stones, prostate disease, kidney disease and uterus infection. The infections are various: viral, fungal, bacterial and protozoal.
What Can you do to Help your Shih Tzu Live Longer?
Any living creature starts aging since its birth, so the best way to increase the possible life expectancy of your pet is to prevent some of the possible diseases occurring in older age.
It has been said that over 15% of Shih Tzus die of cancer. Though there is no way to take way the risk of all kinds of cancer, some of it can be prevented. The spaying or neutering the dog in the young age eliminates the chances of ovarian cancer for the female dogs and testicular cancer for the male ones, it also reduces the possibility of development of the mammary cancer.
Some people consider their small dogs very much baby like and treat them accordingly. One thing they forget, is that, just like humans, the dogs suffer from the inhalation of the second hand cigarette smoke which contributes to the development of the lung or mouth cancer. So pay attention, and do not keep a puppy on your hands while smoking and, for everyone’s sake, smoke outside.
For any dog one of the easiest way to catch the infection – is through the bad teeth. They collect bacteria that triggers the infection which easily enters the bloodstream. For your Shih Tzu never to suffer from this, you have to bring it for “full dental” annually and give it regular dental care. Another thing to do for your puppy to help him catch less diseases is to carefully keep up with all the vaccinations and preventive treatments for seasonal dangers such as fleas or ticks.
And the last but not least important thing you can do for your dog to live longer and healthier life – is to give them enough fresh air and exercise. Even if your dog is a small or toy breed – it’s not at all the reason to keep it indoors most of its live. Go out with the Shih Tzu daily, let it run in the park or play Frisbee and you will have a happy dog, strong and well-behaved. It will also help it not to gain extra weight which presence always raises the chances of multiple diseases in old age.
But do not punish yourself if with the best care possible your dog didn’t outlive the world’s record – genetics cannot be ruled out as well. So live and let die.